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Olympus OM-D E-M5 - viewfinder a little small?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by flaxseedoil1000, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. flaxseedoil1000

    flaxseedoil1000 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 10, 2011
    Looks to be the same as the add-on viewfinder but smaller than the GH2.

    For some perspective, a .50 would be half the size you see with your naked eye, so the bigger, the better.

    These are crop factor corrected:

    Canon EOS-1D X .76
    Sony NEX-7 .73
    Nikon D700 .72
    LEICA M7 .72

    Panasonic GH2 .71

    Canon EOS 5D Mark III .71
    Nikon D4 .70
    Nikon D7000 .63
    Canon EOS 7D .62
    Pentax K-1 .61
    Canon EOS 60D .59

    Olympus OM-D E-M5 .58

    Olympus E-5 .58
    Nikon D3000 .53
    Nikon D5100 .52

    Fuji X-Pro1 .40

    from dpreview:

    "One figure hidden away in every SLR's spec is the size of the viewfinder (often in a format that makes comparison between competing models impossible). The size of the viewfinder is a key factor in the usability of an SLR - the bigger it is, the easier it is to frame and focus your shots, and the more enjoyable and involving process it is.

    Because of the way viewfinders are measured (using a fixed lens, rather than a lens of equivalent magnification), you also need to take the sensor size into account, so the numbers in the diagram below are the manufacturer's specified magnifications divided by the respective 'crop factors'."

    The E-M5 is about the same as the 60D below:


    Wish I could look through one, afraid it may be a step backward from the GH2.

    Any concerns are are you just happy it has one?
    • Like Like x 2
  2. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Yep, that's a downer. Not a big deal to me, but bigger would be better.
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The GH2 has a 1.4x magnification while the VF-2 and E-M5 have a 1.15x magnification. So yes the GH2 is larger... The VF-2 does provide a very clear view however and I expect the E-M5 will be at least as good, supposedly even better.
  4. speltrong

    speltrong Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Northern California
    Clarity (px density, contrast, color representation, refresh rate) is way more important than physical size. The VF-1 for the GF1 could be 10x larger and it would still suck the same amount. There's also the distance between your eye and the VF screen to consider - even if it's physically smaller, if it's closer to your eye it could be subjectively larger to your brain. Lots of factors to consider... the only real way to know which is better is a side-by-side comparison.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. flaxseedoil1000

    flaxseedoil1000 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 10, 2011
    I have to find a VF-2 to look through, I might be spoiled, had no idea how generous the GH2 viewfinder was compared to most.
  6. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    I have a Nikon D3 with an awesome viewfinder, but I use my EPM1 with the VF2 with no problem.
  7. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Size matters ... I think a bigger VF is always better (all else being equal). I have eye extenders for my FF Canons, the extenders come with a lens which reduces the view ... I drilled the lenses out.

    Like most other things camera, I think one can easily adapt to the point where this is a non-issue, a big viewfinder is a nice feature, but a smaller VF shouldn't effect the capture or the image ... but you-all already know that.

  8. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    I don't completely agree. The OVFs in entry level DSLRs are as good or better than any current EVF in terms of contrast and accurate color, and obviously refresh rate isn't an issue. But looking through them can still be like looking through a tunnel. Size isn't the only thing that matters, but it does matter. Anyone who's compare the VF in an EOS 1D to that in a 50D knows that.

    And the effective magnification listed, I believe, takes eye relief into account.
  9. I find the VF-2 a lot more comfortable to look at than the larger viewfinder in the GH1, but that is mostly related to the colour "tearing" effect on the Panasonic viewfinders. Actually until I read this thread I wasn't aware that the VF-2 was smaller since it just seems easier to look at. Ironically, the tearing effect on the Panasonic probably wouldn't be an issue if the viewfinder was smaller since it only happens when you move your eye to look around the viewfinder.
  10. speltrong

    speltrong Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Northern California
    Agreed - I'd rather have a larger VF than a smaller one with all other factors being equal, but I'd rather have a smaller VF that renders the image better than a larger crappier one.
  11. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I never encountered a problem with eye relief or eye stress and I used to shoot nearly everyday for more than a decade. Maybe because I always used pro-level cameras. Watery eyes and eye relief is new to me ... love this forum, always learning something.

    • Like Like x 1
  12. napilopez

    napilopez Contributing Editor

    Feb 21, 2012
    NYC Area
    Napier Lopez
    I wondered about this too around when the E-M5 was announced. I figure that how much it matters depends on your own eyes and preferences. Since I never actually owned a DSLR, although I've shot from them in plenty of occasions, I didn't even realize how big the G3s viewfinder was compared to most APS-C DSLR viewfinders, let alone the VF2's. Essentially the size difference between the G3/GH2 and the VF2/OMD one is that between a full-frame and APS-C sized sensor. I suspect that the size of the viewfinder will matter more if you have relatively poor eyesight. The effective resolutions for both the best Panasonic and the Olympus viewfinders is 800x600. For instance, it might be hard for you to resolve all the detail available through the resolution of the olympus if you can't see clearly enough, whereas you'd be able to see that on the Panny. For me, it probably wouldn't make much of a difference, and I might prefer the olympus, because I tend to prefer pixel density over screen size, since it provides a more realistic, sharper image to my eyes. Also, the OMD viewfinder doesn't use that cycling pixel colors thing, so it won't suffer from tearing, as has been mentioned, although this is very rarely an issue on my G3. Still the increased refresh rate, which is normally 120hz and goes up to 240hz at a lower resolution (faster than any other live-view display, as far as I know) will probably come in handy for many.
  13. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Eye-point becomes important there too. I shoot with glasses on (near-sighted). With poor eye-point, I have a hard time seeing the whole frame at once.

    The VF-2 has okay eye-point. The GH2 seems a bit better. Neither compare to a good DSLR though.

  14. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Seems like VF2 users shouldn't be bothered by the viewfinder size...
  15. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    No. I'd certainly take a bigger one, but I see everything in this finder with my glasses on; it is stunningly clear and does not break up as video finders usually do in low light. Could it be improved on? Undoubtedly. But I'm very happy with it and consider it's clarity a big step up from the VF-2, which is already a quite capable little piece of hardware.
  16. stuntman

    stuntman M43 FOR THIRDS 4 EVER

    Jul 6, 2011
    I am happy with it! :smile:
    I have used the VF-2 for years and it is a great improvement IMHO.

  17. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I love the sheer size of the GH2 viewfinder, and I don't have issues with color tearing. However, the color rendition and especially the dynamic range on that viewfinder suck. I cannot use it to judge shots at all in terms of exposure or color.
  18. Geoff3DMN

    Geoff3DMN Mu-43 Veteran

    Whilst that is true as far as it goes people who wear glasses often have more trouble getting closer and in my experience have more issues with smaller view finders than they do with larger ones.

    Some eye glass wearers are able to remove their glasses and use the diopter correction but that isn't possible for people who need astigmatism correction.
  19. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    I have the GH1 & 2 and a 1Ds, and the GH EVF Is only a bit smaller than the 1Ds. That's a huge difference compared to most DSLR's and EVF's.
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