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What is a Mirrorless Camera?

We all know and love mirrorless cameras, but what actually are they?


What is a Mirrorless Camera?

As the same suggests, they don’t have a mirror, unlike DSLR cameras (digital single-lens reflex). DSLRs have reflex mirrors, which is a mirror positioned behind the lens that reflects the image into the camera’s optical viewfinder (OVF). This mirror has a spring-loaded reflex, where it moves for a microsecond to expose light onto the camera’s sensor.

Cross-section of a digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR)

Photo credit: Fujifilm Australia

Mirrorless cameras have an electronic viewfinder (EVF), which is far more compact and provides better autofocus. This also means that DSLR cameras have a better battery life, because not as much of the body is relying on electronics. Mirrorless cameras use a mechanical shutter that is a curtain or blind, but lots also offer the option of an electronic shutter which is silent. Depends on what you’re shooting and what kind of shutter is best, but silent shutters are great when you’re taking photos during a video take!

Cross-section of a mirrorless camera

Photo credit: Fujifilm Australia


The main draw other than speed that people have to mirrorless cameras is their size. They are far more compact and much lighter compared to DSLRs, which have more mechanical features versus electronic, which contributes to the weight. Mirrorless lenses are far lighter too, whereas DSLR lenses often exceed the body weight of the camera. This doesn’t matter as much when using a camera in a studio, but out on location, the weight makes all the difference. Especially when hiking – trying to find the perfect opportunity for a wildlife photo – the weight of the DSLR can often make it a bit more difficult. At least with a mirrorless camera, it also appeals to people who may not be able to comfortably hold a bigger device, and can allow them to take photos without the extra strain.

Best mirrorless Cameras for Videography in 2024 (And what I would buy)

Photo credit: Christian Maté Grab

What’s Better For Video?

Mirrorless cameras are far more popular for video, because of their advanced specs and better in-body image stabilisation (IBIS). DSLRs often don’t have the video specs that people are wanting nowadays, but they do reign supreme in stills photography and professional photoshoots.

Mirrorless cameras: Photography's new decisive moment - BBC News

Photo credit: BBC News


Why Do People Still Use DSLRs?

Lots of professional photographers still use DSLRs. But why?

DSLR cameras have better battery life, as they’re less reliant on electronics. DSLRs are also far more durable, as they rely on a more simple mechanism to keep going, whereas electronics can sometimes fail.

Cameras like the Canon 5D Mark IV and Nikon D5 have a cult status among professionals for these reasons, alongside having a huge lens selection, great autofocus, feels better to hold than a smaller camera (for some, anyway), and are far less expensive than a top of the line full frame mirrorless camera.

How To Take Stylish Photos?

Photo credit: Vines of the Yarra Valley

DSLR cameras still have their place in photography, but mirrorless cameras are packed full of features that lots of photographers and videographers desire. Mirrorless cameras are the new generation of photography, and they’re getting better by the minute.

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