The Great Debate

DSLR vs. Mirrorless cameras, which is better? Is there even a correct answer? Pye and I go head to head to discuss the pros and cons of each and debate which is better. Check out our discussion in the video below.

Watch The DSLR vs Mirrorless Cameras Video

The Two Sides

Pye uses the Canon DSLR system and I use the Sony Full Frame mirrorless cameras. This is an interesting topic for us to debate because Pye has also owned the Sony A7r with a few lenses and I shot Canon for 7 years before I switched to Sony mirrorless.

DSLR vs Mirrorless: Size

On paper, it’s clear that the mirrorless wins, but in practice, it’s a different story. It’s amazing to have a professional camera outfit that weighs less than my Chipotle burrito, but when the buttons are so close together, it’s easy to accidentally adjust settings.

dslr vs mirrorless size

I’ve been shooting with these mirrorless cameras for about a year now and I still have the occasional mishap. With that being said, the size is actually dependent on your intended use for the camera. For consumers, the smaller outfit is definitely a pro, but for professionals that convenience could cost them a shot.

Winner: Draw

Price

This is an area where the DSLR vs Mirrorless debate has a clear winner. When I compare the Sony Full Frame Mirrorless cameras to their competitors, the mirrorless cameras are more affordable in all categories.

  • Entry Level Full Frame: Sony A7 ($1498) vs Canon 6D ($1899)
  • High Megapixel Full Frame: Sony a7R ($2098) vs Nikon D800E ($3296)
  • Low Light Performance: Sony a7S ($2498) vs Nikon Df ($2746)

Winner: Mirrorless

Viewfinder: Electric Viewfinder (EVF) vs Optical Viewfinder

I absolutely love the EVF in my mirrorless cameras. It’s amazing being able to see the exact exposure and color I’m going to get when I press the shutter, and then be able to see the playback inside the viewfinder. It’s a great setup and my face never leaves the viewfinder, which is great for important events.

The downside is when it gets dark. The EVF slows down considerably and sometimes it’s impossible to see what I’m going to shoot without some sort of assisted lighting. It’s cases like these where you would want the simplicity of the Optical Viewfinder. EVF technology has improved immensely over the years, but optical viewfinders are still better, if only by a hair.

Winner: DSLR

DSLR vs Mirrorless: Autofocus

This is an interesting area of debate, because usually mirrorless cameras will have more autofocus points, but DSLRs will have stronger autofocus points. When it comes down to it, you’re going to want quality over quantity. In low-light situations, the mirrorless cameras do struggle and you’re going to wish you had even just 1 DSLR cross-type autofocus point. Although mirrorless camera autofocus technology is quickly advancing, it’s still not as good as a DSLR’s.

Winner: DSLR

Lens Selection for DSLR and Mirrorless

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Although a DSLR camera will typically have more native lenses to choose from, a mirrorless camera will have more adaptable lenses. I’ve mounted everything from E-mount lenses, A-Mount lenses (from Sony, Zeiss, and Konica Minolta), Leica, Voigtlander, Canon EF, and Exakta (have you even heard of that one?!) lenses on my mirrorless. With the advantages of flange distance and an EVF, mounting and focusing with any lens becomes a breeze.

Winner: Draw

Options on DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras

physical options
I find that the DSLR will have more physical ports and ways to hook into, and a mirrorless will have more digital options (like apps you can install). If there’s a particularly difficult shot you want to capture, more than likely the DSLR or Mirrorless camera you’re using has a way to capture it.

Winner: Draw

Conclusion

If you need a camera body with fast and reliable autofocus, an optical viewfinder, and don’t mind the size, then a DSLR is for you. If you want a lightweight camera body with an EVF and can take your time in low light situation, then the mirrorless is a better option. The DSLR vs Mirrorless debate has been going on for years and we barely scratched the surface covering these topics, so let us know which you prefer and why in the comments!