When new mirrorless cameras are being announced and will be announced in 2011, the debate whether to purchase a mirrorless or DSLR is getting tougher. Mirrorless cameras have proven themselves to a good alternative to a DSLR camera, and not just because of the image quality, but also in terms of lens variety, features, low light capabilities and build quality. It seems that in each generation we can see that camera manufacturers push the mirrorless capabilities further and further. Their is time when you have to buy a new camera and you will ask yourself whether you should buy a mirrorless or a DSLR camera?

Olympus, Panasonic and Sony really raised the bar when it comes ti image quality. It's not surprising that their MILC are so popular among hobbyist, amateur and family photographers. The professional photographer will make hos own decision based on many factors that we won't discuss here. If you are an amateur photographer and want to know why you should buy a mirrorless camera, read this article.


A Camera doesn't have to be bulky. DSLR cameras are bulky because they have a mirror inside the body of the camera that reflects the light towards the AF sensor and the Viewfinder. Mirrorless cameras don't have an optical viewfinder like DSLR cameras. They utilized the LCD or EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) to present the scene to the photographer. That's actually the main reason why Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras (MILC) are so small compared to digital SLR cameras.

The fact is that there is nothing like viewing the scene through a large optical pentaprism viewfinder. Just have a look through a full frame DSLR and an Olympus PEN camera and you'll see what I mean. Even so, that's a more professional feature, many people just don't need that. It's a nice to have but not a "must have" feature.

MILC manufacturers keep improving the resolution and the viewing experience in their EVF (when applicable). Some companies like Fujifilm for example have decided to use an hybrid viewfinder (both Optical and Electronic Viewfinders) in its X100 camera. The thins is that as technology improves, so does the capabilities of the hardware parts that resembles mirrorless cameras from DSLR cameras. The experience in shooting through an optical viewfinder is still better on DSLR cameras than on mirrorless.

Image Quality

Image quality is one of the most important factors why people want to upgrade to a Mirrorless camera in the first place. In some way they aren't satisfied with the image quality the P&S cameras provide them. One of the most important hardware parts that is responsible for image quality is the sensor. The larger the sensor the bigger the photo-diodes (the light sensitive part that captures the photons) the larger the sensitivity to light. It means that more photos can be captured and indirectly it reflects upon the image quality overall. That includes low light performance, noise levels in high ISO, color accuracy, smoother gradations, etc.

Micro Four Thirds and NEX cameras all have a large sensor, much larger than the one found on point-and-shoot cameras. In fact, Sony NEX cameras utilize an APS-C sensor. The same sensor size as in many semi-pro DSLR cameras (ex. Nikon D300s, Canon EOS 7D, Pentax K5, etc.).

I've went through many reviews and notice that the difference important for those who camera about image quality and don't accept any compromises. Sony NEX performs better than Olympus PEN cameras in low light. I observed that in many side-by-side IQ comparison reviews.

Overall, if you search for the best image quality, go with a DSLR Camera, However, most of you won't take advantage of it. Many people don't even shot photos in ISO 800 and above. People that take more of their photos in low light, will prefer purchasing a DSLR camera over mirrorless for a few reasons: lens selection and bigger sensor.

Remember, Mirrorless cameras are a compromise. You buy a camera that have many similarities to a DSLR camera, but it's much more compact than a DSLR camera, even when compared to the lightest and smallest DSLR camera on the market.

Don't get me wrong here, Mirrorless camera produce beautiful images, just beautiful. Also don't forget that the Sony NEX-3, NEX-5 and Sony C3 have an APS-C sensor, the same as on many DSLR cameras. That really gives you the same low light sensitivity that on many advanced DSLR cameras, but in a more compact body. That's the reason why Sony have chosen that sensor size in the first place.



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