Why Mirrorless Cameras Are Better Than DSLRs for Hobbyists & Travelers

Why Mirrorless Cameras Are Better Than DSLRs for Hobbyists & Travelers

The wisdom has long been that anyone serious about photography needs a DSLR camera—but that’s no longer true. The latest mirrorless cameras match, or even surpass, DSLRs in almost every important way.

From smaller sizes, to more advanced features, to all-around better performance, mirrorless cameras are the perfect alternative to DSLR cameras. Whether you’re a hobbyist, a keen travel shooter, a newbie to photography, or even a pro, here’s why it’s time to switch from DSLR to mirrorless cameras.

The Difference Between DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras

The difference between DSLR and mirrorless cameras is mainly technical.

DSLR camera has a mirror in front of the internal camera sensor that bounces light through the viewfinder. When you press the shutter button, the mirror lifts upwards to expose the sensor and allows the image to be captured.

how dslr camera works

mirrorless camera has no mirror. Light enters through the lens and hits the always-exposed sensor. What you see through the viewfinder or rear screen is a direct read of what the sensor is seeing, and thus an exact representation of the image to be captured when you press the shutter button.

1. Size

mirrorless vs dslr size comparison

I still remember the moment I decided to go mirrorless. It was after a day spent trudging around a rainy Barcelona with a Nikon D90 and 16-85mm lens around my neck. I loved the camera/lens combo, but it was really starting to suck the joy out of both photography and travel.

I knew I needed to downsize to something smaller and less unwieldy, but I didn’t want to compromise on quality. Mirrorless was the obvious answer.

Few mirrorless cameras are truly pocketable, except for a large coat pocket, maybe. But the size and weight benefits cannot be underestimated. The easier a camera is to carry, the more likely you are to take it with you wherever you go.

2. More Convenient Shooting

The smaller size of most mirrorless cameras doesn’t just make them more portable. It offers benefits in use as well.

DSLRs are far less discreet, and—rightly or wrongly—people often think of them as being more professional. If you’re traveling somewhere and shooting street scenes, people will notice you with your DSLR. And they’ll wonder why you’re pointing your camera at them.

3. Innovation

fuji gfx 50r medium format mirrorless

If you have any interest in cameras and camera technology, mirrorless is the only place to be these days.

Even the staid old giants of the DSLR world, Canon and Nikon, have been compelled to embrace the sector of the market where innovation is almost unstoppable.

4. Performance

The long-standing argument against mirrorless cameras was that their performance was inferior to the DSLR. Focusing was slow, image quality was worse, battery life poor, and the ergonomics didn’t lend themselves to prolonged shooting.

OK, it’s still true about battery life. The typical DSLR shoots 2-3 times more photos than a mirrorless camera before it needs recharging.

5. Lenses

When mirrorless cameras first entered the market, lenses were a weak point. It takes time for a manufacturer to build a system from scratch.

A decade on, there are no such problems. Micro Four Thirds, Sony, Fuji, and others all have lenses for all use cases and at all price points. Versatile travel zooms, fast primes, pancakes—whatever lens you need you can get.

6. More Options

Unless you’re a professional with very specific requirements, it’s hard to make a case for DSLRs these days. Mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter, more versatile, and perform as well, if not better, than their old-school counterparts.

The sheer variety of models also ensures you’ll be able to find the right one for your needs. If you want to drop nine grand on a medium format Hasselblad X1D, you can. Or you can spend as little as $500 on a body that will still give you 4K video and awesome photo quality.


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