Mirrorless Cameras: Are They Really Worth The Hype?

In today’s photography world the mirrorless camera market seems to be taking over, but is it?

Mirrorless cameras have seemed to make a spot for themselves in between the DSLR and small compact camera market and the reason for this is actually pretty simple:

DSLR’s have gradually seen a decrease in sales over the years (in my opinion) because of their cumbersome size and weight. Now don’t get me wrong – I still believe DSLR’s are the bread and butter for professional photographers who rely on photography for their main income, but you still have a huge market of amateurs and newcomers who don’t want the hassle of carrying around a camera so large just to get a “good” picture.

And with this comes the problem with small compact cameras who have a stigma for being cheap and not the best of quality. Of course, you do have your higher end models that can still pack a punch, but at the end of the day it’s about the quality and the feel of the camera, so if the end user can’t wrap their minds around either of those two qualities meeting their needs then they’re not going to purchase them, which leaves room for a beautiful little niche of cameras that is taking the best of both worlds…

Mirrorless Cameras Bridge The Gap

Ya’ see, mirrorless cameras have come in and fit into a gap between the compact camera and DSLR market. They’re like the chunky peanut butter between the bread (and quite good at that). They’re taking innovative and different approaches to the market and slowly trying to kill off the digital slr and point and shoot market. For example, they’re slashing the weight on compact mirrorless cameras and giving DSLR’s a run for their money when it comes to individuals wanting something light and easy to carry around. On the other hand, they’ve also targeted the compact camera market by offering cheaper variations which pack the same, small portability factor, but with an unrivaled amount of quality and adaptability. Could we be seeing the beginning of the end to compact cameras and DSLR’s? I don’t think so, but you (as a consumer) now have another list of choices in market.

And so, we come to the question of…

Are Mirrorless Cameras All Hype?

I’m gonna flip the script on you and take another angle at the mirrorless camera debate. Since you came here to find out whether mirrorless cameras are really worth it, we’re going to get straight to the point and say… it depends.

The Truth About Weight Savings

While it may seem like you’re going to have a major weight advantage when it comes to buying a mirrorless camera over a DSLR, the truth is that it’s such a marginal gain. Did you know that there are lenses for mirrorless cameras that weigh just as much (if not more) than those for DSLR’s? This alone should tell you that many times it’s hardly going to be a noticeable advantage to carrying around that mirrorless camera solely to shed a little weight. Of course, there’s always exceptions to the rule and much like the pixel peepers of the photography community, they’ll swear up and down that it makes a “world of difference” for them…and ya’ know what? Maybe it does. I’m not going to argue it, but I’d say for the majority of individuals like you, you’ll never notice a difference.

Lens Weight

While I alluded to it above, I wanted to quickly talk about lens weight because I have seen it commented about on many other forums and blogs around the industry. All in all, just because you have a mirrorless camera that may weight less than a digital slr, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a lens counter part is going to be constructed any different (or optimized for weight savings) than a DSLR lens. Pound for pound, many of these lenses are going to equal around the same weight with some variations, of course.

Camera Handling

I’ve seen a lot of people talking about how much better mirrorless cameras feel in their hands, but this is all subjective. Whether or not a camera feels good in your hands or not is going to come down to you as the user. A camera that feels good to me may not feel good to you and vice versa. I personally like smaller bodied cameras as they fit my hands quite well, but your mileage may vary.

Mirrorless Cameras Have A Major Benefit Up Their Sleeve

While overall weight and handling may not be major swaying factors over buying something in the DSLR and compact camera markets, there still is one benefit mirrorless cameras are hiding up their sleeves:

Less Moving Parts! 

That’s right – it’s not only in the name, but it’s the single most advantageous aspect of a mirrorless camera – it’s MIRRORLESS! Think about the benefits this will bring you as an every day user of a mirrorless camera: less moving parts means less opportunities for things to break and go wrong which in turn saves you that cash money, am I right? If no other benefit to buying a mirrorless camera ever comes up, this one in itself would make the switch well worth it (for me.)

As with everything, this is going to come down to exactly what your specific needs are. Nobody is going to be able to give you a hard and fast rule about whether a mirrorless camera makes sense for you, so you’re just gonna have to do your due diligence and make your move.

We’d love to know what you think about mirrorless cameras in the marketplace today: are they worth it or currently over-hyped? Let us know in the comments below!