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Author Topic: Electronic Viewfinder - Drop Rear Screen?  (Read 5161 times)
hortiphoto
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« on: November 03, 2012, 04:30:06 PM »
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After using my NEX-7 for nearly a year, I now find that I really don't use the rear screen at all. That's got me wondering about a change in design for cameras with electronic viewfinders. Everything needed can be seen in the viewfinder, so why not get rid of the rear screen? It would save space and reduce the complexity of the electronics and software.

After all, the rear LCD came about because there was no way to reviews setting or images when the camera had an optical viewfinder or no viewfinder. Now that the optical viewfinder is gone, why have two systems? OK, it's sometimes easier to read the menus on the rear LCD and maybe using live view on a tripod is easier that way, but I can't think of anything that it's essential for.

A camera like the RX100 with an optical viewfinder instead of the screen, manual zooming and maybe with a larger sensor looks like a great idea to me.

Geoff Bryant
www.cfgphoto.com
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leuallen
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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2012, 06:34:57 PM »
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In my opinion, not a good idea so camera manufactures will probably adopt it - lol.

I have a GH2 and usually use it with the LCD turned into the body so that it is essentially what you suggest. But there are numerous situations that I find that I need the LCD: low/high angle, bracketing, panorama sweeps, tripod mounted, etc. The articulated LCD is a godsend me thinks.

Larry

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BJL
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2012, 08:24:16 AM »
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I agree with leiallen [sorry; I mean Larry]: with my E-M5, although I compose mostly with the "eye-level" EVF, the rear-screen is still very useful:
- for some photographic situations (like shooting small subjects close to the ground without having to lie in the mud to use the VF).
- For accessing less commonly used settings that require menus: I find it much easier to push buttons and twiddle dials for them with the camera in front of me, so I can see both the on-screen menus and the controls. The Olympus system of "super control panel" on the rear screen and the option of touch screen operation of settings are far more convenient than working with camera to eye.

Touch selection of focus point is sometimes convenient too, though I could live without it.


P. S. Why are only Micro Four Thirds user responding so far?
« Last Edit: November 04, 2012, 12:18:01 PM by BJL » Logged
k bennett
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2012, 12:13:03 PM »
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Yeah, I'm with Larry on this one. My GH2 screen is almost always turned to face the camera, but I do use it for low angle and tripod work. And it's much easier to page through the menus with the large screen, say, when you are setting up the camera.
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simonstucki
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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2012, 01:02:22 PM »
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I like the lcd and I wouldn't want to miss it for most situations, but what if you could use your smartphone or tablet as a display, for menus or even shooting (a high res tablet for tripod work would be much better than even the most articulated viewfinder (except probably for battery life).

or some sort of interchangable back, like one with a large lcd touchscreen and very few buttons if any, and another one no lcd but many buttons.

I think there are many interesting possibilities and what we have now is nowhere near perfection.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2012, 01:21:34 PM »
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Hi,

I'm a Sony Alpha shooter.

I'm essentially with Larry. I general I find the LCD useful for handling menus, but I also find it very useful when I shoot from tripod, and I do that a lot.

Best regards
Erik
In my opinion, not a good idea so camera manufactures will probably adopt it - lol.

I have a GH2 and usually use it with the LCD turned into the body so that it is essentially what you suggest. But there are numerous situations that I find that I need the LCD: low/high angle, bracketing, panorama sweeps, tripod mounted, etc. The articulated LCD is a godsend me thinks.

Larry


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hortiphoto
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2012, 01:52:36 PM »
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I may not have phrased the initial post that well. A rear LCD is certainly useful and I'm not advocating removing them from all cameras. For all the miniscule extra bulk and weight having one adds to a DSLR, it's an essential.

But the current trend is towards small cameras built around large sensors. That seems to a good idea and they're popular. Bur some, like the Sony RX100 and RX1, go the compact camera route and have a rear screen with no viewfinder. There clearly isn't room for both, but it seems to me that when Sony have at their disposal such a good electronic viewfinder that can display all the information the rear screen can, why not have a viewfinder instead of a screen?

Geoff Bryant
www.cfgphoto.com
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JohnBrew
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« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2012, 02:21:20 PM »
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Geoff, I'm of the same mind as you. I'll use mine to check histogram occasionally or to show someone the image I just took. BTW, the more I use the EVF of the NEX-7 the more I like it. I especially like to be able to zoom in for fine tuning of the focus.
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leuallen
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« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2012, 08:26:01 PM »
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Quote
but what if you could use your smartphone or tablet as a display

I think you will be able to do that and control the main camera operations with the GH3 with built in wifi. At least that is what I am hoping. Can't wait til I get mine.

Larry
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BJL
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« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2012, 12:25:50 PM »
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... the current trend is towards small cameras built around large sensors. That seems to a good idea and they're popular. Bur some, like the Sony RX100 and RX1, go the compact camera route and have a rear screen with no viewfinder. There clearly isn't room for both ...
Geoff, I almost agree -- there could be a niche for camera bodies with EVF's that are smaller by not having a big 3" rear-screen, which is probably the main factor setting the lower limit on body size. But maybe an intermediate option would be better:
a smaller screen, like the 2.5" or even 2" ones used in the past.

This could be enough for an EVF camera where it is primarily for displaying and adjusting settings, and only on rare occasions used to frame a shot with the camera in an awkward position.
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2012, 11:12:54 AM »
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Or better yet, drop the EVF and simply keep the rear screen like on the RX1. Shooting with the rear screen is so much more flexible.
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JohnBrew
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« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2012, 01:25:01 PM »
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Or better yet, drop the EVF and simply keep the rear screen like on the RX1. Shooting with the rear screen is so much more flexible.

Not when I have to put on reading glasses to focus by LCD.
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250swb
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« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2012, 03:43:59 PM »
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This is yet another thread where the OP just can't resist only thinking about themselves. 'I don't use is so lets get rid of it', or 'I want it so why don't they make it for me'. Whatever happened to the idea of thinking about other people first, which coincidentally is what camera designers tend to do.

Steve

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BJL
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« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2012, 08:51:06 AM »
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Or better yet, drop the EVF and simply keep the rear screen like on the RX1. Shooting with the rear screen is so much more flexible.
I can only half agree, despite having defended rear screens in the past against the persistent myths of them needing unstable arms' length holding. I do find the rear screen of the EM5 very useful at times for composing, but still use the eye-level EVF a majority of the time, for advantages like the bigger apparent image size. Or am I just a slave to habits developed over decades of SLR usage? Maybe I will try spending one day composing only with the rear screen.

The bail-out option of adding an accessory EVF (which can be left at home when compactnes is the priority) does make the compactness of a rear-screen only, full-time live view camera an attractive option for many photographers ... especially when that adds the option of tilting the EVF up for tripod work and low-angle shots.
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2012, 11:15:23 PM »
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Not when I have to put on reading glasses to focus by LCD.

Or shoot in the desert or a snow landscape.  Them LCDs need about three stops more brightness.

I'm thinking I'll get a Hoodman LCD viewer loupe for my D800 if only to exclude ambient light.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2012, 11:17:28 PM by Peter McLennan » Logged
AlfSollund
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« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2012, 02:25:24 PM »
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Make the EVF standard and the rear screen optional. Include interface to use pad / mobile as rear screen-
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BJL
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« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2012, 10:56:14 AM »
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Make the EVF standard and the rear screen optional. Include interface to use pad / mobile as rear screen-
I am not sure what you mean by "optional", given that the rear screen is heavily integrated into the body, not something that can work well as a clip-on accessory (whereas a peep-hole EVF can be an accessory.) So I think you realy mean offering a separate model with no rear-screen. And if that were the only difference from another model with rear screen, there would be little point: no significant size reduction, and any reduction in unit manufacturing costs that would probably not translate to a retail cost saving, due to the worse economies of scale of the far lower sales volume of a model without the very popular rear screen.

We are approaching the realm of numerous forum threads where posters express a purist desire for a camera that lacks some new-fangled feature like video or auto-focus, and delude themselves that there are far more other people interested in the same thing that is actually the case: the pervasive error of "false consensus". For an interesting example of that in the case of opinions on global warming, see http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/11/everyone-agrees-with-us-on-climate-change-especially-when-were-wrong/
« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 10:57:59 AM by BJL » Logged
AlfSollund
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« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2012, 06:09:40 AM »
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I am not sure what you mean by "optional", given that the rear screen is heavily integrated into the body, not something that can work well as a clip-on accessory (whereas a peep-hole EVF can be an accessory.) So I think you realy mean offering a separate model with no rear-screen. And if that were the only difference from another model with rear screen, there would be little point: no significant size reduction, and any reduction in unit manufacturing costs that would probably not translate to a retail cost saving, due to the worse economies of scale of the far lower sales volume of a model without the very popular rear screen.

We are approaching the realm of numerous forum threads where posters express a purist desire for a camera that lacks some new-fangled feature like video or auto-focus, and delude themselves that there are far more other people interested in the same thing that is actually the case: the pervasive error of "false consensus". For an interesting example of that in the case of opinions on global warming, see http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/11/everyone-agrees-with-us-on-climate-change-especially-when-were-wrong/
No, this is not a purist desire. We are not talking about removing any new features, just if we should have the view through a rear screen or through a EVF. "The song remains the same".

Very popular rear screen? How would we know that? As far as I know thee is no examples of the same model being offered with the option to choose either rear screen or EVF.

For mid to high end cameraes I assume that vendors will have to offer some kind of EVF, so why keep the rear screen?
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BJL
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« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2012, 08:20:17 AM »
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Very popular rear screen? How would we know that? As far as I know thee is no examples of the same model being offered with the option to choose either rear screen or EVF.

For mid to high end cameraes I assume that vendors will have to offer some kind of EVF, so why keep the rear screen?
For evidence of the popularity of rear screens:

Firstly there is the very fact you refer to, that every one of numerous cameras with EVFs from numerous companies also has a rear screen, despite the disadvantages of some extra cost and bulk. This widespread and unanimous design decision is strong evidence that all these companies judge that a large proportion of customers like the rear screen enough that would accept a hight cost and some more bulk in order to have it. Anf I am one of those strange people who trusts this industry consensus judgement over the opinions of internet forum posters (unless some solid evidence to the contrary is offered). Note that this industry-consensus judgement applies even with the relatively high-end models like the Olympus EM5, Panasonic GH3 and Sony NEX7. Even the new Leica M goes for built-in rear screen, optional EVF.

Secondly, and in answer to your final question "why", try reading the numerous comments in this thread about when and why a rear screen is useful even on a camera with an EVF.


By the way, have you tried using any EVF camera without ever using the rear screen, doing settings entirely with the EVF? The Olympus EM5 allows most settings to be done either way, but so far I greatly prefer doing such things "two-eyed" with the ability to see the buttons and dials that I am operating.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 01:28:42 PM by BJL » Logged
theguywitha645d
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« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2012, 09:17:31 AM »
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I can only half agree, despite having defended rear screens in the past against the persistent myths of them needing unstable arms' length holding.

Well, I was only half joking. Neither extreme position is right. Still, I could live with simply a rear screen as easily as an EVF. Maybe even easier--I never had a view camera with an EVF...
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