Mirrorless & DSLR Weight Comparison

Started Jul 9, 2014 | Discussions thread
antoineb Veteran Member • Posts: 6,625
Not just weight - size matters also

Hi wombat661,

thanks for doing the work.

I own a decent DSLR with some good glass (Nikon D7000, 85mm f1.4, etc.).  I like the IQ and the PDAF, but dislike that the PDAF is not always precise enough for landscapes, and that the CDAF is very slow.  And I dislike the inability to film with stereo sound and AF.  And more importantly, I dislike the weight, and SIZE.  Carrying some extra weight is often OK - but fitting a large camera and lens in a bag is quite another issue; and even if it fits then it is always a hassle to have to take it out of the bag (and no, a hip or breat pocket doesn't work on various activities).

On the side I own a couple reasonable compacts.

I have often thought about going mirrorless.  Not so much to save weight, but to save on size.

However I haven't done it yet.  Why?
- IQ still wasn't quite there yet.  Of course latest m43 or APS-C mirrorless are now close to my D7000 IQ and even better in some cases (Sony A6000).
- still not sure about the actual size advantage.  Sure one of these cameras with a pancake prime is small - but there are compromises (slow glass) and no one cannot always zoom with one's feet (wildlife, difficult terrain).  Sure the kit zoom pancakes are OK-ish but they're not great either (slow glass, various optical issues) and again 3x zoom isn't ideal for some situations.  And of course if you add some good glass to one of these cameras then the package is large again.
- how to preserve my investment?  The 85mm f1.4 is a great lens but it wasn't cheap and I'm not sure why I'd just leave it on the side.  The 18-200mm is nothing special but it does the job so again why give up on it?  Yes Nikon allow me to use one of these on the "1" system but frankly with the crop factor they all become long teles and sadly the Aptina 1" sensor of the "1" system is obviously quite poor.

So what am I going to do?
- possibly continue to not buy a mirrorless camera.
- instead if I am OK with a modest zoom factor then a Sony RX100 seems like a better solution: small, light, fairly "fast" lens.
- or if I want more compositional flexibility and am OK with a bigger package (but a good deal smaller than my current DSLR w 18-200mm) then a toy like the Olympus Stylus 1, or if I am ok with bigger still then either the Sony RX10 or the Panasonic FZ1000, seem like more useful options.

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


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.

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