Need a camera with a good viewfinder...

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Ashenwelt, Aug 2, 2016.

  1. Ashenwelt

    Ashenwelt Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 13, 2016
    San Diego, CA, USA!
    So I am in a quandary. My only chance to check out viewfinders was very short, and I wasn’t super happy. I normally use a VF-4, which I love, on an E-PL5, which I don’t. So I am a guy who loves street and portraiture and have shot rangefinder and SLR/DSLR for decades. I want a new camera with controls, and a viewfinder just as good for someone with glasses.

    So… what M43 camera do you consider to have as good as a viewfinder as the VF-4 for those who wear glasses? It won’t be for today… but I am planning a new camera in the next 3 months.

  2. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    From Olympus, you're looking at the Pen F or the Ep-5 with the VF4. Panasonic has the GX8, the GX85/80, and probably some left over GX7. For you, there are some great sales for the EP5 (under $400) currently and that will accommodate the VF4. The GX85 has been very popular, works well, and costs about $800. The EVF is a question since, from what I've heard, the VF4 is better. I did have a GX7 (same EVF) and I thought the VF4 was better.
  3. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Hi, the E-M1 and E-M5 II both have nice, large VFs.
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  4. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    GH4 has a very nice one.
    The viewfinder in the GX85 and GX7 isn't even as good as the one in the E-M10. I wouldn't look at those if a viewfinder is a big deal. It's even worse because it's 16:9 so a 1/4 of it s cropped out when in 4:3 mode.

    From Panasonic, the GX8 is very good (which I think you mentioned).
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    EM-5 mkII, Pen-F, and GX8 have probably the best EVF. I can't remember if the E-M1 has the same EVF as the current EM-5 mkII or not.
  6. Moseo13

    Moseo13 New to Mu-43

    May 23, 2016
    Grenoble, France
    I highly think it does. In fact the Em5 II has the same EVF as the older Em1.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. jpig

    jpig Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 21, 2011
    I had an opportunity to try out all these cameras the other day at an event put on by Olympus and Panasonic. I went mainly to see how the current models compare to my EM10 mk I, particularly the EVFs. According to the specs, all except maybe the GX80 have higher resolution EVFs than my EM10, though I did not notice the difference in actual use. What I did notice was the considerably larger size of the EVFs on the EM1 and GX8. They seemed almost as big as the optical viewfinder of my old Nikon FM. These were easily the best of the bunch. The EM5 mk II and the Pen F were next in line. Their EVFs are high resolution, but did not seem quite as large. The EM10 mk II EVF seemed about the same size as on my EM10 mk I, and is supposed to be higher resolution, though I could not tell just by looking through it. The GX80 EVF was adequate, but not in the same league as the others, including my old EM10. That said, it did not seem as bad as some forum posts would lead one to believe. It is rather small and in 16:9 aspect ratio, but I did not notice the tearing effect some complain about, even when panning rapidly. I realize this varies by individual, but that was my experience with it. Anyway, those are my recent first hand impressions, for whatever they're worth.
    • Informative Informative x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    I think the GX8 EVF is the best M43 viewfinder right now, with the E-M5 II and E-M1 in second place. The GX8 EVF is huge.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. CyVan

    CyVan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 9, 2016
    I agree, add to that its tilting capability and the optional eyecup accessory and its a dream to use even in sunlight.
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    The E-P5 with VF-4 is a great combination. I switched back and forth from this combo to the EM5-II a few times when I had both in my hands one day and I liked the EP-5/VF4 combo better.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  11. gpburdell

    gpburdell Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jul 16, 2014
    Interesting. I own both of these and find the two viewfinders essentially equivalent. Can you describe what differences you experienced that leads to your assessment?

    @Ashenwelt@Ashenwelt I don't wear glasses, so there may be differences, but I have an EM5.2, EP5 with VF4, and now a PenF. The latter's viewfinder is a little smaller than the EM5.2 and VF4, but gives the slightly more compact rangefinder styling of the EP5. I like the EP5 fine, but found using the VF4 to be a bit cumbersome in some instances. On the other hand, neither the EM5.2 or PenF viewfinders flip upward like the VF4 so if that is important you may want to consider the GX8. Haven't used one so can't comment on it.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  12. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    I found the VF-4 to be more comfortable for my eye. It seemed to have a larger/softer opening in the front. At the default settings that were on the cameras I was comparing, the VF-4 was a little brighter and seemed to provide a clearer view. I picked up each camera a few times and viewed the same subjects and preferred the VF-4.

    Ultimately, I ended up with the EM-5 II since I need the viewfinder full time and prefer the more solid built in viewfinder construction of the EM5-II. From the point of view of the viewfinder, however, the VF-4 with its ergonomic eyepiece and flip up design is hard to beat.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  13. jpig

    jpig Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 21, 2011
    I agree, with the E-M1 a very close second. For some reason, even though the E-M5 II is supposed to have the same EVF as the E-M1, it did not seem quite as large to me. I'm not sure why. Maybe I had been staring through too many good EVFs to be impressed with the E-M5 II by the time I got to it.

    At any rate, all the current models (except GX80) have EVFs with identical resolution of 2.36m. The differences are in the size or perceived size of the EVF, with the GX80 being the smallest and the GX8 the largest, followed closely by the E-M1 (and the E-M5 II, though it didn't seem as large to me).
  14. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    It's called magnification and
    GX8 = 1.54
    VF-4 = 1.48 = EM1 = EM5II
    Pen-F = 1.23 = EM10II

    Side by Side Comparison: Digital Photography Review
    • Informative Informative x 2
  15. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Right... resolution of the LCD/OLED + magnification of the VF lens are the important specs.
    The size of the eyepiece is also relevant, but may be tied to the magnification.
  16. jpig

    jpig Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 21, 2011
    Useful summary. Thanks. The odd thing is that the GX80 specs claim EVF magnification of 1.4, but it doesn't seem as large as even the EM10 at 1.23. Is that just because of the cropping of the 16:9 EVF to 4:3, or is there something else going on? Maybe I have misremembered the specs?
  17. jpig

    jpig Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 21, 2011
    I wonder if there's some difference in the eyepieces that could account for why the EVF of the EM5 II seemed a little smaller to me than the EVF of the EM1, despite identical resolution and magnification.
  18. robcee

    robcee Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 10, 2016
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Rob Campbell
    You might have had them setup differently. I know on the EM1 one of the EVF display modes is full "screen" with an overlay for aperture and shutter speed. I think the default has those on a black strip at the bottom, which shrinks the effective viewfinder size to accommodate them. May also be available on the EM5mk2.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    I agree about the EVF in the GX85. I wear progressives and have a strong distance prescription with heavy astigmatism. I find the EVF on the E-M10 just fine, but I found the one on the GX85 unusable and thus returned the camera. I got an almost instant headache looking through the viewfinder, and I couldn't see the whole image at once. Very sad, because it's a really nice camera otherwise.
  20. runner girl

    runner girl Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 26, 2011
    I have found that the viewfinder on the EM10 MKII is as good or better than the EM5 MKII in actual use. They are both excellent.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    • Informative Informative x 1
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