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Simple Explanation Of DSLR vs Mirrorless Cameras

joshwa Plus
7 847 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2012 10:56AM

A link for people who can't view the embedded youtube video:

A little bit long, but explains the differences quite clearly.

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Carabosse 15 41.1k 270 England
14 Mar 2012 11:27AM
A bit rambling but the messages seem to be (1) image quality does not depend on whether you have a mirror in the camera or not and (2) it's easier to make high quality wide angles for mirrorless - and they should be lighter/smaller/cheaper.

I dion't think anyone will argue with (1). (2) may be a little more controversial.
cameracat 14 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
14 Mar 2012 11:58AM
Mirrorless are cheaper to make, Anything that's cheaper to make means more profit for the maker.

The same happened when the car makers got the idea to sell the world " Front Wheel Drive " Smile

It had very little to do with what was better, All you need to do is persuade the punters that its better, Abra Kadabra, You have a whole new market for something that is easier and cheaper to make, Hence more profit for providing less and less.....Grin

Those who fly against this ever popular approach to higher profits for less goods/products, Do tend to win out in the end " BMW & Mercedes " for example.....Smile

The camera makers are doing the same thing, Heck! They are even smarter, Because they are creating markets where non existed before, And why not, Its all in the name of more and more profit for them, They make millions of punters with money to burn, Very happy, Well happy until the next must have toy appears, Then its tears and tantrums all over again....!!!

Thus the world continues to decline into consumer Armageddon, So whats new....Wink
lemmy 11 2.7k United Kingdom
14 Mar 2012 5:05PM
Re Carabosse point (2) I have the 7-14mm Panasonic wide angle. It is certainly lighter than an equivalent wide angle for DSLR, it is certainly smaller but probably not cheaper!

It's a rather astonishing lens which I happily use at its maximum f4 aperture throughout the range and which exhibits little fall off of in edge definition.

For the record, Cameracat, mirrorless cameras are not cheaper to make - why would they be? And the reason that front wheel drive was not copied for years after the first FWD cars was that they were expensive to make due to the UJ needed to both steer and transmit power. The Mini never made much profit precisely because it was expensive to make. It always suffered from being an engineering solution, not a financial one. Such a profit did it make for its makers that they went out of business.

The camera makers are not 'creating markets where there was none before' any more than CDs did. They produce some goods and see if people buy. Camera makers cannot force people to buy things they do not want. Cameracat, you have a very jaundiced and angry view of the world. Consumer Armageddon?

When I bought my pair of M4/3 cameras they were toys were they? After 35 years of professional photography using from plate cameras to DSLRs, I decided to use only M4/3 so I am a punter with money to burn. And there was me thinking they made a nice balance between capability and weight and I'd made a rational decision for my needs.

It seems to me that we live in an exciting world of technical innovation with more creative possibilities for more people than ever before. We should be happy to be alive at such a time. The fact that you don't approve of innovation doesn't mean the people who do are fools Tongue
Carabosse 15 41.1k 270 England
14 Mar 2012 5:32PM
Lemmy is right about FWD cars. They were more expensive to begin with, when RWD was the norm. FWD was a bit "cutting edge". They only became cheaper as more new cars were introduced with FWD.

CSC cameras are hardly cheap - the proposed price of the Olympus OM-D is 260 more than the Canon 60D and only 85 less than the Canon 7D.
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2012 5:41PM
Front Wheel drive initially came in because of the packaging advantages, if you have the engine transverse mounted in the front you minimise the space it takes and also reduce the intrusion of transmission tunnel etc into the passenger space and load bay (you also get advantages of less intrusion in the boot). Later on came the argument that for the less aware/experienced driver then the cornering behaviour has advantages. Just like in cameras "do I have SLR or compact etc" arguments rage on what is best. Modern crash legislation tends to force certain changes too. Some companies have decided makes the Front Wheel Drive powertrain better as you can control some of your crumple zones better

I like the diversity in products now, as CB states it gives you choices.
davewaine 11 141 3 England
15 Mar 2012 8:50AM
He makes the point that the mirror mechanism adds nothing to the image quality, which is true enough. Therefore, mirrorless cameras have the potential to equal DSLR quality as long as sensor size / quality and lens quality are comparable. On the other hand, many modern mirrorless cameras have abandoned the viewfinder altogether in favour of a large viewing screen on the back. This means that they tend to be held away from the face by the index finger and thumb of each hand, with obvious potential for camera shake. Many have image stabilisation built-in, of course, but these things can only go so far. They assist in holding the camera steady, they don't substitute for it.

Honourable exception for the new Olympus OM-D. Strictly speaking, it isn't a DSLR because it has no mirror. In terms of how it handles, however, it may as well be. Crucially, it has a viewfinder, which means that the camera is braced against the face. Properly. I have a feeling that the E-series was never really the success that Olympus hoped it would be as it was let down by its optical viewfinders. Because they used a 4 x 3 aspect ratio, the image looked significantly smaller than those on APS-C sized cameras with their 3 x 2 ratios. They, in turn, were visibly smaller than full frame. The EVF on the OM-D, from what I have read, is big (a hark back to the original OM-1, which had the biggest, brightest viewfinder of any SLR despite its diminutive overall dimensions). Obviously it doesn't quite match the clarity of an optical finder, but technology improves all the time. There may be a day when it is impossible to tell one from the other. What will become of DSLRs should that ever happen?
lemmy 11 2.7k United Kingdom
15 Mar 2012 9:43AM

Quote:Strictly speaking, it isn't a DSLR because it has no mirror

I'd say it was more than just strictly speaking - it cannot be a reflex because there is no mirror so in fact it isn't a reflex. Someone pointed out on the forums before that Compact System Camera (CSC) was a proper generic description. It's somewhat odd to define a system by what it doesn't have, as in mirrorless. Maybe we should start to call a DSLR a 'secondlensless' camera as it has only one lens as opposed to the preceding twin lens reflex (TLR) cameras! Why stop there? Thinking of what else a CSC doesn't have, let's call it a 'wheelless' as it doesn't have those either Grin

Incidentally, both my Panasonics, a G3 and GH2 have viewfinders larger than my DSLR did. Not only that but they are easier to focus manually too, particularly the GH2. I think one of the ePZ reviewers made the observation that davewaine does about the improved viewfinder technology when reviewing the GH2.
keith selmes 14 7.4k 1 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2012 9:49AM

Quote:It's somewhat odd to define a system by what it doesn't have
we should really call all digital cameras filmless
Steppenwolf 6 1.2k
15 Mar 2012 10:18AM

Quote:He makes the point that the mirror mechanism adds nothing to the image quality, which is true enough. Therefore, mirrorless cameras have the potential to equal DSLR quality as long as sensor size / quality and lens quality are comparable.

Mirroless has the potential to better the IQ of a DSLR for two reasons - 1) No mirror shake, 2) No back or front focus which plagues DSLRs. I've just got back to using an EVF after years of using a DSLR and there are two things that really are massive improvements on the OVF -1) I can get the exposure dead right every time because I can see in the EVF what the picture is going to look like and 2) the EVF is much larger than the APS-C OVF (larger than most FF OVFs in fact) with masses more information overalyable on it.
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2012 10:33AM
A couple of thoughts to modify how much you can achieve, if you are hand holding then the impact of mirror movement on the modern DSLR is small. If you are tripod mounted then mirror lock up improves. As for focusing the mirror cameras, including SLT, currently have advantages in focusing on fast moving subjects while having no mirror has the potential of more accurate spot focus as you are working directly off the sensor.

from the above you can see not all focusing ills will be resolved and of course there is the accuracy of your selection of focus point. There is technology to add phase detection sensors directly in the sensor (e.g. Nikon 1). In potential this is great, but remember if you stop the lens down you upset this type of sensor so no perfect solution.

I often think a hybrid system could be good where you have an optical viewfinder with an electronic overlay to add information if required. That way you could select the best from all worlds. Or even a camera with an optical finder and mirror where you can lock up the mirror and bring the overlay into effect as the EVF.
Steppenwolf 6 1.2k
15 Mar 2012 1:21PM

Quote:if you are hand holding then the impact of mirror movement on the modern DSLR is small.

But it still has an effect - that's why manufacturers provide MLU. What's more the effect is more pronounced the greater the resolution of the sensor. I'm afraid that having a mirror swinging exactly at the moment you're taking a photograph is is less than ideal - it's absolutely bound to move the camera unless it's on a very firm tripod mount.
lemmy 11 2.7k United Kingdom
15 Mar 2012 2:44PM

Quote:But it still has an effect - that's why manufacturers provide MLU

And the very useful 2 second delay where the mirror lifts and the shutter fires 2 seconds later when any judder will have dissipated. Plainly the makers wouldn't bother with these things if the effects were purely theoretical.
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2012 3:24PM
Mirror lock up is provided for tripod use as it has more of an impact in that operating condition. Hand holding generates lot of movement and so usually user movement is far more significant that mirror movement when hand holding. Just pressing the shutter creates more movement than most mirrors these days. In fact IS error may well be higher too. And yes if high resolution is your desire then get used to tripod mounting and remote/timer release. Or accept a bit less image sharpness or use higher shutter speeds.

Hand holding with a 2 second delay is possible but not that enjoyable Smile
lemmy 11 2.7k United Kingdom
15 Mar 2012 4:52PM
One of the first things my chief photographer said to me when I was training was that you should always use a tripod unless there was a good reason not to do so and unwillingness to cart it about was not such a reason.

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