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DSLR vs Mirrorless - Battle of the Century?


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DSLR vs Mirrorless - Battle of the Century?

14 Nov 2020 9:24AM   Views : 524 Unique : 369

We love battles in photography. Film vs digital? Glass lantern slide vs 35mm transparency? Crop sensor vs full frame? Bring it on! But today I'm not aiming at a contentious discussion as, to be fair, both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have their own particular advantages and I use both. I use both for different applications, although the DSLR does also have a Live View option, whereas the mirrorless doesn't have a Pentaprism option.

However, it did strike me that whatever the advantages of one over the other then size and weight might not necessarily be one of the factors involved. This comparison is of course slightly contentious in itself, but let's take a full frame DSLR (Pentax K-1) and a full frame mirrorless (Sony A7R III) and put a 70-300mm zoom on each. The DSLR lens is actually a 75-300mm, but that's a minor difference. Now here they are, side by side, set at 70 or 75mm:

They both need the same size of bag to carry them. The mirrorless lens is actually bigger even though the camera body is ssmaller, but overall they are just about the same. Set to 300mm, we get a similar result:

That would seem to suggest that it's the lens that's the limiting factor as much as the camera body itself. But what about the weight? The mirrorless combination shown weighs in at 1250g and the DSLR version at 1410g, just 160g heavier. Is that a deal breaker?
Of course, whilst all the above is true, the new 70-300mm lens also contains a drive motor, whereas the DSR lens does not, being driven by screw AF from the camera body. So a slight variation there. Where there is a huge variation is overall cost. The mirrorless combination shown would set us back 3148 and the DSLR version's actual cost was 1924, albeit with a special offer lens at 125.

I suppose what it does go to show is that comparisons are never as simple as they seem and in the end individual photographers will find particular features are the ones that count for them.

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GwB Avatar
GwB Plus
3 119 United Kingdom
14 Nov 2020 11:09PM
One thing I have learnt through this site is you can get fantastic results no matter what the camera type or sensor size. I was blown away by some stunningly sharp detailed shots of birds taken with a 1 inch sensor bridge camera, if I hadn't seen the exif data I would of assumed they were taken with with a large sensor fitted with a top end lens. My personal favourite is a second hand battered omd em10, I find it so tactile and a joy to play with. There is plenty of evidence in the gallery's here proving knowing your camera, skill and a good eye is probably more important than any other factor. At one time I became a bit obsessed with pixel peeping but I found I was missing the bigger picture.

Alffoto Avatar
Alffoto Plus
8 322 1 United Kingdom
15 Nov 2020 11:18PM
I think as photographers, most of us aspire to be better, to improve, and to to progress! And to do so we look for better tools, better lens, better cameras, better filters better tripods, in addition to honing our personal skills. Camera manufacturers are very clever, they sell the benefits of the latest model, with all kinds of improvements, shutter speeds, weight, 5 axis built in stability, the list is endless. We as photographers buy into it with varying results. But the truth is, I was getting great results with a Nikon D40, then a D90, a D700 (my favourite) a D800, a D810 and lately a Mirrorless Z6 they all take great photos, but I wouldn't try and justify changing for weight alone, as the excellent example above shows, there really isn't a great deal of difference. But if you are ready for a change anyway, and you can see features on the camera you want or need, then go for it. Personally the 5 axis stabilisation, the flip out screen, and the smaller size were all reasons I made the latest change. I will also add that the 5 axis stabilisation has made a huge difference to my hand held shots!

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