An interchangeable lens camera (ILC) is a camera that accepts different lenses. However, it’s commonly used to describe mirrorless cameras.
Interchangeable lens camera definition
By definition, an interchangeable lens camera is a type of camera that allows you to change the lens. DSLR and mirrorless cameras allow for interchangeable lenses. Compact point-and-shoot and instant cameras are built with lenses that can’t be changed.
Although you can change the lens on a DSLR camera, it’s generally not considered an ILC because it uses a mirror or prism. An ILC doesn’t use a mirror or prism. It’s also known as a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (MILC).
Mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras are relatively new, and they’re the future of cameras. Like a DSLR, they have a lens mount. As long as the lens is compatible with the mount, you can use it on the camera body.
Since an ILC doesn’t have a mirror or prism inside, they’re smaller than a DSLR camera. As a result, they’re also lighter. Being smaller and lighter, an ILC is easier to use, and your arms won’t get tired.
Another benefit is if you’re traveling or carrying several lenses for a photoshoot. Due to its size and weight, you can travel with more lenses and photography gear while saving space.
When compared to a compact camera, an ILC is slightly bigger or similar in size. However, they have much larger sensor sizes. An ILC also has access to better lenses. Therefore, image quality is better with an ILC than a compact camera.
Interchangeable lens cameras have their drawbacks. One of the main drawbacks is that they use an electronic viewfinder instead of an optical viewfinder.
Electronic viewfinders consumer power, which will cause your battery life to decrease faster than cameras with optical viewfinders.
Also, the autofocus for ILCs isn’t currently as great as DSLRs. They’re slightly slower and aren’t able to track as well. With time and improvements in technology, they’ll get better.
There aren’t too many disadvantages of using an ILC. Overall, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
There are a lot of ILCs on the market, and they vary in price. The following are several of the best and top-rated ILCs:
- Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III. It has 16.1MP, 4K video, 8.6 fps continuous shooting, and a 121-point contrast-detect AF system. Buy the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III from B&H Photo Video for $549.
- FUJIFILM X-S10. It has 26.1MP, 4K video, in-body image stabilization, and continuous shooting up to 8 fps. Buy the FUJIFILM X-S10 from B&H Photo Video for $999.
- Sony a7 III. It has 24.2MP, a 693-point hybrid AF system, 4K video, and 10 fps continuous shooting. Buy the Sony a7 III from B&H Photo Video for $1,698.
- Canon EOS R5. It has 45MP, a DIGIC X Image Processor, 5-axis image stabilization, 12 fps continuous shooting, and 8K raw video. Buy the Canon EOS R5 from B&H Photo Video for $3,899.
Overall, an ILC is a great camera system. When it’s paired with a high-quality lens, your images will turn out excellent. ILCs are the way of the future when it comes to cameras. By not holding a mirror or prism, they’re lighter, smaller, and pack a lot of quality in the small body.
Featured image courtesy of Canva.
About David Em
David Em is the founder of Portraits Refined. He’s a published portrait photographer dedicated to helping photographers develop skills, capture incredible photos, and build successful businesses.