Moving from DSLR to Mirrorless
Switching from a DSLR camera to a mirrorless camera can be an exciting transition, but it also involves some key concepts that you should understand to make the most of your new gear. Here are some important concepts to keep in mind when changing from a DSLR to a mirrorless camera:
Electronic Viewfinder (EVF): Unlike DSLRs, which use an optical viewfinder, mirrorless cameras use an electronic viewfinder (EVF) or an LCD screen to preview the image. The EVF is essentially a tiny screen that displays what the camera sensor is seeing in real-time. This can be an advantage in some situations, as you can see the exposure and white balance before taking the shot. The EVF provides a real-time, live view of the scene in front of the camera, which can be useful for composing and adjusting the exposure and white balance before taking the shot. It also allows the photographer to see the effects of any adjustments to the camera settings, such as aperture or shutter speed, in real-time.
Autofocus System: Mirrorless cameras usually have an advanced autofocus system that uses on-sensor phase detection, contrast detection, or a combination of both. This means that the camera can focus quickly and accurately on a subject, even in low light conditions. However, some mirrorless cameras may struggle with tracking fast-moving subjects.
Many mirrorless cameras use on-sensor phase detection autofocus (AF) to quickly and accurately focus on a subject. This technology uses dedicated phase detection pixels on the image sensor, allowing the camera to calculate the distance to the subject and adjust the focus accordingly. This technology can provide fast and precise autofocus performance, even in low light conditions.
Some mirrorless cameras also use contrast detection AF, which compares the contrast between adjacent pixels to determine the focus point. While contrast detection is slower than phase detection, it can be more accurate and is better suited to fine-tuning the focus on stationary subjects.
Many mirrorless cameras use a combination of on-sensor phase detection and contrast detection AF, which is referred to as hybrid AF. This allows the camera to switch between the two methods depending on the situation, providing fast and accurate autofocus performance for both stationary and moving subjects.
A popular feature found in many mirrorless cameras is eye detection AF, which uses AI algorithms to detect and track the subject's eyes. This is especially useful for portrait photography, ensuring that the subject's eyes are always in sharp focus.
Mirrorless cameras generally have advanced continuous autofocus capabilities, allowing the camera to track moving subjects and maintain focus as the subject moves around the frame. This can be useful for sports, wildlife, and other action photography.
Most new mirrorless camera systsem use a different lens mount system than DSLRs, so you may need to invest in new lenses or use an adapter to mount your existing lenses. Some mirrorless camera brands have their own lens mount system, while others use a more universal mount like the Micro Four Thirds mount.
The Nikon FTZ adapter is an optional accessory designed for Nikon mirrorless cameras, such as the Z7, Z6, Z5, Z50, and Z fc. The adapter allows Nikon F-mount lenses, which are designed for Nikon DSLRs, to be mounted on the mirrorless cameras. The FTZ adapter is compatible with most Nikon F-mount lenses, including AF-S, AF-P, and AF-I lenses, as well as many older manual focus lenses with an AI/AI-S mount. However, some older lenses may not be fully compatible or may require manual focus and aperture control.
With the FTZ adapter, autofocus performance is generally comparable to using the same lens on a Nikon DSLR. The adapter supports on-sensor phase detection autofocus (AF) and contrast detection AF, allowing for fast and accurate autofocus performance. The FTZ adapter supports vibration reduction (VR) in compatible lenses, allowing for up to 5 stops of image stabilization. However, VR performance may vary depending on the lens and the camera model. When using the FTZ adapter, some F-mount lenses may experience vignetting or image quality issues, particularly when using wide-angle lenses. Nikon provides a compatibility chart on their website to help users determine which lenses are fully compatible.
One of the main advantages of mirrorless cameras is their smaller size and weight compared to DSLRs. This makes them more portable and easier to carry around. However, some photographers may find the smaller size uncomfortable to hold or prefer the balance of a larger camera.
Nikon DSLRs tend to be larger and heavier than mirrorless cameras due to their design, which includes a mechanical mirror and optical viewfinder. For example, the Nikon D850 DSLR body weighs 2.02 lbs (915 g), while the Nikon D7500 DSLR body weighs 1.41 lbs (640 g). Nikon mirrorless cameras are generally lighter and more compact than DSLRs due to their smaller size and lack of a mechanical mirror and optical viewfinder. For example, the Nikon Z7 II mirrorless camera body weighs 1.60 lbs (725 g), while the Nikon Z50 mirrorless camera body weighs only 0.86 lbs (395 g).
The weight difference between DSLR and mirrorless cameras is further influenced by the weight of the lenses used. Some mirrorless lenses can be much smaller and lighter than equivalent DSLR lenses due to the smaller image circle required for the smaller mirrorless sensors. For example, the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 S lens weighs only 0.76 lbs (355 g), while the Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G DSLR lens weighs 0.41 lbs (185 g).
When considering the overall weight of a camera system, it is important to factor in the weight of accessories such as batteries, memory cards, and tripods. These accessories can add significant weight to a camera system, regardless of whether it is a DSLR or mirrorless camera.
Because mirrorless cameras use electronic viewfinders and LCD screens, they tend to use more battery power than DSLRs. It’s a good idea to invest in extra batteries or an external battery pack to ensure you don’t run out of power in the middle of a shoot. DSLRs typically use larger batteries than mirrorless cameras, due to the larger size of the camera body and the need to power the mechanical mirror and optical viewfinder. Mirrorless cameras, on the other hand, tend to use smaller, more compact batteries.
Because of their more efficient design and lower power consumption, mirrorless cameras tend to have shorter battery life than DSLRs. However, battery life can vary significantly between models and usage patterns, so it is important to check the manufacturer's specifications for each camera.
The performance of batteries can vary between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. For example, mirrorless cameras with electronic viewfinders (EVFs) tend to consume more battery power than those without an EVF or with a simpler optical viewfinder. DSLRs with Live View mode, which uses the rear LCD screen to compose images, also tend to consume more battery power than those without it.
Mirrorless cameras usually have more advanced battery management features than DSLRs. For example, some mirrorless cameras allow users to see the estimated battery life remaining in minutes, which can be useful for planning a shoot. Some cameras also allow users to adjust the camera's power settings to conserve battery life.
Switching from a DSLR to a mirrorless camera system can offer several advantages, such as smaller and lighter camera bodies, improved autofocus systems, and better video capabilities. However, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider, such as shorter battery life and a smaller lens selection. Ultimately, the decision to switch to a mirrorless camera system will depend on individual preferences and shooting needs. It is important to research and compare different models and consider factors such as image quality, features, and cost before making the switch.