Interesting comment on The Online Photographer

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Jock Elliott, Apr 7, 2016.

  1. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    The top post at The Online Photographer was entitled Readings (PetaPixel and The New Yorker). It’s interesting, and I recommend checking it out.

    One of the readers responded, including a thought I have been having for some time. The complete comment is below. I have underlined the bit I found intriguing.

    R. Edelman: "I was a long time Canon user, starting back in the 1970s. I like Canon, and I think its repair service is very good. A few years ago, I tried using a Sony A7, and I loved it. The smaller size was just one attractive feature. I liked the menu system. No more custom functions with labels such as 'C04.' I liked that I could use my EOS and older lenses on it.

    "But something initially unforeseen happened. For a variety of reasons, I grew to really appreciate the electronic viewfinder and the focusing accuracy. Of course, some large-aperture lenses are on the large size, but I also have the option of smaller lenses. Although the smaller size and lower weight are still appreciated, these now matter less to me compared to the benefits of mirrorless technology. At this point, an optical viewfinder would be a 'downgrade.'"

    I agree; I think an optical viewfinder would be a downgrade. When I was in high school, I shot some sports with a Leica. Everything had to be preset, including focus distance, and framing was a hit-and-miss experience. A decade later, I was writing for a living and the pro photographers I worked with all used Nikons. Why? “Because the viewfinder shows the exact framing that will appear on the film.”

    Today’s EVFs show not only the exact framing but also exactly how it will appear. I took a lot of awful pictures when I was using an SLR because I could not imagine what the resulting image would look like on the film. Now, with an EVF, it’s pretty much what-you-see-is-what-you-get, and I think my “keeper” rate has gone up.

    Having said that, I recognize that there are folks here who do some wonderful work with DSLRs and other cameras that use an optical viewfinder. I’d love to know why you prefer optical viewfinders.

    Cheers, Jock
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2016
  2. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Because the less tech between me and the subject, the more I feel I can "connect".

    Because in a Leica or Fuji optical viewfinder I can see what is happening around my frame, and what is about to happen within it and estimate peak timing with that information.

    Because I would rather judge my own eyes and experience than rely upon what a programmer thousands of miles away thinks I should see on a teeny tiny telly screen.

    Because I don't like teeny tiny telly screens.

    Because I can see what's really happening in dim light.

    Because I can judge for myself.

    Because it's what I'm familiar with.

    Just because.

    With my Leicas I had no choice, but with my X-Pro 1&2 and X100T I can flip to EVF if I want to. I seldom do - only really for Macro and Tele stuff, because an OVF does the job.
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  3. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Awesome response!

    Cheers, Jock
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  4. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I love EVFs. I also love OVFs. If someone ever develops a really good hybrid that can work well with any lens the camera can use, I'm all-in - I understand Canon just patented something along those lines. Fuji's hybrid finder is great for a limited range of lenses, but the limits of that technology become pretty apparent pretty quickly. But given that for now it's mostly one or the other unless you're shooting with an X100 or X-Pro with a really limited number of lenses, I'm really happy with either. When I moved from mirrorless to a Nikon DSLR, I both missed some of what the EVF had offered and loved some of what the OVF offered.

    I love the perfectly transparent and totally real time view with no lag and no trails or stutters when panning and I like the reality based dynamic range in an OVF. I also, and this is both counter-intuitive and finds me in a very small minority, prefer manually focussing with a good OVF than an EVF. I always found aids like focus peaking showing me more DOF than I wanted for really critical focus - it always shows a pretty wide range of places where an item is in focus, when there is really a very precise spot when it's critically in focus. For some reason, I can get there quicker and more surely in my OVF using a combination of a split-prism focus screen and Nikon's little green arrow/dot electronic rangefinder. You have to learn each lens - some are in perfect focus just as the dot appears from one direction and some are dead center in the small range the dot shows up for. But once I learn it I can pretty much always nail focus perfectly. With an EVF and focus peaking I had too many shots that seemed to be in perfect focus but weren't. A heavily magnified live view is the most precise thing I've found, but I've always found it pretty slow, and I can get there (slowly) using live view on the DSLR too. Oddly, I was never a lover of manual focus with my mirrorless gear but fell in love with it when I got the DF.

    I do like the exposure showing the changes on an EVF in real time and I like the way an EVF gains up in low light. And I like the exposure aids like showing blown highlights and lost shadows, although they're never totally accurate in the EVF and with today's amazing high DR sensors, I don't think the EVF can keep up yet. For any non-tracking shooting I'm doing with auto-focus (and I don't use tracking a lot), I like the EVF every bit as much. And I think a full-time live view camera will always eat batteries at an alarming rate compared to an OVF-centric camera, but that's a relatively small inconvenience...

    They're both great - they just have different strengths and weaknesses. I imagine someday the EVF will get to the point where it does pretty much everything as well as or better than an OVF, but we're not there yet. Choose your poison and go enjoy shooting with it. Neither should get in the way of taking excellent photographs.

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  5. john m flores

    john m flores All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    As long as I can visualize what the resulting image will look like, I don't care whether it's an EVF or OVF or rear LCD.

    As an aside, I just got a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge with a stunning 5.5" Quad HD AMOLED display. It's got 534 pixels per inch, which actually exceeds a high quality print. When I'm taking a photo (a 1/2.3" 12 megapickle sensor mated to a 26mm F1.7 lens) the great screen literally draws me into the photo. It's like composing while looking at a high res print. Camera makers have to get on board here and really start upping the resolution of their EVFs and LCDs.
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  6. bartjeej

    bartjeej Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    For me, the only benefits of an OVF are the feeling of connection, and the fact that they don't blind you at night (so that when you take your eye off the viewfinder, your eye doesn't need several seconds to adjust). Also, the lower power consumption is nice. Other than that, I think EVF's are brilliant.

    But to be honest I still do most of my composing on the rear screen, even on my X100. It removes a certain level of connection to the camera, but it maintains a stronger connection to the world beyond the lens' FOV.
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  7. Covey22

    Covey22 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 3, 2012
    EVFs still have a ways to go to show shadow detail (such as dark area in a mostly sunlit scene), which can be finely discerned even on a Pentamirror OVF, lag and refresh. But I enjoy everything else about EVFs, WYSIWYG exposure especially.
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  8. T N Args

    T N Args Rookie

    Dec 17, 2013
    I can 'connect' to the subject BEFORE I put my eye to the camera.

    Once I raise the camera, I want the best tool for one purpose: getting the photo right. That's an EVF.
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  9. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    Since I'm nearsighted, I can see the back screen of my cameras from 3-4 inches away, and they might as well be a movie screen at that distance. The brightness and color adjustments for the LCDs are pretty good today, and will get even better. My ZS-100, like my LX-100, has a highlight/shadow setting on the menu, but I forget if that setting is reflected on the LCD. Just as well, because I can hit the shadows pretty close, and make reasonable adjustments in PP with no appreciable noise penalty.
  10. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    A good camera does not break the connection you have made when you raise it to your eye. I find that an EVF does just that. The shift from reality to a teeny tv screen is dissonant, to me. Our mileage clearly varies. An EVF is but one way to get the photo "right", and has it's own advantages and drawbacks as does every method of viewing. I find that I tend to get my photos right with an OVF. To each their own, eh?
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  11. ryanshoots

    ryanshoots Regular

    Apr 22, 2012
    I agree on the promise of the EVF, but until it looks as good as the OVF I won't be satisfied. I wear eyeglasses to shoot. Sometimes I shoot in the bright outdoors, EVF's are terrible in that scenario, worse yet if I am wearing my polarized lenses and the EVF is polarized so I can only view it vertically or horizontally. In fairness have not tried any that have come out in the last 12 months but I think they need about a decade to progress to the point I'm looking for.

    I'm sure someone out there has another condition they shoot in that the EVF excels over the OVF. It all comes down to how you shoot and what you need.

    Personally, I'm thankful someone is buying them as that funds the research to improve them which gives me hope that someday there will be one I like.
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  12. drd1135

    drd1135 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Lexington, Virginia
    OVF are nice but I will probably never own a camera with one again. The EVF just works for me and makes the camera smaller. Of course, I did watch a lot of TV growing up so the world just looks natural that way. :p
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