Mirror vs mirrorless cameras

In mirrors from the past and, more recently DSLRs, a mirror inside the camera reflects light into a prism, and subsequently into the viewfinder of your camera. When you take a picture, the mirror flips up and the shutter opens, which causes the light to redirect towards an image sensor. This is what captures your image. Mirrorless cameras, in contrast, pass light directly onto the image sensor and a preview on the rear screen and viewfinder. This is the main difference with mirror vs mirrorless cameras.

Because of the direct light-to-sensor method, mirrorless cameras tend to be significantly smaller than DSLR or past cameras. They are also a lot simpler to construct. However, mirrored cameras have an edge on autofocus and low light shooting, at least for now. Some mirrorless cameras are improving their autofocus and low light shooting to the point where they can beat DSLRs, with the exception of high-speed settings like sports or wildlife video.

Mirrorless cameras have one particular area they do best: video shooting. DSLRs and older cameras have to use contrast-detection focus to shoot video, which means video ends up looking blurry when they try to pinpoint the focus. High-end mirrorless cameras can capture 4K video with four times the resolution of HD footage, a staggering feat.

At Shutterstock, we have a wide array of intriguing video options with mirrorless and mirrored cameras. Check out our library of 13,000,000 videos.

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