How are mirrorless cameras better than DSLRs

Buy a system camera or SLR?

DSLR or DSLM? What are the key differences, what are the advantages and disadvantages of the two systems? We face.

System camera or single lens reflex?

About ten years ago, single lens reflex cameras (DSLRs for short) were still the be-all and end-all. If you wanted to take photos at a high level, you couldn't avoid buying a DSLR. But for a few years now, SLR cameras have faced serious competition from mirrorless system cameras (DSLMs for short). In the first few years around 2010, they still had to struggle with various teething troubles, but have recently caught up and are now even superior to DSLRs in some cases.

For this reason, many customers ask themselves the question before buying a new camera: system camera or single lens reflex, DSLM or DSLR? What type of camera should I buy, what are the pros and cons? And which system is better suited to me and the requirements I place on a camera?

We want to help you with the following article to answer these questions. We have put a lot of heart and soul into creating this article so that all the important differences are highlighted and explained as clearly as possible. We also revise the article at regular intervals so that it is always up to date.(Last update: January 2021)

So let's get started!

The key difference between DSLR and DSLM

First of all, let's talk about THE crucial difference between a DSLR and a DSLM. This difference is basically pretty quick to the point: SLR cameras have a mirror construction inside, mirrorless system cameras - as the name suggests - not.

You don't understand what exactly that means? No problem, we will explain that to you in more detail in the course of the article. In the following, we will of course also explain what exactly this means for a single lens reflex or system camera and what advantages and disadvantages the various types have with them.

But we can state one thing in advance: With a SLR camera as well as with a system camera, you have the option of attaching different lenses and changing them. This is a huge advantage compared to a smartphone or a compact camera, since completely new creative possibilities open up with different lenses and not only more interesting, but also better pictures can be taken.

Regardless of whether it is a DSLR or DSLM: The lenses of both systems can be changed.

Mirrorless ones are smaller and more manageable

Let's start with a difference that is likely to catch your eye pretty quickly when you ask whether you are looking for a single-lens reflex camera or a system camera and when looking at different camera models: A mirrorless system camera is usually smaller than a single-lens reflex camera and, accordingly, lighter. The lenses are also usually a bit more compact. The reason for this is obvious: DSLMs do without the complex mirror construction inside, as already indicated above, which enables a more compact design.

Let's take a look at two comparison pictures. On the left you can see a classic DSLR, on the right a DSLM. You will notice - the DSLMs are a bit more compact:

Okay, we cheated a bit on the last picture with the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and the Panasonic GM1. Because here the comparison is obviously not right, the Canon doesn't want to be compact at all and was developed for sports photographers who need a real tool in their hand. The Panasonic GM1, on the other hand, is one of the smallest DSLMs on the market and also works with a significantly smaller image sensor than the Canon. Nevertheless, we just wanted to show how big the differences can be in extreme cases.

By the way, you can compare the size of all cameras wonderfully on camerasize.com. This is useful when you want to get a quick impression of how big or small certain cameras are in comparison.

Compact design often (but not always) advantageous

The smaller size of the system cameras is a great advantage in many cases. Anyone who is out and about with their camera all day will be happy about the lower weight and more compact dimensions of the camera, which is more mobile and also fits in a smaller bag.

But there are exceptions: people with very large hands, for example, sometimes find DSLMs too small and fiddly. Some also prefer a large and massive grip on the camera so that it can be “grabbed” properly. In addition, a heavy camera body can provide a better balance if you often work with long telephoto focal lengths. You need it in wildlife photography, for example, when you can't get close enough to certain animals.

The manufacturers of system cameras have also noticed this in recent years, which is why they now also have DSLMs on offer that are slightly larger and more similar to a classic SLR camera in terms of housing. The Fujifilm X-H1 or the Panasonic S1 should be mentioned here as examples. Some of these are even larger than a DSLR:

A DSLM can so be smaller than a DSLR, got tobut it is not mandatory. There are also system cameras that come with a compact housing, but still have a comparatively large handle so that the camera sits comfortably in the hand.

System cameras are usually lighter and more compact than SLR cameras.

The different construction methods explained in detail

Let's come back to the “crucial difference” between system cameras and SLRs mentioned at the beginning: the different construction methods. What is the purpose of the mirror construction inside a DSLR? And how does the inner workings of a DSLM look like in comparison?

Let's just take a look at a graphic that shows how a DSLR and a DSLM differ in terms of design:

First of all, this graphic clearly shows the first difference that we already described in the previous paragraph: A system camera is often smaller and more compact than a single-lens reflex camera. The graphic also explains why this is so. There is still a lot of “stuff” inside a DSLR, unlike a DSLM. What exactly this stuff is all about and why the DSLM gets by with so few components, we want to explain to you now in more detail.

Construction of a DSLR

If you want to put it very simply, the light falls when you use one SLR camera through the lens and then meets a mirror construction inside (Color green in the left part of the graphic), which reflects the light and thus the "image" and via a pentaprism (yellow) into the optical viewfinder. When we look through the viewfinder, we see the “real” image of what is happening in front of the lens, through a mirror.

If you now press the shutter release button, the mirror flips up briefly and the light no longer falls through the mirror and pentaprism into the optical viewfinder (which briefly turns black), but onto the sensor (red) where the image is captured and saved by the camera.

The components inside a DSLR also include an autofocus sensor (blue) as well as a small side mirror (light green). What these two parts are all about, we will come to that a little later.

Construction of a DSLM

At a System camera this whole mirror construction is missing. But most mirrorless system cameras still have a viewfinder through which you can observe the subject - how can that be?

Quite simply, the viewfinder of a system camera is not an optical viewfinder (short: OVF) that shows a “real” image through a mirror, but an electronic viewfinder (short: EVF). This electronic viewfinder is basically nothing more than a small display. With a DSLM, the light does not fall on a mirror, but directly on the sensor, where, in simple terms, the image is processed and then output again in digital form on the EVF display. So it is an artificially created and not a real image.

Incidentally, it is also possible with a single-lens reflex camera to obtain an artificially generated image. Namely at the moment when you use the live view mode (i.e. you can see what is happening in front of the lens live on the large display and not look through the viewfinder). Then you also use a “mirrorless” camera, as it were, because in the live view mode of a DSLR the mirror box is folded up and no longer used. As with a DSLM, the image is also processed permanently on the sensor and then output “artificially” on the display.

DSLMs and DSLRs work with different viewfinders. On the side of the DSLM there is an electronic viewfinder, which is basically nothing more than a small display, on the side of the DSLR there is an optical viewfinder that shows a “real image” thanks to the mirror construction inside the camera.

Electronic viewfinder vs. optical viewfinder

So we have now talked about the different designs of DSLR and DSLM, at the same time we have now come across an extremely important difference between the two types of cameras - namely the viewfinder.

Now, of course, the question arises as to which type of viewfinder is the better choice when buying a new camera. The electronic viewfinder of a system camera? Or would you prefer the optical viewfinder of a reflex camera?

You can't answer that in general, because both seekers have advantages and disadvantages to offer.

EVF: characteristics and strengths

In an electronic viewfinder you can see the image in the form in which you will later find it on your memory card. This means that if you change settings such as the aperture, shutter speed or ISO sensitivity on the camera, you can immediately see in the viewfinder how these changes will affect the image. This is not the case with an optical viewfinder - logical, here we are only looking into a mirror, so to speak, and perceiving the subject in front of the lens as we see it with our human eye.

In the vast majority of cases, this is a clear advantage for the electronic viewfinder. Taking photos is quicker and more natural here, as there is no need to prepare for the actual photography, as is known from a DSLR.

What does this preparation look like? Often something like this: take a picture, take the camera away from your eye, look at the picture on the screen, the picture is too dark, make corrections to the settings; take a second picture, look at the second picture on the screen, still too dark, make further corrections; Take the third picture, look at the third picture on the screen, brightness okay now, be satisfied, start taking pictures.

It looks different with a DSLM. You can just look through the viewfinder the whole time and change the settings while you are doing it. Every change is immediately displayed in the viewfinder and you can see how the new settings will affect the finished image. As already mentioned, this is a great advantage of a DSLM in most cases, especially for beginners it is easier to get a feel for the correct settings.

An electronic viewfinder always shows the image immediately as it is written on the memory card.

Another advantage of an electronic viewfinder: With an EVF, technically speaking, you have more options. We'll give you a few examples of the possibilities that can be:

  • Black and white photography: If you switch the camera to black and white mode, you can also see the world in front of the lens in black and white in the electronic viewfinder. So you can better put yourself in the mood and “experience” black and white photography more intensely.
  • Taking pictures in the dark: It's pretty dark and you can't see much with the naked eye? Then an EVF (assuming the appropriate camera settings) can display what is happening in front of the camera brighter than it actually is.
  • Show aids: Focus peaking for manual focusing, histograms, magnifying glasses, grids, spirit levels - various aids and information can be shown on the display of the electronic viewfinder that can be really useful in some situations.

OVF: characteristics and strengths

Some photographers still prefer the real images from an optical viewfinder and therefore decide in favor of a classic DSLR when it comes to the question of whether a single-lens reflex or a system camera. With an OVF, the image simply looks more natural, and some people find it gentler on the eyes.

Furthermore, the optical viewfinder generally has a speed advantage on its side. Because with an electronic viewfinder, as explained above, the image must first be processed and shown on the small display - this costs time and can lead to minimal delays, so-called lags, with some viewfinders. However, the EVFs of more expensive mirrorless system cameras in particular have improved so much that lags are no longer visible. So lags are mainly a problem with older and cheaper DSLMs.

Nevertheless, the following applies: Photographers who primarily take photos in the sports, action or wildlife sector and who often move their camera quickly, still often prefer a single-lens reflex camera today. Not only because of the optical viewfinder, but also, for example, because of the larger selection of suitable lenses.

Of course, you always have to assess and compare the individual camera models. As I said, there are now extremely fast and delay-free electronic viewfinders, such as the Sony A9 II, which also works completely without so-called blackouts. This means that the viewfinder never goes black here, which is technically not possible with a single lens reflex camera. Because as soon as the mirror flips up, no more light can fall through the viewfinder.

The optical viewfinders will always have one advantage on their side: They do not consume any electricity. As a result, the battery life of DSLRs is sometimes considerably longer than that of DSLMs. Thus, as the owner of a mirrorless system camera, one is forced to buy one or two additional batteries in order to achieve the battery life of a DSLR. Alternatively, the battery of a DSLM has to be charged in between, for example with a power bank - if the camera supports this charging method.

The cost of one or two additional batteries must therefore be taken into account when buying a DSLM. Unless you can come to terms with a shorter battery life and are ready to charge the battery more often.

Finally, let's summarize the strengths of electronic and optical viewfinders again:

Conclusion: EVF or OVF?

  • Viewfinder immediately shows what the finished image will look like
  • There is no process of image control
  • "Aids" can be displayed in the viewfinder (useful e.g. for manual focusing)
  • The viewfinder shows a brighter picture in dark surroundings
  • With expensive EVFs, the so-called blackouts may not apply
  • Shows a natural and unadulterated picture
  • Consumes no power, so the camera battery life is longer
  • No lags or delays with quick pans
  • Some find OVFs easier on the eyes

Everyone has to decide for themselves whether they prefer an OVF or an EVF and thus a DSLR or DSLM. Both systems have advantages and disadvantages. It is best to go to a photo shop and try both variants, then you will quickly notice which type of viewfinder suits you better.

Our opinion:

In the cheapest price range of up to 500 euros, SLR cameras are ahead of the game, if only because many DSLMs in this price range have no viewfinder at all. In our opinion, the electronic viewfinder, with all its overlays and the option of displaying the finished image with the settings taken into account, is usually the better choice in the somewhat higher price ranges - especially for beginners. But here you always have to look at the viewfinder of each individual camera model. With EVFs, for example, pay attention to the resolution. This should be at least 2.3 million pixels.

No differences in image quality

For many photographers, excellent image quality is an extremely important criterion, which we of course also have to talk about when comparing DSLR vs. DSLM. And it's a point that we can handle amazingly quickly.

Regardless of whether it is a single lens reflex camera or a system camera, there are fundamentally no differences in terms of image quality. The image quality depends primarily on the size of the sensor and the number of megapixels. And both DSLRs and DSLMs can work with large or small sensors and a different number of megapixels. In terms of image quality, there are no advantages or disadvantages with either system.

Comparison of DSLR and DSLM autofocus

When it comes to answering the question of whether a system camera or SLR is the right choice for you, there are bigger differences when it comes to autofocus (short: AF).The autofocus is responsible for ensuring that the desired subject is in focus. This is sometimes a major challenge for the cameras when, for example, the autofocus is to follow a subject that is moving quickly or when the lighting conditions are unusual.

There are basically two different autofocus technologies:

  1. Phase detection autofocus
  2. Contrast autofocus

A phase detection AF often works faster than a contrast AF, but has problems in certain situations in which the slower contrast AF works more reliably and can thus show its strengths.

Don't worry, you don't have to understand exactly how the different autofocus technologies work; that is beyond the scope of this article. Nevertheless, we want to try to provide you with a bit of easy-to-understand background knowledge.

This is how the autofocus of a DSLR works

Let's take another look at our illustration from above, because we had promised to explain to you what the autofocus sensor of a DSLR is all about:

You can see on the left that SLR cameras with a separate autofocus sensor (blue) are equipped. This is shown via a small secondary mirror (light green) is supplied with light and focuses on the subject. This is a phase detection AF.

If you now press the shutter release on the camera, the entire mirror construction (including the secondary mirror) folds up so that the light falls on the sensor and the picture can be taken. This is where a small weak point of the SLR cameras becomes clear, because when the mirror is folded up, the autofocus no longer works for a short moment because it is no longer supplied with light and, so to speak, “no longer sees”.

Wait a minute, in live view mode, isn't the mirror folded up all the time so that the sensor can continuously record the image and output it again on the display? Correct! That is why SLR cameras in live view mode also work with a different autofocus, the additional contrast AF, which is located directly on the sensor. This is then used during the live view - and, as I said, is usually slower and more sluggish than the phase detection AF of the separate autofocus module.

This is often a disadvantage of DSLRs when recording videos, because the mirror box is also permanently folded up there. The fast phase AF can then not be used.

This is how the autofocus of a DSLM works

When the first mirrorless system cameras came on the market, they were hopelessly inferior to an SLR camera in terms of autofocus. The reason is obvious and can be seen again in the illustration.

System cameras do not have a separate autofocus module with phase detection AF like DSLRs. Only slow contrast AF was available directly on the sensor.

In the meantime, however, that has changed, as manufacturers have succeeded in integrating phase detection AF directly on the sensor - without a separate AF module. And since both phase detection AF and contrast AF have advantages, a few years ago many manufacturers switched to equipping their DSLMs with what is known as “hybrid autofocus”. This combines a phase detection AF with a contrast AF, so that you get the best of both worlds. The hybrid autofocus is also completely housed on the sensor.

SLR cameras are now also partially equipped with phase detection AF on the sensor, Canon's dual-pixel autofocus is an example here. This is why SLR cameras can also convince nowadays with a great video autofocus, which is usually a clear strength of DSLMs.

Conclusion: which autofocus is better?

As I said, a few years ago single-lens reflex cameras were clearly ahead in terms of autofocus, today both systems are roughly on par. In many cases it depends on the individual camera model, sometimes a certain DSLR is the better choice, sometimes a certain DSLM.

Our opinion:

If we had to decide in general which type of camera is the better choice in terms of autofocus, we would now probably be more likely to give the DSLMs the go-ahead. This is not only due to the fact that DSLMs generally have more room for improvement than DSLRs, but also because many system cameras now come up with a great eye autofocus, which is a useful addition to portrait shoots, especially for beginners . DSLMs also often convince with more autofocus measuring fields that cover a larger image area. This means that you can still focus reliably in the edge areas of the image. In addition, manual focusing with a system camera works much better and more reliably thanks to focus peaking and the fade-in options in the electronic viewfinder.

Video recordings: would you prefer a system camera or an SLR?

In principle, first-class videos can be recorded with both DSLRs and DSLMs. Nevertheless, we would generally prefer a DSLM in many cases when it comes to creating videos.

First of all, this is due to the autofocus. We have just explained to you that the separate autofocus sensor on a DSLR no longer works as soon as videos are recorded. Because the mirror box has to be permanently folded up so that the sensor can continuously capture an image. Then only the autofocus is available on the sensor itself, which sometimes (but not always, see e.g. Dual-Pixel-AF from Canon) doesn't really convince.

With a DSLM, you are often better off with hybrid autofocus when it comes to videos, because a DSLM is used to only using the autofocus on the sensor. In addition, the already mentioned eye autofocus is sometimes available for videos with the latest system cameras. This always automatically focuses on the eye, even when you are moving. This is perfect for vlogs or videos where you want people to stand in front of the lens. In addition, DSLMs often score with slightly more setting options.

If you only want to focus manually with videos - which, for example, professionals like to do - then the advantages of auto focus are of course put into perspective. But beginners in particular will certainly want to use the auto focus in most cases. That is why we would generally recommend a DSLM for video recordings. When it comes to DSLRs, the Canon models are particularly impressive thanks to the dual-pixel autofocus.

Burst speed: which cameras are faster?

The term “burst speed” describes the maximum number of pictures a camera can take per second if you simply keep the shutter button depressed.

With a SLR camera, the mirror must be folded up before each individual picture, with a mirrorless camera not. You already guessed it: This generally results in a speed advantage for the DSLMs. The serial image speed of DSLMs is often higher in similar price categories than the serial image speed of DSLRs. Which of course does not mean that individual DSLRs cannot be faster than certain DSLMs.

Nevertheless, this is an advantage for system cameras. So if you want to photograph a bit of sport or action every now and then and there is a high probability that you would like to catch the right moment, a DSLM is generally well advised. Of course, the autofocus also plays an important role here. Because if the subject is not in focus, even the highest continuous shooting speed is of no use.

Lenses and accessories for DSLRs and DSLMs

Mirrorless system cameras are still comparatively new, even if the first models came onto the market before 2010. For example, Canon and Nikon only introduced their own system cameras with full-frame sensors (these are particularly large image sensors that enable first-class image quality) in 2018. These also have a new lens connection, so you can't just screw an old DSLR lens onto a new DSLM. Not even if the products all come from the same manufacturer. The new DSLMs need new lenses - and the manufacturers have to build them first. This takes time as it can take years to develop and manufacture a new lens.

That means: There are currently significantly more lenses available for SLR cameras, including on the second-hand market, where you can get a real bargain every now and then. In addition, there are generally significantly more accessories for DSLRs, also at comparatively affordable prices.

Most manufacturers offer so-called lens adapters so that you can use your old DSLR lenses on the newer DSLMs. In a sense, an adapter is a small intermediate piece that is attached between the lens and the camera. This works very well in principle, but has minor restrictions. For example, the autofocus is often not as fast as with a “real” lens that was specially built for DSLMs. The adapter also makes the camera a bit bigger and heavier, which puts the basic advantage of the more compact design into perspective.

Overall, there are more lenses available for SLR cameras, which is a great advantage. However, it should be added that many mirrorless system cameras can now fall back on a more than sufficiently large range of lenses. The reputation here is often worse than the actual offer. Many still have the status of a few years ago in mind, but a lot has happened at some manufacturers (such as Sony) in the last one or two years. In addition, many DSLM lenses have the advantage that they are newer and therefore often (but not always) better than comparable DSLR lenses that have been on the market for many years.

It is also important to know that the range of lenses offered by the various manufacturers is sometimes very different. As already mentioned, the Canon EOS R and the Nikon Z6 and Z7 have only been available since 2018, there are still comparatively few lenses here, and they are all very expensive. So these cameras are not suitable for beginners with a limited budget. Sony and Fujifilm, on the other hand, have been active in the system camera segment for some time, and the same applies to the Micro Four Thirds cameras from Panasonic and Olympus. Significantly more lenses are now available here, some of them at low prices. The difference to the DSLRs is getting smaller and smaller and can be neglected in some cases.

Overall, there are more lenses available for DSLRs, some of which are also cheaper. Many DSLMs meanwhile also score with a sufficient range of lenses. You can also use your old DSLR lenses on a new DSLM with an adapter.

DSLMs can take photos silently

If you would like to take photos silently, then your choice should clearly be a system camera when it comes to the question of whether a single lens reflex or system camera, as this has an electronic shutter.

At this point you don't really have to understand exactly what a “closure” is. It is only important to know that mirrorless system cameras also use an electronic shutter in addition to the mechanical shutter. Even shorter shutter speeds are possible (up to 1 / 32,000 second), and the shutter release sound is significantly quieter or even absolutely silent. This means that silent photography is possible with current DSLMs! For wedding or concert photographers who do not attract attention and want to attend the event inconspicuously, this function is worth its weight in gold. Because the classic “clack clack clack clack” of an SLR camera is simply not applicable here.

How a mechanical and an electronic shutter differ in terms of volume becomes clear again in this video by photographer Gordon Laing. First the mechanical shutter is demonstrated in the video (minute 0:35), then Gordon switches to the electronic and absolutely silent shutter (minute 1:05). Here you can no longer hear at all that people are taking pictures:

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A clear difference, isn't it? As already mentioned, silent photography is a great advantage of DSLMs, but the electronic shutter also has disadvantages. For example, you can have problems with the so-called rolling shutter effect. This results in undesirable distortions in the image when objects are moving quickly. Newer system cameras have this problem under control much better than older ones. In addition, you always have the option to switch back to the mechanical lock.

DSLRs now also often offer something similar to an electronic shutter, although this is mostly just a so-called electronic shutter curtain. This also enables shorter shutter speeds and somewhat quieter photography, but the SLR cameras cannot come close to a real electronic shutter.

Which housing is more robust and of higher quality?

If you ask the ignorant customer whether the housing of a SLR or system camera is of higher quality, many will probably instinctively decide in favor of the DSLR. This is simply because it appears larger and therefore more robust. The emphasis here is on “appears”, because mirrorless ones can be just as robust and of high quality as single-lens reflex cameras. Weatherproof models that are sealed against dust and splash water can also be found in both camps.

So it remains a question of personal taste whether one prefers the somewhat larger and heavier housing of a DSLR or the lighter and more compact housing of a DSLM. But keep in mind that there are sometimes big differences between individual camera models. As already mentioned, a Fuji X-H1 or a Panasonic S1 is almost as big as classic SLR cameras, whereas entry-level DSLRs such as the Canon EOS 250D are very light and compact.

Big conclusion: DSLR or DSLM?

Buy a single lens reflex camera or system camera? It's not that easy to answer this question. Both systems have advantages on their side and we are convinced that both systems will coexist for many years to come, even if DSLMs are on the rise.

The 7 most important differences

Let's summarize the seven most important differences between system cameras and SLR cameras in a nutshell:

  1. DSLMs can be more compact and lighter (but do not have to be)
  2. DSLMs work with an electronic viewfinder, DSLRs with an optical viewfinder
  3. DSLMs are often better suited for video recording
  4. DSLMs often have a faster burst speed to offer
  5. DSLMs can take photos silently
  6. There are more lenses and more accessories for SLR cameras
  7. SLR cameras score with a longer battery life

The mirrorless have clearly caught up in recent years and are now ahead in many areas. The housings are usually more compact and lighter, the electronic viewfinder offers some advantages, and many DSLMs are also superior to DSLRs when it comes to videos and autofocus. But the DSLRs can still show their strengths: Optical viewfinder, large selection of lenses, good handling thanks to the large and robust housing, long battery life.

Ask yourself these questions before you buy

Before buying a new camera, every photographer should think about the characteristics that are important to them personally. For example, ask yourself these questions before buying a DSLR or DSLM:

  • Do I prefer an electronic or an optical viewfinder? Try out!
  • Is a compact and light housing important for me? DSLM
  • Do I have big hands and need something that can be handled properly? more like SLR
  • Do I need the widest possible selection of lenses? SLR
  • Do I want to use the more modern and future-proof system? DSLM
  • Do I take professional photos in the wildlife or sports area? (still) SLR
  • Do I value the video functions? rather DSLM
  • Do I want to be able to take photos silently? DSLM
  • Is the longest possible battery life important to me? SLR

Our opinion:

It's not an easy decision whether a DSLR or DSLM will be a better choice in 2021. In most cases, however, we would now opt for a DSLM. In our opinion, the electronic viewfinder is a big advantage, especially for beginners. The compact and lightweight design, the ever-improving autofocus, the possibility of silent photography and the faster serial image speed are advantages that clearly speak in favor of the system cameras.

What also plays a role for us is the fact that system cameras are newer and maybe a bit more future-proof. Yes, DSLRs will continue to exist, we are absolutely certain of that.Nevertheless, manufacturers such as Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic and Olympus are now relying exclusively on DSLMs and Canon and Nikon are currently concentrating much more on the mirrorless area than on the area of ​​mirrorless cameras. That means there will be more novelties and hopefully exciting new cameras and lenses here over the next few years. Canon and Nikon will certainly continue to maintain the DSLR sector, but in the DSLM sector there is simply more scope for improvements and new developments.

If you are not as enthusiastic about modern technology as we are and you don't care whether your camera is a bit newer or older, then you can of course safely ignore this point. And with a DSLR you simply know what you have, especially if you have been taking photos for many years or decades.

The decision whether to use a system camera or a SLR is also a bit of a matter of feeling and not something that always has to be substantiated and justified in a completely rational manner. In the end, taking pictures and using the new camera should be one thing above all else - namely, fun! And you can have fun with both a DSLR and a DSLM. Just listen to your gut instinct and you will make the right decision.

Further articles: Buying advice for DSLRs & DSLMs

Have you decided whether you would prefer to take photos with a reflex camera or a system camera? Excellent! Then we would next recommend our detailed purchase advice articles, in which we recommend the current best SLR cameras and system cameras for beginners:


What is your opinion? DSLR or DSLM? We look forward to many opinions and suggestions!

This article was first published in 2015 and was last completely revised and updated in January 2021. Always pay attention to the date in the comments, some are a few years old and therefore no longer entirely up-to-date.