DSLR vs. Mirrorless vs. Micro 4/3 Cameras

In this article we are going to briefly go over DSLR vs. Mirrorless vs. Micro Four Thirds Cameras. We will go over some the differences with each of them. Here are some links to some cameras of each type DSLR, Mirrorless, Micro four thirds.

DSLR Cameras

A common DSLR is different then the Mirrorless and Micro four thirds cameras due to it having a mirror inside (See image below). The reason DSLR’s have mirrors is to reflect what the lens is seeing up to the viewfinder that you are looking through. When you take a picture the mirror flips up and exposes the sensor that catches the image. One of the issues with a mirror is that it can cause camera shake from the mirror flipping up that could possibly make the picture blurry (see video at the end of the post to see the mirror slap). I own two DLSR’s the Nikon D800 and Nikon D5200. Both are great cameras and the D800 is my workhorse.

In this article we are going to briefly go over DSLR vs. Mirrorless vs. Micro Four Thirds Cameras.
Nikon D800 Mirror


  1. If you get a Nikon or Canon interchangeable lens kit you have access to tons of lenses to choose from
  2. Battery life is much better then in Mirrorless cameras (as of right now)


  1. Heavy. The weight of a DSLR compared to Mirrorless or Micro Four Thirds is noticeable
  2. The lenses can also add to the weight of the camera
  3. Camera shake due to mirror “slap”
  4. Noisy from the mirror slap

Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras are just that, mirrorless. Unlike the DSLR they do not have a mirror inside the camera which eliminates the mirror slap and makes the camera much quieter. The only issue with no mirror is that it has nothing to reflect what your lens sees to your eye. This is why you see most mirrorless cameras without the viewfinder. You can find some with the viewfinder though they usually cost more. The upside is that it seems that people want viewfinders on mirrorless cameras so companies are putting out more with viewfinders like the Sony A6300.

The downside with the viewfinders is it is digital. They are awesome and I love them but they do eat batteries. Though the ones without the viewfinders also do that since you have to use the screen on the back to see what your taking a picture of.

Another issue is if you get a mirrorless camera that has interchangeable lenses there are not many options at the moment compared to DSLR cameras. I own the Sony A7R with only one lens at the moment the 50mm f/1.8 FE. I hope to get some more later and be able to make this one of my main cameras.

In this article we are going to briefly go over DSLR vs. Mirrorless vs. Micro Four Thirds Cameras.
Sony A7R Sensor


  1. Lightweight
  2. Smaller then a DSLR
  3. No mirror slap
  4. Quieter


  1. Battery life
  2. Less lenses available
  3. Slower start up time

Micro Four Thirds Cameras

Micro Four Thirds are camera with a really small sensor. The image sizes are smaller then a DSLR or Mirrorless camera but still come out looking great. Some of the best (IMO) companies making Micro Four Thirds are FujiFilm and Olympus. I personally own a Olympus Pen E-P1 and love it. I do not use it as much as I use to though, but I always have it on standby. Most Micro Four Thirds cameras are smaller then both the DSLR and Mirrorless which make it nice for travel of family gatherings. Some of the Fuji cameras also have a retro style like the Fujifilm X-T10 giving it a old film camera look.

The battery life is usually pretty decent at least it is on my Olympus Pen E-P1. Also it has interchangeable lenses, though not a ton of options, but still not bad.

In this article we are going to briefly go over DSLR vs. Mirrorless vs. Micro Four Thirds Cameras.
Olympus Pen E-P1 Sensor


  1. Small size
  2. Interchangeable lenses
  3. Classic looks on some models


  1. Small sensor size means smaller picture files
  2. Small selection of lenses
  3. Start up time

Here is a quick video I made showing a DSLR, Mirrorless, and Micro Four Thirds shutters in action.

If I missed anything that you think I should have added please leave a comment and let me know!

Originally published at The Photography Tips Blog.