DSLR vs mirrorless cameras — which is better?

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One of the continuing features on The Travelling Boomer has always been cameras. You can’t take travel photos without a camera of some kind. So when I travel, I always take along a high-quality camera. That means either a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) or one of the newer-style mirrorless cameras. But which is better?

DSLR vs mirrorless has been a continuing debate in the camera world. After a slow start, North Americans have been moving to mirrorless cameras at a brisk pace, formirrorless vs DSLR panasonic-g7- reasons most baby boomers would appreciate. They’re generally smaller and lighter, easy to pack for a trip, and light enough to carry around all day without getting a sore shoulder. That’s because they got rid of the mirror box that lets DSLR users look directly through the lens, replacing it with an electronic viewfinder.

But a lot of photographers – including yours truly – still like the feel and the performance of a DSLR. They feel better in the hand, they fire instantly with a comforting click, and they produce great pictures using time-tested technology. As well, they have an optical viewfinder so you can see the scene you’re shooting, big and bright. And these days, there are DSLRs that aren’t much bigger than your average mirrorless camera.

As I said, I’ve tried out both these camera types, usually with good results. I took the Panasonic DMC-G7 morrorless vs DSLR Nikon D5500mirrorless camera (above right) with me this year on my Viking cruise of the Danube. And I brought along the small but capable Nikon D5500 DSLR (left) last year on my trip to Paris and the Rhine.

But which is better? That subject came up recently in a discussion with my colleague Maarten Heilbron, of the Maartech website and very popular youtube channel.  So off we went to Niagara-on-the-Lake to make a video comparing the two, and showing the strengths and weaknesses of both. I brought along the D5500, while Maarten countered with the Sony a6300.

The video is called: Which is better? DSLR or mirrorless, head to head, and you can see it below. I hope you enjoy it, even though I once again allowed myself to be filmed live (why do I do these things?)

 

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About Author

Paul Marshman is a retired journalist who spent 30 years as a writer and editor on Canadian newspapers, while travelling to the ends of the earth. Now he continues to travel while passing on his travel experiences to you.

6 Comments

    • I don’t know what a mitt camera is, Annette. But if you still can’t make a choice, go to a camera store and spend a few minutes holding and shooting with both cameras. That’s often the best way to find out whether a camera really suits you.

  1. Hi Paul, I’ve watched your great video months ago. By then I was only using my (excellent) Sony Nex 6 for the hundreds of professional shots I make visiting ancient houses and historic churches across Europe. But your video debate made me consider buying a true DSLR, because I constantly reached the limits of my Sony and of its polyvalent (but standard) 16-50 lens. I kept dreaming of a full-frame sensor and of the “look and feel” of an old-fashion semi-professional camera.
    I just bought myself a Nikon D750 with a very nice 24-120mm f4 lens. Quite an investment, but what a joy! Of course, it takes me quite a bit of time to prepare the shooting, using a tripod, waiting for the best light, experiencing different openings and angles, playing with the depth of field… It is surprisingly steady at very slow speeds as well (1/8th or even 1/4th of a second). Lightroom remains a plus, but most pictures are ready to be published at once. I’m just concerned someone would steal it (a bit hard to hide).
    I still am very glad of my Sony, unbeatable for its small size, flexibility, discretion and reactiveness (perfect for a family trip). But the quality I can get out of my new Nikon is absolutely stunning.

    • Thanks for your feedback, Gery. I feel the same way when I go back and start shooting with my DSLR: they still do deliver top-quality shots, especially when you get into high-end models like the D750. And having a full-frame sensor gives you an image you can do almost anything with. Enjoy your new camera — I’m sure we’ll see the results on intohistory.com.

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