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Old Jul 29, 2006, 2:00 AM   #1
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I love the zoom images my girlfriend gets from her Lumix FZ-3, but when I try to use the camera, the EVF throws me off. Is there ANY digital camera that has a 10X or greater optical zoom and an optical or glass viewfinder. I don't want an electronic viewfinder.


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Old Jul 29, 2006, 7:36 AM   #2
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Nope (except for DSLR models).

A non-DSLR model does not have the ability to use a TTL (Through The Lens) Optical Viewfinder.

So, non-DSLR models that have optical viewfinders have one that uses a separate optical path compared to the lens, making it very difficult to have anything close to an accurate view, with parallax becoming a big problem with longer focal lengths and closer distances to your subject (you focus on something in the center and the actual focus point is not in the center).

Although there may be one that's longer (I haven't paid *that* much attention), the most zoom I can recall in a non-DSLR model with an optical viewfinder is the Pentax Optio 750z (37.5-187.5mm equivalent zoom range). They had some earlier models that preceded it (for example the Pentax Optio 555z) with this same zoom range with an optical viewfinder. It's not TTL (separate optical path for the viewfinder).

If budget permits, and you don't mind the extra size and weight, you may want to consider a DSLR solution instead. A DSLR does use a true TTL Optical Viewfinder and it will work with any lens you can mount on it.

If you're looking for a single lens solution, you can find some lenses that have a pretty decent focal range. For example, Tamron and Sigma make 18-200mm and 28-300mm lenses. Some of our members using the Konica Minolta DSLR models are using the Tamron 28-300mm XR lens. An Ebay vendor has been selling these for approximately $150.00 in Minolta mount (and Minolta AF mount lenses will work on the new Sony DSLR-A100, too).

Note that with an entry level DSLR model, lenses will appear to be longer than they will on a 35mm camera. So, to see how the angle of view compares to a 35mm model, you need to multiply the focal length of a lens by 1.5x for entry level Nikon, Pentax, Konica Minolta, and Sony DSLR models (these all use the same size Sony sensors).

For example, an 18-200mm lens on a Nikon D50, Pentax *st DL, Konica Minolta 5D, etc., will behave like a 27-300mm lens would on a 35mm camera; or a 28-300mm lens would behave like a 42-450mm lens would on a 35mm camera.

For entry level Canon models like the Rebel XT, you need to multiply the focal length by 1.6x (versus 1.5x for models using a Sony sensor).

For entry level Olympus models (E-500, E-300, etc.), you need to multiply the focal length of a lens by 2x (for example, a 50mm lens will behave like a 100mm lens would on a 35mm camera).

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Old Jul 29, 2006, 7:49 AM   #3
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think there are many non-DSLR cameras that have a pseudo-TTL optical system. The Fuji S9000, for instance, displays what's being "seen" by the imaging chip. There is no disparity between what's in the viewfinder versus what actually gets recorded (except for a little clipping around the edges.)
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Old Jul 29, 2006, 7:52 AM   #4
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It's through the lens (you're seeing what the sensor is seeing, although with a slight delay from the needed readout, depending on how often the display is being refreshed) The refresh rate with most models also varies with lighting (slower refresh rate in lower light).

But, it's not optical.

That's an EVF (Electronic Viewfinder), which is what the Original Poster does not want. ;-)

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Old Jul 29, 2006, 10:50 AM   #5
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Another option might be the Panasonic TZ-1 which is very small as 10-12X super zooms go and it has no EVF and a high quality LCDused forframing. The pixel count in the LCD is very high and the LCD is 2.5".

I own one and like it a lot. Here is a sample photo taken handheld, using ISO 800 without any flash.

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