Point and Shoot, Mirrorless System and DSLR Cameras: What’s the Difference

When choosing your first camera, you will have to focus on a couple of important considerations. For a start, you will need to select the right product category. Point and shoot, mirrorless system and DSLR cameras are the most common ones. How do they compare to each other?

In a coming series of articles, we will take a deeper look at each category and its specifics. For now, let’s start with a quick overview to help you understand the most important differences.

What are Point and Shoot Cameras?

A point and shoot camera, as the name suggests, is one of the easiest to use options on the market.

Point and shoot cameras are the smallest ones out there. They’re compact and easy to carry along. No change of lenses is required to shoot photos. Point and shoot cameras also happen to be the most affordable ones.

If you are a beginner or an amateur and you’re in need of a cost-efficient option, a point and shoot camera will be the right one for you.

On the downside, point and shoot cameras have a single fixed lens that can’t be changed for the purpose of making photographic experiments. Control over image properties is also limited. Many of the smaller models come with limited aperture and shutter speed change options. While automatic photography modes offer a lot of convenience, they’re not great for people who want to take photography to the next level.

DSLR Cameras: Their Strengths and Weaknesses

DSLR cameras are digital single lens reflex cameras. A mirror and prism system is utilized to allow the photographer to view an object directly through the lens rather than through a view finder. A DSLR camera may have a fixed lens or there could be a camera body and separate lenses.

DSLR cameras have a number of important strengths that make them better than point and shoot equipment. For a start, the image quality is higher. There’s a lot more flexibility, especially if lenses can be changed.

Other important benefits of DSLR cameras include having an optical viewfinder, manual controls and a large ISO range.

On the downside, DSLR cameras tend to be more expensive and they’re also more difficult to use than point and shoot cameras. DSLR cameras tend to be larger and heavier. In addition, the cost of ongoing DSLR camera maintenance is higher than the cost of keeping a point and shoot camera in an optimal condition.

Mirrorless System Cameras –Are They Superior?

The final variety is a camera without a mirror. A DSLR camera takes a picture through the use of mirrors and prisms. The mirror is located directly behind the lens and its primary function is to direct light into the prism. A mirrorless camera doesn’t have such a complex inner mechanism. As a result, it tends to be a lot lighter and smaller than the standard comparable DSLR camera.

Mirrorless cameras allow for less shake, easier operation and no movement of air inside the camera chambers. The simpler mechanism also makes such cameras easy to clean and to maintain in the long run. Mirrorless cameras also tend to be less expensive than their DSLR counterparts.

On the downside, the automatic focus is slower than the one of DSLR cameras. This means that a mirrorless camera will make it more difficult to produce crisp images of moving objects. A few other downsides include a lower battery life and a limited number of lenses to choose among.

How to Extend the Lifespan of Your Professional Camera Battery

Today’s DSLR and point and shoot cameras are designed for maximum efficiency. A few practices and mistakes, however, could lead to fast battery drainage than indicated by the manufacturer.

Most inexperienced photographers are guilty of one battery sin or another. Luckily, such adverse behaviors are easy to correct and the positive effect will be experienced immediately.

Stop Using the LCD Screen

One of the simplest changes you can make to prolong the lifespan of your DSLR camera battery is to stop using the LCD screen. The viewfinder is a much better idea. Most cameras have knobs and buttons that can be used for the purpose of mode and setting adjustments. You don’t have to access those through the LCD screen.

Getting used to the viewfinder will take some time. The benefits, however, are many. Using the viewfinder gives better support to the camera, which reduces the risk of shaky images. In addition, the LCD screen could be difficult to see in bright light.

The LCD screen is one of the biggest battery killers on a professional camera. Making this transition will quickly show you just how much battery power can be saved.

Don’t Use the Flash When You Don’t Need it

The flash is the second biggest battery drainer that you should learn to use sparingly.

Always try to take a photo with the flash turned off. Needless to say, there will be situations in which flash illumination will be inevitable. In such instances, you may want to consider an external source of light that’s not powered by the camera itself.

Turn Off the Features That You Don’t Need

Professional DSLR cameras come with multiple features that are turned on by default. Go through the list to find out which ones are unnecessary.

Wireless connectivity that is on all the time will drain the battery. There’s no need to have wi-fi or Bluetooth connectivity on by default. Use these only when you need to do an image transfer.

A few other modes and functions you may want to consider turning off include the image stabilization, automatic sensor cleaning and the image review or playback.

Good Battery Maintenance and Proper Charging Practices

The way you take care of the battery itself will also determine its lifespan.

Batteries tend to drain faster in cold weather. If you’re doing outdoor shoots during the winter or in cold weather, you may want to find a way of keeping the batteries warm until they’re needed.

When the camera is stored away for a prolonged period of time, it’s best to take the battery out. Batteries stored inside the body will drain faster than the ones that are stored separately.

Finally, remember that waiting for a battery to drain 100 percent before recharging it is not necessary. This is simply a myth that many believe would result in a longer battery life. Camera batteries, however, come with a technical specification. It provides indication of the number of hours of use that you can get out of the battery. Whether it’s fully drained or not, the number of hours will remain unchanged.

Rechargeable batteries in the past were affected by partial recharges. Today’s high quality photographic equipment is not the same.

A battery’s lifespan can be extended but sooner or later, it will have to be replaced. The older a battery is, the less capable of holding charge it will become. In this instance, you may want to buy a second new battery. There’s no need to get rid of the old one yet. Having two batteries with you, however, will enable you to complete a photoshoot even if an old one gets drained too fast.

How to Choose the Best Camera for Portait Photography

Whether you’re an amateur or you’re just getting started with a photography career, you may be wondering about the camera and the lenses that will be best suited to your needs. The selection of the right equipment is heavily dependent on the type of pictures you’d like to take.

Portrait photography comes with a number of specifics. Light conditions, whether you’re shooting indoor or outdoor and your budget will all play a role. The following guide will shed some light on the essentials, as well as the brands that are known for high quality portrait photography equipment.

Does the Brand Matter?

Usually, people looking for photography equipment opt for the two most prominent options – Canon and Nikon. Both of the brands have dedicated fans who swear by the quality of the cameras and the lenses.

Both companies make great cameras and choosing one or the other is a matter of individual preference and feeling. The camera body should be easy to grip and hold. One more important thing to keep in mind is that both camera bodies and lenses get outdated pretty fast. Thus, it’s not a good idea to spend too much on a product that will eventually have to be changed in the years to come or upgraded to a higher model (as your skills improve).

Obviously, there are other brands on the market you can choose among. Olympus, Fujifilm and Sigma have some pretty decent cameras. Still, it may be better to invest in a well-known, reputable option. At least you will be 100 percent confident and you’ll have to do less research because of the popularity of Canon and Nikon.

Lens Selection Tips

If you are really serious about building a portrait photography career, you may want to invest in a body and a separate set of lenses.

A general rule of thumb is that a lenses with more zoom will deliver much better results than wide-angle lenses. They will put emphasis on the subjectand the background will have a somewhat faded feel to it.

A 50mm f/1.4 lens is a great option for beginners. It’s a cost-efficient solution that will be perfect for testing out one’s portrait photography skills. The lens is lightweight and it produces great results in most kinds of light conditions.

Another option is the 85mm f/1.2 lens. It’s a bit heavier and as a result, the particular piece of optical equipment could interfere a bit with mobility. The sharpness of portraits achieved with this lens, however, will be unparalleled.

A Few Other Considerations

If you are going to be shooting in a controlled situation like a photo studio, most DSLR cameras will do. Shooting portraits in a studio enables you to eliminate many of the adverse influences that come with outdoor photography.
To take it to the next level, however, you should consider getting a high quality camera body and a couple of lenses suited to zoom well on one primary subject.

Apart from zoom lenses, you may also want to consider the addition of a prime lens to your inventory. Prime lenses have a wider maximum aperture while covering the same focal length as a zoom lens. This characteristic produces pictures that have a shallow depth of field and that deliver excellent results in less than ideal light settings.

Finally, you should set the budget in advance. When shopping for 50mm lenses, for example, you’ll see that Canon has several of those that range in price from 100 to over 1,500 dollars. If you have a good idea about how much you’re going to spend, you will limit down the number of options that you’re exploring.