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Old 07-23-2023, 12:17 PM
marty bradbury marty bradbury is offline
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Default DSLR vs Mirrorless

There was a thread regarding cameras. A person stated DSLR are on their way out and mirror-less are the new wave. I'm wondering what the difference is, why is one better than the other?

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Old 07-23-2023, 12:34 PM
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Mirror-less are smaller and lighter without giving up much in image quality. Arguably none although most pros are still lugging DSLRs but that is also driven by their existing glass and expanded lens options. Gap, if any, is closing fast. Iím sticking with my D5 for now but would love a lighter rig so watching closely. Loath to replace glass or use adapters so may be awhile for me, OMMV.
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Old 07-23-2023, 01:31 PM
Colin_Mac Colin_Mac is offline
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Fundamentally, mirrorless cameras focus using the actual image sensor while SLRs focus using a sensor in the top of the camera with a mirror in the image path to reflect the image up to that sensor.

When a SLR takes a photo, therefore, the mirror has to be flipped out of the way before the shutter is opened, and then flipped back down again before focusing can be done again.

Removing the mirror from this system means no interruption to focusing, as well as a simpler mechanism. It allows silent photography as well as electronic viewfinders, and by embedding hundreds of focus detection points on the sensor it matters it easier for the photographer to select the focus area and also improves object tracking.

Obviously SLRs have been taking great photos for many years, but removing the mirror opens the door to new capabilities due to have the full sensor's worth of image data available during focusing.
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Old 07-23-2023, 02:24 PM
robj144 robj144 is offline
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Mirrorless is also What You See is What You Get...meaning the lighting in the viewfinder is exactly how the picture will appear. And, another benefit is having important info on the viewfinder.

I love mirrorless.
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Old 07-23-2023, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by robj144 View Post
Mirrorless is also What You See is What You Get...meaning the lighting in the viewfinder is exactly how the picture will appear. And, another benefit is having important info on the viewfinder.

I love mirrorless.
Agreed. My first DSLR was a Sony A300, which I bought so that I could use the several Minolta A-mount lenses that Iíd accumulated over my 35mm years.

I discovered fairly quickly that those older lenses a) didnít actually work terribly well on the modern body, and b) I didnít like lugging all that stuff around.

I became aware of mirrorless, then intrigued by the concept, and then bought a Sony NEX-5N in March 2012, and have been a mirrorless user ever since.

If I was a beginning photographer, however, and not wanting to spend a lot of money, Iíd look seriously at a used DSLR - there are some terrific bargains to be had on both bodies and lenses, and if youíre just starting and want to learn the basics, theyíll work just as well. By the time youíve figured out what all the knobs and switches do, youíll have a much better idea of what you want to move on to, and you wonít lose much money in the process.
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Old 07-23-2023, 04:28 PM
Jeff Scott Jeff Scott is offline
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Obviously, mirrorless cameras (MLc) is the future, but after reading much on them and some in-hand experience comparing them to my Canon 6D, I am in no hurry to switch. The Canon R6 Mark II and R5 that I compared to the 6D are not that much smaller or lighter than my DSLR. And IMO the EVFs have a long way to go before satisfying my own needs; the first digital camera I owned back in the early - mid '00s was a Minolta DiMAGE A1 that had an EVF. Didn't care for it then, and to me, the current crop of EVFs, even after over 15 years of development, don't look much better. Very artificial, but then I have always used cameras with OVFs or ground glass backs.

There certainly are advantages to MLc, particularly with development of new lenses given the shorter back focus of ML bodies. But also due to that, getting dust on the sensor is much easier as the sensor is far more exposed to the elements (the mirror box helps in that regard to minimize that issue). A friend of mine with a Sony A7S II can attest to that.

Once I learned that Canon has been slowly discontinuing their EF series of lenses I began buying a few prime lenses before I won't be able to (I bought them used as the ones I wanted are already no longer available new); now, my 6D is like a whole new camera with far better image quality than I was already getting with my L Series zoom lenses.

For those who don't already have an excellent DSLR system, from many reviews of different brand MLCs, Canon seem to be leading the pack in quality, ergonomics, and particularly in how their menus are laid out (Sony is the worst it seems).

JMHO. Lucky for me that (when/if the day comes I buy a MLc) Canon makes a few excellent converters that will allow me to use my EF lenses on an R series body with full functionality and them some, actually.
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Old 07-23-2023, 04:46 PM
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For those who don't already have an excellent DSLR system, from many reviews of different brand MLCs, Canon seem to be leading the pack in quality, ergonomics, and particularly in how their menus are laid out (Sony is the worts it seems).
After owning 3 Sony MLCs (or whatever the current acronym is), I have to agree about the menus. Clearly not designed by anyone with any UI experience.

However - you get used to what you have to work with, and you learn to find your way around and take advantage of the available shortcuts.

The newer models have a revised menu system which seems to have gained user and reviewer approval. I gave up waiting for the recently released A6700 (which has the new system) and moved in a different direction a couple of years ago.

I do, however, believe that current cameras are similar to modern cars. There really arenít any truly bad ones out there any more. Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, Pentax are all making fine cameras, and for the average amateur (whose ranks I count myself firmly in) canít really go wrong with any of them.

How to choose, however, is entirely beyond the scope of this thread
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Old 07-23-2023, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by robj144 View Post
Mirrorless is also What You See is What You Get...meaning the lighting in the viewfinder is exactly how the picture will appear. And, another benefit is having important info on the viewfinder.

I love mirrorless.
That's untrue. No mirrorless I've used (Fujis and Panasonics) can show the full range of visible natural light levels in their electronic viewfinders. You're seeing a little video screen, illuminated and magnified, and that can't reproduce the brightness range I get when shooting outdoors in bright Colorado sunlight. You can also see this in any camera store: point the camera at the entry door. Can you see good detail in the interior walls surrounding the door, while seeing details in the bright sunlight outside? No, I couldn't, not even with the latest and greatest Nikon Z7.

Any SLR can do this, because you're seeing actual light used to take the photo. The sensors in either type of camera can handle large contrast ranges, so the photo will be identical, but with the mirrorless, you're shooting blind where the shadows are concerned. Sometimes, the EVF image looks so artificial and ugly that I change my mind about taking the photo. Each generation of mirrorless comes with incremental EVF improvements, which makes me think it's a mistake to invest big bucks in a camera tech that's not fully developed. Meanwhile, my Pentax DSLR is the best, and possibly the last, DSLR on the market.

Maybe you think that's a specialized use case, but I face it often. Mirrorless is superior for other tasks, though. It gives you lots of visual aids/clutter in the EVF, such as grids and levels. Instant EVF review of the shot you just took gives confidence, too. But be aware that running that EVF all the time will suck down battery power; my Panasonic battery lasts about one hour, while my Pentax battery lasts all day. Where mirrorless is best is low light photography, because the EVF brightness can be boosted in dim clubs or restaurants. Mirrorless is superior in high-speed action sequences, and - this is the biggest deal - it's the design best-suited to dual use in video work.

If you like mirrorless cameras, fine, but no one should feel obligated to buy them. The larger consumer camera market is collapsing, leaving just hobbyists and pros. Nikon and Canon desperately need their existing customers to replace their DSLR gear with new mirrorless models, which incidentally are simpler and cheaper for them to build.

As I said in a previous discussion, I think of DSLRs as the acoustic guitars of the photo world. Mirrorless is like a solid body electric, which produces a direct electrical signal, but no physical sensations. Didn't electric guitars, which were more modern and louder and more flexible in tone, completely replace acoustic guitars? No, they didn't...
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Old 07-23-2023, 08:09 PM
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That's untrue. No mirrorless I've used (Fujis and Panasonics) can show the full range of visible natural light levels in their electronic viewfinders. You're seeing a little video screen, illuminated and magnified, and that can't reproduce the brightness range I get when shooting outdoors in bright Colorado sunlight. You can also see this in any camera store: point the camera at the entry door. Can you see good detail in the interior walls surrounding the door, while seeing details in the bright sunlight outside? No, I couldn't, not even with the latest and greatest Nikon Z7.

Any SLR can do this, because you're seeing actual light used to take the photo. The sensors in either type of camera can handle large contrast ranges, so the photo will be identical, but with the mirrorless, you're shooting blind where the shadows are concerned. Sometimes, the EVF image looks so artificial and ugly that I change my mind about taking the photo. Each generation of mirrorless comes with incremental EVF improvements, which makes me think it's a mistake to invest big bucks in a camera tech that's not fully developed. Meanwhile, my Pentax DSLR is the best, and possibly the last, DSLR on the market.

Maybe you think that's a specialized use case, but I face it often. Mirrorless is superior for other tasks, though. It gives you lots of visual aids/clutter in the EVF, such as grids and levels. Instant EVF review of the shot you just took gives confidence, too. But be aware that running that EVF all the time will suck down battery power; my Panasonic battery lasts about one hour, while my Pentax battery lasts all day. Where mirrorless is best is low light photography, because the EVF brightness can be boosted in dim clubs or restaurants. Mirrorless is superior in high-speed action sequences, and - this is the biggest deal - it's the design best-suited to dual use in video work.

If you like mirrorless cameras, fine, but no one should feel obligated to buy them. The larger consumer camera market is collapsing, leaving just hobbyists and pros. Nikon and Canon desperately need their existing customers to replace their DSLR gear with new mirrorless models, which incidentally are simpler and cheaper for them to build.

As I said in a previous discussion, I think of DSLRs as the acoustic guitars of the photo world. Mirrorless is like a solid body electric, which produces a direct electrical signal, but no physical sensations. Didn't electric guitars, which were more modern and louder and more flexible in tone, completely replace acoustic guitars? No, they didn't...
Sure maybe, but I have a Nikon D750 and Sony a7iii and I find using the viewfinder for framing and composing on the a7iii to be far easier in just about every situation. The current (even a generation or two back) EVFs are very good.

My Sony a7iii's battery lasts a fairly long time too. I never really measured it, but it lasts long enough.
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Old 07-23-2023, 11:04 PM
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Mirrorless is superior for other tasks, though. It gives you lots of visual aids/clutter in the EVF, such as grids and levels
Yep. I like my viewfinders to be clutter-free. I do have an Eg-D focusing screen in my 6D, but the grid is not intrusive at all. The lines are far less visible than those in any of my old view cameras that had grids on their groundglass/groundplastic.
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...it's the design best-suited to dual use in video work.
My friend with the A7S II uses his primarily, pretty much exclusively, actually, for video work. He does video production professionally and loves the low-light and virtually noiseless features that the Sony offers in that capacity.
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Nikon and Canon desperately need their existing customers to replace their DSLR gear with new mirrorless models, which incidentally are simpler and cheaper for them to build.
And sell for twice the price of their equivalent DSLR (6D vs. R5, in my case).

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The current (even a generation or two back) EVFs are very good
That's a matter of opinion.
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Old 07-24-2023, 06:11 AM
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When one of my two Canon DSLRs gave up the ghost, I replaced it with a mirrorless R6. The image quality is nearly identical as they use the same lenses, but the sensor of the mirrorless has better dynamic range and the autofocus is a game changer. My event photos are much improved as a result.

Plus, lots of fun features on the mirrorless ... Focus stacking, time lapse.

DSLRs are on the way out, and it's happening quickly.
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Old 07-24-2023, 10:56 AM
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If you have a substantial collection of DSLR glass, I don't see any reason to switch for the tech. I mean, there are compelling reasons, especially if you like an EVF vs an optical viewfinder. I prefer it myself, I like getting a close approximation of what things will look like at time of exposure, including film sims and other exposure corrections. But if you have a lot of glass, there are great DSLR's still out there. If you don't, I find mirrorless much more compelling in terms of creative vision, system size, responsiveness, lens design, and it's simply where all the new tech is headed.

I had a Canon 6D, which I didn't fully appreciate at the time for how good it was at astro and other things, but still enjoyed it a lot. I only had 2 lenses, so I moved to Fujifilm for a smaller, more modern system. As I shoot a lot of action, the AF of Fuji started to become a limiting factor, so I moved to the Sony A9ii, where let's just say it's no longer a factor! Sony has a great, open, glass ecosystem, with all the options you'll ever need.

So like most things tech or gear, it all depends on what you have an what you need/want.



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Old 07-24-2023, 11:44 AM
Dirk Hofman Dirk Hofman is offline
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Yep. I like my viewfinders to be clutter-free. I do have an Eg-D focusing screen in my 6D, but the grid is not intrusive at all. The lines are far less visible than those in any of my old view cameras that had grids on their groundglass/groundplastic.
That's totally customizable. When I first put a Sony camera to my eye (no idea which one but an early alpha full-frame), I had the feeling I was looking into a computer rather than a camera. With all the AF points going off and all the other data in the view it was a lot to take in! I thought at the time I much preferred the quiet of my 6D, so I feel ya. But after using mirrorless for some time now, I've realized there are modes where you can eliminate all that noise, and the EVF giving a nice preview of how the image really will be exposed is great. Especially helpful for black and white visualization.

I hear what you're saying for sure. But for folks out there who haven't tried mirrorless, I'd urge you to find out how to customize the EVF view (easy) and see how you feel in real world shooting. The sheer number of phase-detect autofocus points is a huge reason for using mirrorless over something like the 6D which had, what like 9? Versus PDAF points on 95% of the camera on the A9ii, it's a totally different experience.

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That's untrue. No mirrorless I've used (Fujis and Panasonics) can show the full range of visible natural light levels in their electronic viewfinders. You're seeing a little video screen, illuminated and magnified, and that can't reproduce the brightness range I get when shooting outdoors in bright Colorado sunlight. You can also see this in any camera store: point the camera at the entry door. Can you see good detail in the interior walls surrounding the door, while seeing details in the bright sunlight outside? No, I couldn't, not even with the latest and greatest Nikon Z7.

Any SLR can do this, because you're seeing actual light used to take the photo. The sensors in either type of camera can handle large contrast ranges, so the photo will be identical, but with the mirrorless, you're shooting blind where the shadows are concerned. Sometimes, the EVF image looks so artificial and ugly that I change my mind about taking the photo. Each generation of mirrorless comes with incremental EVF improvements, which makes me think it's a mistake to invest big bucks in a camera tech that's not fully developed. Meanwhile, my Pentax DSLR is the best, and possibly the last, DSLR on the market.

Maybe you think that's a specialized use case, but I face it often. Mirrorless is superior for other tasks, though. It gives you lots of visual aids/clutter in the EVF, such as grids and levels. Instant EVF review of the shot you just took gives confidence, too. But be aware that running that EVF all the time will suck down battery power; my Panasonic battery lasts about one hour, while my Pentax battery lasts all day. Where mirrorless is best is low light photography, because the EVF brightness can be boosted in dim clubs or restaurants. Mirrorless is superior in high-speed action sequences, and - this is the biggest deal - it's the design best-suited to dual use in video work.
Quite correct, you are not seeing an exact replication of light that you'd see in an optical viewfinder. There's often too much contrast, and the EVF has limits on how well it can really reproduce light. Very true. But in actual use, this is in my view a minor and even esoteric concern. Not to dismiss your views in any way, I just see it differently and understand your POV. If you accept that it's not an exact representation, you can use if for what it's good at. Reliably showing how your exposure and color choices will appear in the initial RAW or JPEG image. The rendering, which while imperfect, is actually really really good, and incredibly useful. The perfect does not need to get in the way of the excellent, and that's what current mirrorless viewfinders are. Excellent.

For your shop window or door example, some EVF's take a few seconds to adjust to the new light source and then show the exposure (mostly) correctly. Faster ones will react to dramatic changes in light much better than others. It doesn't happen (literally) at the speed of light like an OVF, but it happens fast enough in many cases.

Certainly all this draws on battery life, and mirrorless is always going to have more of a power draw because of the LCD and EVF than a DSLR. But an hour? That sounds like and old camera with an old battery. My Sony will last for several hours (4-6) of continuous action shooting with no problems at all. I'm usually at about 50% power after a session like that. I've never done a shoot which one battery didn't work for the entire shoot, but I don't do video. Anyway, we all probably carry an extra battery in our pack, DSLR or Mirrorless, right? Can't afford the single point of failure either way. In short, MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera) battery life isn't a practical issue on most modern MILC cameras.

Last edited by Dirk Hofman; 07-24-2023 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 07-24-2023, 01:29 PM
Jeff Scott Jeff Scott is offline
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...MILC...
Why does that sound so familiar?
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Old 07-28-2023, 08:40 AM
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When I bought my last DSLR, a Nikon D750, I also "tried out" several Nikon mirrorless bodies but bought the D750.

As a Nikon shooter, I can't speak to Canon's options, but I found the DSLR better for me but your mileage may vary:

1. The electronic viewfinder was too harsh on my eyes. It just seemed to artificial for me.

2. Being someone with really large hands (I can palm a basketball) the body was just too small. I had a hard time getting the body to sit comfortably in my hands.

3. The buttons were in such different locations that I found myself slowing down when changing a setting. Of course every new camera's buttons and switches are always in different locations so this wasn't a HUGE problem, but combined with the other issues I just wasn't comfortable with mirrorless.

My point in getting so detailed is that every photographer must (should) handle the camera(s) they are considering since they are the one who will be using it.

What doesn't work for me might be perfect for you. Getting others' opinions about cameras is valid but in the end, YOU are the one who will be using it so YOU should find a camera that fits YOUR hands and working methods.

As to the issue of compatibility with currently owned glass, that didn't bother me as Nikon has an adapter that would allow me to use all of my lenses seamlessly. I imagine other manufacturers offer similar things.

I can't say if mirrorless is better than DSLR because that seems to be such a personal decision.

It's like asking if Chevy is better than Ford ...

OK, who am I kidding? Jeep is the best!

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