One of the questions we get most often here at Creatively Squared is ‘what type of camera should I get?” There are hundreds of cameras and lenses to choose from on the market today and two of the most popular formats for professionals and amateurs alike are DSLR and Mirrorless. So how do you know which one is right for you? The aim of this blog is not to tell you which type of camera is better than the other, it’s about finding one that works with your style (and budget!) and helps you capture the photographs you want. We are going to break down the basics for you and show you some visual examples to help you decide.
What is a DSLR Camera?
The most popular choice for professional photographers, DSLRs use the same design as the original 35mm film cameras or SLR. Inside a DLS camera the light is reflected onto the lens via a mirror and up into the viewfinder for you to preview your shot. When you take the photo the mirror flips up and the shutter opens allowing the light to hit the sensor and capture your image.
What is a Mirrorless Camera?
Mirrorless cameras are a smaller, cheaper option in the market that still offers some high quality specs and interchangeable lenses. With a mirrorless camera the light passes through the lens and directly onto the image sensor. This captures a preview of the image you are taking to display on the rear screen and some models also offer a screen behind an electronic viewfinder that you can put your eye up to like a traditional camera.
Which one is right for you?
Consider a DSLR if:
- You want more options and add ons, choosing a DSLR gives you access to a number of lenses from many manufacturers.
- You need a camera that performs better in low light
- You have a bigger budget to invest in equipment
- You need a camera with a longer battery life - No power is used at all if you hold the camera up and look through the viewfinder which makes it possible to get up to a thousand pictures or more on a single battery charge
Consider a mirrorless if:
- You need something more portable for travel or spontaneous photography
- You like to shoot video
- You need to take rapid shots - the simpler mechanics of mirrorless cameras allow them to shoot more photos per second, at higher shutter speeds.
- You need a more affordable option
- You want to see a preview on screen - a mirrorless camera allows you to see the shot you are taking more accurately and any adjustments you make to the exposure etc will be represented on screen prior to taking the photo.
Do you really NEED a new camera?
With advancements in smartphone technology and more megapixels than you know what do with, one could argue that you don’t really need to invest in a fancy camera with interchangeable lenses. If photography is just a hobby for you then the camera in your pocket could do the job just fine. In fact, even some of the professionals amongst us shoot on their smartphones - a few of the stylists work with us at Creatively Squared shoot client work on their phones! Taking a great photo really comes down to your skills in composition, lighting and editing - having a fancy rig and lens isn’t going to make much of a difference without mastering those other techniques first.
Have you got a camera that you want to use more often? Why not start with our blog post "Manual Photography Tips: How to get yo' ass off auto" by Photographer Leah Ladson
So what does everyone else use?
We have rounded up a few creative gurus from our community and asked them about their equipment and here’s how it stacks up.
Remember - cameras don’t take pictures - you do!
From looking at these examples alone it is easy to see that you can get great results no matter what type of equipment you use. Before you go rushing out to buy a new camera why not take the time to invest in developing your creativity and technical skills first. You might find that the resulting improvements in your photography negate the need for fancy equipment that may be only marginally better than what you already have.