Surely, both are compact camera systems that allow you to swap lenses for a different perspective. However, there are several differences between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras that might make you pick one over the other.
Here's our comparison.
DSLR v/s mirrorless camera: Working
DSLR cameras feature a mirror inside the body that reflects incoming light into the viewfinder. When you press the shutter button, the mirror flips-up, allowing the light to reach the sensor which captures the image.
In a mirrorless camera, the light passes directly to the image sensor, which shows a digital preview of the image on the rear display or electronic viewfinder.
DSLR v/s mirrorless camera: Lenses
Though mirrorless camera bodies are smaller than DSLRs, the lenses for both camera systems are nearly the same size (except for some newer mirrorless formats like Micro Four Thirds).
However, since DSLRs have been around for so many years now, you have more choices to pick from as against the limited set of mirrorless camera lenses.
DSLR v/s mirrorless camera: Viewfinders
DSLRs come equipped with optical viewfinders whereas mirrorless cameras offer electronic viewfinders (EVFs).
Since the arrival of mirrorless cameras in 2008, EVFs have improved immensely. They are now sharper, more responsive, and can be customized as per needs.
An EVF also gives a better preview of the image and it works in video mode as well, making it more capable than an optical viewfinder.
DSLR v/s mirrorless camera: Autofocus and battery life
Like EVs, the autofocus capabilities of a mirrorless camera have greatly improved over the last decade. While in low-light situations, DSLRs offer a faster focusing, mirrorless cameras surpass with newer features like eye detection and intelligent subject tracking.
However, in terms of battery life, DSLRs are better considering they offer an all-day usage whereas mirrorless cameras can shoot upto 400 images on a full-charge.
Which one should you pick?
Since both mirrorless cameras and DSLRs have their own advantages and disadvantages, it's hard to say that one is better than the other. Hence, the ultimate decision will depend on your needs.
Mirrorless cameras, particularly the high-tech compact models, are good for casual photographers and videography whereas DSLRs are more sturdy, versatile (with lenses and accessories) and offer a better battery life.