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Author Topic: P&S - EVF or ...  (Read 6260 times)
Tim Gray
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« on: September 17, 2005, 04:31:48 PM »
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an EVF or an optical viewfinder?  

I've gone through 3 P&Ss (latest is the Oly 7070) and all have been basically useless in bright light when the lcd is un-viewable (but is ok for the 50% where conditions favour its use).  In all 3 the optical viewfinder has been useless 100% of the time given its lack of ability to accurately indicate the framing.  I've seen a few evf's and while they're not great I think they're preferable to the optical ones I've had experience with.  EVF's seem to be universally loathed, but what's the real alternative?
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2005, 04:37:53 PM »
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Optical viewfinders on SLRs bear no resemblance to the useless pieces of junk that pass as such found in most P&S cameras. An SLR viewfinder is far superior to anything else currently available. Get a real camera and you'll never go back.
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boku
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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2005, 06:25:32 PM »
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Optical viewfinders on SLRs bear no resemblance to the useless pieces of junk that pass as such found in most P&S cameras. An SLR viewfinder is far superior to anything else currently available. Get a real camera and you'll never go back.
What you say is quite true. People always dream that compromises are sufficient.

I often wonder what the world has to offer someone who want to start gradually to "learn" photography. Digital has so much to offer the student of photography with its ability to deliver instant high-quality results, but the entry level gear is all about...

1) LCD screens that can't be used for serious scene preview
2) Terrible access to manual functions
3) Far too much DOF for creative focus (or even understanding focus)
4) Even focusing screens on DSLRs are hard to manually focus

Too bad - the ideal beginner camera, to my mind, would be something like a digital version of an old Pentax Spotmatic, Minolta SRT101, or a Nikkormat. That's how to learn photography, and digital would make it easy!

Point and shoot cameras, intended to be easy to use, are actually harder to use for anyone trying to do purposeful work or learn the craft.
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Bob Kulon

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Tim Gray
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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2005, 09:23:16 PM »
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Optical viewfinders on SLRs bear no resemblance to the useless pieces of junk that pass as such found in most P&S cameras. An SLR viewfinder is far superior to anything else currently available. Get a real camera and you'll never go back.
Yes, I agree. My appologies for not being clearer in my intial post.  

When I want a real camera I take my 1DMkII and my real lenses,  all 10 kg of them... but when I'm just walking around...  maybe a Rebel with the 17-85 is ideal, maybe something smaller...  sheesh,  maybe even something with an EVF.
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Ray
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2005, 02:26:25 AM »
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Well, if you wanted to do serious photography with a P&S camera you could always throw a black cloth over your head, just like the early photographers used to do with their big, clumsy, large format cameras. I think the super abundance of great DoF with those tiny digicams, and fast shutter speeds, would have been greatly appreciated by those early photographers.

Of course, if dress sense is more important than good photographs, then what can I  say?  .
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2005, 10:50:41 AM »
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OK, we all agree that optical viewfinders are the preferred option for shooting.   But, ever see a histogram inside the OVF?  EVFs have their place, too.

Let's face it, we need both.

What the manufacturers of DSLRs have to realize is that LCDs are NEVER gonna be viewable in sunlight.  They need to place the LCD inside the camera body and make it viewable through an eyepiece, like camcorders do.  Then we can make accurate estimations of image quality, not wild guesses like we do now.

Then we can have our cake and eat it, too.

Peter
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jdemott
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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2005, 04:29:54 PM »
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I don't claim to be an expert on P&S digicams, but I haven't seen or heard of any that have a really decent optical or electronic viewfinder.  With what is available in the marketplace right now, I think about the best you can do for bright light viewing is to buy an add-on hood such as those available from Hoodman.  Even those are far from ideal, but they will let you use the LCD as a viewfinder in bright conditions.

I don't think anyone questions the superiority of DSLRs over digicams, but I certainly share your desire for a decent P&S  digital camera.  When I was shooting 35mm film, I had, in addition to my SLR system, a Yashica T-4 that I could take anywhere I didn't want to be burdened with a bulky camera.  It has a fine lens, is weather resistant, is light and unobtrusive, and is cheap enough that I don't worry about it.  I would certainly welcome a digital equivalent.  Of course the thing that makes it possible to take excellent photos with a camera like the Yashica is film.  You can put a roll of your favorite professional negative film in a P&S and fire away.  With digital, there is no way you can put the sensor from your 1DMk2 in a P&S.
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John DeMott
Graham Welland
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« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2005, 05:17:32 AM »
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Well decent digital p&s cameras do exist, albeit at a price and some compromise.

For instance, I spent the best part of a year using a Leica Digilux 2 as my travel camera and this required very little compromise for excellent quality AF & MF creative results. The only major issue was with the EVF blowing out under very bright conditions but otherwise it did what it said on the box!

I'm very interested in seeing what the new Ricoh digital with the optional optical viewfinder will be like. If it lives up to the performance of it's film predecessors the GR1 & GR21 then I'd add one to the camera portfolio.

I would agree with the rest of the posts about the vast majority of digital P&S cameras in that ultimately they don't perform. I've been through the Canon G's, Minolta A's, Sony F828, Olympus 5050, Canon S's and only found something I could live with when I got the Leica D2 (or Panasonic LC1). Good glass, great ergonomics, easy to access auto and manual functions, extremely good LCD and an EVF that whilst not perfect it didn't suck. Excellent metering that's accurate and it creates great images straight out of the camera. (Sure noise & resolution could be better).
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Graham
Paulo Bizarro
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« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2005, 02:40:16 AM »
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Aren’t we mixing things? What is “best” for one purpose or person, may not be for another. SLR’s are in most instances better performers than compact cameras, be it in the film world, or in the digital world. However, someone shooting large format could very well state that “SLR’s are toys and not the real thing”.

Camera makers are spewing new models basically every day; if they do this, is because they make money out of it. Therefore, someone out there must be buying them, right? There is this perception that to be a photographer, you have to take good photographs. But perhaps for, I don’t know, 95% of users, it is quite alright just to snap away, with the goal to have a nice, crisp, and colourful print, or e-mail friends while on trips. For this, the powershots, coolpixes, you name them, are actually quite suitable. All the time, they are having fun.

For the so-called serious photographer, these compacts can be useful tools too, and sometimes great photos are made with them. Even with all the limitations mentioned: lack of proper optical viewfinder, etc. My favourite complaint is shutter lag, apparently it prevents 100% of people to take a photo of the decisive instant. But everyday we see wonderful pictures coming out of these crippled cameras, so what gives? Perhaps it is the photographer that makes a difference?

I too, would love to have something like a digital Leica CM, or something like the Sony R1 (but a lot more compact, that is the point). Big sensor, good high-ISO performance, fast and sharp lens, aperture priority, and why not image stabilisation? Indeed there is market for such a tool. In the meantime, I make do with what is available, learn to overcome the shortcomings, make some interesting photos here and there, and continue to have fun.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2005, 08:43:14 AM »
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My favourite complaint is shutter lag, apparently it prevents 100% of people to take a photo of the decisive instant. But everyday we see wonderful pictures coming out of these crippled cameras, so what gives? Perhaps it is the photographer that makes a difference?
Nobody disputes that the mind behind the camera is important. But the tools are important as well. Yes, people get good shots with P&S cameras, but when shooting action with an excessively shutter-lagged camera, getting a good shot becomes a matter of luck when the action has no significant predictability (quarterback sack, wedding candids, etc.) If the action has a predictable flow, (like equestrian jumping or dressage) the lag can be accounted for, but the difficulty of correctly timing the shot is directly proportional to the lag involved. While relying on luck is fine for amateurs, it is certainly not something a conscientious professional prefers. We get paid to deliver results, not get lucky. And that is why we tend to use pro-grade DSLRs that have minimal shutter lag.
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DiaAzul
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« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2005, 10:40:42 AM »
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My favourite complaint is shutter lag, apparently it prevents 100% of people to take a photo of the decisive instant. But everyday we see wonderful pictures coming out of these crippled cameras, so what gives? Perhaps it is the photographer that makes a difference?
I just bought my parents a Casio Exilim digital camera. I too thought there would be a significant amount of shutter lag, my previous experience being a Canon G2. However, in reality the newer breed of P&S cameras handle like a dream - very little shutter lag, responsive screens and generally very practical and handy.

It's horses for courses, but for a pocketable camera there are any number of P&S cameras on the market that are eminently useable in comparison with the heft of an OVF SLR. I am not surprised that the amature 'happy snapper' is giving some of the over-confident and sometimes arrogant 'pros' a run for their money.
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David Plummer    http://photo.tanzo.org/
Bobtrips
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« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2005, 03:16:43 PM »
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Optical viewfinders on SLRs bear no resemblance to the useless pieces of junk that pass as such found in most P&S cameras. An SLR viewfinder is far superior to anything else currently available. Get a real camera and you'll never go back.
"Images produced by film cameras bear no resemblance to the useless pieces of junk that are produced by digital cameras.  A film camera is far superior to any digital currently available. Get a real camera and you'll never go back."

Wonder how often we've seen posts such as the above in the recent past.  

Is it not possible that we're in the early stages in which electronic viewfinders replace optical?  After all, electronic viewfinders provide advantages over optical viewfinders.

All we need is EVFs with 'good enough' resolution for easy manual focus and DOF evaluation.
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DaveLon
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« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2005, 04:32:49 PM »
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I know I will get yelled at for this but

the EVF on the KM Dimage A2 is pretty darn good and if one uses it for a couple of days, one begins to be able to manual focus quite well.

I have a bad back and so weight is always an issue when hiking and travelling and the A2 lets me take a back saving camera and get pictures I otherwise ould not get as my back would not allow me to carry my 20D on a 10 to 15 km hike. Picutes, even if not taken with the best, are much better than none!

Dave S
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2005, 06:17:30 PM »
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Optical viewfinders on SLRs bear no resemblance to the useless pieces of junk that pass as such found in most P&S cameras. An SLR viewfinder is far superior to anything else currently available. Get a real camera and you'll never go back.
"Images produced by film cameras bear no resemblance to the useless pieces of junk that are produced by digital cameras.  A film camera is far superior to any digital currently available. Get a real camera and you'll never go back."
You seriously need to brush up on your reading comprehnsion, as I was not making a film-digital comparison here, nor was I comparing EVF/OVF. Rather, I was comparing the useless little peephole optical viewfinders common on P&S cameras to the optical viewfinders found in decent SLR/DSLR cameras. And the SLR viewfinders are far superior by any criteria you may care to compare. If you doubt this, I have some prime Louisiana swampland for sale at an attractive price...

I wouldn't be surprised if at some point an LCD or similar viewfinder technology caught up to or surpassed optical viewfinders. But the technology is definitely not there yet.
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John Camp
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« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2005, 06:43:04 PM »
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The thing that drives me crazy --- I've mentioned it before -- is that on a range of different existing P&S cameras, you see all the parts necessary to make what amounts to a Leica, or something even better: small, handy, great results. We have the new 11mp Sony, but it's a brick. We have a 12x zoom with a Leica lens, but it's got a noisy chip and a not-very-good image stabilization (according to the DCR review). We have cameras with optical viewfinders, but short zooms or small chips. It is plainly possible, because all the parts exist in different cameras, to build a P&S that's small like the Canon Powershot Pro1; has a 10 or 11mp chip; has an optical viewfinder; has, on the back, an LCD screen with which to view the shots and look at histograms; an optical viewfinder; no shutter lag; shoots raw as well as JPG; has a high quality Zeiss or Leica 8x-plus stablized zoom. I would pay $1500 for such a creation, without even hesitating. I think a lot of people would -- like all the former Leica shooters.

It is *so* tantalizing to see all the parts, and never see them put together quite right.

JC
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2005, 08:07:05 PM »
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You seriously need to brush up on your reading comprehnsion, as I was not making a film-digital comparison here, nor was I comparing EVF/OVF.
Well, yes.  My mind reading did fail.

Since you were responding to this question -

"I've seen a few evf's and while they're not great I think they're preferable to the optical ones I've had experience with.  EVF's seem to be universally loathed, but what's the real alternative?"

I assumed you were answering the posed question.  Not one residing in your head.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2005, 08:41:02 PM »
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Nice try, but in the bit you quoted I did specify that I was comparing optical viewfinders:

"Optical viewfinders on SLRs bear no resemblance to the useless pieces of junk that pass as such found in most P&S cameras"

"As such" refers back to "optical viewfinders" at the beginning of the sentence, not LCDs or EVFs, which I did not mention. I was addressing the OP's premise that EVFs were generally superior to OVFs, which given the truly horrid OVFs most P&S cameras have, is not a valid basis for comparison. That's why I started the sentence with the clear indication I was talking about optical viewfinders specifically, not viewfinders in general or LCD panels or EVFs. No mind reading is required, just the ability to read and comprehend English without jumping to confusions.
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2005, 10:47:04 PM »
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Where did you study tap dancing?
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Paulo Bizarro
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« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2005, 04:52:57 AM »
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To John Camp above (and others who might be interested):

1.   Indeed it is frustrating to see that all the “parts” are available, but no one has assembled them in one piece. We shall see in the future.
2.   In the meantime, I am curious about the Powershot G6, which is almost there. Nice fast zoom, 35-140 f/2-f/3, so one can use it as a fast prime 35mm lens. According to reviews, barrel distortion and noise at 400 ISO are under control. Aperture priority, a reasonable viewfinder. I am tempted, and I will check it in a store when possible. Oh yes, it shoots RAW.
3.   If it proves to be right for me, I will buy one. I think Canon will replace it soon, by a G7 or something. However, given that the have dropped RAW from the S70 to the new S80, no one can guarantee that the G7 will have RAW.
4.   Something like the G6 with a noiseless Sony R1 sensor would be cool!
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2005, 07:51:05 AM »
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I was addressing the OP's premise that EVFs were generally superior to OVFs, which given the truly horrid OVFs most P&S cameras have, is not a valid basis for comparison.
I wasn't clear in my original post (but subsequently clarified) that I am comparing EVF with OVF - in the P&S context - which I think is a valid comparison.  I understand that a small DSLR is a logically possible alternative but what I'm really interested in the current state, and usability trajectory of EVFs.  I'll deal with the P&S vs DSLR in a separate train of thought.
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