You may have seen different acronyms that relate to mirrorless cameras. These are MILC, MFT, and DSLM. What do these acronyms stand for and what does that mean? Do these acronyms mean the same thing? In this movie, author Richard Harrington explains what MILC, MFT, and DSLM stand for and how they relate to each other.
- If you go shopping for a mirrorless camera, you're likely to encounter a lot of acronyms. Shopping in the store can be a bit confusing, because you're going to see things organized in different sections. Some stores organize by manufacturer, so you'll just go looking for brands that you've heard of. Other stores organize by type of camera, or point and shoot versus interchangeable lens. Sometimes the DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras are thrown together, it really just depends. But we are starting to see some standardization, because groups like the Consumer Electronics Association have started to introduce terms that they want manufacturers to use, so people can understand what they are shopping for.
One of the most common terms is MILC, M-I-L-C. This is a Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and essentially a Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera just is a camera that has an interchangeable lens that doesn't use a mirror reflex optical viewfinder. So, DSLR, or Digital Single Lens Reflex, is the more traditional style camera. But mirrorless lets you see the image without having to bounce it into a mirror. So, we typically just refer to these as mirrorless cameras, but the more technical term is Mirroless Interchangeable Lens Camera.
That means that if you pick up a camera body like this, what you'll notice is that the lenses can be swapped. For example, I can push and turn here, and remove this lens, and then just grab another, line that up, and connect. In this case, I switched from a 50 mm lens that's a really wide-open aperture, this is a cinema lens for shooting video, and here I put on a more traditional zoom lens that goes from 16 to 35 millimeters.
But that's what's important here. The lenses are interchangeable, meaning that you can swap lenses when you swap jobs, or you need to shoot for a specific purpose. Now, these cameras also go by some other names. You'll hear things like the Interchangeable Lens Camera, or Compact System Cameras. These are just other names for the same sort of thing. Some folks won't mention mirrorless. A subset of this is Micro Four Thirds, or MFT, and this was a standard that was created by Panasonic and Olympus back in 2008.
There are many 3rd party lenses for this system because many manufacturers support this. Not only will you find Micro Four Thirds lenses being used on Panasonic and Olympus bodies, but you'll also find folks like Blackmagic using them for some of their video cameras. And even Panasonic uses it on many of its pro video cameras. You'll also see due to the very low weight, that people who fly drones often use mirrorless cameras, specifically Micro Four Thirds. Manufacturers like DJI and others support these type of lenses on some of their systems and we're starting to see that people are making specialty cameras just for mounting to drones to give you some flexibility.
With Micro Four Thirds, we have really a small distance from the lens to the sensor. If I take this lens off and you look inside, you'll see that the distance to reach the sensor is very, very small. Now the real benefit here is because of that short distance, not only can you use Micro Four Thirds lenses, you also have the flexibility of using more traditional lenses. Micro Four Thirds camera bodies make it very easy to adapt lenses from other manufacturers and as long as you have a manual focus controls, they're great.
Now, these electronic adapters are not unique to Micro Four Thirds. For example, there are a lot of adapters out there for adapting Canon lenses to work with the Sony bodies. We'll talk more about adapters a little bit later. Mirrorless is merely a category, and it's just like saying DSLR. Think of this as a class of technology. Mirrorless is the broader class, and Micro Four Thirds is a specialty subset underneath Mirrorless. All right, now that you've got the idea of what this technology means, let's talk specifically about sensor size.
- Comparing DSLR and mirrorless cameras
- Understanding sensor size and crop factor
- Exploring lens options
- Adapting lenses
- Exploring advantages: reduced cost, weight, and more
- Exploring disadvantages
- Choosing a camera body
- Shooting video on a mirrorless camera