Mirrorless and Phone Cameras for Video Creation

If you're a filmmaker or a video editor who is unsure about which camera to use for your next project, you're in the right place. In this short article, we'll take a closer look at the differences between mirrorless cameras and phone cameras so that you can make an informed decision.

So, what is a mirrorless camera? Essentially, it's a camera that doesn't have a reflex mirror like a DSLR camera. Instead, the sensor is exposed to light at all times. This makes the camera less bulky, more compact, and easier to carry around. This type of camera also comes with an electronic viewfinder that can adjust to different lighting conditions. Similarly to DSRLs, mirrorless cameras can use a variety of lenses, which is great for getting different types of shots.

Can you use your high-end smartphone to shoot footage for your film or video? While phone cameras are certainly getting better and better (just see what iPhone 14 has in store for you!), they still don't compare to actual cameras. That being said, they're great for casual shooting or quick social media posts. But, if you want to create truly professional-looking content, a mirrorless camera is still the way to go these days.

Mirrorless cameras are particularly good at capturing footage in low-light settings due to their electronic viewfinders that can adapt to varying lighting conditions. This feature helps you see what you are filming even in the dark.

Another great thing about mirrorless cameras is their ability to produce high-quality footage in 4K. This is something that most low-end DSLR cameras can't do. In this way, mirrorless cameras become a great option for videographers who are not happy with HD footage and who want to do 4K at an affordable cost.

There are a couple of other aspects to know when you compare mirrorless cameras to smartphone cameras, like battery life, cost, and actual post-processing.

Mirrorless cameras tend to have shorter battery lives compared to phones. You will need to have spare batteries or invest in a battery grip for your camera to ensure it works longer during your shoots.

Mirrorless cameras are generally more expensive than mid-range smartphones like the recent Samsung phones, for example. The cost can quickly add up once you start buying additional lenses, accessories, and other equipment. If you're just starting out and on a tight budget, using your smartphone camera might be a more cost-effective option.

Keep in mind that shooting with a mirrorless camera means you'll have to edit your footage on a computer. While you can edit footage on your phone, the options are much more limited compared to what you can do with professional video editing software. So if you plan to do a lot of post-production, choose a camera that can shoot in a high-quality video format that can be edited easily. 

Luckily, you can download an app for your mirrorless camera and transfer footage to your phone, where you can edit it. Fuji does that even with its least expensive mirrorless cameras.

If you are set on a mirrorless camera, choose it by using these simple criteria:

  • Consider the size and weight of the camera. If you plan to travel or shoot for long periods of time, a lighter camera might be more comfortable to use.
  • Look for a camera with good autofocus capabilities. This will help ensure that your shots are in focus and sharp.
  • Make sure the camera you choose can handle the type of shooting you'll be doing. For example, if you're shooting action scenes, you'll want a camera with a fast shutter speed.

Here are the best mirrorless cameras this year:

Let’s just see what these cameras are.

Canon M50 Mark II is a great camera to get started with. Its still images come out nicely sharp with pleasing colors and plenty of contrast. 

Olympus OMD M10 Mark IV has been designed for value. This camera adds power and sophistication to your work, with its 20-megapixel sensor, improved in-body image stabilization, and a new flip-down and tiltable monitor.

Fujifilm XT4 serves up a compelling blend of great build quality, class-leading image quality, and a fun shooting experience. You can also consider Fujifilm XT3, which is still on sale and worth considering if you mainly shoot stills.

Sony A74: this new 33-megapixel full-frame sensor is a huge jump up from the 24-megapixel sensor in the A7 III. Images come out superbly rich in detail, with true color and plenty of room for highlight and shadow recovery. 

Compare their prices in your local photo and video stores and decide whether this type of device is for you and whether the work you’re planning to do with such a camera is justifiable of its cost.

The main takeaway is that while phone cameras are convenient and getting better all the time, they still can't compare to the versatility and quality of a mirrorless camera. If you're serious about your videography or filmmaking, it's worth investing in a high-quality mirrorless camera to help you achieve your goals.

If you're still unsure which camera to use, it's important to think about what you want to achieve with your video. If you're just looking to make casual videos for social media, your phone might be good enough (you may invest into upgrading it to a newer version with a better camera). But, if you want to create professional-looking content, a mirrorless camera is the way to go.