DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras – What’s the Difference?

In this post, we break down the benefits of each one

If you are buying a camera for the first time, you must be faced with the dilemma of choosing between mirrorless and DSLR camera. Both the cameras work great when it comes to taking photographs, so how do you choose among them? While they essentially offer the same end result, that is a photograph, there are some basic differences that make the two separate from each other. Before we go on and discuss the difference between these cameras, let us first find out what these cameras actually are.

nikon d 850

A DSLR Camera

What is DSLR? DSLR  stands for digital single-lens reflex. DSLR camera essentially works the same way as the old film cameras. There is a mirror inside the body of the camera. This mirror reflects light through the camera lens on to a prism which directs it further to the viewfinder. This allows you to preview the shot before capturing it. Once you click the shutter button, light falls on to the image sensor through the flipping of the mirror and opening of the shutter. This captures the image in its final form. You can see all the options here.

A Mirrorless Camera

A mirrorless camera has an image sensor that captures light through the lens. This lets the preview of the image develop on the rear screen. There are some models of mirrorless cameras that also offer an additional screen within an electronic viewfinder that can be used to put your eye on. You can see all the options here.

Differences between a Mirrorless and a DSLR Camera

Mirrorless camera

Weight and Size

When the two are compared, the DSLR is larger and heavier as compared to a mirrorless camera. This is because a DSLR has a prism and mirror fitted into it. On the other hand, a mirrorless camera has a rather simpler construction.


A DSLR has a wide range of lenses and accessories available to be used by a number of manufacturers. You can choose a different lens for each photograph you take. On the other hand, a mirrorless camera is limited in its accessories.There are only a limited number of lenses available and that too from the makers of the cameras. That is changing slowly but you do not have as many options. 

Shooting Speed

Both a DSLR and a mirrorless camera are great when it comes to shooting speed. However, the mirrorless cameras have an edge here if compared to normal DSLRs. It allows the user to shoot images immediately one after the other since there is no mirror involved in the process. On the other hand, the process of taking a picture is complex in the case of DSLRs, more parts moving, therefore, more things that could go wrong. 

Battery Life

DSLRs generally have a better battery life compared to mirrorless cameras. This is because they offer the option to let you shoot without having to use the screen. However, the battery life will almost be the same when you are using the LCD screens a lot to view or capture images. Both the cameras come with removable batteries. Thus, you can carry a spare one with you if you think the battery might run out soon due to excessive usage.


One advantage that Mirrorless cameras have over DSLR cameras is the weight. Mirrorless cameras are small and light and DSLR cameras are heavy and bulky. Something to consider if weight is an issue for you.


There are pros and cons of both kinds of cameras. While the mirrorless cameras come with the ease of low weight and compactness, they do not have a lot of accessories to work with. Mirrorless cameras are also preferred for videos as they are faster compared to DSLRs. The DSLRs, on the other hand, have an advantage when it comes to lens selection when compared with a mirrorless camera.

Now that you are aware of the differences between the two, you can make the selection easily considering the features you want in the camera.