The Case for DSLRs in a Mirrorless World 

DSLRs offer photographers numerous advantages in 2024, and the availability of high-quality DSLRs at affordable prices, coupled with a vast selection of lenses, makes them an attractive option for photographers seeking exceptional value.

Coming to you from Mattias Burling of Gear doesn't matter, this informative video explores the reasons why DSLRs remain relevant in the photography world. Burling highlights the affordability of pro-level DSLRs like the Nikon D850, which can be found at significantly lower prices than their mirrorless counterparts. He emphasizes the extensive lens selection available for DSLRs, with Canon and Nikon offering hundreds of options, including third-party lenses. This vast array of lenses provides users with unparalleled flexibility and creative possibilities.

Burling further emphasizes the advantages of DSLRs, such as their optical viewfinders, which provide a direct and immersive view of the scene. He praises the ergonomic design of DSLRs, particularly for photographers with larger hands, noting the comfortable button placement and overall ease of use. The satisfying sound and feel of a DSLR, with its distinctive mirror slap, contribute to the overall shooting experience.

DSLRs offer a compelling combination of performance, affordability, and a tactile shooting experience that continues to resonate with many photographers. Their proven track record, extensive lens selection, and ergonomic design make them a viable option for users of all levels. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Burling.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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This subject seems to come up pretty regularly so it feels like beating the proverbial dead horse. Not ever having replied myself though, I would only add that if the Nikon D850 looks like a good alternative, consider the D800 or D800E. You can usually get a used one at MPB with a low shutter count for in the neighborhood of US $600. I bought this camera in 2013 for $3300, and it revolutionized aspects of my photography as none of the other brands had produced a 36 megapixel camera with its image quality at that point. Yes, gear matters. It matters a lot. But that's an entirely individualistic issue depending on what you're using the camera for. In my case, the D800E is as productive and useful for my needs now as it was ten years ago. For my style of deliberative art photography, nobody has convinced me that a newer camera will make a better picture.

Newer cameras never create better images. It's the usability and some more options that makes mirrorless enticing. Well, not to me.

Great images are conceived in the mind, and as long as humans instead of machines are the creators of art, camera technology is merely a tool for assisting in that personal journey. And so whichever brand or features support the work you do... that's the best choice. It's different for everyone.

Honestly, some great values can now be had on DSLRs, lenses, and accessories. It's a great time for newcomers to make photography their creative hobby!

It’s just a camera that happens to have a mirror! Why the need for a case? If you wish a slightly bigger heavier camera with a mirror that flaps about and has a few less features of more modern cameras then whats the problem. It takes pictures just like any other camera. I don’t really see what the problem is. It’s like your inventing a problem that doesn’t actually exist.

Maybe because if the authors here didn't make a case for something, there'd be no Fstoppers?

I see what you did

"It’s like your inventing a problem that doesn’t actually exist" back at you.
I look for cases when buying substantial tools. Basic physical protection and some cases have provisions for basic needs.

I own bothe dslr and mirrorless. I prefer dslr when shooting birds in flight because of the lag time with mirrorless. By this i mean if you pause shooting theres a second or two pause when you put you eye to the eye piece begore ie comes on and you can lose a shot. You dont have that with dslr. You can lose shots with eagles or osprey.

Time to upgrade, then. No mirrorless in the past 10 years is that bad. It's barely a split second on even the worst cameras, and absolutely instant on decent to the best.

I love my mirrorless camera, but the author of the video makes many compelling points (the greatest point being that there is so much excellent DSLR-related new and used equipment that is still entirely viable). It would be wasteful and unthinkable that such equipment would go to waste on a shelf somewhere, or worse be destroyed or scrapped. I think for vloggers it may be less compelling to consider the older equipment due to the disparity of video capabilities and specs, regardless of MILC or DSLR.

Mirrorless is appropriate for vloggers. For still shooters; DSLRs are fully capable.

I much prefer modern electronic view finders to optical and the biggest advantage for mirrorless over DSLR is real time focusing so I can't see why anyone who photographs birds in flight would favour a dslr

Wrong. It's the DSLR that sees flying birds in real time. Mirrorless is always behind as the processed image takes time to emerge on EVF. That's the reason why Sony had to introduce precapture option on A9III. A DSLR is never behind as we see subjects at the speed of light. Mirrorless cameras can never address this issue.

--- "Mirrorless is always behind as the processed image takes time to emerge on EVF. That's the reason why Sony had to introduce precapture option on A9III."


1. You're still stuck in the old days when the earlier EVFs were bad. My guess is you chose to. Nowadays, no dedicated bird shooter I've seen uses a DinoSLR.

2. There's no blackout in a lot of the mirrorless, especially with the a9 series. It's easier to track a bird in flight or in quick maneuvers. See videos link below.

3. Electronic shutter has a faster reaction time than mechanical shutter. I'll let you guess why.

4. Pre-capture is because no human has predictive super-human reflexes.

The advances in tech is so instead of settling for whatever shot you got, you get the shot(s) you want.

Watch at fullscreen at 4K:



I shot since the 1980s and I will stay away from mirrorless as long as I can.
Of course wedding photographers + wildlife got a valid point shooting silent, but for almost everything else the current value for money is now EXCEPTIONAL.
I just happened to buy a new camera this week, and I got lightly used 1DX MK1 for less than US 500 Dollars, that is solid PRO gear for small change, and it will last me for decades.

There you go again. The manufacturers were skilled and successful enough to allure a big chunk of photographers for a seemingly unnecessary switch. Thank God I didn’t fall for it but many did for which I’m deeply grateful to them.

That brings me to an account of my arsenal. Gear really doesn’t matter for casual hobbyists and, seasoned pros as well. However, serious hobbyists like me are little fussy. Being a Canon user; since 2009, I shot with entry-level models e.g. 450D and 50D and was happy with those until they started giving trouble. Then I sold them out and replaced with a 70D. This wonderful piece of equipment gave me immense pleasure. Then suddenly, it started giving trouble as well. Some experts told me; if the video option is used frequently which I actually did; it might cease to work. Getting bored with all these, I decided go for the higher end models and sold it out. Same time, decided to record my occasional casual videos with the smartphone only and never with DSLRs. IMO, producing quality meaningful videos is an entirely different ball game.

Subsequently, I augmented my arsenal with 1DIV, 5D, 5DII, 5DIII and 7D. Only the 5DIII which I received as gift from my son had 225k shutter count. But it’s still going strong shooting with all guns. I bought all the rest cheap with minimal shutter counts. This would never have been possible had there been no anarchy in the market with the emergence of the mirrorless toys.

I studied the mirrorless cameras minutely and am convinced; I don’t miss anything with my DSLRs. Moreover, the lag-free OVF advantage makes me feel like going exactly with time and every moment that I want to capture. The rare failures are my faults.

Long live DSLRs.