Beginner’s Guide to Mirrorless Camera: Everything You Need to Know

Mirrorless cameras have been gaining popularity among photographers, both amateur and professional, over the past few years.

These cameras offer a number of advantages over traditional DSLRs, including smaller size, lighter weight, and quieter operation.

Additionally, mirrorless cameras often have advanced features such as in-body image stabilization, fast autofocus, and high-quality electronic viewfinders.

For beginners who are just starting out with photography, a mirrorless camera can be a great option. With the right guidance and practice, anyone can learn to take stunning photos with a mirrorless camera.

This guide will cover everything a beginner needs to know about mirrorless cameras, including how to choose the right one, how to use it, and tips for getting the best possible results.

By the end of this guide, readers will have a solid foundation in mirrorless camera photography and be ready to start exploring the world of digital photography.

fujifilm camera

What is a Mirrorless Camera

A mirrorless camera is a type of digital camera that does not use a mirror to reflect light into the viewfinder. Instead, the image sensor is exposed to light at all times, allowing the user to preview the image on an electronic viewfinder or the camera’s LCD screen.

Mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter than DSLR cameras, making them more portable and easier to handle.

One of the main differences between mirrorless cameras and DSLR cameras is the absence of a mirror in the former.

DSLR cameras use a mirror to reflect the light coming through the lens into the optical viewfinder, which allows the user to see the image in real-time.

Mirrorless cameras, on the other hand, use an electronic viewfinder or the camera’s LCD screen to preview the image.

Another difference between mirrorless and DSLR cameras is the autofocus system. Mirrorless cameras use contrast detection autofocus, which is slower than the phase detection autofocus used by DSLR cameras.

However, newer models of mirrorless cameras have improved autofocus systems that are comparable to those found in DSLR cameras.

Mirrorless cameras are also more versatile than DSLR cameras when it comes to video recording. They offer features such as 4K video recording, slow-motion video, and focus peaking, which makes it easier to achieve accurate focus while recording video.

Understanding the Basics of a Mirrorless Camera

Mirrorless cameras are becoming increasingly popular among beginners and professionals alike. They offer a compact and lightweight alternative to DSLRs while still providing excellent image quality.

In this section, we will discuss the basics of a mirrorless camera, including sensor size, viewfinders, and light and aperture.

Sensor Size and Image Quality

One of the most important aspects of a mirrorless camera is the sensor size, which directly affects the image quality.

Generally, larger sensors produce better image quality, especially in low light conditions. Mirrorless cameras come in a variety of sensor sizes, including full-frame, APS-C, and micro four-thirds.

Full-frame sensors are the largest and provide the highest image quality, while micro four-thirds sensors are the smallest.

Viewfinders: Electronic Vs Optical

Viewfinders are used to compose the image before taking the shot. Mirrorless cameras come with two types of viewfinders: electronic and optical.

Electronic viewfinders (EVFs) use a digital display to show the image, while optical viewfinders (OVFs) use mirrors to reflect the image from the lens to the photographer’s eye.

EVFs have the advantage of showing the exact image that will be captured, including exposure and white balance settings.

They also allow users to preview the effects of different settings before taking the shot. On the other hand, OVFs provide a more natural view and do not suffer from lag or resolution issues.

Light and Aperture

Light and aperture are essential aspects of photography, and mirrorless cameras provide several ways to control them.

Aperture refers to the size of the opening in the lens that allows light to pass through. A larger aperture (smaller f-number) allows more light to enter the camera, resulting in a brighter image and shallower depth of field.

Mirrorless cameras offer a range of aperture settings, allowing users to control the depth of field and create stunning bokeh effects.

Additionally, mirrorless cameras often have fast and accurate autofocus systems that can track moving subjects and adjust the aperture and shutter speed accordingly.

Choosing the Right Mirrorless Camera

When it comes to choosing a mirrorless camera, there are several factors to consider, such as budget, brand, and reviews. In this section, we will discuss these factors in more detail.

Budget and Price

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a mirrorless camera is budget. Mirrorless cameras are available at a range of price points, from budget-friendly options to high-end models. It’s important to determine your budget before you start shopping, as this will help narrow down your options.

If you’re on a tight budget, there are several affordable mirrorless cameras available from brands like Sony, Fujifilm, Canon, Olympus, and Panasonic.

These cameras typically have fewer features and lower image quality than their more expensive counterparts, but they can still produce great photos and are a good option for beginners.

On the other hand, if you have a larger budget, you can consider investing in a higher-end mirrorless camera from brands like Sony, Fujifilm, Canon, Olympus, or Nikon.

These cameras often have more advanced features, better image quality, and faster performance, which can be beneficial for more experienced photographers.

Brand and Reviews

When choosing a mirrorless camera, it’s also important to consider the brand and read reviews from other photographers.

Each brand has its own strengths and weaknesses, and some brands may be better suited to certain types of photography than others.

Sony is one of the most popular mirrorless camera brands and is known for its high-end models with advanced features and excellent image quality.

Fujifilm is another popular brand that is known for its retro-style cameras and film simulation modes. Canon and Nikon are well-known brands in the photography world and offer a range of mirrorless cameras at different price points.

Olympus and Panasonic are also popular brands that are known for their compact and lightweight mirrorless cameras.

Reading reviews from other photographers can also be helpful when choosing a mirrorless camera. Look for reviews from photographers who have experience with the specific camera you’re considering, as they can provide valuable insights into its performance and features.

Advanced Features of Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras offer a range of advanced features that make them a top choice for professional photographers and enthusiasts alike.

In this section, we will discuss some of the advanced features of mirrorless cameras that set them apart from other types of cameras.

Autofocus and Focus Modes

One of the most significant advantages of mirrorless cameras is their autofocus system. Mirrorless cameras use a combination of contrast detection and phase detection autofocus for faster and more accurate focusing.

Mirrorless cameras also offer a range of focus modes, including single point, zone, and wide area, allowing photographers to choose the focus area that best suits their needs.

Image Stabilization

Mirrorless cameras also come with image stabilization features that help photographers capture sharp images even in low light conditions.

Some mirrorless cameras come with in-body image stabilization, while others have lens-based image stabilization.

In-body image stabilization is particularly useful as it works with any lens, while lens-based image stabilization is limited to the lenses that have it built-in.

Shooting Modes and Burst Rate

Mirrorless cameras offer a range of shooting modes, allowing photographers to choose the mode that best suits their needs.

Some mirrorless cameras come with advanced shooting modes, such as time-lapse, HDR, and multiple exposure.

Mirrorless cameras also have impressive burst rates, with some cameras capable of shooting up to 30 frames per second.

4K Video and Vlogging

Mirrorless cameras are also great for shooting high-quality video. Many mirrorless cameras offer 4K video recording, allowing photographers to capture stunning footage with incredible detail.

Mirrorless cameras are also popular for vlogging, as they offer great autofocus and image stabilization features, making it easy to capture high-quality video content.

In conclusion, mirrorless cameras offer a range of advanced features that make them a top choice for professional photographers and enthusiasts.

From autofocus and focus modes to image stabilization, shooting modes, burst rate, and 4K video, mirrorless cameras are packed with features that help photographers capture stunning images and video.

Mirrorless Camera vs DSLR

When it comes to choosing between a mirrorless camera and a DSLR, there are some key differences that beginners should consider. Here are some of the main differences, advantages, and disadvantages of each type of camera:

Main Differences

FeatureDSLRMirrorless Camera
ViewfinderUses a mirror to reflect light into an optical viewfinderElectronic viewfinder (EVF) or no viewfinder at all
AutofocusUses a separate autofocus moduleUses on-sensor autofocus
Size and WeightBulkier and heavierSmaller and lighter
VideoGood for video with optical viewfinderBetter for video with EVF and autofocus
Battery LifeLonger battery lifeShorter battery life

Advantages of DSLRs

  • Optical viewfinder provides a clear, lag-free view of the scene
  • Longer battery life
  • Better autofocus performance for fast-moving subjects
  • Good for shooting in bright sunlight

Advantages of Mirrorless Cameras

  • Smaller and lighter, making them easier to carry around
  • Electronic viewfinder provides a more accurate preview of the final image
  • Better autofocus performance for video
  • Can use a wider range of lenses with adapters

Disadvantages of DSLRs

  • Bulkier and heavier, making them less portable
  • Noisy mirror mechanism can be distracting in quiet environments
  • Limited video capabilities compared to mirrorless cameras
  • Fewer autofocus points compared to some mirrorless cameras

Disadvantages of Mirrorless Cameras

  • Shorter battery life due to the use of electronic viewfinders
  • Limited lens selection compared to DSLRs
  • Electronic viewfinder can be laggy in low light
  • Can be more expensive than some DSLRs

Overall, the choice between a mirrorless camera and a DSLR will depend on the individual’s needs and preferences. Beginners who prioritize portability and video performance may prefer a mirrorless camera, while those who prioritize battery life and autofocus performance may prefer a DSLR.


In conclusion, mirrorless cameras are a great option for beginners who are looking to learn photography. They offer a number of advantages over other types of cameras, such as the ability to see changes to settings in real-time, and they are generally easier to use and more compact than DSLRs.

When choosing a mirrorless camera, it is important to consider factors such as sensor size, image stabilization, and autofocus capabilities. It is also important to choose a camera that is comfortable to hold and easy to navigate.

Overall, the best mirrorless camera for beginners depends on individual needs and preferences. Some good options to consider include the Sony a5000, the Fujifilm X-T30, and the Panasonic Lumix GX85.

While mirrorless cameras can be more expensive than point-and-shoot cameras, they offer a lot of value for the price. With a little bit of practice and experimentation, beginners can quickly learn how to use a mirrorless camera to take stunning photos.

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DSLR vs Mirrorless : Choosing the right camera for your photography needs