Mirrorless & DSLR Weight Comparison

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wombat661
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Mirrorless & DSLR Weight Comparison
2 months ago

In almost every conversation, it is always brought up that Mirrorless is lighter than DSLR. You can save weight by going mirrorless. Quick search of the forum will show many such advise. I have always consider mirrorless to replace DSLR as well. With the fast focus Sony a6000, seems like the gap is closing.

I have been looking closely at a mirrorless APS-C system, and how much lighter they are. Micro 4/3 are definitely small, but they are just lacking for low light situation that I find myself in. In the last two weeks, one was at a dance, and another at an aquarium. Not happy with the high ISO pictures. If you have remote flash and possibly reflectors and an assistant, you can make a beautiful picture, but I don't want to go thru that effort in those particular situations.

Here are two graphs that shows the weight comparison: Source .

For the camera, a light DSLR is not that much heavier than mirrorless APS-C. Not a huge amount of savings there as far as weight is concerned. See below.

Mirrorless vs DSLR Weight Comparison

Lens:

For the fast f2.8 mid range zoom weight are about the same for Mirrorless and DSLR. That is what I typically use. Nothing gained there. The only exception is for the slower 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 where mirrorless is half the weight. However, if you compare the exact zoom range of 18-55mm f3.5-5.6, the mirrorless lens is exactly the same as DSLR lens. There are no difference unless you count the worst case 40g (about the weight of my car keys) as difference.

Note that for tele zoom that goes up to 200mm, there is also minimal weight difference also.

Mirrorless Lens vs DSLR Lens Weight Comparison

This is my conclusion:

My DSLR is little heavy at close to a lb. However, going mirrorless is not going to save much weight at all. Just get a D5300 instead and use the same lens. Mirrorless camera might be thinner making it hard to grip, but weight is about the same just looking at the numbers.

Am I missing something or is something more to the weights comparison.

ambercool
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Re: Mirrorless & DSLR Weight Comparison
In reply to wombat661, 2 months ago

I think the part you're missing is owning the systems in that chart and taking them both on the daily.  It's a big difference.  Especially using high quality glass.  I'm not sure how long your gigs are, but sometimes going 8 hours in a day can be quite daunting.

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Re: Mirrorless & DSLR Weight Comparison
In reply to wombat661, 2 months ago

wombat661 wrote:

Am I missing something or is something more to the weights comparison.

I think you need to use both systems on a regular basis to get a better feel for the real-world differences. I use m4/3 and Canon DSLRs. I can fit an m4/3 body and a full set of lenses in a fraction of the space that I can my Canon DSLR gear. And the lenses are also significantly smaller. In fact, m4/3 lenses are downright tiny compared to by Canon lenses. I also have an EOS M, but I'm probably going to sell it off to get Fuji mirrorless gear (I still want APS-C mirrorless for its bigger sensor-- bigger than m4/3). While I do like having both DSLR gear and mirrorless gear, for day to day carrying and shooting, I always take my mirrorless gear. I save my DSLR gear for work. For personal shooting, I actually detest lugging around my DSLR gear-- too large, too bulky, too obvious. DSLR gear's size effects other things too. For example, the camera bag I use for my DSLR gear is twice the size of the camera bag I use for my mirrorless gear. And yes, when I lift each bag loaded up with equivalent gear, the weight difference is very noticeable. I don't mind carrying bulkier DSLR gear if I'm being paid to do so. But for personal shooting, I much prefer my lighter, more compact, less obtrusive mirrorless gear. Especially for things like travel and street photography.

If you can afford it, I think it's nice to have both mirrorless and DSLR gear. I really like having that choice. But if you can only afford one or the other, it just depends on what kind of shooting you do, and what your priorities are. Eventually, I'd love to dump all my DSLR gear, and go exclusively mirrorless. But mirrorless isn't quite there yet. So until then, I use both. Each has its pros and cons.

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Ontario Gone
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Re: Mirrorless & DSLR Weight Comparison
In reply to wombat661, 2 months ago

Categorizing all mirrorless into one group is silly, since sensor sizes also vary within mirrorless making everything a moot point. With that being said, it's not always about camera size. MFT is what i bought into after using 4 DSLRs from 2 other brands, all apsc. While only 2 equivalence stops smaller than FF, MFT offers a huge reduction in lens length. To me, having a shorter overall system, physically shorter, is far more advantageous than it being lighter. Imagine having a lens that stuck out 2 feet, it would be cumbersome and unwieldy. Going the opposite and getting shorter, it is easier to maneuver, to pack, everything is better. 2 stops isn't a lot to lose for this advantage.

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neil holmes
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Re: Mirrorless & DSLR Weight Comparison
In reply to wombat661, 2 months ago

wombat661 wrote:

In almost every conversation, it is always brought up that Mirrorless is lighter than DSLR. You can save weight by going mirrorless. Quick search of the forum will show many such advise. I have always consider mirrorless to replace DSLR as well. With the fast focus Sony a6000, seems like the gap is closing.

I have been looking closely at a mirrorless APS-C system, and how much lighter they are. Micro 4/3 are definitely small, but they are just lacking for low light situation that I find myself in. In the last two weeks, one was at a dance, and another at an aquarium. Not happy with the high ISO pictures. If you have remote flash and possibly reflectors and an assistant, you can make a beautiful picture, but I don't want to go thru that effort in those particular situations.

Here are two graphs that shows the weight comparison: Source .

For the camera, a light DSLR is not that much heavier than mirrorless APS-C. Not a huge amount of savings there as far as weight is concerned. See below.

Mirrorless vs DSLR Weight Comparison

Lens:

For the fast f2.8 mid range zoom weight are about the same for Mirrorless and DSLR. That is what I typically use. Nothing gained there. The only exception is for the slower 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 where mirrorless is half the weight. However, if you compare the exact zoom range of 18-55mm f3.5-5.6, the mirrorless lens is exactly the same as DSLR lens. There are no difference unless you count the worst case 40g (about the weight of my car keys) as difference.

Note that for tele zoom that goes up to 200mm, there is also minimal weight difference also.

Mirrorless Lens vs DSLR Lens Weight Comparison

This is my conclusion:

My DSLR is little heavy at close to a lb. However, going mirrorless is not going to save much weight at all. Just get a D5300 instead and use the same lens. Mirrorless camera might be thinner making it hard to grip, but weight is about the same just looking at the numbers.

Am I missing something or is something more to the weights comparison.

I just fired up my old APSC Pentax KX DSLR....with a 28-105 lens( basically MY kit lens for it).

It is one of the smallest DSLRs still but is bigger and heavier than my FF A7 and 28-70 kit lens.

My m4/3 kit lens is a lot smaller but the camera is not....weight is very similar between the m4/3 and FF with kit lenses....the m4/3 just a bit lighter.

The one that is most comfortable to me is the FF camera.

Most of my lenses are shared between the three cameras.....more so the A7 and GX7.

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Martin.au
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Re: Mirrorless & DSLR Weight Comparison
In reply to wombat661, 2 months ago

Well, you can take the Canons out of the list. They're comparable to current M4/3s for ISO.

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p5freak
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Re: Mirrorless & DSLR Weight Comparison
In reply to wombat661, 2 months ago

This is my conclusion:

My DSLR is little heavy at close to a lb. However, going mirrorless is not going to save much weight at all. Just get a D5300 instead and use the same lens. Mirrorless camera might be thinner making it hard to grip, but weight is about the same just looking at the numbers.

Am I missing something or is something more to the weights comparison.

This is my conclusion :

Panasonic GM1 = 173g

Panasonic 12-32 = 70g

Panasonic 45-175 = 210g

Total 453g

Canon SL1 = 407g

Canon 18-55 = 205g

Canon 55-250 = 375g

Total 987g

Its very true. Mirrorless is A LOT lighter than DSLR.

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Mike_PEAT
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Oly E-M5 & E-5 Weight Comparison, but it's size too!
In reply to wombat661, 2 months ago

Here is a comparison of Olympus two bodies with the same sized sensor, with f/2.8 lenses:
E-5 800g + 12-60mm f2.8-4 575g= 1375g
E-M5 425g + 12-40mm f/2.8 382g= 807g (close to E-5 body weight ON ITS OWN!)

But again it's not just weight, the E-M5 is close to the size of the SLRs I used 10 years ago, that I had used for 20 years. All other dSLRs over the past 10 years were bigger, bulkier, and heavier!

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MediaArchivist
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Sensor size?
In reply to wombat661, 2 months ago

I think sensor size matters more than mirror/mirrorless. Cameras with mirrors are FF or APS, mirrorless are 1", m4/3, APS, or FF. Smaller sensors can use smaller lenses.

Another way to examine the weight issue would be to look at look at somewhat more equivalent lenses, perhaps by third parties in addition to the camera manufacturers. For example, Sigma's lightest prime in their "DN" line is the 30mm F2.8 DN at 140g. Their lightest FF prime is the 50mm F2.8 EX DG Macro at 320g. Looking at Samyang, their 7.5mm f/3.5 UMC Fish-eye (m4/3) is 175g while their APS/FF fisheye is 417g.

I don't know if those figures sway the weight difference enough to matter to you, but the overall trend is that mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter— and certainly there are more options for going small and light. I use a FF camera replete with a VG and usually have a couple of FF lenses with me. There are more than a few occasions where I have wished for a smaller and lighter rig! The E-mount and m4/3 offerings are compelling.

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Pontoneer
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Re: Mirrorless & DSLR Weight Comparison
In reply to wombat661, 2 months ago

Weight and size were not major factors for me .

I bought my mirrorless camera ( Pentax K-01 ) as an upgrade over my Canon G11 compact , which was OK for general shooting in good daylight but poor in low light , and not as good as my DSLR's in any case . It was , and remains , a handy little camera to stick in a pocket or keep in the glovebox of the car , much as my Rollei 35S was back in the film days .

I bought the K-01 recently as the few remaining unsold ones can now be picked up for around £200 ( mine was an ex demo camera with full warranty from a main dealer ) , and got a DA 40mm Ltd f2.8 pancake lens to partner it . This combo is pocketable in an outdoor jacket pocket , if not smaller pockets ; being effectively a K-5 the IQ is much better than the G11 plus I can use all my existing K mount lenses , including my compact SMC-M primes , my Pentax-dedicated Metz flashes , and it uses the same batteries as my K-3 , for which it is a useful backup camera .

It probably weighs around the same as my *istD and is possibly about the same size - the main reason for getting it was , partly , the bargain price and partly that it just isn't a DSLR , so under some circumstances is more covert and attracts less attention since you look more like a casual shooter and not a 'pro' , which can sometimes be an advantage .
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quezra
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Re: Mirrorless & DSLR Weight Comparison
In reply to wombat661, 2 months ago

wombat661 wrote:

I have been looking closely at a mirrorless APS-C system, and how much lighter they are. Micro 4/3 are definitely small, but they are just lacking for low light situation that I find myself in. In the last two weeks, one was at a dance, and another at an aquarium. Not happy with the high ISO pictures. If you have remote flash and possibly reflectors and an assistant, you can make a beautiful picture, but I don't want to go thru that effort in those particular situations.

As DPR's equivalence article has shown, each format is different by approximately one stop in light gathering, holding aperture and other things constant.  Of course not exactly 2:1 but very close.  But with weight there are diminishing returns to making things smaller, and so it does decrease in logarithmic fashion but at a lesser rate than 2:1. You see most gains going down from FF > APS-C (a FF lens might be twice the weight of APS-C), less going APS-C > MFT (APS-C lens will definitely not be twice the weight of MFT), less still going MFT > Nikon 1 (they're almost the same).  Thus in terms of weight:light efficiency, bigger formats are actually better because of the incremental differences in weight lower down the line.

Thus the "sweet spot" for you where you are concerned about low light performance will be where you can get the maximum light for the greatest weight you are willing to carry.  FF cameras are often that sweet spot for pros.  APS-C much closer to that spot for amateurs.  With mirrorless, the sweet spot moved up a little bit - since you can shoot an A7 with kit lens and it weighs the same as a (small) APS-C DSLR with kit lens. And thanks to Canikon's zoom lens strategy for APS-C, most of the primes you can get for APS-C are FF anyway, so there may be less savings there than you think.

If light is not a concern to you (or has reached "good enough" for you), then the lighter cameras will win out - MFT being nicely positioned for that.

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Alphoid
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Conclusion does not follow data
In reply to wombat661, 2 months ago

I don't see that numbers bearing out the conclusion.

An A6000 is 285 grams. A D5300 is 479 grams. A D7100 is 765 grams. The A6000 is somewhere between the two in terms of controls and quality (probably closer to the D7100 overall). I'm really not sure how you'd call that 'not a huge savings' -- a D5300 is 1.7x as heavy, while a D7100 is about 2.7x as heavy.

Going for compact, though, I'd go with Olympus. It's smaller and lighter (much smaller, a little lighter). IBIS stabilizes my lenses (and in particular, fast primes), so overall low-light is quite competitive with larger sensors, at least for what I do.

Effectively, you save the weight of the mirrorbox and pentamirror/pentaprism. That's a big difference. Lenses are, of course, comparable. Does overall system weight change? It depends on the weight of the lenses. Shooting with a small prime, mirrorless will cream dSLR for weight. With a Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8, the total weight will be identical.

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crashpc
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Re: Mirrorless & DSLR Weight Comparison
In reply to wombat661, 2 months ago

I only care about size. Weight is almost irrelevant to me.

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ShawnHoke
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Re: Mirrorless & DSLR Weight Comparison
In reply to T3, 2 months ago

T3 wrote:

wombat661 wrote:

Am I missing something or is something more to the weights comparison.

I think you need to use both systems on a regular basis to get a better feel for the real-world differences...While I do like having both DSLR gear and mirrorless gear, for day to day carrying and shooting, I always take my mirrorless gear. I save my DSLR gear for work. For personal shooting, I actually detest lugging around my DSLR gear-- too large, too bulky, too obvious. DSLR gear's size effects other things too. For example, the camera bag I use for my DSLR gear is twice the size of the camera bag I use for my mirrorless gear. And yes, when I lift each bag loaded up with equivalent gear, the weight difference is very noticeable. I don't mind carrying bulkier DSLR gear if I'm being paid to do so. But for personal shooting, I much prefer my lighter, more compact, less obtrusive mirrorless gear. Especially for things like travel and street photography.

If you can afford it, I think it's nice to have both mirrorless and DSLR gear. I really like having that choice. But if you can only afford one or the other, it just depends on what kind of shooting you do, and what your priorities are. Eventually, I'd love to dump all my DSLR gear, and go exclusively mirrorless. But mirrorless isn't quite there yet. So until then, I use both. Each has its pros and cons.

^This explains my recent change of heart.

I've always been a "FF Nikon or nothing" guy when it comes to digital cameras. I don't like to compromise. I use my DSLR for work and it's perfect for that. I also use a medium format Hasselblad and an 8x10 wooden view camera for personal work. I'm not averse to using big cameras and usually prefer them.

A couple of weeks ago I was in Adorama looking at the D800. While waiting for my camera guy I started playing around with the smaller mirrorless cameras. I tried the Fujis, the Olys, the Panasonics, and the Sonys. The only one that really clicked with me was the Sony a6000.

After doing some research, I ended up purchasing the a6000 (mainly for video work) a few days later. Oddly, I've found myself gravitating towards it for all personal stuff that I would use digital for. I've also started carrying it everywhere, because it's so small and light. When my wife and I used to go to the park, I wouldn't bring my DSLR, because it meant bringing my camera bag along with everything else on our 1.5 mile walk to the park. Now I just toss the a6000 in our blanket/beach towel bag and call it good.

It's more than weight, it's size. This isn't meant as a definitive comparison since everyone is different, but it's the one comparison that matters to me.

Size matters

Having the DSLR for work and the small mirrorless for everything else is a perfect combination for me.

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RaymondR
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Re: Mirrorless & DSLR Weight Comparison
In reply to wombat661, 2 months ago

you are missing quite a bit.  one example:  where would the Oly 12-40 2.8 zoom "weigh"in in your fast zoom comparison? you have the EM-1 and EM-5 bodies but you neglect the fast zoom.  If you put that zoom on your chart, your narrative falls to pieces.  methinks there is some cherry picking going on in your comparison.

also, many of us singing the praises of m4/3 are primarily prime users, not zoom users  where is the fast prime lens comparison?  Can you find me a trio to match the size and weight of my regular kit -- Panny 20mm 1.7, Oly 45. 1.8 and Oly 60mm macro 2.8?  Oh, and it has to fit into Think Tank Mirrorless 20 bag.

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peevee1
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Re: Mirrorless & DSLR Weight Comparison
In reply to wombat661, 2 months ago

wombat661 wrote:

For the camera, a light DSLR is not that much heavier than mirrorless APS-C. Not a huge amount of savings there as far as weight is concerned. See below.

Mirrorless vs DSLR Weight Comparison

Only if you compare featureless and control-less plastic SL1/D3300 with tiny OVF to weather-sealed Fuji X-T1 with million dials and buttons and huge EVF.

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Dennis
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Re: Mirrorless & DSLR Weight Comparison
In reply to wombat661, 2 months ago

wombat661 wrote:

Am I missing something or is something more to the weights comparison.

I think a lot of people with DSLRs own "high end" kits ... a Canon 5D owner has a handful of L lenses, for instance. When these people move to mirrorless, there simply aren't so many big glass options; they have no choice but to save weight and then they attribute that to mirrorless. I had a conversation with one person who said he had to go mirrorless to do this - he could not stick with a DSLR and step down to lighter lenses because he has to own the "best" that a system offers.

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RaymondR
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Re: Mirrorless & DSLR Weight Comparison
In reply to RaymondR, 2 months ago

I did the research for you -- to get comparable focal lengths to my m4/3 prime kit and staying as fast as practicable (Panny 20 .7; Oly 45 1.8; and Oly 60mm macro 2.8), had I stayed with Nikon DX, here is what I could replace it with:

Nikon 28 f2.8 (efl 42 to the Panny's 40)

Tamron 60mm macro f2 (doubling as a portrait lens) (lighter than the Nikon 60 f2.8 micro or the new Nikon 58)

Tamron 90mm macro f2.8

The weight comparison:  100g vs. 330g, 116g vs. 400g and 186g vs. 550g.  So, all three m4/3 lenses weigh about what the Tamron 60 alone weighs and are about 150g less than the tamron 90.  This is weight comparison alone -- bulk and size wise the differences are comparably stark.

Add in the fast Oly standard zoom being only about 380grams (which you left off your chart), and that I forgot to mention that the Panny fast zoom for m4/3 (also not on your chart) is even lighter than the Oly, you shouild start to see why people tout the lighter/smaller aspects of mirrorless over DSLR.  The critical difference is in the lenses, not the bodies and your charts are, willfully or not, blind to that.

Add in that my Oly E-M10 allows me to control all exposure parameters with buttons and dials and not menu items and all of sudden to stay comparable I have to choose one of the larger Nikon DX options rather than the smaller ones, further amplifying the differences.

You can rationalize your choice based on your priorities.  If you need excellent low light performance, there is no reason for you not to stick with DSLRs if you like, but to dismiss like you do the weight/size factor that led many of us to mirrorless over cropped sensor DSLR is simply putting a blind eye to reality.

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It's about right size for you
In reply to wombat661, 2 months ago

You're not missing anything, but it all comes down to what is the best fit for your needs, and it's not always about weight alone.

The same argument could be made about automobiles - if you have a 'large' car, you clearly know a 'subcompact' is much smaller - but what would be the argument for a 'midsize' car?  Why do so many pick one, when they're not THAT much smaller than a large car?  It's usually because it's a size that just fits the person's needs the best - not too large, not too small.

I can only give you MY experience with mirrorless, and why I love having one as a second body to my DSLR.  First off, my DSLR is not one of the super-lightweight compact models - it's solidly  a middle size body...which I like.  The weight and heft is good, the grip is solid, and the balance is very nice with large lenses.  But come summer, when it's near 100 degrees, and humidity to match, and I'm outdoors walking 10 miles with a heavy camera rig, I start wishing I could shed a few Lbs from my gear.  And that's when the mirrorless cam comes to play - it's smaller and lighter - not THAT much lighter, but enough to matter.  I can opt to use a lesser lens (rather than an F4 prime, I'll use an F4-6.3 zoom) and knock the overall size and weight down significantly (my DSLR birding rig is 9Lbs, my mirrorless rig is 3Lbs).  And it's not just about WEIGHT as I mentioned - it's also about BULK - the mirrorless body is much thinner, much less bulky - it can be carried several ways that make it more convenient - I can hang it comfortably from a belt clip, I can stick it under my arm by the lens barrel, etc.  My model is a very thin body with a very thin lens registration, but with a pronounced grip, which still makes it very comfortable to carry long distances - I don't get on well with the gripless rectangle bodies that are harder to carry by the body.

And it's also about the modularity.  While a mirrorless body with a big telephoto lens isn't saving much in the way of weight or size over a DSLR with the same lens, I have the option to knock the camera down to just the body and a super-small pancake lens, or compacting zoom lens.  In those cases, the camera can be made as small as some P&S cameras, and even pocketable.  And even considering additional lenses, because of the lack of bulk in the camera body itself, I can stick my mirrorless body and 3 smaller lenses in a tiny camera bag, occupying the exact same space that my DSLR would with one lens attached.  I can make the mirrorless as small as a P&S, or expand it up to nearly DSLR size and use it with longer-reach telephotos, as the situation calls for.  I consider it my 'midsize' car, or SUV.  My DSLR is my brute - the big monster that can do any job, but some days I just want to take the smaller, less-fuss car, which can do the same job under most but the most extreme circumstances...and be a lot easier to park and maneuver.  It's still bigger than a subcompact, but it's also much more capable than a subcompact...and that's why it's the right size for me.

I'm committed to both DSLRs and mirrorless.  I still don't feel like a mirrorless is the best solution when I need to shoot with very long or very heavy lenses - the DSLR is just better balanced with those lenses for me...but I love mirrorless bodies' ability to save me some weight and a good bit of bulk when working with shorter lenses and primes, carry multiple lenses in the same bag as a single lens for my DSLR, and the ability to use as a backup birding rig when the weather is awful hot and humid and I need to go long distances with a lot less bulk and weight along for the ride.

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CharlesB58
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Re: Mirrorless & DSLR Weight Comparison
In reply to wombat661, 2 months ago

Carefully picking and choosing the items which support your foregone conclusion shows you are missing the concept of objectivity.

If you think m4/3 can't offer good low light capability, you are probably either pixel peeping, or looking at photos which haven't been properly exposed and processed.

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