Buy VF viewfinder or 2nd body with viewfinder?

onewheeltom

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Messages
112
Location
Cary, NC
Real Name
Tom Karches
Currently shooting with Oly E-P5. Considering the cost of the VF viewfinders, thinking it makes more sense to buy a used body with built in viewfinder as a 2nd body to carry. Thoughts/suggestions?

Tom
 

ac12

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Apr 24, 2018
Messages
1,569
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
My style of shooting, I prefer an EVF. So my choice would be a camera WITH an EVF, be it a SLR or rangefinder style camera.
To me, add-on EVFs are clumsy and an accident waiting to happen.
 

Trinurse

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Feb 26, 2011
Messages
85
Get a used or reurbed E-M5. Proly cost not much more than that EVF and is a fantastic little camera
 

Michael Meissner

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
378
Location
Ayer, Massachusetts, USA
You probably can't buy a body with an electronic viewfinder at the cost of the VF-2, VF-3, or VF-4 viewfinders ($110 - $150 for the lowest price on ebay).

It is interesting that the VF-3 (which was originally made to be a cheaper solution with smaller resolution that the VF-2 viewfinder) is slightly more than the VF-2.

When I briefly used the VF-2, I discovered:
  • If you wear polarized sunglasses, the EVF is completely opaque when shooting in landscape (horizontal) orientation;
  • The VF-2 took more power to run than using the rear display (it was felt this was due to the higher resolution, and a higher refresh rate in the VF-2);
  • The VF-2 has no locking clip on the hot-shoe, and several people reported losing it when walking with the camera on a neck strap (I eventually put a wire around the unit, and attached it to the shoulder strap hook);
  • The VF-2 made it hard to pack the camera, since it added to the camera's height.
Instead I tended to use the Clearviewer on the cameras:
I did have one weird thing happen to me. I had a vacation down to Disney World. I had just bought a refurbished E-m5 mark I, and during the trip the viewfinder on the E-m5 mark I's backlight in its viewfinder failed and I wasn't able to read it normally. In packing, I had just gathered all of my camera accessories and dumped them in the suitcase, including the VF-2. The E-m5 mark I had the accessory port, so for a bit, I was using the VF-2 viewfinder on top of the E-m5 mark I's normal viewfinder.
 

Bidkev

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 5, 2018
Messages
4,130
Location
Brisbane Australia from Blackpool UK 23yrs ago
Go for the camera with the viewfinder as the add on is a PIA for packing the camera away. I like the Epl Lite series but hate using the screen on any camera so I waited ages to find a used VF4 for a decent price AUS$140. Used are very hard to find here so for many, the option is only new but you can buy a used E-M5 for less than the price of a new viewfinder.
 

WhidbeyLVR

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Feb 14, 2014
Messages
1,516
Location
Whidbey Island
Real Name
Lyle
I use the VF-4 most of the time when I am using my E-P5. VF-4 Display is great and the eye sensor works well. I have found it useful on numerous occasions that the viewfinder can pivot up vertically.

That said, I must admit I use my EM-5 II much much more often than my E-P5.
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2015
Messages
3,168
Location
Brisbane, Australia
Real Name
Damiano Visocnik
Here is an odd one: I use a VF-4 on top of the E-M1 :doh:
No, seriously I do!

When I need to photograph NOT at eye level (trying to get a different POV and a more interesting angle) nothing beats the ability to swivel the EVF up so I can look down into it
Suddenly those hard to get angles where I have to contort myself and crawl on the ground become easy and I can compose way better than "iPhone style" on the rear LCD tilted up.
Now, if my style would be purely "point-and-shoot" at eye level, than a detachable EVF would make less sense.

Last but no least: I got a big nose. Squishing it against the LCD has never been my pleasure. With the VF-4 it clears the camera and I can breath easy :)
 

spdavies

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Apr 9, 2013
Messages
2,164
Location
Hawaii
Real Name
Stephen
I love the VF-4 with my EP-5.
There is the bit of extra caution you have to take with it,
but it is sharp, bright, it locks on, and it tilts.
Either solution would be fine.
But if you get the external, get the VF-4.
 

PakkyT

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Jun 20, 2015
Messages
2,699
Location
New England
It is interesting that the VF-3 (which was originally made to be a cheaper solution with smaller resolution that the VF-2 viewfinder) is slightly more than the VF-2.
No, usually the Vf-3 sells for cheaper than the others. I am seeing the VF-3 for under $100 USD. I bought one a while ago for my infrared E-P2 and I picked the "3" both because it was cheaper than the others and also it is the only one (I think) that has a positive lock when you mount it requiring a push button to unlock and remove. I didn't want the VF getting pushed off the camera either in my bag or holding it at my side when walking.

KEH at $94
Olympus VF-3 Electronic Viewfinder, Silver, for Micro Four Thirds at KEH Camera

and mbp.com at $89
Used Olympus VF-3 Viewfinder

I got mine for $74 shipped off eBay in Dec 2017, so if you take your time there are deals out there for this one.
 

djtaylor7

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Mar 2, 2013
Messages
673
Location
Nelson, NZ
Real Name
David
Is it the VF2 which is higher resolution than the VF3, but does not lock in place, so you run the risk of accidentally pushing it off? I think I nearly lost one which came off while the camera was over my shoulder.
 

Michael Meissner

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
378
Location
Ayer, Massachusetts, USA
Is it the VF2 which is higher resolution than the VF3, but does not lock in place, so you run the risk of accidentally pushing it off? I think I nearly lost one which came off while the camera was over my shoulder.
Yes. The lock was added in the VF-3. I believe the VF-4 has more resolution (so VF-3 -> VF-2 -> VF-4).
 

fader

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Aug 20, 2016
Messages
871
IRRC the VF4 at 1.48 magnification has better resolution than PenF EVF, EM10 MkII, or EM5 Mk1.
 

HarryS

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jun 23, 2012
Messages
986
Location
Midwest, USA
If I had the EP5, I could forgive the lack of an EVF as I have all three. For resolution, VF4 > VF2 > VF3.

I lost my first VF2, when it fell off my EPL1. I replaced with a another one. I bought a VF3 when they were sold new for $70. It has a much smaller screen than the VF2. Over the years, I acquired the VF4 when it was on sale at the outlet for under $150. So viewfinders had cost me more over the years than my EM5.

I now use my GX5 but still occasionally grab my EPL5 for sentiment. I always forget it has no EVF or flash. The lack of an EVF is minor, but I took the EPL5 to an indoor party at a restaurant last week. I was asking people to email me their smart phone shots later.
 

Holoholo55

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Aug 13, 2014
Messages
2,873
Location
Honolulu, HI
Real Name
Walter
I had a VF-3 with my first E-PL5. I sold it. Much later, I bought another PL-5, still seeking a smaller M43 body to pack light. My friend gave me a VF-4 because I still had trouble using only the rear screen. Finally, I gave up on PENs completely and replaced it with an EM10 II. If you really need an EVF, that’s what I recommend you do!

I found that I really had to have an EVF and a VF-x was a kludgey substitute. Not saying that this isn’t viable for others, but it wasn’t for me. :)
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2017
Messages
232
Location
Thessaly, Greece
Currently shooting with Oly E-P5. Considering the cost of the VF viewfinders, thinking it makes more sense to buy a used body with built in viewfinder as a 2nd body to carry. Thoughts/suggestions
I had the E-PL5+VF-4 combo for 3 years till the PEN recently developed IBISitis and I got an E-m10mkii on sale as I find repair too costly for a 2012 model camera. Now I am selling the VF-4 and if it does not leave the premises after all I am thinking of finding a used E-P5 for it to make a new home on for posterity.

Why?

The E-M10ii evf is a generation better, more vibrant, faster following action, view not affected by polarizing sunglasses, permits style 2/3 evf parameters display which I prefer (albeit at even smaller composition view, maybe the E-P5 permits this as well, the E-PL5 does not). It fills the bill nicely for me despite providing smaller view and providing closer eyepoint distance (in tandem these too are ok for me when I have my prescription glasses on while the VF-4 despite providing longer eyepoint distance is too large and I always miss the corners when not trying hard to see them).

However,
the VF-4 is so much closer to providing the view feel and size of a real OVF of a classic SLR like the F3 or the FA that it feels much more "natural” using with classic MF lenses and beats the modern OLED brother at that.
And it is the only good & real reason to keep it as I now feel tilting and view size are not as important as they used to be for me in the past.
 
Last edited:

alex66

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Jul 23, 2010
Messages
1,484
I would say given a Panasonic G3 can quite often be found for the cost of or less than an external VF it may be worth considering. A second camera gives you the advantage of reducing lens swaps and having a back up camera also.
 
Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Mu-43 is a fan site and not associated with Olympus, Panasonic, or other manufacturers mentioned on this site.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2009-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom