The Mirrorless Camera GuideMarc Ehrenbold
Are you interested in getting a mirrorless camera, but not quite sure yet what to get? Here’s the 411 on them.
What is a mirrorless camera?
Simply put, a mirrorless camera, also called a compact system camera (CSC) or an electronic viewfinder interchangeable lens (EVIL), is the cross between a compact camera and a DSLR.
Now, while that sounds like a pretty easy and straightforward definition, you will not completely understand mirrorless cameras until you know what an SLR camera is.
So, what is an SLR camera?
A digital SLR is the bulkier, heavier type of camera that you see pro photographers carrying around. Professional photographers prefer using digital SLRs because they typically have better performance and quality. The autofocus is very fast and there is no delay when you press the shutter. There are more options for manual control and the lenses can be changed depending on the need.
When you look into an SLR’s viewfinder, you can see exactly what the lens sees. There are mirrors arranged inside the camera that allow the image to pass through the lens and bounce it up to reflect in the viewfinder.
This optical system using mirrors allows for faster zooming and focus, and you will see the image in the viewfinder instantly. This means there is no delay in the reaction time that most compact cameras have, and allows the photographer to snap spontaneous moments and moving subjects.
While mirrors are a great thing for DSLRs, they are unfortunately bulky. Even the smallest digital SLR camera is still substantially larger compared to a large compact camera. A compact camera will fit into a large pocket, and a DSLR will not – even the smallest ones.
How does a mirrorless camera work?
By removing the mirrors, manufacturers were able to find a way to create a camera that can provide the quality of a DSLR, but is much smaller and lighter. In a mirrorless camera, the mirrors are either permanently removed or replaced with electronic options. The rest of the DSLR features are retained, though, so that a mirrorless camera still has speedy performance and fast autofocus, with manual control and lens changing options.
Instead of using mirrors, these cameras use sensors that are much larger in size than compact cameras. Larger sensors allow for higher quality images, especially when taking photos in low light.