Almost all major camera manufacturers have been jumping on the mirrorless bandwagon. Dropping mirrors out of the traditional DSLR camera does not only give it a small form factor, but it also adds and subtracts some of the features that are there in the DSLRs. Traditionally, a DSLR uses a pentaprism mirror that projects the real scene to the viewfinder. However, with a DSLR, you cannot have the exact exposure of the scene as you can with the mirrorless cameras.
Coming to the discussion about mirrorless cameras, Sony has been the forerunner in this category from the past few years now bringing in new technologies and advancements in this section. Panasonic took their leap by launching their first full-frame mirrorless camera, which is a huge up from their micro 4/3 sensors which have been there, especially with the GH5 series. Not only this, the two major players in the camera industry, Nikon and Canon finally took the leap of faith and came forward with their mirrorless camera, challenging sony’s turf where it dominates.
So, we all can see that the DSLRs are now being subjected to slow deaths. Manufacturers have been slowly phasing out some of their DSLR models in favour of the smaller looking mirrorless cameras. Where sony does not want to enter into the DSLR space, Nikon and Canon have some of the best DSLRs in the industry that the professionals would swear by and it’s highly unlikely that their high-end DSLR models will see the end of the road, at least for the coming five years.
How are mirrorless cameras better or less than DSLRs? This is an important question which many users or people switching from DSLRs to mirrorless cameras. Honestly, there is very less to talk about the already capable cameras these days, be it DSLR or a mirrorless. Mirrorless cameras were said to have sluggish autofocus, with a lower range of lenses from individual manufacturers. Not only this but weatherproofing mirrorless cameras is also a challenge as they have more electronic parts which could get damaged in extreme shooting conditions. DSLRs, on the other hand, are tougher and can actually take some amount of beating before dying off. Professional grade DSLRs are built to be weather and dustproof and it has been proven to be beneficial for professionals who work under extreme conditions. However, mirrorless cameras come with some great deal of advantage, the foremost being able to see and preview the image exposure even before taking the image. Mirrorless cameras have hi-resolution viewfinders, which are essentially small screens places in the viewfinder area. These small screens can display the true image directly and will show any changes made to the exposure settings by the photographer. Similarly, the rear LCD screen of a mirrorless camera shows the exact representation of the scene whether it be stills or videos. This allows shooting in different situations and easy interpretation of the settings on the output images.
There is certainly other advantages as well, the size and the ease of use for mirrorless cameras. While DSLR shooting requires a lot of practice and know-how, learning to shoot on a mirrorless camera is comparatively easier, thanks to the live view, beginners will find it helpful.
Most cameras companies are now focusing on high-end mirrorless cameras, but some players like Sony and Fujifilm have been also making extremely capable APS-C mirrorless cameras as well which are targetted at beginners as well as hobbyists and intermediate users. Mirrorless cameras are also extremely capable for video as we have seen the industry singing praises for a mirrorless video-focused cameras like the Panasonic GH5 and the follow-up GH5s. A large part of the video production industry has also ditched the heavy bulky cinema-grade cameras in favour of the lightweight mirrorless cameras which can be set up the way you want and also have external recorders record higher quality bitrate videos for those high-end post-processing sessions.
In a recent report by Tech Radar, Nikon is said to be working on the mirrorless version of the D5 which is a tank of a professional camera. The Nikon D5 although a few years old now, is still relevant in the still photography market, especially among professionals who shoot news, high-speed action like sports and also a capable one for videos. A mirrorless iteration of the D5 would be a great way to reduce its bulk (Its a heavy camera to lug around) and improve some features while maintaining its tank-like build quality and the solid weatherproof abilities. It is to be seen as to how the manufacturers go about in the mirrorless revolution but expect a few models to disappear or replace the existing models in the mirrorless avatar. DSLRs won’t be irrelevant in the coming years but there would be a certain reduction in numbers when it comes of entry and mid-range DSLR cameras which mirrorless cameras taking up their places. However, the beastly DSLRs like the Nikon D5 and the Canon 1DX Mark II should still be there with newer upgraded models introduced to keep the professionals hungry.