Olympus E-M1 vs Fuji X-E2 vs Sony A7 Viewfinders

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by faberryman, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. faberryman

    faberryman Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 15, 2013
    Looking to acquire a interchangeable lens camera. I have pretty much narrowed it down to the Olympus E-M1, the Fuji X-E2 and the Sony A7. The only one I can buy locally is the Fuji. One question I have is the size of the EVF. Looking through the X-E2, I thought the size of the image was small compared to my memory of my old OM-4. How does it compare to the EVFs in the E-M1 (or for that matter the E-M5) and the Sony A7. What is confusing is something I saw in the description of the Olympus VF-4 that said it said it had a magnification of 1.48x, but that was comparable to 0.74x on a 35mm film camera, so I am thinking the magnification ratio is not comparable among different sensor sizes. Also, in a DPR review of the X-E2, they said the viewfinder on the X-E2 was larger than a E-M5 but smaller than a E-M1. I guess I'll have to look at them myself the next time I am traveling, but it would be nice if there was a definite set of comparable specifications. Are their significant difference? What are everyone's experiences?
  2. I've handled the em1 at the store and as far as the viewfinder is concerned, it supposed to be the best in the business. It is huge.
  3. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    I have the EM1 and the XE1 (same viewfinder as the XE2). My Sony gets collected friday so I have limited experience, although I spent about 30 mins playing with one.

    In order of size it's XE2, A7, EM1. The Sony and Olympus are close and both are significantly larger to look at than the Fujifilm. The XE2 feels a bit like the EM5 although it has more resolution and the EM5 is slightly larger to view, mostly due to it's ratio..

    The EM1/Sony compare favourably to optical viewfinders like the OM series although I don't know if any viewfinder has ever been their equal.

  4. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    You need to divide the finder's magnification ratio by the same crop factor you'd use for lenses to get an equiv to 35mm/FF.
  5. faberryman

    faberryman Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 15, 2013
    Thanks. Further research shows that the E-M5 has a .58x FF equiv. magnification, the X-E2 has a .62x FF equiv. magnification, the A7 has a .71x magnification (which is comparable to the Canikon DSLRs), and the E-M1 a .74x FF equiv. magnification. The OM series was king with a .92x magnification. No wonder the X-E2 look small to me.

    Anyone ever thought the E-M5 viewfinder was problematic? The jump from .58x to .74x on the E-M1 seems monumental.
  6. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    The EM5 VF is fantastic..... until you look through the EM1.

  7. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    I was holding the E-M5 EVF in one eye and the A7 EVF in the other at the same time.

    The difference between them clearly exists, but they aren't so different that I really could appreciate the differences.
  8. I just came back from the camera store - I like the viewfinder in my OM-D - works fine. I looked at the EM1 again - way bigger, clearer, but it kind of looks dark in the demo unit you get to play with. Can you adjust the brightness? Naturally these guys are not up on M4/3 and didn't know how to.

    THEN, I looked at the A7. O.M.G. Holy bright batman!!!!!!!!!!!! That viewfinder is unreal.

    Also, the A7/kit zoom felt lighter than the EM1/12-40

  9. Really? I experienced a HUGE difference between the A7 vs EM1 as I said above.

  10. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    I think EM5 viewfinder is a bit smallish. I only handled it in store though. many times :)
    Numbers must not tell the whole story because according to numbers GX7 was supposed to have a huge finder but it turned out to be smallish too.
  11. faberryman

    faberryman Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 15, 2013
    The GX7 viewfinder is .70x FF equiv. so is comparable to the A7 and not far behind the E-M1. Certainly larger than the E-M5 and X-E2.
  12. Joelmusicman

    Joelmusicman Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 1, 2013
    I've heard that the A7 kit lens is pretty bad. Specs aside, the IQ is not even close to the 12-40.
  13. I'll go back and take some pictures with it

  14. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    I don't have experience with the X-E2 or the A7 to comment on those viewfinders, but I have to agree with Gordon on the difference between the EVF of the E-M5 and E-M1.

    I found the EVF of the E-M5 to be good, but it doesn't come close to that of the E-M1. Not only is the magnification higher, but the resolution is also higher, meaning you can see more details. For me, the EVF of the E-M1 makes it easier for me to manual focus even without any MF assistance (peaking or magnification), whereas I used to always miss focus with the E-M5 without using magnification when focusing manually.

    Someone else mentioned that the EVF of the A7 appears way brighter than the E-M1. An EVF that's too bright is not always a good thing. While the brightness of the EVF on the E-M1 can be adjusted, it also has an adaptive auto brightness adjustment feature, which allows to EVF to automatically adjust to the brightness of the environment. One problem I had with using EVF is that sometimes, I thought I had my shot properly exposed because it appeared so in the EVF, only to find out later on my computer that it is actually underexposed. The auto brightness adjustment feature on the E-M1 means that what you see in the EVF is what you get (well, at least to a certain extend. I still manually reduced the brightness slightly).
  15. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I'm with hkpzee on this one - I got my E-M1 last week, and looking through the viewfinder was a revelation. It's really a fantastic EVF, comparable in size to my 5DII. I still slightly prefer optical VF's for connection with the scene (slightly), but EVFs have a lot of advantages that shift the balance in their direction. I was already happing with the E-M5 EVF, but the E-M1...world of difference.

    You can set various options for EVF brightness on the OM-Ds, including live boost (I think that's what it's called - boosts the overall brightness on the viewer in dark situations), some of which aren't great for getting ideal exposure. The histogram/blinkies are more useful for that, I find.