Cameras and You: DSLR vs Mirrorless (Introduction)

So, let’s say that you’ve been streaming for a few months, and are lurking in other streams when you have the chance. You come across a streamer who has an incredibly sharp, vibrant video for their face cam and you think to yourself “I want to have that. That can’t be so hard to do, right?!”

Eh, it’s kinda like that? It’s not as hard as you’d expect, but there are definitely some major Do’s and Do Not’s.

When you are picking a camera to use on your streaming setup as an upgraded webcam replacement, you’ve got to look for a few KEY points, as well as some solid components to tie it into your streaming program, and I promise that if you check out these posts, you’ll have video quality that is top tier AND keep your wallet fat and happy! Let’s dive in…

Introduction: DSLR vs Mirrorless

There are two types of modern, handheld cameras that we will be discussing in this blog series: The DLSR camera and the Mirrorless camera. Both have their uses, and both are incredibly important to the creative ecosystem.

A DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) camera uses a digital sensor with a physical mirror in the body producing the image. You might recognize a DSLR camera from the click you hear when taking photos. This sound is created when the mirror snaps up rapidly, allowing the in-body sensor to capture the image through the lens.

The DSLR really came into prominence back in the 2000’s, replacing the then-standard SLR cameras of the industry. The ability to change lenses to suit a variety of situations has become indispensable for the modern creator, as well as control things that might be out of their hands with traditional film cameras, such as ISO (setting which controls brightness of images), Shutter Speed, Iris, and coloration of images.

On the other hand, a Mirrorless camera utilizes a digital sensor and digital display system, meaning there are usually no physical optical components in the body. Everything seen through the viewfinder (which is also digital) is being captured in real time by the camera’s digital sensor. Mirrorless cameras tend to have no sound associated with the capturing of photos, as there is nothing to move. 

Like the DSLR, Mirrorless cameras utilize interchangeable lenses. However, they are mechanically simpler and are typically smaller, lighter, and quieter due to the elimination of the moving mirror. While nearly all mirrorless cameras still have a mechanical shutter, many also have an electronic shutter, allowing completely silent operation.

In my personal experience (freelance and corporate Videographer for 6+ years), shooting video on a mirrorless camera is infinitely more enjoyable, as DSLR bodies can heat to the point of shutting off when the sensor is raised for too long. This can damage the internals of a DSLR, as well as create issues down the road if you use the camera for photography. But that’s a post for another day!

Coming Up Next: The Mirrorless Camera and You

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