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Old May 20, 2004, 12:40 PM   #1
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I am about to buy my first digital camera, and need some help with visibility for the Canon S1 IS electronic view finder. The model I looked at in a camera store had the absolute worst visibility of any ELF I've looked through - there was an incredible amount of glare on it both in the store's lighting and outside on the sidewalk - enough to wash out almost all colors as well as mostofthe details necessary to frame a shot. The LCD screen was no better - just bigger. Both were so horrible that I don't see how it is possible to determine whether a given shot is good or bad.

Is there some sort of menu adjustment for the ELF's ability to deal with glare and/or increase the contrast? Please provide step-by-step instructions so I can print the response, go back to the store and try it.

This is a deal-killer. The Canon S1 IS seems to meet my requirements best, but its ELF as I saw it makes it impossible for me to use. I doubt that should be the case given the enthusiastic reviews and forum posts.
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Old May 20, 2004, 12:56 PM   #2
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This part of an Amazon review of the S1 IS is not encouraging:

"The bad points:
•The Electronic viewfinder is terrible! The resolution, sharpness, color accuracy and saturation of the finder make you wonder what Canon was thinking of. An optical viewfinder is 100% better.
•The finder blanks out when going from dark to bright outside subjects, making fast picture taking impossible under many instances.
•The resolution is so bad that it is difficult to see if the focus is right on. It usually was.
•The Canon A-70 is a better camera for faster picture taking. However, the anti- shake and 10/1 zoom override all other considerations for me.
•The LCD viewer on the back of the camera is useless in the bright light and its color accuracy is terrible too. I have taken many beautiful sunsets and you cannot see the red sun in the viewfinder or on the monitor. HOWEVER the resultant images were spectacular when viewed on the computer screen."

An optical view-finder is not possible with a 10x zoom in this price range, so I understand how an electronic view-finder is a necessity. But it shouldn't be this bad.

As a newbie, though, I must rely on the viewfinder telling me more than that I have the camera pointed in the right general direction.
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Old May 21, 2004, 12:43 PM   #3
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The EVF adjustment on the S1 isn't all that great. But, I have had no problems with glare with it. Holding the camera up to my eye and I see everything just fine. It does take a second or two for the camera to adjust to changing light conditions, but,

Manual focusing was OK. I can usually get focusing right with it, thought it takes a little longer than I would like. However, I've never seen manual focusing through a EVF that's good enough for me, including the Sony 828.

What's annoying about the EVF is its lack of resolution and color saturation when compared to other digicams. Annoying, but, not a deal breaker. The camera can also take a second to adjust for changes in lighting.

Here's what's interesting: while composing for a shot, the image looks bad, including on the LCD. After you take the shot, the review image looks really good.

With the S1, embrace the 10x zoom and image stabilization with the camera's size and feel. Have fun with its better movie mode --- I don't usually care for movie mode, but, found the S1's good enough that I tend to use more. Live with the S1's inability to focus on things when it's pitch black or very dark.

Otherwise, look at another digicams. Other cameras I was considering:
  1. Sony V-1. Almost pulled the trigger, but, didn't due to ergonomics (can't get a good grip with the internal flash up) and the fact it doesn't use CF cards (I got over 2 GB of CF cards and can't stomach buying lots of memory sticks for one backup camera)[/*]
  2. Panasonic DMZ-FZ10. Too big for my purposes. S1 was barely small enough.[/*]
  3. A80. Would have been fine for what I was looking for, but, the S1's 10x zoom and image stabilization made it worth the extra $100.[/*]
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Old May 23, 2004, 4:32 PM   #4
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There are two brightness settings for both the TFT and the EVF accessed via Menu / Set-up / the third entry down is LCD brightness. The brighter setting does help.

If you wear glasses (like me) then adjusting the dioptre setting andputting your eye up to the viewfinder does help keep out external light. It can be a pain having to push up the glasses - but worth it.

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