BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Expert Shopper Electronics

Mirrorless camera vs. DSLR: Which should I get?

Comparing mirrorless cameras to DSLR cameras

Capturing perfect moments that become lifelong memories should be left up to a trusted source. Photos and videos that you can look back on years down the line and reminisce about good times with clarity are important, but what type of camera will get the job done well? Whether you are a beginner or an expert photographer, there are many advantages and disadvantages of mirrorless and digital single-lens reflex cameras to consider when deciding which to make your next purchase. These cameras are similar because they both allow users to swap out lenses and various accessories, but there are few things that set these products apart. 

Difference between mirrorless and a DSLR cameras

So, what is the main difference between the make of a mirrorless camera vs. a DSLR camera? It is all in the viewfinder. Mirrorless cameras do not contain a mirror inside the body to reflect the image up into an optical viewfinder as a DSLRs would. Instead, the image passes through a sensor at the back of the camera, which passes to an electronic viewfinder. The mirrorless camera is compact and easy for beginners, while the DSLR camera is more complex to use and comes with a greater number of lens options. Read on to discover the key differences between a mirrorless and a DSLR camera. 

Mirrorless camera: is it worth it? 

Mirrorless cameras typically cost a little less than comparable DSLRs with similar features. From cheap to highest quality models, these cameras can run anywhere from $500-$2,000. What they lack in battery life and lens selection, they make up for in price and portability. 

Mirrorless camera pros

Mirrorless cameras are naturally light and compact due to their absence of a mirror. On average, there are fewer moving parts to a mirrorless camera than a DSLR, making it easy for beginners to maneuver. 

The 4k video mode on many mirrorless models is very reliable and high quality. Although there is a very limited selection, you can swap out the lenses for added features with these cameras.

The electronic viewfinder on a mirrorless camera can be used to shoot in video mode, making for good body stabilization. DSLR cameras do not have this added feature. 

One of the most convenient features of a mirrorless camera is its wireless connectivity functionality. Most mirrorless cameras can connect to other devices and networks wirelessly. With this feature, users can share photos the second they are shot and can control the camera through an app. Further, with the Bluetooth function, users are able to download the photos that they take directly to their camera library. 

A mirrorless camera’s autofocus system is faster and has a higher burst than any mid-priced DSLR camera. 

Mirrorless camera cons

The battery life of a mirrorless camera is not as sustainable as a DSLR camera, and the battery dies rather quickly after prolonged use. In addition, some mirrorless camera buttons are too small for users with bigger hands and provide a limited lens selection for different depths of photographs. 

The electronic viewfinder on mirrorless cameras is limited in low-light environments, causing the subject to appear darker than desired and the background to appear lighter. 

Best mirrorless cameras

The best mirrorless camera on the market is the Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Vlogging Camera for its built-in high-resolution viewfinder and dual-pixel autofocus features.

Available at Amazon

The Panasonic Lumix G7KS 4K Mirrorless Camera is cost-effective, featuring various interchangeable lenses in its kit and quick Wi-Fi sharing.

Available at Amazon

The Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless is a great camera for vlogging and produces high-quality imagery and video features.

Available at Amazon

For more information, take a look at the mirrorless cameras buying guide from BestReivews.

DSLR camera: is it worth it? 

DSLR cameras typically cost more than mirrorless cameras but are more durable and have more features. From cheap to highest quality models, a DSLR camera can range from $600-$4,000 on the more expensive end. However, what they lack in maintenance and noise, they make up for in image quality and number of lenses available. 

DSLR camera pros

DSLR cameras have better image quality on average than mirrorless cameras. The viewfinder is more sensitive to light, and the shutter and focus speed on a high-end DSLR camera greatly outweigh their competitors. With these cameras, you get to see what you shoot due to the mirrored viewfinder.

Although there are more control options on a DSLR, all of the controls are flexible and the make of a DSLR camera is more durable than a mirrorless camera. These controls provide an additional choice for the user when it comes to the depth of field when photographing.

The ability to use different lenses is a huge pro when analyzing the effectiveness of DSLR cameras. More lenses mean more capability to change image style when shooting. Some DSLR camera bodies are sold with one or two lenses called kit lenses.

The battery life of a DSLR camera is longer, and users can frame photos with an optical viewfinder rather than it being electronic. In addition, the resolution, sharpness and clarity are better on a DSLR camera due to its large sensor. 

DSLR camera cons

The price tag of a DSLR camera is higher in comparison to similar models of mirrorless cameras. In addition, they are harder to work with if you are a beginner due to their complex make and many controls.

The cost of maintenance and upkeep of a DSLR is more on average than a mirrorless camera, and the aperture is noisier.

Depending on where and what is being shot, these cameras can be very heavy to carry around and more difficult to pack into a compact space to take to a photoshoot location.

Best DSLR cameras

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is the best DSLR camera on the market due to its megapixel sensor that can shoot in any light and its smooth autofocus during video.

Available at Amazon

The Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera is a very cost-effective option that features built-in Wi-Fi and webcam connectivity.

Available at Amazon

The Nikon D750 FX is a great DSLR camera option because of its full HD video range and compact, lightweight body.

Available at Amazon

For more information, take a look at the full DSLR cameras buying guide from BestReviews. 

Should you get a Mirrorless Camera or a DSLR Camera?

The decision on whether to purchase a DSLR camera or a mirrorless camera is a toss-up. The choice depends on the user's need for different types of features. Suppose you prefer a cheaper, lightweight, portable camera that offers easy maneuverability for beginners, high-quality video and electric view finding capabilities. In that case, a mirrorless camera will be the best purchase for you. Vloggers typically lean toward this style of camera. On the other hand, if you are searching for a durable, heavy-duty camera with multiple lens options for depth, great battery life, and a large sensor for higher resolution quality, then a DSLR camera would be the best option for you.


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Logan DeLoye writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Share this post: