Geek Culture
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Geek Culture

5 Reasons Why I Decided to Leave DSLR and Purchase Mirrorless

irrorless cameras are the new rage. Some people are saying that they are the “future” of the camera business. I wasn’t so sure. As a professional photographer who shoots most days, I was pretty happy with my DSLR lineup. I use the Canon 1DX Mark II as my go-to and the Canon 5D Mark IV for my second body. Just between these two, there’s a big difference in quality, especially for sports photography, so the 1DX II is my main squeeze. Across the board, I was (and am still) in love with these DSLR models. I won’t speak too much on the video side, as I’ve only used it minimally for that. But for strictly photo work, I’m a happy customer with the traditional DSLR. Recently I was in the market for new gear and had heard over and over again how amazing the mirrorless collection was. After hours of research and speaking to other photographers, I made the jump and ordered the Canon R6 with the 24–104 f/4 lens.

Lighter, smaller

I’m a 5'7" female running on NFL sidelines and lugging around bags of gear that weigh just as much as me. I can definitely handle my own, and look to the physical benefits of shooting with heavy-duty gear, but if I’m being real it does take a toll on you after a while. One of the first draws I experienced with the mirrorless range was how much smaller and lighter they are. It’s a huge difference. For reference, the Canon 1DX Mark II weighs about 3.3 pounds (body only) and the Canon R6 comes in at 1.5 pounds (body only). If you’re on-the-go traveling, or carrying around a camera for 7 hours, this is a massive difference. Not to mention it is more compact in size due to technological advances and less physical mechanics inside the body, thereby saving your hands and wrists from any added strain. Personally, I’m much more excited to take my gear on vacation to Greece now knowing how much lighter it will be to transport; I’ve taken full DSLR’s on similar trips and it’s not so much fun lugging a heavy camera bag around the airport.

Relatively inexpensive

As far as price, I was surprised to discover that the mirrorless body selection was much lower than I had anticipated. The Canon R6 I purchased is listed at $2,499 for the body. The Canon 1DX Mark II will cost you $5,999, again just for the body. This trend is comparable among other top camera makes. Nikon does off bodies around $3k, but then there’s other options, such as the D6. Marketed as the top camera option for sports and action, the D6 rings in at $6,499. According to Nikon’s website, the most expensive mirrorless camera in their arsenal costs $2,999, which is way less than the DSLR options for similar quality and performance. I will note that while the mirrorless bodies are more affordable in a lot of cases, the lenses are quite expensive. The solution I found for this was to buy used DSLR lenses and get a converter to be able to use them on the mirrorless cameras

Autofocus speed

Mirrorless cameras have an insane amount of sensors now so the advancements in autofocus are undeniable. The Canon R6 has 384 metering zones; the 1DX II has 216.

Digital preview

The major difference between mirrorless and DSLR is that without a mirror, the mirrorless camera shows you an LCD replica through the viewfinder. Rather than shooting, looking at the back LCD screen, making adjustments, shooting again, etc. the photographer can now see their adjustments being made while looking through the viewfinder to give them a better expectation of the finished photo. This does not take into account any strobes, flashes, or lighting equipment, but for available light photography this is an exciting development.

Shooting speed and a near-silent shutter

Not to take anything away from DSLR, as shooting speeds with high-end cameras are phenomenal. However, because the mirrorless cameras don’t have the movement of a mirror within the body between frames, the camera can continue shooting image after image after image easier; therefore, your frames per second increases. This might not matter to all photographers, but if motion and action is part of your focus it is a development that could be very helpful. Additionally, this new technology means that mirrorless cameras shoot with a much quieter shutter sound. That will make shooting weddings, wildlife, press conferences, and many more situations much more comforting to shoot.

Honorable mention: WiFi! I can’t say for sure all mirrorless cameras have WiFi connect ability, and it’s not a necessary function, but in situations when you need it, you’ll be happy to have it. That said, the Canon R6 I ordered does have WiFi using the Canon Camera Connect app and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

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Sara Schmidle

I am a professional photographer in my 20s with a passion for travel, technology, and music. Read about my travels, learn about photo, video, and more!