optical viewfinders

Discussion in 'photography, graphics & art' started by wayward bob, Jun 29, 2017.


optical vs digital

  1. optical

  2. digital

  3. either

    0 vote(s)
  4. other

    0 vote(s)
  1. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    i've only just twigged that i use optical viewfinders and digital preview screens completely differently. having both on my x-pro really confuses me :D given just the one i'd choose optical every time. you?
  2. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    Ideally, I like optical with a digital overlay (a la Fujifilm) but electronic viewfinders now are so good I prefer them most of the time. They're miles better in low light, for example.
  3. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    maybe it's more about eye-level vs screens? i need to have everything else blacked out so i can frame properly...
  4. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    i do love the waist level finders on tlr's though - it's a totally different way of approaching a situation - especially portraits - head down, so people are in some ways less guarded :)
  5. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    yes - you can see in the dark these days :D
  6. bi0boy

    bi0boy Power User

    It's great being able to shoot without a camera in front of your face.
  7. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    that's how i first learnt so to me it makes sense. i'm more likely to be able to operate the thing ;)
  8. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet Administrator

    EVFs are much better in low light, and you can have things like pinpoint manual focus, but I still prefer a good optical finder - not a little peephole like you get with APS-C or a compact, something big and bright like a Pentax MX or a Dynax 9 (the Sony A900 also has a great finder). I feel much more in touch with the scene when I'm seeing the actual light, less distracted.

    Also I wear glasses, so, in the sun, EVFs tend to be almost useless as a lot of light spills in.

    Everything will have them in a few years though I reckon. Admittedly they'll be pretty amazing.
  9. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    FridgeMagnet likes this.
  10. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet Administrator

    I was reminded of this when I went out to photograph the big anti-Tory march today. I had the Pentax MX and it barely felt like there was anything in between me and the things around me. When I use my GX8 I always feel slightly separated... detached... the feeling that I had before bringing the camera up to my eye goes, I'm not seeing the same thing any more and I wonder what I was even thinking.

    Oddly, even though the MX is full manual, that part doesn't interfere—as long as I've metered properly for the lighting conditions it's actually freeing, I can shoot away without worrying about things being backlit or whatever. Meters are dumb.
  11. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    this! :D

    i rely on my cameras translating a *feeling* in a (nominally) predictable way. i can make a link between input and output when i'm using film. i think because it deals in light the same way i do? whereas digital just sees differently. and sticking a digital camera in between me and the thing i'm looking at is never quite as... satisfactory...
    FridgeMagnet likes this.
  12. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    My first digital camera, about 18 years ago was a Fuji Finepix 4900z which had an electronic viewfinder. I got on with it fine but once I had seen the view through a 35mm film slr I wanted an OVF.

    My next camera, another Fuji had an OVF and isn't bad, but I am after better now. And I like the idea of a waist level OVF or screen although it isn't on the cameras I am considering atm.

    However EVFs have come a long way in 18 years!
  13. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet Administrator

    Yeah, there's something about the response curve of (negative) film that suits me much better too. I have to really cock up the exposure for it to become something I can't turn into a scene that I remember - exposure becomes more of a tool than a technical necessity. Whereas if you look through an EVF you're seeing a (poor quality preview) digital image that's gone through all sorts of processing that may or may not fit what you're seeing with your eyes, and is mediated by being on a screen.

    I went out today with the GX8 and also an old Ricoh GRDIII with an accessory OVF (because you can't see shit on the screen when it's bright sun like it is now). It was _so_ much nicer shooting with the OVF; I was seeing sunlight rather than a picture of sunlight on a screen.
  14. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet Administrator

    You won't get a waist level OVF on a digital unless you're shooting medium format with a digital back... which is kind of a pricey thing.

    OVFs on medium format SLRs are pretty amazing though. Just the experience of using them is worth it. I like both the top-down and prism finders; prisms are easier to use but top is more flexible.
  15. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Waist high Screen, a la Nikon D750
  16. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet Administrator

    Oh, an articulated screen? Those are handy sometimes for odd angles (I've used them holding the camera over my head, screen pointing downwards) but they don't change anything in terms of finder quality. You're just looking at the same screen at a different angle.
  17. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    I would like a flip out screen, for holding the camera waist high and being able to frame a pic, so not raising the camera to my eye, for discreet photos, and I wouldn't mind a touch screen like that I have seen on a canon where you can select focus points with your fingers.

    None of the cameras I am considering for next have this though so it may have to wait until later.
  18. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet Administrator

    I shoot a lot of street stuff and seriously, don't overestimate how subtle holding a camera at waist level is. People are a bit less likely to notice it but if they do, they're more surprised and likely to look at you funny like you're trying something sneaky, which at best can ruin the shot and at worst can get you into an argument. Candid photography is not about sneaking shots.

    Flip-out screens are good for low-level shots though and touch focus adjust is really how it should work - I find changing the focus point on my DSLR with a little joystick primitive now.
    weltweit likes this.
  19. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    You are probably right, I have taken a few waist shots with a wideangle lens and liked the results but I did get some more aware people looking quizzically at me, they knew what I was up to.

    But there was that woman whose street photographs (US) were great, name escapes me, shooting with medium format hold down at waist, and I don't believe all her subjects knew they were being photographed.

    I can't remember the canon model I just saw with this, might have been a 70d. Functionally it was very nice.
  20. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet Administrator

    Vivian Maier - Wikipedia possibly. She used a Rolleiflex for a long time but moved to a 35mm camera later.

    But candid photography is not about people not knowing that you're taking a picture; it's about them acting the same as if you weren't. This can be because they're not aware or you take a picture too quick, but it can also be because you're part of the landscape and they are comfortable with you there (or ignore your presence for some other reason). Stand on a busy London street with a camera, looking through the lens, and people will ignore you - they noticed you the first time they saw you, "oh someone with a camera", and you've now gone from their minds. Lurk in a side street or whip a camera out and snap a shot and they'll be all "what the fuck". The same goes with, say, protest photography - carry a camera openly and people treat you as part of the furniture, another bloody photographer.
    wayward bob likes this.

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