Beginner DSLR vs Mirrorless/Compact System

Messages
202
Name
Mike
Edit My Images
Yes
#1
This isn't a specific what should I buy thread, more a way to gather peoples thoughts on mirrored vs mirrorless I guess. I'm planning on getting a DSLR when I graduate in the summer, as a present to myself more than anything. I've always liked taking photos, never had the time and money to do anything with the desire. In my extensive research, I've seen a lot of articles saying they think mirrorless is going to take over the world, some saying mirrors will never be replaced and not a lot of balanced, in-between stuff! Much like trying to find a balanced canon/nikon comparison!

So. I ask the people of TP, what's the benefit of one over the other? Aside from the obvious such as weight and size, and from a beginner who has no equipment or allegiance to any brand or system!
 
OP
OP
miker
Messages
202
Name
Mike
Edit My Images
Yes
#3
Ah yes, that's another thing that I had noticed. I have used DSLRs on a few occasions and like having a 'proper' viewfinder.
 
Messages
2,722
Name
Andy
Edit My Images
No
#4
On the flip side, an EVF is useful in low light and at night, although they're not amazingly responsive and do suck battery life. However, my Fuji X-Pro has the option of optical and EVF, so I use them both in different situations.

Speaking as someone who owns an SLR and a CSC, they're both great. As you say, the CSC has the advantage in terms of size and weight, not just the camera bodies, but the lenses as well do tend to be smaller than the SLR equivalent. However, the range of lenses for SLR's is huge, and there are many more options for telephotos. You can get adaptors for CSC's, don't know how good they are though.

The lack of a mirror means that the CSC's are quieter. However, certainly in the case if the Fuji, operation generally is slower than the SLR, although that might just be the Fuji as it's the only CSC I've used.
 
Messages
3,380
Name
droj
Edit My Images
No
#6
It sounds like you have no particular requirement either in terms of type of photography or type of output, which leaves the field rather open. Personally I require a viewfinder and can't be arsed (as with some csc's) with squinting at the camera back to frame the shot. Get some cameras in your hand and to your eye. How do they seem? It's personal. Maybe there's little point in a dslr unless you know you like / need one.

Try an evf or two in the field. If you see someone using one, go and talk to them. If you decide you want an optical vf in a mirrored system, a glass pentaprism is better and a full-frame one better still. But a dslr can be a lump to carry about, unless you know how serious you are. It's impossible to specify a camera until you have a specific intent.
 
OP
OP
miker
Messages
202
Name
Mike
Edit My Images
Yes
#7
I wanted an SLR because the flexibility and power appeal, as does the vast range of equipment and accessories, both new and second hand. When I started looking I came across compact system stuff and though it interesting. I'm a scout leader and a climber, so a lot of my stuff will be outdoors, but equally I like taking photos of people, wildlife, anything! Most of my snaps recently have been on my galaxy S3. In the right light it produces some half decent shots!
 
Messages
891
Edit My Images
No
#8
This isn't a specific what should I buy thread, more a way to gather peoples thoughts on mirrored vs mirrorless I guess. I'm planning on getting a DSLR when I graduate in the summer, as a present to myself more than anything. I've always liked taking photos, never had the time and money to do anything with the desire. In my extensive research, I've seen a lot of articles saying they think mirrorless is going to take over the world, some saying mirrors will never be replaced and not a lot of balanced, in-between stuff! Much like trying to find a balanced canon/nikon comparison!

So. I ask the people of TP, what's the benefit of one over the other? Aside from the obvious such as weight and size, and from a beginner who has no equipment or allegiance to any brand or system!
Everyone have different ways of taking photos. Both of them have their pros and cons over each other, as always, it tend to be up to the photographer how he/she feels about holding the camera and using the camera, never mind what the camera is supposed to have that the other one don't have.

Some may find the mirrorless system to be easier to handle because of its size and weight, some may find the LCD screen on the back much better to view and aim, some may find it small and compact enough to put in bag or whatever you use to carry it around, etc., etc.,

But some may find a DSLR of benefit mainly because you are pointing it at the subject you wish to shoot, a human nature to aim the camera at the subject with ease, maybe like aiming a rifle, which is much quicker than attempt to fine adjust your arms and hands while holding a mirrorless, it may be a case of needing to move your right/left hand up/down/forward/backwards some more to get the right view. It takes a lot of time to improve with speed.

I remembered the time I bought a second hand TTL with the viewfinder on the top and you have to look down, and when the subject moved to my left, it looked like it went to the right in the viewfinder, so I would have mistakenly pan the camera to the right, only to have to double back and pan to the other way. With a SLR, you see what the lens see, you see the subject move, you're more likely to move your head while the camera is right in front of you, it's like moving the camera with the head.

I have a digital compact camera and used the LCD, but found it takes bit of time to make sure I frame it right, but when I used the viewfinder, I found it easier to aim quicker.

However some mirrorless may actually do have viewfinders, so you could still handle it same as you do with SLR.

Well, it's just me, if I wanted to consider DSLR v Mirrorless, I'm most likely to want DSLR for general photography, and mirrorless for tight spaces, very low level, macro, or being used as a compact camera or a back up to the DSLR.

And by the way, you could opt for some of the manufacturers whose mirrorless can use via adaptor the use of lenses for DSLR.

It really boils down to one thing, no matter what the cameras are, they're just tools, it is how you feel holding them.
 
Messages
2,252
Name
Jonothan
Edit My Images
Yes
#9
I wanted an SLR because the flexibility and power appeal, as does the vast range of equipment and accessories, both new and second hand. When I started looking I came across compact system stuff and though it interesting. I'm a scout leader and a climber, so a lot of my stuff will be outdoors, but equally I like taking photos of people, wildlife, anything! Most of my snaps recently have been on my galaxy S3. In the right light it produces some half decent shots!
For similar reasons I ended up with 2 systems, both second hand to make them affordable.

I have the nikon 1 V1 CSC for the activities were I need to travel light. It's a well made body and handles being out and about whilst on the mountain bike or hiking ect... Its quick focus in good light and easy to use, plus with the price I paid for it I don't have to worry to much should I have an incident with it. It's the first choice if I am out with the kids at the park or camping.

I then have an Olympus OM-D EM-5, with a selection of lenses, for times when I am considering what I am doing more and have the time.

I used to have a Nikon D90. It's IQ and speed was fantastic but I found I often did not take it out with me due to the bulk, as such it did not get the use it deserved. Whilst the camera had many advantages non of them were a real benefit as I never had it with me!

So it does depend on the user and what they want out of it, as said before there are pros and cons with all options and it's a case of what fits best.
 
Messages
20,568
Name
Alan
Edit My Images
No
#10
A real, clear large viewfinder makes a big different for composing images. EVF may catch up one day, but for now the mirror still holds the upper hand. Focusing is also a lot better with mirror.
I suppose it depends how big your Optical VF or EVF is. Some CSC have VF's bigger than most DSLR's these days. I think...

As for focusing... DSLR's are better at tracking but CSC's get better with each new release and I think I'm right in saying that for static objects CSC's are generally fast to focus and the current world record holder for body + lens focus speed is almost certainly a CSC and not a DSLR and of course the accuracy of CSC's is generally better than that of DSLR's and with CSC's you don't get the front / back focus issues that you get with some DSLR + lens combinations and with a CSC there's therefore no need to worry about micro adjustment for each body and lens combination as the focus is taken off the imaging chip and not off a separate focus device buried with the bowels of the camera as it is with DSLR's (unless you're using live view.)

So. I ask the people of TP, what's the benefit of one over the other? Aside from the obvious such as weight and size, and from a beginner who has no equipment or allegiance to any brand or system!
I suppose the advantage CSC's offer include...

Focus on static objects is generally pretty quick and accurate.

No front / back focus issues.

You can use pretty much any lens via a suitable adapter.

Manual focus aids such as peaking and a magnified view. The magnified view in particular means that if you have the time to focus you can focus with great accuracy. AF may focus fast, but what on and how accurately? :D With a highly magnified view and manual focus it's possible to choose what the point of focus is and focus on it with great accuracy, much more so than with an optical system as whatever you can see and focus on with an optical system you can see at x10 magnification (or whatever magnification your CSC has) and so focus more accurately with an EVF.

In view histogram. This is fantastic IMVHO. You need never blow your highlights again.

WYSIWYG. This is wonderful and in combination with the histogram your first time keeper rate should be very high. In difficult lighting conditions it can be easy to adjust your settings and get the shot first time whereas with an optical view DSLR you'd just have to shoot, chimp, adjust your exposure if required, reshoot and chimp again. Even my first generation Panasonic G1 had an advantage over my 5D in this respect and in difficult lighting I can usually get a useable shot first time with the G1 whereas I'd have to guess the exposure and / or take several shots at differing setting with the 5D.

The advantages DSLR's offer are a bit limited for me. The best DSLR's will at the moment focus track better than most CSC's and the range of accessories may be better if you're looking at Canon and Nikon DSLR's but perhaps it's worth thinking about what you'll actually need and if it's available for the camera you fancy rather than looking at what's available as you might not need it all :D
 
Last edited:
Top