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GF1: with or without External Live View Finder?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by sdf, Apr 5, 2010.

  1. sdf

    sdf New to Mu-43

    Apr 5, 2010

    I'm considering buying a GF1+20mm.
    However I've been using DSLR and wonder how it would be to use this camera without external live view finder because I can't afford the External Live View Finder.

    Could you please tell me if you use it or not?

    If not, how is it shooting without an external live view finder?

    Thank you a lot for your advice

  2. lggomez

    lggomez Mu-43 Regular

    It's kind of hard to see the LCD on bright daylight. I did purchase the Panasonic viewfinder, but I you can get an optical viewfinder (old Leica or voigtlander) used it'll be a good idea, it has to be 40mm. That'll work.
  3. matmcdermott

    matmcdermott Mu-43 Regular

    I use the external finder for 98% of my shots. Wouldn't have bought the camera without it as I've never liked shooting with just the LCD screen. It could certainly have a better resolution and be a bit brighter, but it works well and the camera will still fit in a jacket pocket with it. If you're coming from a DSLR, save up a bit more and buy it for sure.
  4. back alley

    back alley Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 21, 2010
    i would not recommend the gf1 without the evf, plain and simple. unless you shoot indoors 98% of the time. the lcd is very hard to see/use on a bright day.

    it's dissapointing because the evf is big and ugly & really removes the feeling of 'smallness' of the camera.

    i also have a g1 which is a great camera.
    unless you want video save your money and find a used g1.
  5. Vic B

    Vic B Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 1, 2010
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    I have a somewhat different experience than the other responders to your post. I've used P&S cameras with only LCDs for a number of years, and only occasionally does the bright sun seriously impede the view. With my GF1, I use the EVF about half the time. Using the LCD -- holding the camera as close to your eyes as comfortable, with your elbows tucked into your sides for extra stability -- provides a view that in some ways allows for better, more considered composition than with an EVF or an OVF on a DSLR. Sort of like a view camera, but right way up.

    If necessary to block the sun, a Hoodman Loupe works very well. It's not cheap, but about half the price of the EVF.

    Regards, Vic B
  6. djmo

    djmo New to Mu-43

    Aug 10, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    I'm actually deciding whether to purchase the live view finder or the hoodman for the GF1. I've only owned a p&s (so it's just been LCD for years - like Vic B) and I don't really know if it's wise to splurge on a viewfinder/hoodman. Is it best to shoot with a viewfinder?

    I have to admit this though. I have the 14-45mm lens for the GF1 and since this is my first non p&s, I'm not used to manually zooming the lens.:biggrin:
  7. tomrock

    tomrock Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 21, 2010
    Indianapolis, IN
    You can always add the EVF later if you think you need it.
  8. flipGTO

    flipGTO Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 8, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    I didn't purchase an EVF with my GF1, but I'm happy w/o it. Even if I find myself putting the camera up to my face after using my DSLR. I will admit that it would be useful during bright days, but I've managed w/o it.
  9. Grant

    Grant Mu-43 Veteran

    All I wanted was an exceptional camera that would fit into my pockets and was fast to use so I have a GF1 and both the 20 mm and the 14-45 mm lenses, and no external EVF.

    I suspect your decision to buy the EVF should be based on how you shoot. If you are going to do close ups, extreme telephoto, sports/action or a lot of midday shooting I would consider it. If these are not your main reasons to have the camera then you don't need an EVF.

    For me there is no downside in not having an EVF but then you may not shoot like I do. The up side is I have an extra $200 in your pocket and one less piece of equipment to worry about (I loose things).

    In fact if I had to do it all over I would not buy the 14-45 mm lens, but that says more about my shooting style than the value of the lens.
  10. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    I would say the EVF definitely serves a purpose, and that would be primarily for days when you'll be outside in bright sunlight, as the screen does get quite washed out. If you know you'll only be using the 20mm, or at least primarily using on that lens, I would also suggest an optical viewfinder. I have the olympus vf-1, which was intended to be paired with the olympus 17mm lens, however I have found it is a perfect match to the 20mm (which is a 40mm equivalent field of view). A quick search shows they sell used on ebay for about $60-80, which might be a reasonably priced alternative.
  11. Bill H

    Bill H Mu-43 Rookie

    May 6, 2010
    Santa Rosa, CA
    I came from the DSLR to the GF1 with the EVF. I find that I use it about 1/2 the time. Again as others have said the evf works great in bright light. The other reason I like the evf is that it has a diopter. Being a little older I am able to adjust it and don't need my glasses when setting up the shot. It is a little aggravating that you need to manually switch back and forth between the evf and lcd. Is it worth the additional money. You can get used to shooting from the lcd, but I like having both. Since I still shoot with my DLSR I automatically pull either camera to my eye.
  12. Grant

    Grant Mu-43 Veteran

    Took me a while to get over that one :biggrin:
  13. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    I prefer to use it. It just allows me to hold the camera a little steadier. Not to mention the outdoor sunlight issue. and the bonus in battery life savings.

    But when I'm just shooting around when with a group of ppl or something, I'll probably forgo the EVF.
  14. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Well I bought the viewfinder for my GF1 from France at a really cheap price. It sat in my cupboard because I never actually needed it and then I decided to sell it on ebay. And I made way more out of it than what I bought it for, so in conclusuion, yes, I am glad I bought the viewfinder:smile:
  15. Bullfrog

    Bullfrog Mu-43 Top Veteran

  16. JohnW

    JohnW Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 3, 2010
    I keep the EVF mounted all the time, but only use it when necessary. I shot this year's SoFoBoMo project at several beaches, and the LCD was completely useless. Even the EVF leaked so much light that it was good only for framing.

    But I think in most lighting the LCD is fine. Certainly nothing like a DSLR, but usually good enough. I agree if you are using only the 20 that an optical viewfinder would be worth trying. I've heard the PEN 17mm optical viewfinder works well on the GF1.

  17. photoSmart42

    photoSmart42 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 12, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    IMO if you're going to use the EVF all the time with the GF, you might as well get a G1/G2 since it has better ergonomics, and it's not significantly larger than the GF+EVF combination. There's a lot of advantages to using the EVF. The main one people have mentioned is sunlight visibility. Another would be increased stability for taking macro, low light, or large focal length shots - the extra contact point with the camera against your face is very beneficial in those situations.

    The GF only has an advantage over the G-series if used without the EVF, and with smaller lenses like the 20/1.7.
  18. JohnW

    JohnW Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 3, 2010
    I'm sure you're right, but some of us are just crazy about the GF/EP form factor.

  19. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    significant is subjective. I find the combo to be far less intrusive. And while I may use the EVF 85% of the time, I do have that option to not use it when I don't want to.

    Granted, this is no doubt a viewpoint held by a minority of folks from what I've read, but we're out there!
  20. deirdre

    deirdre Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 9, 2010
    I really really like the form factor of the GF-1. I don't currently have the EVF, and will probably pick it up at some point, but I'm not getting it before vacation.

    I've considered getting an E-PL1 + VF2 as a second body and skipping the EVF on the GF-1 altogether. Undecided on that, though.
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