Mirrorless cameras are the future. Most companies are releasing mirrorless cameras, and many are filled with amazing tech. So what reasons would there be to still use a DSLR? Turns out there’s a few.
And not to worry, this is not an anti-mirrorless camera rant. These are simply a few reasons why someone might reach for a DSLR in 2020.
Longer battery life
It’s rather easy to find DSLRs that are rated for 800-1500 shots and beyond. If you want a camera to last all night to let you take very long exposure photos or 4-hour-long star trails, DSLRs have an advantage. Mirrorless bodies are often rated at 300-400 shots, although you can get additional life out of them if you make a concerted effort to conserve power.
Feels better in hand
Comfort is subjective. Nonetheless, DSLRs are larger and typically have deeper grips. The same can’t be said for many of their mirrorless counterparts, often having flat or shallower grips. People with large hands are especially left out in the cold. This issue is arguably not as important if one is primarily doing night photography, since the camera is typically perched on a tripod.
Regardless, if you are photographing all day, it’s much better to have a camera that is comfortable to hold. Try picking up cameras and seeing how they feel. Does this seem like something you would want to hold for hours on end?
Looks better in low light
The optical viewfinders on DSLRs look better in low light. When photographing in low light situations, optical viewfinders approximate the feel of looking with your own eye.
Electronic viewfinders can look like a grainy, poor-quality display. There’s often tons of noise, making it more challenging to determine whether you’ve nailed focus and exposure. And, well, most photographers think those are important aspects.
Greater selection of lenses
The sheer amount of lenses available for DSLRs, lenses that have been made for decades, is overwhelming. And they are often less expensive.
For most photographers, mirrorless cameras have a fine lens selection, having all the typical lenses that one would ordinarily use. However, for specialty photographers, having access to extremely long lenses, LensBaby, various oddball lenses of yesteryear on eBay and some Kickstarter lenses might be all the reason they need to use a DSLR. That said, there are many adapters that one can use with mirrorless cameras.
DSLRs still generally get the nod when it comes to durability. Why? The larger body, that’s why. It’s thicker and has more room for shock absorption, a larger grip and really good weather sealing. Additionally, the sensor on a mirrorless camera is more exposed and may require a little more maintenance.
Some mirrorless cameras do offer rugged performance, but generally speaking, if photographers know they are going to put their camera through abuse — think war journalism, coastal photography, back country landscape, windy desert areas — they are more likely to reach for a DSLR.
What’s best for you?
There’s no such thing as “the best camera.” You choose the camera that’s best for you (and your budget). That camera may be mirrorless. But that camera just may be a DSLR.