Mirrorless vs DSRL – Which One Should you Choose in 2020?

10/24/2019     Author: Billy Gray

If you’re wondering what the best cameras to buy in 2020 are, then it’s important to understand the distinction between mirrorless and DSLR cameras, then choose.


Not as many people look to buy professional cameras anymore. The reason for this is fairly obvious. Most people have pretty decent cameras on their smartphones. Unless you’re looking to take professional standard photos, you’re not actually going to need an expensive camera. That being said, there are still people out there who rely on photography to make a living, and then those who just love the hobby and the way that it gets them out and about.

To take the perfect photo, you’ll need a decent camera. There are various types of camera that you can buy now. The DSLR has generally been the crème de la crème of the camera world, but now many people are turning to mirrorless cameras, which generally perform better when taking videos and photos in succession.

So, if you’re thinking about buying a new camera, then choosing between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera is likely going to be the ‘big choice’ that you’ll have to make. In this post, we’ll have a look at the pros and cons of both cameras and which one is better to use in different scenarios so that you can make a more informed decision when it comes to buying.

DSLR vs mirrorless cameras

If you’re a little confused about the difference between DSLR and mirrorless cameras, then don’t worry – you’re not alone. The main difference between these two cameras is pretty obvious – one has a mirror, and one doesn’t. But what the hell does that actually mean in practical terms?

DSLRs have generally been the go-to for professional photographers, whereas mirrorless cameras – which first launched in 2008 – have generally been less attractive due to their lower support for different lenses and their lack of an optical viewfinder.

This trend is beginning to change, however, as mirrorless cameras come to support more and more external lenses. Another key development is that a wide variety of new mirrorless cameras have recently been launched for lower prices than their DSLR rivals – and in some cases they actually take better photos.

Weight: Mirrorless cameras are generally lighter and more compact than DSLRs. This is obviously handy when you’re carrying them around, although oftentimes the lenses for both cameras are the same size, which can actually be uncomfortable when you have to attach a massive telephoto lens to a tiny mirrorless camera. As you can see, there are benefits to having a bulky DSLR – although there are negatives too, which the mirrorless cameras provide a great solution for.

Lenses: When it comes to lens compatibility, Nikon and Canon DSLRs have the best possible selection. Mirrorless cameras are slowly catching up, but they’re still not on the same level. For professional photographers, this can be an issue and it’s why most of them still opt for DSLR cameras.

It’s not that these companies can’t make more lenses for mirrorless cameras, but simply that at present there are fewer options for them. Thus, this means that they ultimately aren’t at much of a disadvantage. Also, with Canon cameras, you could likely use a lens adapter to use your DSLR lenses on a mirrorless camera, and vise-versa.

Viewfinder: DSLRs have a viewfinder as standard which allows you to get an optical view of what you’re shooting. This is preferred by many, but not by all. Some people like having their photo show up on a digital screen – it offers a more complete picture of what you’re shooting and this is useful in its own right.

Mirrorless cameras don’t have viewfinders and thus you have to rely on the screen to see what you’re doing. This makes them lighter, but it comes at the cost of having that manual feel and optical viewfinder. At the end of the day, it comes down to weight and personal preference.

Shooting: When it comes to shooting photos, DSLR cameras used to have an obvious advantage, but now the tables are turning and mirrorless cameras are now much better at shooting continuous bursts. Mirrorless cameras are also better at shooting video, in which 4K is now the industry standard.

With regard to autofocus, mirrorless cameras are now also arguably on point with – or even above – DSLRs. With these advancements, it’s becoming less clear cut which camera type is better at shooting all round. Certainly, it’s no longer a clear win for DSLRs.

Image quality: It’s difficult to choose here – essentially, both cameras take the same quality photos. Mirrorless cameras do hold the highest megapixel count overall, but this doesn’t necessarily translate into better image quality. Ultimately, both cameras can stand up to the other, and the best among them both take incredible photos.

Battery life: This is actually one area where DSLRs simply take the win every time. Given that mirrorless cameras always rely on a screen, it’s pretty obvious that they won’t last as long. DSLRs will keep the lights on up to around 800-1000 photos, while mirrorless cameras will struggle to take more than 600 photos without needing a change of batteries.

Price: Here’s where your pockets are concerned. DSLRs are generally more expensive and even the cheaper ones miss out on some of the great features that come with even entry level mirrorless cameras – such as shooting 4K video. That being said, only the most expensive mirrorless cameras have viewfinders, which will come as a shame to some people.

The wrap-up

So, which one should you buy? Well, that actually depends on your preference with regard to weight, viewfinders, and design. For the most part, most of these cameras take incredible photos and most have a variety of lenses that you can use. DSLRs have a more classic manual feel, and if you want an optical viewfinder, then this is certainly the way to go. If you’d rather have a more modern camera which can stand its own when it comes to shooting video, then it’d be better to opt for a cheaper, and lighter, mirrorless camera.

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