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DSLR vs Mirrorless

The decision about buying a DSLR vs mirrorless camera can be tricky. They both take the same pictures, of course, but they use very different designs. Some say that the DSLR is dead and that mirrorless cameras are the future, but Canon and Nikon have both released new DSLRs so it’s clear they don’t think so.

Mirrorless Camera

There was a time when a DSLR was the only way to go for professional photography. But the mirror system of DSLRs adds quite a bit of bulk to it, which is where mirrorless cameras comes in, also known as compact camera systems. 

Mirrorless cameras retain the big sensors and interchangeable lenses of a DSLR, but drop the mirror to cut down on size and weight. There are pros and cons to both designs, but some do prefer mirrorless systems.

Sony Alpha A7 III

Proving that speed, resolution, and video capabilities can all coexist, the Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital Camera from Sony is a versatile, high-performance camera characterized by not only its resolution, but by its multimedia versatility. Revolving around a full-frame 42.4MP Exmor R BSI CMOS sensor and updated BIONZ X image processor, the a7R III affords an impressive 10 fps continuous shooting rate along with improved autofocus performance for faster, more reliable subject tracking along with wide frame coverage. This updated Fast Hybrid AF System employs a combination of 399 phase-detection points and 425 contrast-detection areas for quicker acquirement of focus in a variety of lighting conditions, and also maintains focus on subjects more effectively. In addition to speed and AF, the processing improvements also help to realize greater image clarity throughout the sensitivity range from ISO 100-32000, which can further be expanded to ISO 50-102400. Video recording capabilities have also been extended for enhanced quality when recording UHD 4K video with the full width of the full-frame sensor, or when using a Super35 area and 5K oversampling to minimize moiré and aliasing. Additionally, benefitting both stills and video operation, the a7R III retains the 5-axis SteadyShot INSIDE sensor-shift image stabilization, which is now effective to minimize the appearance of camera shake by up to 5.5 stops.

Key Feature

Lens MountSony E
Camera FormatFull-Frame (1x Crop Factor)
PixelsActual: 43.6 Megapixel
Effective: 42.4 Megapixel
Maximum Resolution7952 x 5304
Aspect Ratio3:2, 16:9
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor Size35.9 x 24 mm
Image File FormatJPEG, RAW
Bit Depth14-Bit
Image StabilizationSensor-Shift, 5-Axis

Exposure Control

ISO SensitivityAuto, 100 to 32000 (Extended: 50 to 102400)
Shutter Speed1/8000 to 30 Seconds
1/8000 to 1/4 Second in Movie Mode
Bulb Mode
Metering MethodCenter-Weighted Average, Highlight Weighted, Multi-Zone, Spot
Exposure ModesAperture Priority, Auto, Manual, Program, Shutter Priority
Exposure Compensation-5 to +5 EV (1/3, 1/2 EV Steps)
Metering Range-3 to 20 EV
White BalanceAuto, Cloudy, Color Temperature, Custom, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent (Cool White), Fluorescent (Daylight), Fluorescent (Warm White), Incandescent, Shade, Underwater
Continuous ShootingUp to 10 fps at 42.4 MP for up to 76 Exposures (Raw)
Up to 8 fps at 42.4 MP for up to 76 Exposures (Raw)
Up to 6 fps at 42.4 MP for up to 76 Exposures (Raw)
Up to 3 fps at 42.4 MP for up to 76 Exposures (Raw)
Up to 10 fps at 42.4 MP for up to 76 Exposures (JPEG)
Up to 8 fps at 42.4 MP for up to 76 Exposures (JPEG)
Up to 6 fps at 42.4 MP for up to 76 Exposures (JPEG)
Up to 3 fps at 42.4 MP for up to 76 Exposures (JPEG)
Self-Timer2/5/10-Second Delay

Video

Recording ModesXAVC S
UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p [60 to 100 Mb/s]Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p [100 Mb/s]HD (1280 x 720) at 100p/119.88p [50 Mb/s]AVCHD
Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 50p/59.94p [28 Mb/s]Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 23.976p/25p/50i/59.94i [17 to 24 Mb/s]MP4
Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 50p/59.94p [28 Mb/s]Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 25p/29.97p [16 Mb/s]HD (1280 x 720) at 25p/29.97p [6 Mb/s]
External Recording Modes4:2:2 8-Bit
UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 24.00p/25p/29.97p
Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 24.00p/50i/50p/59.94i/59.94p
Recording LimitUp to 29 Minutes
Video EncodingNTSC/PAL
Audio RecordingBuilt-In Microphone (Stereo)
External Microphone Input
Audio File FormatAC3, Dolby Digital 2ch, Linear PCM (Stereo)

Focus

Focus TypeAuto and Manual Focus
Focus ModeAutomatic (A), Continuous-Servo AF (C), Direct Manual Focus (DMF), Manual Focus (M), Single-Servo AF (S)
Autofocus PointsPhase Detection: 399
Contrast Detection: 425
Autofocus Sensitivity-2 to +20 EV

Viewfinder and Monitor

Viewfinder TypeElectronic
Viewfinder Size0.5″
Viewfinder Resolution3,686,400 Dot
Viewfinder Eye Point23 mm
Viewfinder Coverage100%
Viewfinder MagnificationApprox. 0.78x
Diopter Adjustment-4 to +3
Monitor Size3″
Monitor Resolution1,440,000 Dot
Monitor TypeTilting Touchscreen LCD

Flash

Built-In FlashNo
Flash ModesAuto, Fill Flash, Hi-Speed Sync, Off, Rear Sync, Red-Eye Reduction, Slow Sync, Wireless
Maximum Sync Speed1/250 Second
Flash Compensation-3 to +3 EV (1/3, 1/2 EV Steps)
Dedicated Flash SystemTTL
External Flash ConnectionHot Shoe, PC Terminal

Interface

Memory Card SlotSlot 1: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II)
Slot 2: SD/SDHC/SDXC/Memory Stick Duo Hybrid (UHS-I)
Connectivity3.5mm Headphone, 3.5mm Microphone, HDMI D (Micro), USB Type-C (USB 3.0)
WirelessWi-Fi
Bluetooth
GPSNo

Environmental

Operating Temperature32 to 104°F / 0 to 40°C

Physical

Battery1 x NP-FZ100 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion, 7.2 VDC, 2280 mAh (Approx. 530 Shots)
Dimensions (W x H x D)5 x 3.8 x 2.9″ / 126.9 x 95.6 x 73.7 mm
Weight1.45 lb / 657 g

Packaging Info

Package Weight3 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH)10 x 6 x 6″

DSLR Camera

In the most literal sense, a DSLR camera is a digital single lens reflex Camera. Inside the camera body is a mirror that reflects the light coming from the lens up into an optical viewfinder, by way of either a prism (in higher-end DSLRs) or a series of additional mirrors (usually in lower-end models). This is how you can see what you’re shooting, right through the lens, and is where the term “reflex” comes from — referring to mirror’s reflection.

When the shutter is pressed, that mirror flips up out of the way, the shutter slides open, and light coming from the lens takes a straight shot to the imaging sensor where a photograph is made.

The advantage of this design, compared to that of a mirrorless or point-and-shoot camera, is that you can see, in real-time, the exact scene you’re going to capture via the optical viewfinder. There’s no lag, as there can be with point-and-shoots and mirrorless cameras as the sensor has to transfer what it is seeing to a separate digital display elsewhere on the camera. On the downside, you can’t preview your exposure settings through the optical viewfinder the way you can on a mirrorless camera. (If you haven’t gathered by now, mirrorless cameras are so named because they don’t have a DSLR’s reflexing mirror.)

Nikon D750

The D750 is Nikon’s third full-frame DSLR this year, and for a lot of our readers, it might be the most significant. Sitting between the more affordable D610 and the pro-grade, high-resolution D810, the D750 borrows elements from both cameras. Impressively though – with the exception of its 24 megapixel sensor – the D750’s build quality, ergonomics and feature set have much more in common with the more expensive of the two.

The D750 offers faster continuous shooting than the D810 (6.5fps), an ‘improved’ version of the D810’s 51-point AF system (more on that later), a 91,000-pixel RGB metering sensor, a now tilt-able 3.2″ RGBW LCD screen (which is otherwise the same), and the same OLED viewfinder display. The D750 also inherits the same video specification as the D810, which itself incorporated the refinements that Nikon has been adding with each successive DSLR release. In this instance, that means powered aperture control, the new ‘Flat’ picture control mode and the addition of zebra overexposure warnings (though no focus peaking yet). The D750 also offers Auto ISO control in manual exposure video shooting, retaining exposure compensation.

Key Feature

  • 24MP Full-frame CMOS sensor (with AA filter)
  • Flip up/down 3.2″ 1,229k-dot RGBW LCD screen
  • 6.5 fps continuous shooting
  • Improved 51-point Multi-CAM 3500FX II AF system (sensitive to -3EV)
  • 91,000-pixel RGB metering sensor with face detection and spot-metering linked to AF point
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Highlight-weighted metering
  • 1080/60p video recording
  • Powered aperture for control during live view/video
  • Group Area AF mode
  • Simultaneous internal recording and HDMI output
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