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Poor-man's EVF for the E-P1

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by kai.e.g., Feb 23, 2010.

  1. kai.e.g.

    kai.e.g. Mu-43 Regular

    Ever since I bought a cheap plastic aircraft-style inclinometer for my first vehicle (a jeep-like Suzuki Sierra) nearly 30 years ago, I've always been a sucker for dubious accessories. This time, I think I did well though....

    Today, I received a "ClearViewer" in the mail for my E-P1. It is essentially a magnifying glass that mounts on the tripod socket, and it allows you to put your eye right up to it, giving one a kind of EVF-like experience. It folds up nicely against the LCD when you're not using it, or you can flip it downwards out of the way when you want to use the LCD without it. Using it feels like using a traditional viewfinder camera - it helps enormously to stabilise the camera while manual-focusing. Of course, it's more pixelated than a real VF-1 type of viewfinder, but it's actually significantly better than what I'd expected, and has taken the edge off my desires to spend money on an E-P2.

    Here it is in use, while setting up today's "Picture-A-Day" shot (q.v.).

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    I can't get close enough to give a real impression of what it's like to look at. You see the entire LCD screen, only it's like looking at it through a slide-viewer, it's like being in the front row at the cinema.

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    It works happily in tandem with my other E-P1 accessory, the flash shoe-mounted LCD lens hood, though I can't fold both flat against the LCD for stowing at the same time:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    • Like Like x 6
  2. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Looks like fun!

    Thanks for the illustration, and for your positive report.


  3. bebrox

    bebrox Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 29, 2009
    I love resourceful and clever people who have the imagination and innovation to come up with such contraptions...well done indeed. You have saved yourself a cart load of money!

    I am glad that I have my G1 with built in EVF, I think it is bit more pocketable but I can see that you have made your EP-1 more interesting to work with for yourself.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. kai.e.g.

    kai.e.g. Mu-43 Regular

    Thank bebrox! Don't get me wrong, though - I would definitely prefer a real add-on viewfinder like the GF-1, E-P2 and some of my other cameras that use an optical shoe-mount finder... but with so many other items on the "shopping list" at the moment, if I can put off the better solution for another year, that'll do me!
  5. Brianetta

    Brianetta Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    North East England
    Brian Ronald
    I imagine it's only a matter of time before somebody comes up with a hot-shoe mounted EVF for the E-P1, driven by a short cable that connects to the USB port for the composite picture (or even the HD video port, if they're feeling really adventurous).
  6. kai.e.g.

    kai.e.g. Mu-43 Regular

    Personally, I doubt it, on account of the E-P2 and E-PL already existing. Also, when I last discussed this topic somewhere else, it was pointed out to me that neither the USB nor HD ports supply a live video feed. I never bothered to re-confirm this, but those who told me seemed pretty certain of it.
  7. bernard

    bernard Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 26, 2010
    Biograd; Croatia
    I also received 'ClearViewer' for my E-P1 two days before. It is sooo much better and easier focusing. Very useful product, specialy for tele zooms (like 70-300mm) :) 
  8. angloasturian

    angloasturian Mu-43 Veteran

    Clearviewer or slide viewer?

    I just found this thread which had been inactive since February. As soon as I saw the Clearviewer I thought - that rings a bell. So I rummaged in my old slide boxes and - voila!


    Look familiar? I reckon they've just modified slide viewers by changing the square base for a metal strip. By using an old tripod screw I can attach it to my E-P1:


    It's just tight enough to hold it in place and can be taken off in seconds. Compare this photo to kai.e.g's first at the beginning of this thread.

  9. bilzmale

    bilzmale Mu-43 All-Pro

    I used a similar setup on my old Olympus C-5050. Kai can you give a link to the LCD hood please?
  10. Brianetta

    Brianetta Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    North East England
    Brian Ronald
    Remote Control Live View 2.5" for Olympus E-P1 E-410 E3 on eBay (end time 22-Sep-10 12:49:32 BST)

    This is a sale for a remote clamshell viewfinder with remote trigger. It fits the E-P1, and can sit in the hot shoe, although really it's just an alternative LCD screen with a trigger.

    I have bothered to confirm that the USB port most certainly does support a live video feed. The included cable fits the composite input on my wife's computer monitor just fine. When connected, the display is simply diverted from the LCD screen on the camera to the USB output. The LCD screen goes blank. I used this to show my wife around the menus more comfortably.

    So, a live EVF is certainly possible. All we need is some enterprising Chinese electronics factory to knock some out and flog them on eBay.
  11. greyelm

    greyelm Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 28, 2010
    I'm glad I went for the G1. Built in EVF, multi-angle LCD.

    Nevertheless, the E-P1 is still a nice looking camera and I can understand the attraction.
  12. Brianetta

    Brianetta Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    North East England
    Brian Ronald
    The hilarious thing is, after all this, that I can't stand viewfinders. I see them as something that limits me, after having been freed by the screen. This is the first camera I've owned that doesn't have one, but I haven't really used a viewfinder since I last used film. Even in direct sunlight, I'm happy enough using the screen.

    An articulated screen might be nice; although I've handled one, I've never had the opportunity to really play.
  13. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Dublin, IE
    I used to have E-P1. Still love that camera, but it had to go because of 2 problems:

    1) the screen is very hard to see in bright sunlight
    2) because it didn't have an eye-level viewfinder, it was very difficult to handhold it in difficult lighting conditions. Basically everything slower than 1/80 with Panasonic 20mm lens resulted in camera shake. Probably my technique (or lack thereof) was to blame more than camera, but still it was disturbing.

    To solve those 2 problems, I bought a cheap chinese copy of LCDVF. It worked great, but the solution was less portable than I wanted it to be. In the end I gave E-P1 to my sister and got Panasonic G2 for myself (basically because it was newer, faster and yet cheaper than E-P2). However, sometimes I miss E-P1's all-metal body and compact dimensions. I hope Panasonic (or Olympus) eventually will produce compact rangefinder-style body with built-in EVF.
  14. relic

    relic Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 21, 2010
    North Carolina, USA
    I've been using a Clearviewer for several months; it is always on my camera. I find it to be everything you say, and it also helps in bright light to see the LCD image. It folds flat against the LCD when not in use, adding little thickness to the camera. I also found Gary (Clearviewer's maker) to be great to deal with.
  15. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Yep, Gary is great to deal with.
  16. kai.e.g.

    kai.e.g. Mu-43 Regular

    I'm still using mine, especially with the Nokton 25mm.

    I'm sorry, I've not kept up with this forum lately, and bilzmale way back in September asked for a link to the hood attachment also shown in my original post. I don't have a link, but I found it on eBay - hopefully the seller is still selling them. Pretty sure it came from China.
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