Digital Cameras Explained: DSLR vs Mirrorless vs Point And Shoot Cameras

Gizmodo Video Guide: Despite being smaller, lighter, mechanically simpler, and more high-tech than digital SLRs -- mirrorless cameras are just as powerful when it comes to actually taking photos. Here’s what you should consider before your next big camera purchase.


    IF you are going to post a video, then use something visual to describe what you are talking about, if I just see a talking head with nothing to help describe what you are talking about, there is no point !

      It's not a TV-Shop to have fancy graphs and images. It's some basic explanation of things you don't care enough to spend hours in googling terms - just what I needed.

      Thank you, very helpful!

      Last edited 10/11/14 11:47 am

    I think the phrase "Mirrorless Cameras are just as powerful as DSLRs" is not quite accurate. I guess it depends on your definition of "powerful" though.

    If a mirrorless camera has an APS-C or full-frame sensor then I could accept that statement (albeit with reservations), but mostly that's not the case. Most mirrorless cameras still use Micro four-thirds sensors. There are many reasons why are larger sensor will perform better than a smaller one so I won't go into detail, but suffice to say that some pretty basic physics tells us that bigger sensors are better.

    Also (and this may just be personal preference) but I couldn't recommend an EVF over an OVF. There's the claim that they are more accurate or "you know exactly what the picture will look like" but in reality that's far from accurate. The low resolution of EVF (even the 'high res' ones) are nowhere near the fidelity of an OVF (as you'd expect). This makes accurate manual focus all but impossible. That's not a problem if you don't focus manually (but why have a super expensive camera with interchangeable lenses if you're not going to shoot manual focus at least some of the time). Also refresh rates are a lot better than they use to be, but there is still noticeable lag.

    I can speak a little about this because I recently won an Olympus OMD EM-10. I had every intention of keeping it and using it as a more portable alternative to my Canon 60D. It took nice photos, but the viewfinder alone was enough to make me sell it. I found it unusable next to my Canon's OVF. And that's an EVF in a $1000 camera.

    One other thing. Comfortable hand and thumb grip? Really? I found holding on to the EM10 to be a truly unpleasant experience. The hand grip is leagues from the township of ergonomic, it digs into the palm.

    Obviously, different cameras suit different people, but I for one can't yet recommend mirrorless cameras.
    In the end, it's worth noting that the camera matters least of all. When it comes to photography: photographer > lens > camera

      There are reasons why a smaller sensor is better than a larger one too, good examples being you can use much smaller glass to get the same equivalent focal length and you can get much greater DOF at lower apertures, which negates the ISO advantage of a larger sensor (at the expense of shallow DOF, but I still find my 45mm u4/3s 1.8 to be more than creamy enough for portraiture work). Also, don't forget there are plenty of medium format photographers who laugh at a 35mm equivalent sensor ;)

      The EVF thing I'm not quite sure about yet, I love being able to see which areas are blown out or under-exposed (and 100% view is nice, something only the very top end of DSLR's have) but it did take a little getting used to. There is also a zoom button to help with manual focus, though the only time I ever manually focus I'm zone focusing anyway so that doesn't matter (and again, the better DOF from the smaller sensor helps immensely there).

      The size thing I love, especially since I was always lugging around my 1000D and my partners 5Dmk2 + lenses. These things are just tiny. My only complaint really is battery life. I wouldn't recommend a DSLR to anyone but a sports or wildlife photographer now, these things are killer. Horses for courses though and there are always going to be people who wouldn't touch a mirrorless with a ten foot pole.

        lol 1000d

          I know right, any old SLR with a digital sensor dropped in it just seems archaic compared to a system designed to be digital from the ground up. Glad I got off that Canikon ship!

          Last edited 12/08/15 12:30 am

      All valid points, but if you can't reccomend an evf, you probably haven't tried the x-t1.

      I have an OMD EM-1. I love the hand grip and the size/weight of the camera because I have small, weak hands.

      I've tried the Canon/Nikon brands and generally they are too heavy for me to even think about carrying them or using them much - and there's no point in owning a nice camera if you're not going to use it.

    I just switched from a Canon 1000D to an Olympus E-M5 and a couple of fast primes. Love everything about it!

    Thanks. It was very informative, although the slightly off-centre visual gaze was a bit unsettling.

    Thanks Luke. Informative video. Can I request you move your auto queue / notes down a bit as it looks like you're talking to someone standing behind me ;) ...just being nit-picky.

    Great video Luke. Very objective. I wish I got the same feeling when you reviewed Apple products!

    Are we expected to take this article seriously whilst sony mirrorless ads adorn the sides of the screen?
    Also, what type of camera was this recorded on?

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