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Old Dec 22, 2009, 9:33 PM   #11
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Just to chime in and stir the pot a little:

Some Dslr's have sensors which are not perfectly aligned with the VF, causing some tilt to appear in the picture even when the VF looks perfect. This is even harder to compensate for than adjusting the level using a lcd view, because you never see the result until after the picture is taken. The LCD is going to show you just what the sensor sees, allowing you to compensate for tilt before shooting.

APS-c sized sensors have APS-c sized mirrors and VFs. These are small enough to my eye to be harder to determine detail than with LCD. Even my 35mm with big, bright lens has a smaller view than a 3" LCD. If composing a shot where detail matters, I would prefer the LCD.

I do prefer the stability of using VFs, but frankly cannot consider them an advantage otherwise.

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Old Dec 25, 2009, 1:35 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
I don't buy the "steadyness" argument. With appropriate technique it is possible to keep a camera very steady when composing using the LCD. Holding it at arm's length is not necessary. There are many possible techniques for keeping the camera steady, though for medium-telephoto use it might be easier to hand-hold an SLR. Of course for long telephotos you should be using a tripod anyway, at which point the LCD is often much easier to use.

Also if you brace your SLR against your forehead or cheek I would suggest that you're holding it wrong, and it sure sounds uncomfortable.

Let's not forget before we get all snippy about composing on a screen that it's precisely what large format photographers do, or users of TLR medium format cameras. The Single Lens Reflex is not the pinnacle of camera technology, it's just one way of doing it.

And the notion that you cannot properly compose a picture on an LCD screen is insulting and ludicrous and blatantly untrue.

One advantage that an SLR does have is that the viewfinder is optical - which means that the light travels to your eye from the subject at the speed of light. With an LCD screen there is a very slight lag; on the GF1 for example the screen refreshes at 60Hz. (i.e. 60 cycles per second) many other "lessor" LCDs refresh far more slowly. This can be a problem for action photography in particular.

It is true... if you are trying to shoot with a long lens. Using the screen instead of the viewfinder is quite ludicrous when using a 50-500mm Sigma lens. The weight that far from your body creates instability thus camera shake. To say otherwise is wrong and does no service to those trying to learn photography. If you prefer to do it that way then please continue. You will not get the best photos but please feel free to continue. As for using a tripod for those long lenses...that is not always possible and as you stated developing good technique is possible and very good photos can be had without the tripod...but not hand holding and using the viewscreen.
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Old Dec 26, 2009, 3:23 PM   #13
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An interesting counterpoint to a claim I wasn't making. With telephoto lenses at the very edge of what is possible to hand-hold I specifically said that an SLR may have and advantage, simply because it is possible to move the balance point back. But that is no advantage to an OPTICAL finder, an ELECTRONIC finder would be just as stable.

I personally don't believe hand-held 500mm shots can be anything better than occasionally acceptable for most people, your standards may vary of course. Or perhaps you have very strong arms. Most people should use a support at that length.

But I am happy to concede that if you are trying to hand-hold a 500mm lens then having a camera you can hold as close to your eye as possible is a good idea. That is a VERY long way from a general claim that optical finders are better because of steadiness.
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Old Dec 26, 2009, 6:19 PM   #14
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Whilst I'm still an amateur photog, I've been at it since I could hold my parents' Kodak Brownie. So I would have to say that for me, the VF is a lifelong habit. It's also very comfortable for me to cradle the lens in my left hand and "run" the camera with my right. It's easier for me to compose in the viewfinder, and yes, I can hold the camera pretty steady that way. I also don't like the response lag you get when using the VS.
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Old Dec 26, 2009, 10:29 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by R.A.Smith View Post
..., the VF is a lifelong habit. ...
As another geezer, I think you captured one of the reasons a fair number of folks like the TTL viewing and would be unhappy if you took away the mirror slamming about.

I didn't spend much time with a view camera - about a year (still have the beast). Good tuition - forced me to think a lot about what I was doing and what a camera could do. Looking at ground glass with a high powered loupe under a dark cloth did teach me a lot about focus.

About the only thing I have figured out for sure about photography is that there is no single solution that fits all problems. With all the electronic wizz-bangs it is coming closer than it was when a fast color film was Kodachrome25. The universal solution ain't here yet - but might make it in a few hundred years or so.
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Old Dec 27, 2009, 3:19 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by BillDrew View Post
... The universal solution ain't here yet - but might make it in a few hundred years or so.
Well, there's something we can all look forward to.
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
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