Author Topic: DSLR or Mirrorless?  (Read 864 times)

DSLR or Mirrorless?
« on: September 15, 2017, 10:37:18 pm »
So you're looking to go beyond smartphone cameras and basic compact digital cameras, what do you go for? DSLR or mirrorless?

Sensor size and optical viewfinder seems like the main differences. I'm not sure I'll miss optical viewfinder when I'm used to a screen plus many mirrorless cameras can take an electronic viewfinder accessory if not already present. The sensor size AFAIK is important for low light photography. Mostly I'll be taking shots on daylight or with a flash. Would a micro four thirds be noticeably different to aps-c? I'm not going to blow photographs up above A4.

I'm planning on using it mostly for when I'm out and about in the hills, on a bike, family holidays or for family gatherings. I'm hoping to adjust settings like I did in the past with the film slr I once had. Usually aperture priority for landscape. Plus I like taking closeups (not true macro but that may come at some point).

So with a lower budget in mind I'm guessing Canon 1300d or nikon D3400 or similar for DSLR. Mirrorless I have no idea but think I saw a £370 nikon j5 or £280 Canon eos m10 that look decent for the money.

So what's your view on these two cameras and would they suit my needs?

Re: DSLR or Mirrorless?
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2017, 09:10:26 am »
I really enjoy my mirrorless micro four thirds camera. It comes with me riding in a bar bag, and with a 40mm equivalent lens fits in a jacket pocket for being out and about. Before it I enjoyed manual SLRs. I pretty much skipped the big body / big lens stuff. If there's a really low light performance test or who's got the narrowest depth of field competition I may loose, but I've rarely felt all that limited in real life.
As for which one, my stock advice is to go and handle a few in a shop. Ergonomics wins over a few percent here or there on a spec.

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Re: DSLR or Mirrorless?
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2017, 12:57:31 pm »
I love my 4/3 kit (panasonic gm5, 20mm prime), it does a brilliant job as travel camera when icba to take my much heavier, larger, more obvious dslr kit.   For that kind of budget, you might get a slightly better sensor in a dslr but for the size, I'd go 4/3.

Re: DSLR or Mirrorless?
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2017, 03:55:53 pm »
I'm another M 4/3 fan, the tiny GM1 goes with me on all bike rides, the larger GX80 with the same sensor but better features I save for when I go out specifically to take photos.  The 20mm prime is also my favourite lens, though the GM1 mostly wears the tiny 12 -32 zoom a 45-175 zoom makes up my kit, though I went through a few lenses before settling on these. 
It does lose a bit to a DSLR, those things you mentioned plus it isn't always as fast focusing on moving objects, though this is getting better.  There's also the cost and availability, most noticeable secondhand, at any given price point I think you could find better value from a DSLR
The ongoing improvements to digital ISO and image stabilisation are making the sensor size and aperture a lot less relevant to low light photography, I take hand held shots now which I wouldn't have even attempted a few years ago.  Even so you can't get away from the quality of image that a larger sensor produces, mainly depth of field and subject isolation, how relevant that is depends on what you like to photograph.  If that's landscapes in good light you probably don't even need to go a bulky as a M 4/3.  And as always the kit only plays a small part in the end result.   


  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: DSLR or Mirrorless?
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2017, 12:26:24 am »
I doubt you'll notice any quality difference between a cheap crop-sensor DSLR and a decent 4/3 Mirrorless.

I went from crop-sensor Canon to Full-frame Canon and there's an appreciable difference, a true "Wow factor", but that comes at a price (and considerable bulk...especially when you attach decent glass to it).

I'd go mirrorless rather than cheap crop-sensor nowadays because they've improved so much, and they make far more portable packages that you're more likely to carry. 

Having said that I loved my Canon 100D.  You can buy a 24mm & 40mm "Pancake" lens for that which make it almost pocketable.

Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.


  • Ain't no hooves on my bike.
Re: DSLR or Mirrorless?
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2017, 11:21:13 am »
I own some mirrorless kit (Lumix m4/3: 3 bodies, 4 lenses) and a basic APS-C DSLR (Nikon D3300). Maybe the Nikon might have the ultimate edge over the Lumix if I attached an expensive lens to it but for the most part you can't tell the difference in quality. As others have noted, mirrorless is much more portable.

An alternative is the small Canon 100D that LEE mentioned. Note that Canon DSLR lenses can be used on their mirrorless bodies with an adapter. Might be worth considering if you are looking to build a system up. Otherwise go m4/3.
Pen Pusher


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Re: DSLR or Mirrorless?
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2017, 08:26:48 am »
If you choose to go Sony APS-C mirrorless, you can of course continue to use your same lenses if you go full frame later (albeit obviously with a changed effective focal length).  We have both in our household, and merrily exchange lenses and accessories between the two of us.  You also have to option to use lenses form almost any other manufacturer via an adaptor, in many cases retaining full autofocus.  That's a plus point of mirrorless, the fact that you have the available length that the mirror box used to take up, for lens adaptors.  Obviously for a lens to be usable on both formats, it needs to be a full frame lens!

On the subject of optical viewfinders vs. electronic ones as per mirrorless cameras, I recently used someone else's APS-C Canon SLR, and thought the viewfinder was horrible, with uneven illumination, and it looked sort of artificial.  I've got used to the brilliant viewfinder of my A7Rii (which is admittedly well out of the price range wanted here) but others must be similar in quality.

Its worth noting that for any given format, mirrorless lenses are not magically smaller than DSLR lenses, the size reduction is only in the camera body!