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Old Feb 8, 2008, 9:37 PM   #1
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EVF's... who likes them, who hates them? So far, I have seen good ones, and bad ones. Some are too distorted and slow.
Sony H9's EVF sucks! It's just horrible. It's tiny and this night vision doodoo makes it all green. I had eye strain after looking thru it. Even the Kodak EVF's are better; they are large and clear. The EVF on the Canon S5 IS is pretty bad as well.
All LCD I've seen are great; clear, large, fast. What's the point of EVF anyway? If just to display live info such as histogram, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc while giving a horrible view of the subject, then I'll either stick with optical or the LCD.

Besides, on some Cameras, you cannot preview nor see depth-of-field if you go from f/2.8 to f/8. Yes, you could say an optical viewer on a P&S creates parallex view; what the camera sees is slightly off from what you see. It is a problem when shooting close-up. I have many photos taken of family in which someone is half cut off and the photo is not composed as I saw it in the view finder. However, for landscapes it's not a problem. This is solved by using the LCD.

Thus, the only argument for EVF is no parallex. And you could shoot into the sun. At night, and in the dark, the view is brighter;however, does that mean the photo is bright as well? How would you know you got proper exposure?


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Old Feb 8, 2008, 11:00 PM   #2
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romphotog wrote:
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...the only argument for EVF is no parallex. ...
An EVF would also display a stabilized image on a camera that was so equipped, whereas an optical viewfinder on all but Canon/Nikon dSLRs with IS/VR lenses, would not.
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Old Feb 9, 2008, 10:38 AM   #3
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IMO It'll all depend on the EVF design

One of the better one is in the Minolta series and in particular the A2: http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/a2_pg2.html

1. This camera's EVF has one of the highest resolution which allows one to actually focus manually even in macro (without enlarging the view according to Steve's) and in the fast mode it can keeps up with actions

2. "How would you know you got proper exposure?" In manual mode this EVF will display the correct exposure as recorded to the CF flash card - i.e. What You See Is What You Get by adjusting the aperture and shutter on the camera. The real-time histogram that can be super-imposed on this EVF also help greatly in controlling the exposure...

3. An EVF consumes significantly less energy than a rear LCD hence in intense use one would get more shots and longer operating hours per charge
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Old Feb 11, 2008, 12:10 PM   #4
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romphotog wrote:
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Thus, the only argument for EVF is no parallex. And you could shoot into the sun. At night, and in the dark, the view is brighter;however, does that mean the photo is bright as well? How would you know you got proper exposure?
There are several advantages to EVF on P&S cameras. My first reason for using the EVF on my Kodak Z612 almost exclusively is that the camera is steadier up against my face rather than held out to where I can see the LCD. The second reason is that there's less chance of direct sunlight wiping out the view using the EVF rather than LCD although the LCDs on recent Kodaks are pretty good in that area.

Virtually all the current crop of EVFsAND LCDs "gain up" in low light conditions so that we can compose the photo. They are not intended for exposure control. That's what themetering system is for. Use the histogram as well the meter modes (spot, center-weighted, etc.) to get the correct exposure. If those won't work use manual exposure with the published (various sources) conditional guides and bracket.

None of the current cropof EVFs or LCDs are very useful for focus IMO. They'll work if the lenswill be stopped down enough that focus isn't real critical anyway but none areanywhere close to the focus screen on a DSLR.

Bottom line, no EVFmakes a P$S a non-starter IMO.


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Old Feb 12, 2008, 10:07 AM   #5
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ac.smith wrote:
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...There are several advantages to EVF on P&S cameras. ....They are not intended for exposure control...
This may be so, but nevertheless I find that the EVF on my Kodak Z712 offers me an excellent estimate of exposure, by eye as well as via the histogram, to the extent that that's how I routinely set the exposure. You have to half-press & release the button first, but the shot I take and then briefly see in the 'quickview' is uncannily similar to what I see beforehand in the EVF preview. I use EV compensation to twiddle the preview up & down until it looks about right, especially with regard to shadowor highlight detail.

I'm therefore doing a lot of what I used to do 20 years ago in the darkroom before rather than after pushing the button. This represents a breakthrough in my photography. It's one stage better than the original digicam/LCD breakthrough of inspecting the shot immediately after you've taken it.

Incidentally, my son's cheap Sanyo S4 point & shoot has the same facility, albeit on an LCD rather than an EVF.It has big, fat "+" and "-" buttons beneaththe LCD screen for twiddling EV up & down, and, astonishingly, it works quite well!
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Old Feb 12, 2008, 11:00 AM   #6
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Alan T wrote:
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This may be so, but nevertheless I find that the EVF on my Kodak Z712 offers me an excellent estimate of exposure,
Ditto with my Panasonic FZ50, which I've moved to since tiring of hauling a weighty DSLR system around. I find myself doing much less "chimping" and re-shooting to get things right with the FZ50 because I see the image as it is going to look before I take the picture. Between the live viewfinder and the live histogram alsoin the finder, I can adjust mysettings and know exactly what the image is going to look like before press the shutter release. For typical family/vacation/landscape-type shooting, it's a great way to work.

There are definitely subjects, mainly related to sports-type shooting, where EVF's are not what you really want to be using, but for any other type photography, they work very well.
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 12:50 PM   #7
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Greg and Alan:

Let me begin by saying I greatly respect, value and appreciate your skills as evidenced by the photo's you've posted and comments you've provided in these forums.

I learned photography in the late '60s and '70s. Most of my serious artistic work was done in 35mm (and 1/2 frame 35mm just to prove it could be done) using transparency film. Why transparency? Because the transparency film of the era yielded fine grain and higher resolution than the color negative films of the time. Using transparency film meant I had to "get it right" in the camera, including composition, exposure and dynamic range because there was no option for "fixing" in the darkroom. Great discipline builder. I also shot B&W in 35mm and medium format (depending on intended end use) for both personal and professional uses doing my own darkroom work as I could not buy B&W darkroom work that equalled my own ability at a price I could afford. My professional color negative work was always medium format for two reasons: 1) Needed at least that much negative area to approach the quality levels I expected based on my 35mm transparency work and 2) the professional labs were geared to medium format (anybody remember the dreaded "subject failure" of the time?). None the less the discipline learned shooting transparency paid dividends in my other work, simplifying my own B&W darkroom work and minimizing corrective reprints with color negative work.

How did I accomplish this? Obviously a lot was simply work flow, focus, meter, compose, shoot. The required exposure accuracy resulted from meunderstanding the meter systems on my SLRs and my hand held meter extremely well. Never once did I attempt to gauge exposure by using the preview button on the lens/body of the SLR. Why? The focus screen on the SLR had no idea what shutter speed or film speed I'd selected. If I doubted my metering systems then my two eyes, unencumbered by the viewfinder were as good as anything observable through the viewfinder judging exposure.

Now, to the subject at hand, EVFs. While I had doubts about your answers yesterday I wanted to specifically test your claims. Last night I tested my Z612, deliberately settingconditions and/orcamera for both overexposure and underexposure, and using "half-press" no difference was observable.I used Auto, and each of the PASM mode and all flash modes, neither the EVF nor the LCD cared. The only exposure clues were those intentionally provided by Kodak, the histogram, the AE warning icon and in the case of manual mode the normal exposure compensation icon switches behaviour to indicate degree of under/over exposure.

Alan, these tests were done onmy Z612, Kodak may have changed the behaviour on the Z712 but I think we'd have heard more about it by this time if that were true. The close correlation use see between the EVF image and the final image is, in my view, a tribute to thecapabilities of the camera metering and WB systems. Gregg, I've never touched the FZ series Panys nor the UZ series Olys but I haven't seen anything contrary to my Z612 comments in any of the Fuji, Canon or Sony super-zooms I've handled.
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 1:09 PM   #8
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When it comes to the FZ50's finder being a good reference, indoors at night when used in "P", "A" or "S" exposure modes and using my TTL flash, the finder is not a good indication of exposure because it gains up to make viewing possible, but if I am in manual exposuremode indoors at night using flash and select something like 1/250 at f5.6 or any other exposure combination you would know is going to give a gross underexposure due to ambient light levels, the finder doesgo completely black because it only sets the finder view inmanual modebased on ambient light levels no matter the time of day, inside or outside.

Outdoors or inside somewhere like a museum or like this past year when I went to France and we were shooting in many chateaus inside during the day by ambient light coming through windpws, those are the situations where the FZ50finder is/was a good indication of exposure.


In manual exposuremode, the FZ50 is even better. I can press the shutter release half-way down and, while continuing to hold it half-down, I can use the thumb wheel in the back to adjust the aperture or the front wheel to adjust the shutter speedand the finder will continuallyadjust the scene in thefinderas I make those adjustments until I get the look I want. I then take the picture and it's exactly as the finder was presenting the image before I shot.

I also own an Olympus SP550UZ. Indoors at night the finder gains up to where it is not a good visual indication of exposure and you wind up needing to use the live histogram.




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Old Feb 13, 2008, 2:05 PM   #9
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Gregg:

Thanks for your additional comments. Sounds like your Oly behaves the same as my Z612. Have you checked the behavior of your FZ8?
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 3:34 PM   #10
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I've only used the FZ8 outdoors and it's been a little while since I got out with it,but fromwhat I recall it doing,it closes down to the exposure settings in the finderwhen you half-press on the release to set focus and exposure. I can remember checking the exposure in the finder, then taking my finger off the release, adjusting the exposure compensation and then half-pressing again tocheck the adjustments. I'd have to get it out and verify all that, but I'm pretty sure that's how it works.

The finder in theFZ50 is much more user friendly, not to mention the nice, soft rubber surround that won't scratch my glasses, unlike the hard plastic around the FZ8that did scratch my girfriend's glasses while we were in France..

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