Learn More About Mirrorless Cameras
What is a Mirrorless Camera?
Mirrorless cameras are a type of camera that works without a reflex mirror. Standing between expert and enthusiast classifications, this type of gear gives you the image quality of a DSLR plus body image stabilization without the bulk. Light passes directly through the lens to the digital sensor, which then displays your snapshot on the camera's LCD screen, enabling you to fine-tune settings and preview your shot before taking it. Although this camera was not historically considered an interchangeable-lens camera, technological advances have paved the way for more mirrorless lenses, putting it at the forefront of customizable photography.
If you're a stills or hybrid shooter who flits between photography and videography, it's one of the best cameras you will ever have the pleasure of using.
How is a Mirrorless different from a DSLR?
There are a few main distinctions between mirrorless cameras and DSLR cameras. Mirrorless cameras are usually smaller, lighter, more portable, and most of them have body image stabilization, making them an excellent choice for travel and daily use. DSLR cameras used to have a wider lens range, but as more major camera manufacturers join the mirrorless market, the available lens selection has grown significantly.
Making Sense of Sensors: full frame and APS-C
A full-frame lens is roughly the same size as a 35mm film frame, whereas an APS-C sensor is slightly smaller. When you use a full-frame lens on a camera with an APS-C sensor, the result is known as a crop factor. This means that the APS-C-size sensor on your camera magnifies the scene to produce an image that matches the full-frame image circle of the lens.
Full frame sensors win hands down over APS-C sensors for night photography. Because the pixels on full frame systems are larger, they produce finer details and have a wider dynamic range than an APS-C sensor with the same number of pixels.
Most mirrorless models, from low-end to high-end shooting modes, have high video resolution (4K video and 1080p). Another benefit of MILCs is that they are better for shooting video in general.
Lightweight and Compact
Mirrorless cameras, as previously said, have a size and weight advantage, making them smaller, more travel-friendly design, high build quality, and ideal for smartphone upgraders as entry-level gear. Micro Four Thirds MILCs are excellent examples of this since they are smaller and lighter than APS-C mirrorless cameras.
Mirrorless cameras usually already come with a kit lens and have quite a good options of interchangeable lenses, which sets them apart from other compact cameras. This makes a big difference, and if you've never used an interchangeable-lens camera before, you'll be shocked by how much it enhances your photography.
Since there is no mirror within the camera in front of the sensor, mirrorless cameras can have a very short focal flange distance, which is the distance between the lens mount and the plane of the sensor. Lenses with a long focal flange length can be used on mirrorless cameras with a compatible adapter due to the short reach. This means that, in addition to a wide range of mirrorless-specific lenses, most SLR lenses can work with your mirrorless camera. If you have a bunch of old lenses lying around or are switching from a DSLR to a mirrorless camera, this is good to know because adapters to match your old lenses to your new camera are likely available.
When changing lenses, is the camera sensor overexposed?
Yes, most mirrorless cameras have a lot of exposure. Changing lenses of your mirrorless camera in wet conditions (mist, light rain, etc.) poses the greatest risk, as any moisture that gets directly on the sensor will result in smears (if you try to wipe it off) or bubbles (if you let it dry) in your photos. So be cautious on rainy days, near waterfalls, near the ocean, and other locations where real water droplets are present. I'd also like to point out that pollens can be a problem, so be cautious if you're in the middle of a pollen storm.
Different mirrorlesses have different sensor sizes, which may make it a little confusing. To simplify things, consider a full-frame DSLR camera to have the largest sensor size and a point-and-shoot camera to have the smallest sensor. Most mirrorless cameras are in the center, with an APS-C sensor or a Micro Four Thirds sensor (in between an APS-C and a point-and-shoot camera). Although they are in the minority, there are already a few cameras with a full-frame sensor on the market, and there will likely be more in the future.
An important reason some people like mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter and much of this is related to the smaller sensor size. Although it's great for some, a smaller and lighter camera also has a disadvantage. More large sensors generally perform better in lower light and cause less photo noise when taking pictures with higher ISO sensitivities. You can consider at least one of the full-frame mirrorlesses, or one with an APS-C sized sensor if you are interested in low-light photography.
The other important advantage of an EVF is its ability to accurately depict any exposure and color balance before shooting. While an OVF just shows the subject as it stands, an EVF provides you with a more detailed representation.
Mirrorless cameras use the detection of contrast for their camera focus. Many newer cameras are now using a hybrid focusing method that combines phase- and contrast-detection methods. This is another consideration to weigh before choosing your camera. If fast autofocus, especially in low light, is important to you, you should consider a Mirrorless model with a hybrid autofocus system.
Video capture is an area in which reflecting cameras and Mirrorless models are quite good for the quality, offering a higher video shooter flexibility, with full HD video quality and 4K as well.
The wireless capabilities that have been included in many of the mirrorlesses on the market are truly incredible. Most cameras with Wi-Fi also have a partner app for either iOS or Android that allows you to control and view the camera's screen from a smartphone, tablet, or from laptop.
NFC enables cameras to share photos with one another or with smart devices.
Some cameras enable you to transfer images directly to a smart device from your camera, or even right to your favorite social media sites. Another great Wi-Fi function is Near Field Communication, or NFC, which allows cameras to tap-to-connect with one another or a smart device, to share photos. This is especially helpful when you’re with friends and you want to share photos without having to remember to email them later.
Will I ever need to manually clean the sensor?
With careful use this doesn't happen often, but you may need to clean your sensor at some point. Some cameras are better than others at shaking off the light dust (Olympus seems to be particularly good at this), but those shake-it-off dust removal systems can't handle moisture, pollens, sticky particles, or the cumulative dust build-up. Set your camera to f/16 or f/22 and take a picture of a plain blue sky to see what your camera is shooting through. If you've had your camera for a long time, you might be surprised at what you find. Using a blower or a soft-bristled brush, remove as much dust and debris from the lens as possible. Using a lens tissue or cleaning cloth, apply a few drops of lens cleaning solution. Working from the center outward, gently remove oil, fingerprints, and grime from the lens surface with a circular motion.
Shooter, it's time to Choose Your Mirrorless Camera
You should now be able to choose to purchase your next camera in an informed way. Take into account the main points we have talked about. When it's important for you to pick a camera with either APS-C or a full-frame sensor, particularly for low light images and quality. If you are looking for a more controlled and optional compact camera than a point-and-shoot, select one of the cameras with a smaller sensor.
The majority of mirrorless cameras are categorized as entry-level, medium-level, and professional. This doesn’t mean that a professional camera will guarantee professional-looking photos, rather, that it is built with the capabilities that professionals need and want.
How much does a Mirrorless Camera cost?
Mirrorless cameras are available in a wide range of prices, from entry-level models in the $400-500 range to professional-level cameras costing $6,000 and up. The price of a mirrorless camera body is determined by the sensor size, features, frames per second, autofocus drive, video functionality, electronic viewfinder quality, and other specifications.
The simplest way to figure out how much a mirrorless camera will cost you is to make some key decisions about which features are most important to you. Then apply the appropriate filters to your search results. As technology advances and becomes more widely available, many professional-level features are increasingly appearing in consumer models at lower prices.
Not sure of what would be the best gear for you?
If you're not sure which would be the Best Mirrorless Camera would fit best for your needs, or if you need recommendations for lens filters or accessories brands that will help you achieve the image results you need, please contact our Gear Guides Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll pair you with one of our Guides based on your background and needs, and we'll find the right gear for you.