This is the distance between the mounting plate on a camera that takes interchangeable lenses and the sensor itself. Mirrorless cameras have a shorter flange distance because there’s no mirror inside the body, and this makes the cameras slimmer. DSLRs have a longer flange distance because there needs to be space inside the body for the mirror that this design gets its name from. This makes DSLR bodies thicker. This difference in flange distances means that it’s sometimes possible to use lens adaptors to fit lenses of a different type, brand or lens mount to a camera. This generally works one way only – you can mount a lens with a longer flange distance (e.g. a DSLR or old film SLR lens) on a camera with a shorter flange distance (e.g. a mirrorless camera) but not the other way round.
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