The relatively new Nikon 1 J2 has a mirrorless system, and Canon is also in on the market with the EOS M. Most large manufacturers have now entered the market with some version of a MILC.
There are several advantages (and yes, a few disadvantages) to mirrorless camera systems. Let’s look at some of the great things about this new digital camera technology.
The most important distinction of MILC’s is the weight of the camera. With most digital SLR cameras, the viewfinder uses a traditional mirror system, which adds quite a lot to the weight of the device. Without the need for a moving mirror, the camera becomes a lot less heavy than it would otherwise. But, this also means that there is no viewfinder through which you can compose and focus your image. Therefore, you will have to do all those tasks using the LCD screen on the back of the camera, with the problems inherent in those systems including excessive lighting washing out the image on the screen. However, if you are bringing your camera into the field or on long walking trips with you, or if you will just be holding your camera around your neck for long periods as you take photographs, you will appreciate the weight savings inherent in the system.
Speaking of traveling with your camera and going out into the field, mirrorless camera systems are also much smaller than their traditional counterparts. This means that you can fit more goodies inside your bag, like different lenses, filters and of course your iPad to view your photos on Mosaic View. More toys mean more options. Speaking of toys, the small size of mirrorless cameras almost makes them look like far inferior point-and-shoot cameras. Do not be deceived by their looks. A camera with great lenses, made by a quality manufacturer with a good-sized image sensor is going to be able to produce great results.
While we are on the subject of sensors, it is important to understand their relative sizes. A normal point-and-shoot digicam will typically have a sensor that is 1 /2.5 inches, or 25 square millimeters in area. MILC sensor can often be nine times that size, at 225 square millimeters, or even larger. The bigger the sensor is, the better your pictures will be. It also allows for different size formats for your photos, another advantage to larger sensors.
Also, because there is no mirror which has to quickly move out of the way to create the image, shutter noise is greatly reduced by using a MILC camera. This is important out in the woods trying to shoot pictures of animals, as well as in low-noise situations like taking photos of a speaker in a small auditorium.
Finally, because they do not have a fixture inside to move a mirror, MILC’s also have fewer moving parts than traditional SLR-style cameras. That means that they are sturdier and less likely to break over time.
These are five great reasons to invest in a MILC camera. For a photographer who needs to bring their camera with them out into the field (and shouldn’t we all be doing this as much as possible?), such a camera can offer a good-quality photographic system with relatively little weight and size.