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Understanding the benefits of a mirrorless camera means you if you have one, you can get the most out of it.
If you don’t have one yet, it’s a great way to understand exactly why a mirrorless camera is a great option to purchase.
Mirrorless cameras have been popular for some time now, and have recently progressed to the point where they are either a great alternative to the traditional DSLR, or a cost effective (and logical) upgrade to the standard point and shoot.
So, here we go,
The 14 benefits of a mirrorless camera
1. The Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)
Some die hard DSLR fans might disagree with me on this, but I don’t care. I am completely sold on the EVF – particularly after using the Canon R and R5 with its EVF.
It is literally magic.
The reasons I am such a fan of a high quality EVF is that in the last few years they have solved a number of the problems that plagued EVFs in the past. Namely, low refresh rate making the image on the EVF appear laggy, and low pixel count making the image fuzzy and unclear.
The EVF’s found in modern mirrorless cameras are fast, bright and sharp. No lag exists, and for me, the most important benefit of the EVF is that the image you see through it while shooting is EXACTLY the image you are capturing – so you know exactly what you will get when you push the shutter button.
This means you will take far less photos to get a perfectly exposed image, and by extension speed up your entire work flow – with less images to edit.
2. Image stabilization (IS)
Generally speaking, the mirrorless cameras that are on the market now, are known to have excellent image stabilization. The Canon range of mirrorless option make use of the 5-axis In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS) technology. Sony and other brands have their own version. The benefit of mirrorless cameras is their DSLR counterparts don’t generally have the stabilization built in at a sensor level.
Having effective image stabilization means that yor ability to capture an image in low-light is far enhanced – particularly when you don’t have a tripod and are capturing using slow shutter speeds such as 1/60th of a second.
3. Flip out LCD screen
OK, so I will acknowldege that flip out LCD screens aren’t unique to mirrorless cameras – but hear me out.
If you’re looking at a mid-level camera whether it be a DSLR or a Mirrorless then this point probably isn’t a big issue for you. This is because mid range DSLR’s have generaly shipped with a flip out LCD for a while now. The difference is though amongst the high-end DSLRs that have been released in recent years, it’s simply not an option.
If you want to have a high-end camera (mirrorless or DSLR), and the flip out screen is a non-negtiable, then you will have to buy yourself a mirrorless camera.
If you’re anything like me, if you’re heading to photograph a wedding, then two camera bodies are a must.
My previous setup, prior to moving to a mirrorless Canon R5, my primary body was a Canon 5Dmk3 – with the grip. On this I would normally attach my 70-200mm f2.8 L series lens. My secondary body would not have the extra weight of the grip, but would generally have a 24-70 f2.8 L series – not a ‘lightweight’ lens at all.
Both of these camera bodies would be slung over my shoulders using one of the BlackMagic dual camera straps and let me tell you…
By the end of the wedding, shooting from around 11am through to around 9pm my WHOLE BODY ached from the weight of it all. I managed to produce some photographs I am still very proud of, but my setup was very far from lightweight.
Thats why this is such a great benefit of mirrorless camera because having a lightweight setup means you will not be quite so sore and fatigued at the end of the day.
5. A Growing Range of Lens Options
Early on, lens options weren’t all that great when it came to mirrorless cameras. These days however there is a very wide range, for both consumer level and professional level.
Canon makes use of their own proprietary lens mount called the RF mount, which superscedes the more recent EF and EFS lens mount. At the time of writing this, Canon has the following lens range that will work with the canon mirrorless camera range.
That being said, Canon also makes an inexpensive mount that allows literally any EF or EFS lens to be used without any compromise on lens speed or quality.
6. High Burst Rate Without Blackout
There is nothing worse than ‘missing a shot’.
Mirrorless cameras have a super power here. They have two options when it comes to shooting high frame rates (FPS) the first is the mechanical shutter.
Mirrorless cameras still do have a regular mechanical shutter intended for general use. In this respect, they are identical to DSLR cameras. However, DSLR cameras also have the mechanical mirror that must move out of the way before the shutter rises to capture the image.
This means that when the mirror shifts out of the way, there is a ‘blackout’ through the analoge view finder of a regular DSLR. A mirrorless camera can generally achieve higher ‘frame rate’ speeds when shooting still images because of this.
The second (and even faster) method that a Mirrorless camera uses to capture images is to do away with the mechanical shutter all together.
You may wonder ‘why not just do this all the time’?
The answer is that it isn’t suited to all types of shooting. If your subject is moving quickly, it would be better to stick to the slower mechanical shutter method of shooting. This is because when there is movement, you can sometimes have the ‘rolling shutter’ effect impact your image.
However; if your subject isn’t moving a lot, you can achieve often INSANELY high frames per second.
7. Small and Compact Body
Similar to the discussion earlier, a mirrorless camera is also small and compact which means that it’s easy to take with you when traveling or wherever you are going. Mirrorless cameras are easy to travel with, will fit right into your travel bag and wont add too much to your ‘cabin weight limit’. Very compact, without comprimising on image quality.
If you’re anything like me, when you’re shooting a wedding in particular – you want to go unnoticed.
You’re there to document the event without stealing the limelight from the happy couple. If you’re in a church where it’s very quiet, and the bride and groom are saying their vows, or about to have their first kiss, you want to make sure you’re shooting without the mechanical shutter. This means you won’t miss the action AND you won’t bother anyone while you do it.
So, there are some great benefits of a mirrorless camera – particularly if you are a budding photographer wanting to take photos to get paid. The main reasons I would recommend you buy a mirrorless camera is that they are light, equivalent image quality to DSLRs, fast, and can be used absolutely silently. There are some great options out there, and each year it seems like the race is on for each manufacturer to topple it’s competitors. I love my canon R5 and will probably stick with it for a long time to come.
What do you think? Would you get a mirrorless camera after reading this list?