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Between DSLR and mirrorless camera

Jerry Adiguna
Jerry Adiguna

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Mon, March 12, 2018 | 09:09 am
Between DSLR and mirrorless camera

Two darlings: A mirrorless camera (left) is placed next to a DSLR camera. (JP/Jerry Adiguna)

Around a decade ago, a photo hobbyist would dream about owning a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera to learn photography.

However, over the past couple of years, both professional and amateur photographers have shifted to mirrorless cameras for various reasons, including their more convenient size and weight.  

Mirorless cameras are basically digital cameras that do not use the lens reflector technology used in DSLR cameras. The latter uses the traditional mirror mechanical reflecting image as a viewfinder, while mirrorless cameras rely on an electronic viewfinder.

Some argue that mirrorless cameras are more suitable for hobbyists and that those who have a more serious penchant like professional photographers should just stick to DSLR cameras. Some go on to argue that mirrorless cameras have no color consistency and weaker white balance technology.

However, senior Kompas photographer Arbain Rambey begs to differ.

“A mirrorless camera can do everything a DSLR does. There are even several conditions in which the use of a mirrorless is much more convenient than a DSLR,” he said.

He was referring to the smaller size of a mirrorless camera, which allows it to be more discrete than a DSLR camera in certain spaces, such as department stores or shopping malls where it’s common for professional cameras to be banned.

Premium mirrorless cameras can also perform in sports or fashion photography as they are equipped with predictive movement and continuous focus, which allow photographers to snap fast-moving objects.

In my experience, the main disadvantage of using the early electronic viewfinders (EVF) in mirrorless cameras is the issue of latency, which is the time lag between something moving in the scene and the information being transmitted from the sensor to the viewfinder. This was once unsatisfactory compared to looking through an optical viewfinder, in which there is no delay in the passage of light through the lens, mirror and prism to the eye.

Today, the latest mirrorless camera has been equipped with more advanced EVF technology. Leica claims a latency time “below the threshold of perception” for its SL body. For the Fujifilm X-H1 released in February, the manufacturer claims a shutter time lag of 0.045 seconds with an EVF display speed of 100fps.

With a slimmer, almost weightless design, the mirrorless camera system is catching up in the market.

Despite all the debate between choosing a DSLR or mirrorless camera, the most important factor is image quality.

Arbain said the best camera was the one in your hand. The big question is not the type of camera you’re using, but how you’re using the camera.

For those who have invested heavily in a DSLR system, the migration to a mirrorless system can be quite a challenge. 

Yulianus Landung, a professional photographer who specializes in industrial photograph, said although his equipment comprised mostly of DSLR cameras, he acknowledged the quality of the mirrorless system.

Yulianus said he owned a mirrorless camera, however was reluctant to migrate entirely to the system.

I decided to migrate to the mirrorless system three years ago after becoming smitten with its smaller and lighter design that gave me a different kind of freedom from that offered by the DSLR system.

I needed some time to adjust though, just like using a new bike for the first time. Once you get yourself in tune with the rhythm, you will be able to enjoy the new ride.