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Are you struggling to decide between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras? Do you want to know which is best for your needs? You’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’m going to give you the main reasons you may want to use mirrorless in 2020 over DSLRs.
And, if at the end of this article, some (or all) of those reasons speak to you, then mirrorless is probably the way to go.
If not, then I recommend you stick with DSLRs, because they really can produce amazing images.
Let’s get started.
For me, this is the absolute best thing about mirrorless photography and the main reason why I bought my first mirrorless body.
You see, on a DSLR, when you look through the viewfinder, you see the actual scene before you (through your camera’s lens).
But if you look through the electronic viewfinder of mirrorless cameras, then you don’t see the scene in real life. Instead, you get a feed from the camera’s sensor, which incorporates exposure information.
See the area where you look through on the camera below? There’s a small OLED or LCD screen, which allows you to see a preview of the shot.
The feed isn’t perfect. It doesn’t always show you an accurate representation of the final image, especially if you’re shooting long exposure with changing light.
But it’s really, really good. And it’s extremely useful for those situations where you need to capture shots on the fly, because you have an immediate understanding of where your camera’s exposure is and where it needs to be. Just a few twists of your camera’s dial and – voila! – you’ve got a good exposure.
Note that there are also downsides to using these electronic viewfinders. They vary a lot in terms of quality, and even the best EVFs are nowhere near optical (DSLR) viewfinders in terms of clarity.
Plus, there will be some situations where you’ll want to work without exposure simulation, and this often means diving into your camera’s menu in order to figure out how to turn the feature off.
But if you’re the type of person who wants to know the resulting exposure before you hit the shutter button, then mirrorless is a great choice.
With some of the smaller mirrorless cameras, you can mount the lens on the body and stick it in your pocket, no problem.
You do need to use a small lens, but it’s still pretty impressive, and it’s another reason to use mirrorless in 2020.
In other words:
Mirrorless cameras tend to be much smaller than their DSLR counterparts.
That’s why mirrorless cameras are great for travel and casual shooting. Plus, you can take them into events without anybody noticing you’ve got a high-powered camera. This is also key for street photography, where you generally want to avoid attention.
Oh, and if you really want to take the small form factor to the next level, check out Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses. Their compact size will blow you away.
Another reason to use mirrorless in 2020 is black and white photography. If you’ve ever wanted to shoot in black and white, but you felt it’d be too hard a medium to master…
…get a mirrorless camera.
Because if you use a mirrorless body with a viewfinder, you’ll be able to program it to display in black and white.
And, as long as you’ve got the viewfinder to your eye, you’ll see in black and white.
This means that you have an immediate boost in your black and white potential. Instead of struggling to see in black and white (which is half the battle of the b&w genre), you’ll be able to understand the black and white medium straight out of the gate.
You’ll see how different colors are rendered in black and white. You’ll see how black and white photos change as the light changes.
And you’ll become a much better black and white photographer.
In fact, even if you switch back to a DSLR, you’ll retain your black and white skills. Because your understanding of black and white will exist on a much deeper level.
It prevents you from disturbing the silence in a wedding ceremony. And it prevents people from noticing that you’re photographing them on the streets.
Now, DSLRs often offer silent shooting modes.
But if you’ve ever tried one of these, they’re just…bad.
Sure, they make things quieter than the “thunk, thunk, thunk” you get from normal shooting. But they still leave the shutter quite audible, and I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable using them in a quiet room.
Enter mirrorless silent modes.
See, mirrorless cameras generally offer two broad types of shooting:
Fortunately, shooting with an electronic shutter is literally silent. You can hit the shutter button and no one (probably not even you) will hear it.
It’s perfect for street photography, and it’s amazing for event photography.
So that once you’ve used a true silent shutter, you’ll struggle to ever go back to a DSLR!
When I got my first mirrorless camera, here’s one of the things I was most excited about:
The extra features that came with it. This is another reason to use mirrorless in 2020.
Sure, I was happy with the smaller size and the live preview, and those were the main reasons that I bought it in the first place.
But the extra features…
…well, I couldn’t wait to try them out.
I’m talking about things like focus peaking, which allows you to see, in advance, which areas of your shot are going to be in focus. It’s not perfect, but it gives you an approximation of the necessary depth of field, plus it’s just really cool.
I’m also talking about the manual focusing guide, which lets you select an autofocus point, then tells you when you’ve nailed it with manual focus.
Now, not all mirrorless cameras offer these features. And there are some bonuses, such as Olympus’s Pro Capture option, that you’ll only find in a select few mirrorless bodies.
(Pro Capture, by the way, causes the camera to start firing at up to 60 frames per second when you press the shutter button halfway down, but then saves around a dozen shots from before you finally hit the shutter button, as well as dozens of frames after you hit the shutter.)
So before you buy a DSLR, check out the features hidden in different mirrorless camera menus. I bet there are some awesome ones that are worth a look.
Now that you’ve finished this article, you should know all about mirrorless cameras, and whether you should think about purchasing one.
Because here’s the thing:
Mirrorless systems aren’t for everyone. There are reasons to use mirrorless in 2020, and there are reasons to shoot with DSLRs (and there are even reasons to shoot film!).
Now I’d like to know your opinion:
Why do you shoot mirrorless? Are there any reasons for shooting mirrorless that I missed? And if you shoot with a DSLR, why? Let us know in the comments!