Text in EVF looks pixelated: why?

c0ldc0ne

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When I look through the viewfinder of an E-M5 Mark II and compare it to that of a Fuji X-T2, I can't help but notice how pixelated the camera information in the Olympus EVF looks. I'm not referring to the actual image, but the text & icons showing the camera settings along the edges of the display or in the SCP & Quick Menu respectively. With the E-M5 II, curved and diagonal edges look decidedly jagged, whereas they are completely smooth with the X-T2.

This made me wonder why, considering that both employ a 2.36 dot EVF panel (even though the X-T2's is an OLED, but that should be inconsequential here, right?).

Any ideas?
 

c0ldc0ne

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That would mean that everything has to be upscaled on the fly in order to display it at the appropriate size on a higher res screen. This seems like more trouble than providing a native resolution font. Why would they want to go this way?
 

barry13

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That would mean that everything has to be upscaled on the fly in order to display it at the appropriate size on a higher res screen. This seems like more trouble than providing a native resolution font. Why would they want to go this way?
Well, smaller bitmaps would use less space in the firmware images/EEPROMS. I'm not sure how large the memory space is; flash is pretty cheap now but embedded engineers are used to working with extremely limited resources.
 

c0ldc0ne

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Well, smaller bitmaps would use less space in the firmware images/EEPROMS. I'm not sure how large the memory space is; flash is pretty cheap now but embedded engineers are used to working with extremely limited resources.
I can certainly imagine this having been a consideration back in the day. But AFAIK, the current models still use these Minecraft inspired EVF symbols (don't have access to anything newer than a PEN-F so I could be wrong).

If it were not objectionable for aesthetic reasons, then at least for my aging eyes which are increasingly struggling to differentiate between similar characters (e.g. 0/6/8/9).
 
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junkyardsparkle

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I'm not sure how large the memory space is; flash is pretty cheap now but embedded engineers are used to working with extremely limited resources.
I would guess this is the concern rather than space in the firmware image; the bitmaps for this purpose are probably kept in working memory at all times for latency reasons... for things where this isn't an issue, like the menus, they use stupid image backgrounds and stuff... :rolleyes:
 

junkyardsparkle

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Just out of curiosity, is it worse than this display from a VF-4? I haven't really used bodies with built-in viewfinders for the last decade, but I get the impression the VF-4 is better than many of them in general... (and what's the best way to get pictures through a diopter intended for human eyeballs, anybody know?)

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
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c0ldc0ne

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(and what's the best way to get pictures through a diopter intended for human eyeballs, anybody know?)
Good question. I just tried to take some shots of my respective EVFs using my phone, and they turn out about the same as yours. But the pictures don't quite do justice to what I see when I look through the viewfinder, and the pixelation is much more pronounced.

I'll see if I can come up with something more illustrative.
 

whumber

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That would mean that everything has to be upscaled on the fly in order to display it at the appropriate size on a higher res screen. This seems like more trouble than providing a native resolution font. Why would they want to go this way?
The display interface was created for the 1.44M-dot EVF in the original E-M5 and Olympus hasn't updated it since. I agree it makes the EVF look even more dated than it actually is.
 

junkyardsparkle

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There is no antiailiasing happening. It would only slow down the refresh rate.
I would think they would avoid >1-bit alpha channel in general for the same reason, but this isn't the case on the VF-4, at least... the dark areas of the exposure compensation background and level guides are "translucent". :hmmm:
 

Giiba

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I would think they would avoid >1-bit alpha channel in general for the same reason, but this isn't the case on the VF-4, at least... the dark areas of the exposure compensation background and level guides are "translucent". :hmmm:
Transparency is simple math (addition and subtraction) compared to antialiasing which samples the image 2 or more times and does complex calculations on that sampling to soften jagged edges.

I am not an expert in any sense, but increasing the antialiasing setting (2x 4x 8x 16x) is the easiest way to drop the framerate of a computer game.

All desktop opertating systems do this on fonts to make them look better, but they have power to burn and are not nearly as sensitive to framerate issues as a viewfinder. Evan a small increase in per-frame display rate would causes lag in the viewfinder.

This also why I am happy with lower resolution screens on a digital camera, it all adds strain to a small processor, when what we really want is 0ms lag (impossible, but desirable). Not to mention more processing = shorter battery life.
 

junkyardsparkle

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Transparency is simple math (addition and subtraction) compared to antialiasing which samples the image 2 or more times and does complex calculations on that sampling to soften jagged edges.
Yeah, for sure, but what surprises me is that they can't spare the memory for caching already anti-aliased versions, given that the alpha blending for presenting them is already in place. It seems like they would have to be absurdly tight on memory to resort to scaling them in realtime... but if they're not doing that, then it's hard to explain the crappiness... unless, as suggested, it's all just legacy code that nobody wanted to touch when the display resolution was increased...
This also why I am happy with lower resolution screens on a digital camera, it all adds strain to a small processor, when what we really want is 0ms lag (impossible, but desirable).
I wonder how big they need to get before displacing read-out as the bottleneck...
 

Giiba

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Yeah, for sure, but what surprises me is that they can't spare the memory for caching already anti-aliased versions, given that the alpha blending for presenting them is already in place. It seems like they would have to be absurdly tight on memory to resort to scaling them in realtime... but if they're not doing that, then it's hard to explain the crappiness... unless, as suggested, it's all just legacy code that nobody wanted to touch when the display resolution was increased...

I wonder how big they need to get before displacing read-out as the bottleneck...
I don't know that I'd blame old code, as one of the advertised features of newer cameras has been improved viewfinder refresh rate. It may be they choose to increase the framerate instead of reducing jaggies on text with newer models (than my em1.1).

As for memory, do we have any idea how much ram these soc have? Off the cuff, with a 50 picture raw buffer at 16mb/pic that's 800mb, maybe more for the buffer alone and I would be very surprised if they have more than 1gb or ram. We know that other cameras (not the em1 series) have a much smaller buffer, so it may well be a limit of ram availability... I don't know.
 

c0ldc0ne

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I don't know that I'd blame old code, as one of the advertised features of newer cameras has been improved viewfinder refresh rate. It may be they choose to increase the framerate instead of reducing jaggies on text with newer models (than my em1.1).
The thing is that the fonts are antialiased. It just looks like they've been scaled up after the fact.
 

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