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Author Topic: EVF technology  (Read 7405 times)
Rory
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« on: January 02, 2014, 12:17:50 PM »
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I am wondering when EVF technology will fully eclipse OVF.  How far away are we from seeing sufficient EVF resolution, dynamic range and refresh rates to equal or improve on optical systems?  What are the power consumption issues?  What other issues am I missing?
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Paul2660
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« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2014, 03:35:06 PM »
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I think we might be there.   I first fell in love with the Sony EVF in the Nex-7.  Excellent response and feedback.  Only wish the rest of that camera was up to the viewfinder. 

Have you looked at any of the offerings from Sony (A99, A7 or A7r for example), Fuji, either the X-E1 or E2, Olympus, O-em e1. 

I have used all of the Sony's and love the EVF and the additions of peaking and focus magnification.  I have both Canon and Nikon DSLR's and would love to see a Sony caliber EVF in a Nikon body.  Everyone has their own opinions on it obviously. 

For my use, working at a 100% view from a LCD screen in full daylight is nowhere as easy as working with the EVF of a Sony or Fuji etc. 

Paul Caldwell
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Paul Caldwell
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Rory
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« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2014, 03:38:41 PM »
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I think we might be there.   I first fell in love with the Sony EVF in the Nex-7.  Excellent response and feedback.  Only wish the rest of that camera was up to the viewfinder. 

How well does it show deep shadow detail?  Is it possible to follow fast action (refresh rate), like a bird in flight?  Does it retain focus on a bird in flight?  This is not my experience at present.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2014, 03:42:08 PM »
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Hi,

I actually prefer EVF over OVF right now, but "to fully eclipse" the optical viewfinders they have way to go. Response times are probably a factor, visibility in bright light, dynamic range, lots of areas that can be improved upon.

Best regards
Erik

I am wondering when EVF technology will fully eclipse OVF.  How far away are we from seeing sufficient EVF resolution, dynamic range and refresh rates to equal or improve on optical systems?  What are the power consumption issues?  What other issues am I missing?
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Glenn NK
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« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2014, 06:31:37 PM »
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I had a quick look at the Olympus E-M1 a few days ago; I was very pleasantry surprised as I had made up my mind not to like it.

I completely changed my mind.   It's quick, clear, and perhaps more importantly to me, works very well in low light conditions.  And AFAIK, it has focus peaking (read the article by Michael R).  As as one poster noted elsewhere, by adjusting the LCD he was able to "shoot from the hip" for candids.   The LCD screen of my 5DII just doesn't cut it for very small flowers close to the ground.

Glenn

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BJL
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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2014, 07:56:02 PM »
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How well does it show deep shadow detail?  Is it possible to follow fast action (refresh rate), like a bird in flight?
Some EVF cameras, like both Olympus OMD models, offer a high EVF frame rate option of 120fps, which is about as good as our own reflexes and the lag of our visual system --- but the EVF image quality suffers in that mode, at least on my EM5.  The resolution in the normal 60fps mode is about as good as that of an SLR's OVF but can lag when tracking a subject (note that the resolution of an SLR's OVF is far less than the resolution of the lens or sensor, due to the use of a secondary image scattered of a piece of frosted glass or plastic.)  I would expect another doubling of the refresh rate/resolution balance to match a good OVF for handling action, and Moore's law suggests one or two years could do that.
Does it retain focus on a bird in flight?
That is more an issue of the AF capabilities of non-SLR's rather than the EVF itself, and the EVF cameras that have only CDAF are not there yet. But on-sensor PDAF is spreading to all mirrorless systems, and has improved significantly over the last few years, so I would like to read reviews of that aspect of the Olympus OM-1 or Sony A7 (the non-R version, which went for improving aspects that most need improving while the A7R settled for "yet more MP"!)

EVF dynamic range seems like a firmware issue: reduce the contrast of the display manually or automatically in response  to a "wide histogram".
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Paul2660
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« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2014, 08:10:23 PM »
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With Sony on both the A99 and Nex7 I never noticed motion issues due to the frame rate.  On the Fuji X-e1 the slower frame rate is noticeable even as you pan the camera. It can be very noticeable at least to me.  Supposedly the X-e2 has a better frame rate but I have not had a chance to really try it yet. 

Back to your first post, I responded only from a static landscape frame of mind, not action and I should have considered that.   

The EVF on the Sony A7 series seemed to have a very high frame rate at least I did not notice any blur or catch up time when I demo'd the A7. 

I have never tried working birds with a big lens with a EVF type camera and thst is something I would like to do.

Paul Caldwell
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2014, 09:36:52 PM »
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I'm a little late to the parade but yesterday I had my first look at the A7 and A7r cameras.  Compared to the viewfinders of many current and recent DSLR cameras the EVF is 'there'; a little jittery but very easy to focus manually with or without magnification.

Compared to a good OVF from the late 1960s or early 1970s it has a ways to go but it has numerous advantages that an OVF can't begin to offer and the live-view technology that enables the EVF completely eliminates numerous calibration problems of SLR and rangefinder cameras.

PS Re: the sound of the a7r's shutter… people complain about this???
« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 09:38:44 PM by wildlightphoto » Logged
Rory
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« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2014, 10:35:36 PM »
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This sounds very encouraging.  What about power consumption?
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2014, 04:26:14 AM »
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With the Panasonic Lumix GX7, the EVF is, for all practical purposes, as good as the the optical viewfinders on my Nikon SLRs - but only after I had shelled out the extraordinarily high price (almost £12) for the optional rubber eye-cup. The refresh rate is certainly OK for birds in flight when using the 45-200mm zoom at max.

One of the reasons for opting for the GX7 was not only that it had an EVF (I simply cannot get used to the "unnatural" act of trying to frame shots in that rear LCD screen), but that the EVF is tiltable through 90º.

My only regret is that neither the EVF on the GX7 nor the OVFs on my D800/D800e have the excellent focussing aids that we used to expect as standard in the viewfinders of our film SLRs in the olden days. One example of where "progress" has taken a substantial step backwards.
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OldRoy
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« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2014, 05:17:00 AM »
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Whenever I use my D700 instead of my EM5 I wonder "where's the histogram gone?"
Roy
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BJL
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« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2014, 09:43:01 AM »
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What about power consumption?
With the EM5, I need to change batteries no more often than with previous digital SLRs, and vastly less often than I used to change rolls of film; never more than one battery change in a day, though in paranoid moments, I have carried two spare batteries.  So for me, the EFVs power consumption is a non-issue.
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2014, 11:38:31 AM »
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I was sold on it back when I had a Sony R1. Its only drawback was the slow refresh rate of the EVF. Seeing the histogram before taking a picture is so much more useful than after, and you get a 100% view of the frame. I would even give up the colour EVF for a B&W one to get a faster refresh rate, but that does not seem to be necessary any more.   I can always open the other eye to view the real-world scene if I want to see its colour.

I currently use an Olympus E-3 to shoot some motor sport and bicycle racing for fun, but reports are that the Nikon V1/V2 screen and fast focus can keep up with that kind of movement. I've been meaning to try one to see if that's true. If it is true, once you factor in the weight-saving, it's a compelling trade-off to lose the OVF. Professional TV network camera operators have used LCDs to track fast-moving sports for years, it's not a new concept.
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« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2014, 11:51:39 AM »
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How well does it show deep shadow detail?  Is it possible to follow fast action (refresh rate), like a bird in flight?  Does it retain focus on a bird in flight?  This is not my experience at present.

I have limited experience with this. However, I have been in situations where the shadow detail was not visible with the naked eye or through the OVF, but noisy boosted live view on my Oly D-SLR hinted at something being there. In general EVFs may be better at this, depending on which OVF and lens combo is mounted. In any case, if it's so dark that you can't see shadow detail through the viewfinder, regardless of type, you can always look at it with the naked eye and judge whether or not your camera will pick it up in the exposure. In this instance, it's what the sensor captures that matters, not what the viewfinder shows your eye.
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scooby70
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« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2014, 06:19:21 PM »
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I'm happy with my Panasonic G1's EVF in good light but in very low light it fails to display things clearly visible by eye and yet kicks out so much light that it causes immediate and severe eye strain. It's simply unusable in low light. There's also a bit of lag.

My A7 EVF is much better. I can't detect any noticeable lag and when used for night time shooting it displays more than can be seen by eye. It still kicks out too much light but it's nowhere near as bad as the older G1 and can actually be used causing only slight eye strain.

If the light output issue in very low light can be fixed I wont be able to see any other advantage for an OVF.
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Rand47
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« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2014, 08:35:30 AM »
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How "user adjustable" is the quality / contrast of modern EVF?   I'm a Sony a900 user and keep testing the a99 and other EVF cameras when I visit local camera stores.  Inside the building the image is good enough to live with, and I'm aware of and like what EVF brings in terms of info display.  BUT, I always ask to take the cameras outdoors and the nasty blocked up shadows, too contrasty and odd colors make the EVF a very poor viewing experience IMO compared to the 900. 

What am I missing in terms of being able to fine tune the EVF for use outdoors?

Rand
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SrMi
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« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2014, 08:21:57 PM »
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I have Fuji X-E1 and Olympus M5. I enjoy the cameras very much, but I do not like them for the fact that they have an EVF. IMO, the EVF has several disadvantages:
- delay when EVF is turned on using the eye sensor
- eye sensor may be fooled by sun in your back (Fuji)
- contrast/dynamic range is not as good as with OVF.

What I mean is that I would not sacrifice the OVF in Nikon D800 in order to display more information in the viewfinder, and I would not sacrifice the size and weight of Fuji/Olympus in order to have an OVF.
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2014, 09:58:54 PM »
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- contrast/dynamic range is not as good as with OVF.


How important is this? When I owned my Sony R1, I found I didn't care that much if the EVF did not present as accurate a visual image as an OVF. So long as the image is not totally black and you can determine what's in the frame, does the accuracy of representation in the viewfinder matter that much? You can always just look at the real scene, although admittedly this may be a problem in macro and micro photo work.

One other advantage of EVF is for B&W photography for people like me who have lost (or never really had) the ability to pre-visualize B&W scenes. If you set the camera to RAW capture but in B&W mode, the EVF will show you a B&W image but still record the full RAW. I found this useful in the R1.
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SrMi
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« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2014, 10:41:55 PM »
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How important is this? When I owned my Sony R1, I found I didn't care that much if the EVF did not present as accurate a visual image as an OVF. So long as the image is not totally black and you can determine what's in the frame, does the accuracy of representation in the viewfinder matter that much? You can always just look at the real scene, although admittedly this may be a problem in macro and micro photo work.

One other advantage of EVF is for B&W photography for people like me who have lost (or never really had) the ability to pre-visualize B&W scenes. If you set the camera to RAW capture but in B&W mode, the EVF will show you a B&W image but still record the full RAW. I found this useful in the R1.

It depends on the situation. I you are waiting for the big yawn from a leopard seal and can barely distinguish its face features (real life example) the missing contrast can be annoying. I do not rely on EVF or back LCD to understand how the image will turn out, but only for framing and the content.
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Deep
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« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2014, 03:02:32 AM »
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I quite liked the previous generation of EVFs and the latest ones I've used, in the Sony A7 and my own Olympus EM1, are good enough that I generally prefer them to optical viewfinders, even big, bright ones like I had in my old E3.  They are certainly better in low light.

However, today, I noticed at least one limitation.  Shooting a dotterel in rocks in bright sunshine, the contrast was too high and the pattern on the dotterel merged so well with the rocks that I had to use my eyes to work out where the bird was.  In that situation, the EVF is not "there yet".  I also tried tracking flying swallows, a bit of a torture test, and the high contrast in the bright light also made things less easy there.  However, any viewfinder is a challenge trying to chase swallows!

Oddly, I can change the brightness and white balance in the EVF but not the contrast.  To be fair, it is usually so "right" that it is easy to forget it is electronic.  It's just really bright sunshine and a contrasty background that is the problem.  Not that common a scenario so far this summer...
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