DSLR vs Mirrorless: Which one is Better? Which one to buy?


  • DSLR: DSLRs feature a mirror and prism system, which directs light through the lens and reflects it onto an optical viewfinder. This design provides a direct and real-time view of the scene.
  • Mirrorless: Mirrorless cameras lack the mirror and prism system, using an electronic viewfinder (EVF) or the rear LCD screen for composing images. The absence of the mirror allows for a more compact and lightweight design.

Image Quality:

  • DSLR: DSLRs traditionally use larger image sensors, such as full-frame or APS-C, which often result in excellent image quality, dynamic range, and low-light performance.
  • Mirrorless: Mirrorless cameras also offer excellent image quality, with many models featuring the same sensor sizes as DSLRs. Additionally, mirrorless cameras can leverage advanced sensor technology, such as backside-illuminated (BSI) sensors, to enhance image quality further.


  • DSLR: DSLRs generally have dedicated autofocus systems with phase-detection autofocus (PDAF) sensors, especially in the viewfinder. This system provides fast and accurate autofocus performance, especially in challenging lighting conditions.
  • Mirrorless: Mirrorless cameras use either contrast-detection autofocus (CDAF), phase-detection autofocus (PDAF), or a combination of both. Many modern mirrorless cameras have advanced hybrid autofocus systems that offer fast and precise autofocus, even for moving subjects.

Size and Weight:

  • DSLR: DSLRs tend to be bulkier and heavier due to their complex internal mirror mechanisms. This can make them less portable and cumbersome for extended use.
  • Mirrorless: Mirrorless cameras are generally more compact and lightweight due to their simpler internal design. This makes them easier to carry around and suitable for travel or on-the-go photography.

Lens Selection:

  • DSLR: DSLRs have a long-established lens ecosystem, with a wide variety of lenses available from various manufacturers. This extensive lens selection gives photographers many options for different focal lengths, aperture ranges, and specialized lenses .
  • Mirrorless: While mirrorless cameras initially had a limited lens selection, the range has expanded significantly over the years. Major camera manufacturers now offer a diverse range of lenses for mirrorless systems, including native lenses and adapters for using DSLR lenses .

Battery Life:

  • DSLR: DSLRs typically have longer battery life due to their optical viewfinder, which doesn’t consume power when composing images. The larger bodies also allow for larger battery capacities .
  • Mirrorless: Mirrorless cameras tend to have shorter battery life due to the continuous use of the EVF or rear LCD screen. However, battery technology and camera efficiency have improved, narrowing the gap between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras .

Video Capabilities:

  • DSLR: DSLRs generally offer good video capabilities, especially in higher-end models. They often have dedicated video modes, manual controls, and external microphone inputs, making them suitable for professional videography.
  • Mirrorless: Mirrorless cameras are known for their excellent video capabilities, with many models supporting 4K resolution, high frame rates, and advanced video features like focus peaking and zebra patterns. Some mirrorless cameras even offer in-body image stabilization (IBIS) for smoother footage.

The choice between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera depends on your personal preferences and needs. Some people prefer the optical viewfinder, extensive lens selection, and longer battery life of DSLRs. Others prefer the compact size, advanced autofocus systems, and excellent video capabilities of mirrorless cameras.

It’s worth noting that very few new DSLRs are now being produced, so in the long-term, mirrorless may well be your only option . However, DSLRs continue to offer excellent value and have large, established ranges of lenses .

Ultimately, both types of cameras can produce high-quality images and have their own unique advantages. It’s a good idea to try out both types of cameras to see which one feels more comfortable and intuitive for you to use.