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Posted by James Maynard – November 06, 2012 browse all

Top Five Advantages of Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras systems were introduced just four years ago, but they are already becoming a vital technology that may soon dominate the digital camera market. When digital mirrorless camera bodies are made so that lenses of different focal lengths can be used, the cameras become known as Mirrorless Interchangeable-lens cameras, or MILC’s.

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.

  • Pingback: Top Five Advantages of Mirrorless Cameras « maynardpress

  • http://twitter.com/BrookLaa Andrew Brookfield

    But they look so ridiculous with a bigger-than 35mm lens on them…

    • mr

      you look rediculous

      • http://twitter.com/BrookLaa Andrew Brookfield

        May be so, but irrelevant.

  • Dave

    Really useful reassurance that I’m making the right call buying a MILC! Thank you!

  • nullhogarth

    LCD screens will never replace an optical viewfinder. In most daylight situations, unless you have a spot of shade to stand in, it is impossible to properly compose a shot, since you literally cannot make out what’s on the screen.
    I also challenge most photographers to state that they have had to repair their cameras because the mirror stopped working. I have used SLRs and DSLRs for 30 years and have never had that occur.

    • MosaicArchive

      I hope that LCD technology also progresses to be more useful in daylight situations. Not quite there yet.

      Taking out the weight and size of the mirror certainly has some advantages over a traditional DSLR. Certainly there are plenty of reasons to still use a DSLR today.

      • Pamela Hines

        The nex7 has a great electronic viewfinder which takes care of much of the LCD issues.

        • MosaicArchive

          Great point. Thanks for the reply. Need to update this article!

  • Anil

    it is great…..