Mirrorless vs DSLR Cameras: What’s the Difference?

mirrorless vs dslr cameras

Mirrorless cameras entered the mainstream in 2015, but have been around since the mid 2000s. DSLR cameras on the other hand are still in the mainstream and makeup about 75% of all camera sales. Consumers need to know the difference between the two types of cameras and what each lack and bring to the table in order to find the right one to suit their needs. This guide will help breakdown the differences between each and the benefits of each.

Mirrorless Camera Pros

Smaller Size

The smaller size of a mirrorless camera is due to the fact that it does not have a mirror making these cameras less bulky and lighter. This results in the camera being easier to travel with. The convenience of being able to fit a mirrorless camera nearly anywhere gives it a major advantage to the on the go photographer. The less bulky design of these cameras give them a more sleek and compact look which people naturally gravitate toward. Due to this smaller design it results in a lighter feel in your hand which makes it more manageable to hold for a longer period of time for those longer shoots.

Lack of Mirror

Since as the name says a mirrorless camera lacks a mirror there is no more flipping the mirror itself up and down which results in a few things such as less noise. The lack of noise makes it so that the only thing you hear is the sound of the shutter flicking.

Mirrorless cameras have very few moving parts which results in easier troubleshooting so any problems internally in your camera will be much easier to solve yourself.


As mentioned above the lack of internal parts makes them inherently cheaper to manufacture resulting in a cheaper price for consumers, but be warned you get what you pay for so keep that in mind when shopping for a mirrorless camera.

Accurate Images

When looking through the viewfinder on a DSLR you might notice that when you change and adjust settings is that the image is not affected. However on a mirrorless camera it uses an electronic viewfinder so you see the changes in your settings in real time. This electronic viewfinder eliminates the guessing game you play when shooting photos because you will see exactly how your photos will turn out.

Mirrorless Camera Cons

Battery Life

One of the biggest drawbacks of the mirrorless camera is the battery life. That small form factor size comes with a downside and it is the lack of space to hold a larger battery. Having multiple batteries on hand will help negate this, but that can be a hassle for some people.

Lens Options

Since mirrorless cameras are relatively new to consumers there has not been a ton of lenses manufactured for mirrorless. This makes it so that your options are very limited when purchasing a new lens. As for DSLR cameras the market is full of lenses and it is not hard to find one to fit your needs and budget. As time goes on there will be more mirrorless camera lenses on the market as the mirrorless style of camera grows more popular, but for now there are very few options.

Smaller Size

The smaller size is a pro and a con depending on who you ask. For people with larger hands the smaller size can be a con because trying to hold this smaller camera in your hand can lead to hand cramps and discomfort.

Popular Mirrorless Camera Right Now

Canon EOS M100 Mirrorless Camera

DSLR Camera Pros

Larger Sensor

A DSLR camera has a bigger body therefore it has more room for larger parts such as a sensor. This larger sensor allows for higher resolution and better clarity in limited and low light conditions.

Lens Availability

DSLR cameras are the most popular camera and have been around for much longer than the mirrorless camera resulting in many more lenses on the market so your options are definitely plentiful compared to mirrorless camera lenses on the market. This makes it very easy to find a lens that is right for what you need and with so many options available there are bound to be options within your budget.


DSLR cameras are the most durable cameras around because of the bulkiness of them giving them extra protection against drops and travel. Another pro is that most DSLR cameras come with some form of weatherproofing to protect against the weather and the elements such as rain, snow, and heat.

DSLR Camera Cons


The DSLR does not have many drawbacks at all the only one that comes to mind is the size and weight. The size of the DSLR camera gives it a an advantage in the durability department, but can be a drawback when it comes to taking your DSLR on the go with you. The bulkiness can make it difficult to always have your camera with you while the slim design of mirrorless cameras makes it simple to do. However there are some lightweight and less bulky DSLR cameras on the market, but not too many.

Difficult to Use

DSLR cameras can be difficult to use because of all the features and buttons and to someone not very tech savvy it can be intimidating to use. A DSLR camera will take time to figure out and learn so patience is needed if you are not familiar with how they operate.

Popular DSLR Camera Right Now

Nikon D3500 Digital SLR Camera


Special thanks to Conor Luddy for the cover image. Follow @opticonor on Instagram.

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