When to bring DSLR?

There’s no question that the mirror-less cameras are getting better and better. Since these digital cameras of the modern age are much easier to carry around and make such high quality photos, is there still place for DSLRs?

Definably yes. Here are five reasons why I think so:

  1. There is wide variety of lenses available for DSLRs. Although micro-four-thirds cameras are getting more high quality optics nowadays, the selection of lenses is just different range in DSLR cameras.
  2. Micro four thirds cameras simply don’t have as big sensor as DSLRs, and this usually result in lesser low-light performance. (Fujifilm X100 is a different animal in this sense because it has full APS-C size sensor) and..
  3. ..crop factor. Due to smaller sensor, mirror-less cameras have higher crop factor which means less control over depth of field.
  4. Optical viewfinder. Optical viewfinder. Optical viewfinder. Looking at that LCD screen on the back of the mirror-less camera just isn’t the same as peering through high quality optical viewfinder of DSLR and seeing the real optical image in front of you. Some cameras have a small thing you can put on the hot shoe, but then you get the parallax error.
  5. Continuous shooting speed. DSLRs usually have more robust processing system which allows images to be processed and written to memory cards much faster. (Usually. Some mirror less cameras are now shooting faster, however usually not continuously in RAW)

If I’m to shoot fast moving objects or people, or things in distance, I am probably bringing my 5D Mark II or 50D. ¬†Moreover, if I’m shooting some “serious” work in predetermined location or in a low light, I’m likely choosing DSLR because of above reasons. Full frame sensor is essentially same as it once was when shooting 35mm film. Can’t beat that.

However, I have seen people using mirror-less cameras even in studio environment (still life and still models!) and I can’t guess a good reason why it wouldn’t work just as well, especially if you shoot in RAW. Also many of the mirror less cameras have also hot shoe nowadays for flash units so..

Ultimately as Chase Jarvis would say, the best camera is the one you have with you. 

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