Seven things nobody told you about switching from DSLR to mirrorless

Aug 13, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Seven things nobody told you about switching from DSLR to mirrorless

Aug 13, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Thinking about switching from DSLR to mirrorless? It will have its advantages, but there are some challenges too. In this video, Pierre Lambert talks about switching from Nikon DSLR to Sony A7R III. He will give you seven warnings you might not have thought about. So, no matter if you want to switch to the existing cameras or you’re waiting for that Canon and Nikon mirrorless cameras to arrive: read this first.

1. The size

Yes, mirrorless cameras are smaller in size than the DSLR. However, it’s different with the lenses. They don’t get any smaller if you switch to mirrorless, so you won’t save a whole bunch of space in your camera bag.

2. The EVF exposure and lag

When you look through the EVF, Pierre describes that it looks like a “mini television.” I had a chance of trying it out, and I personally think it’s awesome. However, you may see the scene as slightly overexposed or underexposed through the EVF, which can affect the look of your images. If this turns out to be the case with your mirrorless camera, count this in when taking photos, and check the histogram.

If you plan to buy an older model of a mirrorless camera, Pierre warns that there’s a small lag between the EVF and reality. This can be a problem if you’re shooting wildlife or sports, because you may miss crucial moments.

3. Looking through the EVF

When you look through the viewfinder of a DSLR, you can see the scene through it even if the camera is off. However, to see through the electronic viewfinder, you need to keep the camera on. I don’t think this is a huge drawback or a deal breaker. Maybe it can only pose a problem if you want to save some battery life and compose the shots before turning the camera on.

4. More sensitive to dust

Since there is no mirror on the mirrorless camera, your sensor is more exposed to dust. So, pay extra attention when changing lenses not to get that sensor dirty.

5. Battery life

Well, I guess this is the biggest concern of many photographers who decide to switch systems. The good thing is that, with new generations of mirrorless cameras, the battery life has extended significantly and now it can be compared to DSLRs. However, if you plan to buy an older model of mirrorless, be prepared to buy some extra batteries, too.

6. Choice of lenses

The mirrorless technology is still relatively new, so the choice of lenses still isn’t that big as it is for DSLRs. But, I believe that we’ll get to see more of them with time. And also, you can use adapters so you can attach DSLR lenses to your mirrorless camera.

7. The cost

Mirrorless lenses are a bit (or a lot) more expensive than DSLR lenses. Of course, it depends on the model, and the difference isn’t always significant. But the bigger issue is that it’s more difficult to find them second-hand. So, count on the fact that you’ll most likely have to buy new ones, at their full price.

Some of you may have already switched from DSLR to mirrorless. What are the challenges you’ve faced? And those of you who upgraded from Sony A7II to the A7III, did you find these seven things annoying?

[7 DANGERS OF MIRRORLESS Cameras VS DSLR Cameras 2018 | Pierre T. Lambert]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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30 responses to “Seven things nobody told you about switching from DSLR to mirrorless”

  1. Stephan Hughes Avatar
    Stephan Hughes

    Actually, if you know what you are doing, there is a wider range of glass for a mirrorless cameras. I adapt vintage glass and it works wonderfully.

    1. Richard Jackson Avatar
      Richard Jackson

      Exactly.

  2. Gary Bailey Avatar
    Gary Bailey

    The bodies are too small. They are not ergonomic.

    1. simon GT Avatar
      simon GT

      Nonsense. Plenty of mirrorless are not much smaller than DSLR, see olympus M1 Mk2 and panasonic G9, with excellent ergonomics.

    2. Miroslav Vrzala Avatar
      Miroslav Vrzala

      Why I got the Fuji gfx50s

    3. drzeller Avatar
      drzeller

      Um, no. There is a wide range of sizes. Try an Olympus EM-1, for example. Nicely sized and very ergonomic.

  3. Tj Ó Seamállaigh Avatar
    Tj Ó Seamállaigh

    8- When shooting macro using the reverse lens technique, you definitely need extension tubes added between the camera and the lens in reverse, since the flange distance is shorter (magnification = distance to sensor/focal length of reversed lens).
    I’m stating this because reversing the lens for macro shooting (or let’s say extreme macro) is more reliable than just using extension tubes alone with the lens, and safer than using lens-coupling method. And now with Vello’s Macrofier this technique also allows you to shoot normally and control the aperture as well easily (unlike the old cold reversing lens which had no control at all). It is important to have the distance from the sensor to the lens (in reverse) to be greater than the focal length to achieve (easily) a great magnification power (e.g. 20mm using Vello’s Macrofier for reversing on Canon DSLR would typically achieve 3.2x and it’s lightweight too).

  4. g_disqus Avatar
    g_disqus

    He’s a liar. There is very very big choice of lenses – Sony A7 is not only one mirrorless camera. About lenses price is the same situation. Dust on the sensor was after mirrorshock. And size…. OH MY GOD!

  5. James T Russell Avatar
    James T Russell

    best camera i ever owned was a secondhand ME Super in the eighties!

    1. Miroslav Vrzala Avatar
      Miroslav Vrzala

      Use to sell them

  6. Jacob Christensen Avatar
    Jacob Christensen

    Fujinon lenses are smaller, better, cheaper that most DSLR lenses imo,

  7. Dimitris Servis Avatar
    Dimitris Servis

    “Yes, mirrorless cameras are smaller in size than the DSLR. However, it’s different with the lenses. They don’t get any smaller if you switch to mirrorless, so you won’t save a whole bunch of space in your camera bag.”

    “Mirrorless lenses are a bit (or a lot) more expensive than DSLR lenses.”

    It’s exactly the other way around

  8. simon GT Avatar
    simon GT

    Terrible article. Switching from Canon to micro 4/3 gives me:

    Far SMALLER lenses and far CHEAPER lenses (comparing equals i.e. 24-80 2.8 v 12-40 2.8)
    Looking through EVF you can SEE IN THE DARK! No more squinting! And exposure is fully controllable with no lag on modern cameras.
    Battery life: You admit modern mirrorless are the same as DSLR???

    So in summary, your article is about 4 years out of date, which you basically hint at throughout the article..what a waste of time.

    1. RuR Avatar
      RuR

      How exactly modern mirrorless cameras have the same battery life as DSLRs? The difference is still huge…
      Just look, according to CIPA:
      APS-C:
      Nikon D500: 1240 shots
      Fujifilm X-H1: 310 shots
      Full Frame:
      Nikon D5: 3780 shots
      Sony Alpha A9: 480 shots (through the viewfinder)

      1. simon GT Avatar
        simon GT

        The issue is with them saying there’s poor battery life, then saying it’s not. As an aside, plenty say the A9 beats the D5 https://twitter.com/tonynorthrup/status/855103932716244992?lang=en personally I can throw some extra batteries in my pocket and it’s still a lot less to carry than my old DSLR

        1. RuR Avatar
          RuR

          “the A9 beats the D5” How exactly have you got that conclusion? It’s not a big problem to shoot 4500 JPEG without flash (which is basically the main battery killer) without using the OVF (which consumes more battery) in 2 hours and have plenty of battery remained. It’s normal.

  9. Andras Oravecz Avatar
    Andras Oravecz

    What in the name of fuck is this? ?

    1. Andras Oravecz Avatar
      Andras Oravecz

      baje da v nek mali tv gledaš ?

      1. JustChristoph Avatar
        JustChristoph

        What’s that you say? Titannic is on TV? Must dash.

  10. JustChristoph Avatar
    JustChristoph

    I want to respond point by point. So…

    1) I’ll come back to this last.
    2) EVF image quality just keeps getting better. brightness is reliably adjustable on most, if not all high end mirrorless cameras. You can even switch the EVF between live view and preview mode. Pierre thinks it looks like TV? He must have one amazing TV set. It may take a little getting used to for some, but that’s not an obstacle to going mirrorless.
    3) Err… you don’t turn on your camera when you pick it up?
    4) Err… you don’t protect the insides of your DSLR kit from dust?
    5) Mirrorless batteries are a bit rubbish. Fujifilm in particular. Named and shamed.
    6) Bollocks.
    7) See item 6.

    So that brings us back to item 1). If you are one of the masses of people who think the main point of mirrorless is small size, you are mistaken. Mirrorless will undoubtedly enable much greater freedom with form factor, including urban-cool smaller cameras. But if you are planning to mount a wildlife-grabbing monster lens onto the front, you will still want to tote a camera body that gives the right balance and ergonomics. The Fujifilm X-H1 leads the charge towards larger mirrorless bodies.

  11. Triggerpuller Avatar
    Triggerpuller

    To each his or her own. I’ll stick with DSLRs. Then again I just switched fromlarge medium format so I am definitely not a “market maker” no one is looking at me for latest and greatest.

    Does sort of seem like as usual the industry has convinced some that you need to go this route and as usual there will be arguments. Uggh boring

    1. JustChristoph Avatar
      JustChristoph

      So you STILL believe a mirror banging around inside your camera is the shape of the future? In eighteen months you’ll change your mind. In five years you’ll shake your head in disbelief at the very idea.

      1. torch621 Avatar
        torch621

        You sound like the Borg

        1. JustChristoph Avatar
          JustChristoph

          Resistance is ridiculous.

  12. veryferry Avatar
    veryferry

    Seven things EVERYBODY tells you after switching from DSLR to Mirrorless

  13. Tord55 Avatar
    Tord55

    First, most APS-C mirrorless bodies are smaller than the APS-C DSLRs, but not all weigh less than the DSLRs.

    All mirrorless I’ve tried, or own, can have their EVFs adjusted in brightness, to your personal liking (I have three mirrorless, my wife has four).

    Evidently you know very little about mirrorless cameras, nor look in the manuals that come with them.

    I very rarely look, have to confess, through the OVF with the camera off, as I want the AF to be on, but you do it all the time, do you?!

    And I have had less problems with dust with my mirrorless cameras than the DSLRs, one of the latter (a Nikon FX) had to be sent to Nikon for cleaning, that led to a replacement of the shutter.

    Cleaning a mirrorless sensor is child’s play, not nearly as easy with any DSLR I’ve owned, or own (at the moment I have four). On mirrorless cameras the sensor is much easier to reach, as it isn’t mounted nearly as far into the deeper body, making the job very straight-forward.

    When it comes to battery life, the mirrorless results come all over the chart, with some barely managing 200, and I remember Thomas Stirr getting something like 3,000 shots with his Nikon 1 V1 in real life, not using the flash (which anyway isn’t integral with the camera). Some of the latest mirrorless get as many shots (CIPA style) as most DSLRs.

    When it comes to lens prices, all of my mirrorless lenses cost, new, in the $200-500 bracket (except two, that cost a little more), while all of my F Mount lenses (new) cost between $300 and $2,800, but the majority cost me $500-1,500.

    So depending what you buy, and if you avoid recently released lenses, that always cost more than they do after a while, you should be able to buy as cheap lenses no matter of the camera is mirrorless, or DSLR. Not even lenses for mirrorless MFs are more expensive than those for conventional MFs, but the selection available is much smaller, as they use mounts new on the market.

    My wife uses m43, and her lenses are among the best in their class (she has sold off the cheap ones, and the not so good).

    None of them is more expensive than an equivalent F Mount lens, of a similar optical and build quality. The lenses that break this pattern is the Nikon AF-P lenses, that gives the buyer a lot of lens for very little money, but no m43 look quite as tacky, on the other hand.

    All the 100-400s cost about the same, whoever makes them, if you stick to original Fuji, Canon or Panasonic-Leica lenses — Nikon does not make one, nor does Olympus (The popular Sigmas and Tamrons, offer about the same quality in a cheaper package).

    The Sigma 30 is an interesting lens, and comes in a lot of variations, for F Mount, E Mount and m43 (maybe Canon and Fuji as well, haven’t checked), and they also cost the same, delivering excellent optical quality for around $400, for the f/1.4 models, and quite a bit less for the f/2.8 versions.

    So if the issue is lenses, there is not much to worry about, soon enough there will be plenty to choose from, but the issue is really which mounts and formats will survive in the long run?!

  14. Dimitrios Servis Avatar
    Dimitrios Servis

    Should there is no benefit in quality, other than size and weight, an amateur has no reason to invest all over again!

  15. j rae Avatar
    j rae

    Did canon or nikon pay him for this? How backwards can you be lol

  16. Renlish Avatar
    Renlish

    I’ve played with mirrorless… I don’t like them, so I’ll stick with my regular cameras. I’m ok with that.

  17. drzeller Avatar
    drzeller

    Who let this article be published? It does a great disservice to the site’s readers. Here are some counterpoints:

    1. The lens, as a point of physics, can be smaller, as they cover a smaller image circle on smaller sensors (most mirrorless are smaller). For telephoto, the crop factor allows for much smaller lens for the same field of view.

    2. Modern EVF’s are typically excellent and exhibit minimal lag. Their “exposure” (actually brightness, not related to the image’s exposure in this case) is typically adjustable, including automatically boosting brightness in dark scenes for easier framing, if desired.

    3. I don’t ever recall looking through the viewfinder when the camera was off, but yes, it is true it must be on for you to see anything on a mirrorless.

    4. Mirrorless cameras, led by Olympus initially, have terrific ultrasonic dust removal for their sensors. I had to clean my Canon non-mirrorless sensors frequently. I truly forget it’s even a thing with my current cameras.

    5. Mirrorless cameras, partly because they initially had smaller batteries in smaller bodies and partly due to their constant EVF/screen use, have suffered poorer battery life. On an EM-1, I have gotten close to a thousand shots on a battery. While that battery is smaller than the 3000 shot Canon/Nikon machines, it would be nice to have their longevity. Throwing an extra battery in your pocket takes care of all but the longest days, though. And, I never skipped taking a backup battery with my Canon anyway.

    6. Choice of lenses is extremely wide depending on your mirrorless system. Native lenses cover almost every conceivable need in micro four thirds, barring extremely wide (800mm equiv), and tilt shift. But, as with many systems, since the flange distance is less than mirrored systems, you can use almost any lens with an adapter. That simply can’t be done with mirrored, so mirrorless hax a greater selection of lenses.

    7. There is a whole range of prices for mirrorless lenses, from $60 to $2000+. It all depends on quality, waterproofness, max aperture, etc. And of course, with an adapter, you can use those “less expensive” mirrored system lenses, too. And, near fact, you can even get adapters that make the lenses faster and wider. Cool.

    DIY Photography needs to print an update/counterpoint to this article.

    By the way, I have about 7 years experience with Canon, starting with Rebel, 40D, 50D, and the last few with a 7D and L lenses. I currently use Olympus (had one Panny) with an EM-1 and PEN-F as my main cameras, and a wide range of lenses. Ive used micro 4/3 for about 4 years. So I have solid experience in both camps.

    Thanks for reading!
    David