A Mirrorless Digital Camera: 8 Tips to Know Before Buying

A mirrorless digital camera is getting more and more popular today.  Some of you may consider buying a mirrorless digital camera for your next trip or just want to replace the old and heavy DSLR camera.  Please take a time to read our 8 tips that you really need to know before buying a new mirrorless digital camera.

pix of fuji film mirrorless camera
Fiji film mirrorless camera

1. Electronic Viewfinder

Unlike DSLR camera, a mirrorless digital camera has no mirror viewfinder. You have to rely on the electronic viewfinder which provides a digitally regenerated image from the camera.  Some photographers find it unacceptable and turn down from it.  On the other hand, the resolution of the image generated on OELD or LCD electronic viewfinder display is realistic enough to meet the need of many photographers.  In addition, the electronic viewfinder is also capable of displaying other useful data such as histogram, guidelines for image composition.  The photographer also has an access to various settings in the menu without taking his eye from the viewfinder.

2. Shutter Sound

The unique shutter sound of DSLR camera largely comes from the downshift of the reflector glass.  The manufacturers of DSLR camera have made a great effort to reduce the noise that occurs during shooting images by removing the mirror from the camera.  Some current models of the mirrorless digital camera even completely remove a mechanic shutter from the camera.  By using the image sensor to control the recording time, these mirrorless digital cameras have made no shutter sound at all.  While this feature may not be suitable when shooting fast moving objects, it will allow photographers to capture images in the place where silence is required.

3. Built-in Wi-Fi Technology

Most of the current models of mirrorless digital cameras have built-in Wi-Fi.  In the age of internet technology, this feature has become a standard for most gadgets in the market and camera has no exception.  With built-in Wi-Fi technology, the photographer is able to transfer data without swapping SD memory card.  Some models of Olympus and Panasonic mirrorless digital camera enable you to control every menu setting from your smartphone

4. More Interchangeable lenses to choose

The ability to change the best lens for the optimal photographic result is the key factor for its popularity and can be rival with DSLR camera.  The photographer can switch from a versatile zoom lens to general-purpose lens or even to a particular macro lens to fit his need.  Some of them may want to challenge themselves with a single focal length lens for a portrait shot.  Thanks to lens adapter, the photographer can also apply a film-based lens to the mirrorless digital camera.

5. Touch-screen oriented

Both DSLR and mirrorless digital camera have equipped with a touchscreen display on the back of the camera. The mirrorless digital camera, especially the compact models like Panasonic GM1 and Samsung NX mini, rely more on this feature than its DSLR counterpart because of its size limitation.  Therefore, it is more practical for photographers to control the main functions of the camera by tapping on a touch-screen display.  Those who decide to switch from smartphone to mirrorless for the first time may not have any problem utilizing all functions on a touch-screen display but photographers who are familiar with DSLR functions may find it a bit awkward at first place.

6. Improved Auto-Focus

In the early development of the mirrorless digital camera, it used image contrast function to focus on a particular object and later was developed into auto-focus technology.  Due to the fact that the Phase Detection system used in DSLR camera is not available in mirrorless digital camera and it has to rely on auto-focus contrast detection only.  Therefore, the early models of the mirrorless digital camera can focus the object much slower than DSLR.  However, with the improvement of contrast detection and the phase detection image sensor technology, the auto-focus system on mirrorless digital camera can catch up with the speed of those of DSLR.  Even though the auto-focus on mirrorless camera may work much slower in low light condition, there is no difference in focus for both mirrorless and DSLR in full light exposure.

7. Various Sizes of Image Sensor

The early models of mirrorless digital camera used four-third or APS-C image sensors. Today the size of the image sensor is much bigger than the original.  With the launch of Sony Alpha series camera, the small image sensor has been replaced with a full-frame sensor. The larger the sensor size, the less the noise will be in high ISO condition. Additionally, a large number of display pixels will help to improve the resolution of the image.  If you don’t want to print the image that is larger than letter size, the Pentax Q series would be enough to handle your job.

8. Compact Size

With no mirror inside, the manufacturers can reduce the size of the mirrorless to the same size of a compact camera while the lens is still interchangeable.  The current models in the market such as Panasonic Lumix GM1, Pentax Q, Samsung NX Mini, and Nikon1 V3 are the good examples of this type.  Anyway, the smaller size of this mirrorless camera may not fit the need of some photographers.  The Olympus OM-D E-M1 and the Panasonic GH4 series are just as compact as Nikon D3400 which is the smallest DSLR to date.  If you decide to go for a mirrorless camera, please make sure that you have checked and compared several different models.  Pick the one that is right for you.

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