Mirrorless Camera Buying Guide

Pros and Cons and the Top 3 Mirrorles Cameras

Earlier, there were not many options photographers had. Either they could go for a small image sensor and buy a compact camera, or choose a bigger sensor and go for a proper DSLR camera that is bigger in size too.

But now, mirrorless cameras are all the rage. They lie right in the middle of a point and shoot which can be used only with one lens, and a DSLR, where you can use a number of inter-changeable lenses. Mirrorless cameras are compact cameras with almost all features of a DSLR, and they now even have impressive lens options for you to choose from.

Before you choose which camera system to invest in, let me tell you the pros and cons of a mirrorless camera, and 3 of the best mirrorless cameras in the market right now.

Mirorless vs DSRL camera

Mirrorless vs DSRL camera


Advantages of a Mirrorless Camera

1. Size

Mirrorless cameras are a lot smaller and lighter than a conventional DSLR. This is because mirrorless cameras do not have a mirror-box or pentaprism system inside them for reflecting light into the viewfinder. The absence of this light-reflecting mechanism makes mirrorless cameras very portable.

2. Exposure simulation in Live View and EVF

Live view is something where most DSLRs get slow and confused. But mirrorless cameras have the advantage of having a very fast and easy to use Live View system, which can also be used for focusing very quickly. Most mirrorless cameras also have an Electronic Viewfinder. The EVF works like an optical viewfinder of a DSLR, the only difference being that the EVF is an electronic representation of the scene. In a DSLR, the viewfinder is the actual scene itself, so there cannot be an electronic simulation of what your photo is going to look like. You have to go into Live View for that. But in mirrorless cameras, both the EVF and the Live View are able to show real-time changes as per the settings of the camera. You can see what your photo is going to look like.

3. Autofocus

Because there is no mirror or prism in mirrorless cameras, the light falls directly on the image sensor. Thus, the sensor itself is used for autofocus, which results in quicker focusing. Also, DSLRs in Live View rely on Contrast Detection autofocus, which is very slow. For mirrorless cameras, whether you are using the EVF or Live View, there is no mirror obstructing the sensor, so focusing can be done using a combination of Contrast detection and Phase detection autofocus. This makes mirrorless cameras very quick to focus and even track moving subjects easily.

4. Image quality

Even though mirrorless cameras are small, the sensors and the technology they have inside are on par with DSLRs. Mirrorless cameras have Micro Four-thirds sensor, APSC sensors, and even full-frame 35mm equivalent sensors nowadays. Sensor size is not an issue anymore. Autofocus was already an advantage for mirrorless cameras. Even shooting speed is better in mirrorless cameras, as there is no need of pulling the mirror out of the way. Even inexpensive mirrorless cameras like Sony a6000 can go upto 11 fps easily.

The Cons of a Mirrorless Camera

1. No optical viewfinder

Even though I have put the EVF as an advantage for the mirrorless cameras, an EVF is not always suited for the situation. Even with constant improvements, an EVF is a bit slow when compared to the optical viewfinder of a DSLR. Because it is an electronic image, it takes some time before the screen refreshes and shows all the action. Also, in low-light, the image in an EVF will make it hard to focus, while with an optical viewfinder, you can easily switch to manual focus and do everything yourself if autofocus is proving to be slow. Also, an optical viewfinder simply feels more real and colourful and fun than the EVF of a mirrorless.

2. Battery life

Because mirrorless cameras use Live View a lot, and even the EVF takes up a lot of juice, the battery life of a mirrorless camera is far less when compared to a DSLR. A mirrorless camera will not last more than 400 shows on a single charge, while a DSLR can easily reach a 1000 shots. Also, if you attach a vertical grip to your DSLR, it will be able to last for 2-3 days easily as you can fit one more battery in the vertical grip.

3. Lens Line-up

Although companies like Sony, Fuji and Olympus are coming out with new lenses everyday, DSLRs have the advantage of having almost every lens you will ever need. There are hundreds of lens options to choose from if you have a DSLR, and many of the old lenses can be found in used condition for very cheap. Mirrorless cameras have fewer lenses, and many of them are quite expensive. So, if you think you need a mirrorless because of its advantages, keep in mind that you will need to research for your lens very carefully. Another thing, using adapters for your mirrorless to use it with a DSLR lens will be a pain, as autofocus will be very very slow, and the body-lens balance will be a bit uncomfortable for long shoots, as DSLR lenses are heavier and bigger.

Top 3 Mirrorless cameras for you

A quick note: Following reviews contains affiliate links to Amazon.com, by clicking on links on this page and by making a purchase on Amazon site, I will earn an affiliate income at no cost to you. Prices for mirrorless cameras listed on this page are retrieved using Amazon Product Advertising API and is updated daily. For actual prices please refer on product page on Amazon.

1. Sony a6000

Sony a6000

Although now an older model, the a6000 is one of the best mirrorless cameras out there and beats quite a few DSLRs too. A 24 megapixel APSC sensor, 11 fps shooting speed, Bionz image processor with very good image quality, the a6000 has it all. Even its price is very low, and you can a Sony a6000 with the excellent kit lens for around $500 or less very easily

  • 24 MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-25600 (expandable to 51200)
  • Hybrid AF with 179-point focal plane phase-detection and 25 contrast detect points
  • Up to 11 FPS continious shooting
  • 3-inch tilting LCD with 921,000 dots
  • OLED electronic viewfinder with 100% coverage and 1.4 million dots
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC

List price: $648.00 Buy this mirrorless camera on Amazon

2. Olympus OM-D E-M10

2. Olympus OM-D E-M10

 

The E-M10 is an excellent Micro 4/3rd camera with the latest TruePic VII image processor and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. Its body is also great, with twin dials and a touchscreen LCD for changing controls easily.

It also has a 3-axis image stabilization and one of the best autofocusing speed I have ever seen. You can also look into the E-M10 II if your budget is a bit bigger and want the best 5-axis stabilization with a better autofocus system and EVF.

  • Built-in 5-Axis image stabilization for sharper images
  • 2.3 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder with 0.62X magnification
  • Silent mode (disables all shutter sounds)
  • 8.5 frames per second burst shooting
  • Fast touch auto focus from camera or phone

List price: $699.99 Buy this mirrorless camera on Amazon

3. Fujifilm X T-10

Fujifilm X T-10

Fujifilm makes excellent mirrorless cameras, and although the T-10 is more expensive than the above 2 cameras I have suggested, it is worth it. A 16 megapixel APSC sensor, 7 customizable buttons – which are not easily found on mirrorless cameras, an OLED EVF with very short time lag, a durable magnesium alloy body and Fuji's famous film looks. With impressive specifications like these and arguably the best image quality, the X T-10 is a camera for a serious photographer looking for something big in a small package.

  • 16MP X-Trans CMOS II Sensor W/ EXR Processor II
  • New Auto Focus System - Single, Zone, Wide x AF-S, AF-C - 3D Tracking (Wide x AF-C) - Phase Detection + Contrast
  • 2.36M dot OLED Electronic VF - World’s shortest display lag time 0.005sec. - 0.62x Finder Magnification
  • New “X-T” Design - Compact Magnesium Body - Well balanced handing and grip - 3 Dials on Top and 2 Command Dials - Built-in Pop up Flash

List price: $899.95 Buy this mirrorless camera on Amazon