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Author Topic: P&S - EVF or ...  (Read 5917 times)
Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2005, 08:51:05 AM »
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If you're limiting the discussion to P&S cameras the comparison is reasonable. If you're making a general comparison between EVF and OVF it is not, because the OVFs in SLR cameras are so much better than those found in P&S cameras.
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2005, 10:12:12 AM »
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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.
"P&S" - the term bothers me a bit.  It seems to suggest that some cameras can not be used by photographers for careful shooting but are somehow restricted to shooting from the hip.  Perhaps "fixed lens" might be a better classification?

A few months ago I had an opportunity to try out the K-Minolta A2 and Canon 300D in the local 'big box'.  I thought that I was going to have an opportunity to find out how far EVFs had to go.  I found the A2 easier to manually focus in dim light than the 300D.  I was a bit unhinged by this discovery and went back a week later to reconfirm my findings.

My first digital camera was a fixed lens compact (Oly C2020) and I found the optical viewfinder very frustrating.  I'm not sure that I could have manually focused on such a small display and the parallax problem was awful when shooting closeups.  I added a hood in order to turn the LCD into a EFV.

I think we're seeing the extinction of the OVF on compact cameras.  More are appearing that don't have one and the size (and brightness) of LCDs are increasing.  Compact cameras are likely to be shot away from the eye.

More advanced fixed lens cameras, especially long zoom models are likely to use EVFs.  The Panasonic FZ30 and Fuji S9000 are offering quarter meg EVFs.  One can manually focus with them.  (I manually focus with my eighth meg A1.)  

Once EVFs get above half meg manual focus and DOF judgments should be easy.
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2005, 11:24:45 AM »
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"P&S" - the term bothers me a bit. It seems to suggest that some cameras can not be used by photographers for careful shooting but are somehow restricted to shooting from the hip. Perhaps "fixed lens" might be a better classification?
Labels can carry unwarranted baggage. I think most folks understand the form factor of what is usually called a "point & shoot". In the final analysis, the distinction that's relevant to me isn't DSLR or P&S (or fixed lens), but "the camera I always have with me" vs the "camera (system) I take when I'm doing planned shooting". It's always possible that the "camera lite" that's always with me could end up being a DSLR which leads to the potential conumdrum of my P&S being a DSLR .
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2005, 12:46:36 PM »
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"Camera lite" is an issue for many of us.  I do the vast majority of shooting while walking long days in strange places.  I almost quit taking pictures due to the weight of my OM1 (sometimes OM4 with fast film) and a couple of lenses.

At the moment the Fuji CCD that's used in the F10 gives usable higher ISO settings, Panasonic is offering some very good Leica-designed lenses, and EVFs are improving.  So back to John's post - the elements are basically there for a very capable 'lite'.  A couple of more years should see them combined and on the market.
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BJL
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« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2005, 02:17:39 PM »
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To the original question; in a digital camera in format so small that a through the lens optical viewfinder is not practical, I think my favorite would be an electronic viewfinder.

However, to take of Ray's dark cloth idea, I believe that there are shade hoods for attaching to rear LCD's, and in combination with the new bigger brighter LCD's, that might work fairly well. After all, there are some advantage to two-eyed composition, as fans of the LF and MF ground glass will tell you. (I learnt that when I tried to use a video camera like a "real photographer", with one eye to the EVF, eventually giving up due to eye-strain and using the LCD.)


Finally, and off topic, with entry level DSLR kits continuing to drop in price and bulk (for example, the rumored Olympus E-500 kits), there is ever less reason for someone wishing to learn good photography to put up with the limitations of sensors 2/3" and smaller, with their hampered options for viewfinders and DOF control. Sure, get a pocket digicam as a second, super-portable option.
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dbell
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« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2005, 02:26:27 PM »
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I would absolutely love a small, light, fully-manual digital camera (rangefinder or SLR) that doesn't cost a huge amount of money. Something along the lines of an Nikon FM2 or Voigtlander Bessa R2 with a sensor instead of a film transport. I find the viewfinders in either of these cameras to be enormously more usable than any EVF I've ever seen (and better than all but the highest-end DSLR viewfinders). I know Epson has the RD-1 out there, but at ~$3000, it's way out of my price range. I don't see why something like this couldn't be produced for a reasonable amount of money, so I'm guessing that the marketing folks just don't see a big enough market out there to justify the development costs. I can still hope.
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BJL
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« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2005, 04:50:43 PM »
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About fully manual digital cameras, all I ask is the option of a VF with manual focusing aids!

Very little cost would be saved by leaving out the few electronic components and such needed for a basic AF and AE system; maybe only a few tens of dollars. In fact, I have read that a lot of the processing for AF and AE is now done on the same processing chips that any digital camera has anyway. (And look how cheap entry level auto everything film SLR's are now.)

That leaves robustness. Fully manual might have that advantage in a totally non-electronic camera like the Nikon FM-2, but once you have all that digital stuff anyway, it wouldn't make a difference.
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tbcass
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« Reply #27 on: December 13, 2005, 07:08:30 AM »
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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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I think you are overstating the case and taking an elitist attitude here. A "real" photographer can make use of whatever camera they have by working around it's limitations and producing good photographs.  I've taken just as good photos with point and shoot cameras as I have with SLR's. I also have 37 years experience.          
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #28 on: December 13, 2005, 07:35:18 AM »
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A couple of weeks ago I bought the Sony R1 and have been very pleased with it.  It's my 4th DFL (digital fixed lens, if I recall Michael's proposed naming convention correctly) and it's the first I think I can work with without excessive irritation.  It's small and light enough that I keep it in my back pack at all times, along with a small Manfrotto tripod.  My "serious" camera is the 1DMKII, so the Sony does seem "small" and "light".

Yes, the EVF is quite different from the viewfinder in the 1D, but the live histogram and LCD offer sufficient advantages that I can put up with the EVF when I'm not using the LCD.

Here is a link to my first shots from an outing at University of Toronto
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #29 on: December 13, 2005, 01:18:04 PM »
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I think you are overstating the case and taking an elitist attitude here.

Name one point-and-shoot camera that has an optical viewfinder that is remotely usable. Their LCD and EVF viewfinders can at least be used to compose the desired image, though they are not as good at revealing fine detail as an SLR optical viewfinder, but their miserable excuses for optical viewfinders are generally tiny, dark, suffer from significant parallax or plain misalignment, and do not accurately show the actual framing of the final capture. And if you wear glasses, they're even worse.
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bob mccarthy
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« Reply #30 on: December 13, 2005, 02:32:25 PM »
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Anyone find the Epson R-D1 a useful compact camera? Rangefinder focusing, DX sized chip, a little pricy.

I have yet to see one in the flesh.

Bob
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John Camp
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« Reply #31 on: December 13, 2005, 04:30:34 PM »
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Nice work, Tim. Makes me want to look at the camera.

I shoot a D2x but I've also had a series of P&S cameras, the most recent one a Pentax 750Z which has (close your eyes for a moment, Jonathan) a reasonably good optical viewfinder and a 5x zoom. I also have a Canon Powershot Pro 1, but I do have trouble with the electronic viewfinder and a bit of shutter lag (on the other hand, I love the twistable LCD view screen and the remote control for street shooting.)

I've been thinking that my next camera might be the Powershot Pro 2, if Canon ever releases one, and if the shutter lag is fixed. The problem with that idea is that the Pro 1 really isn't pocketable -- it's just like a very small DSLR, which means you have to carry it around your neck or in a bag or something. The Pentax, on the other hand, is pocketable, which means it's always in my briefcase or in a pocket.

I guess my ideal camera would be the Pentax with a 10mp chip, decent noise up to ASA400, and a somewhat more reliable lens cover.

JC
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