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Mirror, Mirror...Mirrorless?

Although mirrorless cameras have been around for some time now, these days more and more photographers are seeing the value in adding them to their collection or turning in their DSLR’s all together. So what is a mirrorless camera, what are the pros and cons and what are some of the different options? Hopefully this will shed some light on the topic for you if you are considering changing things up or making an addition to your camera gear.

When you take the lens off a DSLR you will see that there is a mirror inside the body. The mirror covers the sensor and when the shutter is released the mirror goes up, makes the exposure and then falls back down. This is the “click -click’ sound that you hear when you take a photo. The function of the mirror is to only ‘right’ the image for the viewfinder so that you are seeing the subject correctly. The drawback of the mirror is that it makes the DSLR bigger and more cumbersome.

What is a mirrorless camera and what are the pros?

It is just that-it has no mirror. As a result you have a much smaller body and it uses an electronic viewfinder instead of the optical viewfinder found in a DSLR. Most mirrorless camera also incorporate a smaller sensor to additionally make the camera smaller.

A mirrorless camera functions exactly a a DSLR would so if you are someone that is used to all the functionality of your DSLR you will not be disappointed. There are huge lens selections for all makes of the ‘mirrorless’ cameras, so again you will have plenty of versatility.

Most mirrorless camera have built in Wi-Fi, GPS, some have filters and special effects. They have ‘scene’ modes or can be used totally manually.

What are the cons of a mirrorless camera?

Many of these cameras are very ‘menu driven’ so you have to be able to find your way around the menus for a lot of things. It just takes getting used to.

I personally own a Fuji X-Pro-1. In comparison to many of the other mirrorless cameras like Olympus, Sony, Nikon and Canon it’s on the bigger side. However compared to my Nikon D3X this is a lightweight option for me.

As far as image quality goes, my Fuji camera is one of the best cameras I have ever owned, it’s sharp as a tack and the color rendition rivals all the Fuji films like Velvia and Provia that I used to love.

I call my mirrorless camera my ‘city camera’ because it is the camera I can easily take along with me to the city or a casual day of shooting and get all the functionality of my DSLR without the weight. I think if you already have a DSLR adding a mirrorless or even replacing your DSLR is a great option.

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