What is a mirrorless camera? Mirrorless cameras are a popular and increasingly advanced type of digital camera that offer many benefits for photographers of all levels. But how exactly do these cameras work, and what sets them apart from traditional DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras?
One of the main differences between mirrorless cameras and DSLRs is the way in which the image is captured and displayed. In a DSLR, light enters the camera through the lens and is reflected off a mirror and through a pentaprism or pentamirror, which directs the image to the viewfinder. The photographer looks through the viewfinder to frame and focus the shot, and then presses the shutter button to take the picture. The mirror flips out of the way, and the image is captured by the image sensor.
In a mirrorless camera, there is no reflex mirror or pentaprism. Instead, the image is captured directly by the image sensor and displayed on the LCD screen or electronic viewfinder (EVF). The photographer uses the screen or viewfinder to frame and focus the shot, and then presses the shutter button to take the picture.
One of the main benefits of this design is that it allows for a smaller, more compact camera body. Because there is no reflex mirror or pentaprism, the camera can be made smaller and lighter, making it more portable and easier to carry around.
Download stunning presets for your photography here
Another advantage of mirrorless cameras is their faster autofocus and continuous shooting speeds. Because the image is captured directly by the image sensor, the camera can focus on the subject more quickly and accurately, and can capture multiple images in rapid succession. This can be especially useful for photographers who need to capture fast-moving subjects or action scenes.
Most of the big camera brands now feature mirrorless cameras in their line-ups, but each manufacturer has their own approach to the system. Sony, Canon and Nikon have fantastic ranges of mirrorless cameras, from APSC (smaller sensors) all the way to full frame (35mm sensors). This enables them to sell to a variety of consumers, both professional and amateur photographers.
Other brands, such as Fujifilm have taken a different approach as their main line up of cameras are all APSC cameras (small sensors). This is their X series and features cameras such as the Fujifilm X-T5 and the X-Pro 3.
Fujifilm have missed out on full frame altogether an instead opted for the larger sensors which they sell in their GFX cameras. These include cameras such as the GFX 50R and GFX 100s. They are both built on mirrorless, medium format sensors. See more here
Mirrorless cameras are certainly here to stay and are often much cheaper to purchase than DSLRs, especially if you purchase a used Fujifilm camera from a few years ago.
Find out the best cameras for under £500 here
Whilst many camera manufacturers have kept their DSLR cameras in production, they are quickly becoming less attractive to consumers, and it’s now only a matter of time before DSLRs are a thing of the past and go out of production. Cameras such as the Canon 5D Mk 3, which was one of the most successful cameras for professional photographers now sell in the used market for much less than £500, when just a few years ago they were selling new for several thousand pounds.
Overall, mirrorless cameras offer a number of benefits for photographers, including a compact design, fast autofocus and continuous shooting speeds, and improved image quality in certain situations. While they may not be right for every photographer, they are an increasingly popular choice for those looking to upgrade their gear or try a new type of camera.