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Old Sep 18, 2009, 2:14 PM   #1
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Default cameras without viewfinders

I just don't get it. I have always known about the necessity of holding a camera steady. Granted that a little higher ISO and bright sun allows shake freezing shutter speeds. But total dismissal if viewfinders guarantees fuzzy pics in lower light conditions. Anti-shake feature is a help, but not a guarantee. Bad enough with point and shoot cameras, but now with the Olympus P1 and the Lumix GF1. Interchangeable lens cameras without a viewfinder? I would assume that anyone who would spend the money and deal with extra lenses is a more sophisticated photographer. The reviewers almost never mention the problem. Can anyone explain this trend to me?
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Old Sep 18, 2009, 2:48 PM   #2
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Actually, you'll usually find some discussion of viewfinder and LCD quality in Steve's reviews. For a better idea of how cameras compare, make sure to read each review's conclusion section (last page before the sample images in each review here).

The main reason you'll see an Electronic viewfinder versus an optical viewfinder on point and shoot models is because of parallax error.

It can be a problem even if you're not real close, depending on the lens (sometimes anything closer than around 6 or 8 feet can be an issue, depending on the camera).

Some viewfinders even have parallax markings to let you know how far off you'll be at closer distances. The quality of the viewfinders also varies a lot (frame coverage, how well they match the lens as you zoom in or out, etc. They're totally separate from the lens itself in many compact film and digital cameras.

If you use a Single Lens Reflex (SLR) Film Camera or a Digital SLR (DSLR), you get a through the lens view instead. That's one of the benefits of an SLR. You do have some small differences in coverage between cameras though. Note the design of this type of camera where light comes through the lens and hits a mirror that sends it up to a focus screen and pentaprism or pentamirror that sends it on to the eyepiece.


This mirror on a SLR or DSLR swings out of the way and lets the light coming from the lens thorugh to the camera's film or sensor when you take the photo.

You can also get around the issue using a camera with an EVF (Electronic Viewfinder). It sees what the camera's sensor sees (although you can have some momentary delay and other issues, depending on the EVF).

Here is another page explaining Parallax Error.

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Old Oct 10, 2009, 2:08 PM   #3
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I've found that for outdoor shooting in bright light, while skiing at high altitude, some kind of viewfinder is essential. Does anyone know if there is a list somewhere that lists digicams with viewfinders? I find myself digging through dozens of individual reviews just to figure this out before I start shopping. Very frustrating. Thanks for any help.
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