**These points vary widely from make-to-make and model-to-model**
Mirrorless cameras are a development in technology. They have some pros and cons verses DSLRs, but they are still just light-capturing tools. They won’t instantly turn you into a better photographer. Like any other camera, it just captures whatever you point it at. It is up to you to be creative and make a great photograph.
Mirrorless camera bodies are generally smaller and lighter than DSLRs because they don’t have the moving mirror, pentaprism and mechanicals inside.
Lenses are generally about the same size and weight across the two platforms. Remember to compare lenses designed for the same size sensor and bodies of the same sensor size.Where DSLRs tend to have a few focus points clustered towards the centre of the sensor, some mirrorless cameras have as many as 693 focus points spread over as much as 93% of the frame. This provides much more flexibility in subject placement and focus tracking within the frame.
Some mirrorless cameras can perform very effective eye autofocus, which means that they can acquire and lock onto a subject’s closest eye to the camera as they walk around the room. This can be quite an advantage in portrait photography.
Many mirrorless cameras have In-Body-Image-Stabilization (IBIS) built into the body. Like Image Stabilized lenses for DSLRs they can counteract movement of the camera while taking the picture. This reduces the chances of blurred pictures in low light or slow shutter speed situations. With IBIS in place, ANY lens you have on the camera is stabilized.
Many mirrorless cameras, with adapters fitted, can work with many lenses of different ages or manufacturer allowing a wide variety to play with.
Mirrorless cameras can shoot completely silently as they don’t have a mirror to slap up and down with every shot. A mirrorless camera still has a moving mechanical shutter, but even that can be disabled to shoot without it. This is a great advantage when trying to shoot during weddings, golf, concerts, some wildlife, or anywhere where silence is important. You can shoot 20 frames per second and make zero noise. Having no mirror slap also eliminates the vibration caused by that action.
Most mirrorless cameras have a tilt or flip out screens on the back, which allows you to take pictures at ground level or over your head without having to lie on the ground or stand on a stool to look through the viewfinder. Some DSLRs have a tilt screen too, but they tend not to focus or work in the same way while in “live-view” mode.
Mirrorless cameras are “live-view” all the time, so when looking at the composition, viewed on the rear screen or through the electronic viewfinder (EVF), is pretty much the picture you will get when you take the shot. When you change a camera setting, you see the result in the viewfinder. You can also view other info like a live histogram right in the viewfinder. When you look through the viewfinder of a DSLR, you are looking at what the camera is seeing , but not how the resulting picture will turn out like, based on the current camera settings.
DSLRs benefit from using hardly any battery power until you actually take a picture, so you can look through the lens even without having the camera turned on. With mirrorless, the rear screen or EVF and sensor have to be active all the time that the camera is being used. This drains batteries faster, but can be they can be programmed with varied “sleep” settings. This however results in short “wake-up” times when the camera is put up to your eye. Sometimes these milliseconds can be important when trying to capture a fast action shot. Therefore mirrorless cameras need to have bigger batteries than their DSLR cousins to have similar battery life. DSLRs have zero wake up time to view the scene.
Mirrorless cameras tend to be much more capable video cameras than DSLRs.
If you are considering making a switch from your DSLR to mirrorless, I would recommend doing a lot of research on the current makes, models and sensor sizes currently available. Also carefully check out the cost and availability of lenses to use with that “system”. Sometimes, depending on which system you are coming from and going to, you may only have to change the body, and use your existing lenses together with an adapter. You may not get 100% functionality, but it will probably work well enough until you get “native” lenses. Since mirrorless cameras have made tremendous leaps in speed, autofocus ability, EVF resolution and battery life in the last year, I would recommend only checking out reviews that are made within the last year. You could also rent a camera to see how you like the “feel” of the camera before making the big switch.
Maybe you enjoy playing with the latest technology, like I do, or maybe you prefer sticking with whatever camera you are comfortable with. Whatever tool you choose to work with, keep growing your skills as a photographer and enjoy your shooting experience.