Mirrorless Camera Terms

All right, let's get to it.

Let's roll up our sleeves and figure out just WHAT all these mirrorless camera terms really mean.

For starters, it will probably help everyone involved if we answer two questions:

  1. What is a mirrorless camera?
  2. How does a mirrorless camera differ from a digital SLR?

With that out of the way, we can dig deeper.

No, you don't have to understand ALL of the terminology that follows to go out and purchase one of these cameras.

But getting a grasp about things like image stabilization and face-detection autofocus will help you sort out what you want vs. what you need and will lead you to a more informed purchase. See you later, buyer's remorse.

Plus, if any slick fast-talking salesperson tries to coax you into more camera than you need, you'll be able to say "no thanks" with conviction.

MegapixelsA higher megpixel count lets you print photos at larger sizes - that's it. More megapixels do NOT result in higher-quality images.
ISO and Image NoiseHigh ISO settings help you take photos in very dim light, but come with a drawback: specks appear in the image, also called "noise".
Sensor SizeWhen it comes to sensors, larger IS better, especially if you want to take photos in dim light.
Micro 4/3rdsThis format is jointly used by Olympus and Panasonic and lets you swap lenses between manufacturers.
Video ModesWhen selecting a video option, carefully consider HOW you want to playback your movies.
Image StabilizationImage Stabilization (IS) systems help to ensure that your photos look clear, but ONLY if the subject isn't moving.
LCD ScreensLCD screens come in different sizes and with different levels of clarity...and some flip out from the camera body.
ViewfindersSince mirrorless cameras don't have optical viewfinders, you'll need to consider the alternatives.