viewfinder or another camera?

pastzag

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Hello, I have an olympus epl-5, i like it but unfortunately without a viewfinder.
what do you think would be best for me, a viewfinder (used around 150 euros) or an OMD (used around 150 euros)?
Thank you ...
 
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I've just put a vf-3 on UK ebay. I don't expect anywhere near 150 euros for it , but if you are willing to pay that much I'll happily take your money. :)

I was contemplating getting a pl7 or pl8 to use with the viewfinder, as I sold my e-pm1, but in the current sell off bought an em5ii instead, hence no need for the viewfinder anymore.

The 3 choices are vf-2, vf-3 and vf-4. The vf-3 is the cheapest and perfectly adequate, and in my view makes the cameras without viewfinders usable. I never took it off my Pm1 and rarely took a shot without it. Also the flip up bit is something I really miss on my OMDs, but with a tilting screen perhaps not so important. Note the vf-2 doesn't have a lock like the other 2 and so can easily fall off the camera, the vf-4 is probably best quality.

When I got my em10 a few years ago, I stopped using the Pm1 entirely, it was just so much better in every way and not that much bigger, so to answer your question I am biased.
A straight choice with no money difference then the em10 wins hands down, but with patience you should pick up a second hand viewfinder for a lot less than 150 euros. You pays your money and takes your choice.
 

WT21

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I've tried the attached VF several times. It's good in theory, but I think if you want an EVF regularly, get a body with one built in. If you only use it rarely, and prefer super compact, then get the attachment. I found I prefer one regularly. YMMV.
 

Michael Meissner

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Both (around 300 euros) :laugh1:

The flip up viewfinder is good for macro and low-level work. If you wear glasses, you may find the built-in correction useful.
Though IIRC, all three of the external viewfinders (VF-2, VF-3, VF-4) become opaque if you shoot in horizontal mode and use polarized sunglasses (I only have the VF-2, but others have reported on similar effect on the VF-3 and VF-4).

The VF-4 has the best display, the VF-2 is the middle display, and the VF-3 is the worst. Note, you will need firmware release 1.2 to use the VF-4 on the E-PL5, and some features of the VF-4 (auto sensor) won't work on the E-PL5.

Just in case it wasn't obvious, if you use the viewfinder, you won't be able to use an external flash. I don't know if you can use the pop-up flash with any of the viewfinders.

The VF-2 does not have a locking pin. Some users have lost their VF-2 just carrying the camera around. I tied a cord to mine and connected it to the strap hook, so if it came off, it would dangle on the camera.

I found in practice the VF-2 was awkward to use, and I didn't use mine much after getting it with the E-P2 as part of a kit. Unless you need the rotating feature of the VF viewfinders, I would say get an E-m10 mark II instead of getting a VF-2/VF-3/VF-4.

Also note for the older cameras, the VF-* viewfinders tend to use a lot more power than using the rear screen. The speculation is this is due to the viewfinder being refreshed at 60fps instead of 30fps, and having more pixels in the display than the older cameras rear display. I would normally need 2 batteries for a day of shooting, but when I used the VF-2, it pushed me over the line, and I needed 3.
 

pastzag

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Though IIRC, all three of the external viewfinders (VF-2, VF-3, VF-4) become opaque if you shoot in horizontal mode and use polarized sunglasses (I only have the VF-2, but others have reported on similar effect on the VF-3 and VF-4).

The VF-4 has the best display, the VF-2 is the middle display, and the VF-3 is the worst. Note, you will need firmware release 1.2 to use the VF-4 on the E-PL5, and some features of the VF-4 (auto sensor) won't work on the E-PL5.

Just in case it wasn't obvious, if you use the viewfinder, you won't be able to use an external flash. I don't know if you can use the pop-up flash with any of the viewfinders.

The VF-2 does not have a locking pin. Some users have lost their VF-2 just carrying the camera around. I tied a cord to mine and connected it to the strap hook, so if it came off, it would dangle on the camera.

I found in practice the VF-2 was awkward to use, and I didn't use mine much after getting it with the E-P2 as part of a kit. Unless you need the rotating feature of the VF viewfinders, I would say get an E-m10 mark II instead of getting a VF-2/VF-3/VF-4.

Also note for the older cameras, the VF-* viewfinders tend to use a lot more power than using the rear screen. The speculation is this is due to the viewfinder being refreshed at 60fps instead of 30fps, and having more pixels in the display than the older cameras rear display. I would normally need 2 batteries for a day of shooting, but when I used the VF-2, it pushed me over the line, and I needed 3.
Very interesting answer. Thank you very much.
A +
I've tried the attached VF several times. It's good in theory, but I think if you want an EVF regularly, get a body with one built in. If you only use it rarely, and prefer super compact, then get the attachment. I found I prefer one regularly. YMMV.
Thanks for your help. I'm probably going to look for ΟMD.
I've tried the attached VF several times. It's good in theory, but I think if you want an EVF regularly, get a body with one built in. If you only use it rarely, and prefer super compact, then get the attachment. I found I prefer one regularly. YMMV.
thanks dude ... finally i will do this.
I picked up an EM10 mk3. It's not that much bigger than my E-PL6. Problem I have is using the EVF over the screen. I've gotten use to 'Screening'........LOL
Thank you my friend ...
 

pastzag

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I've just put a vf-3 on UK ebay. I don't expect anywhere near 150 euros for it , but if you are willing to pay that much I'll happily take your money. :)

I was contemplating getting a pl7 or pl8 to use with the viewfinder, as I sold my e-pm1, but in the current sell off bought an em5ii instead, hence no need for the viewfinder anymore.

The 3 choices are vf-2, vf-3 and vf-4. The vf-3 is the cheapest and perfectly adequate, and in my view makes the cameras without viewfinders usable. I never took it off my Pm1 and rarely took a shot without it. Also the flip up bit is something I really miss on my OMDs, but with a tilting screen perhaps not so important. Note the vf-2 doesn't have a lock like the other 2 and so can easily fall off the camera, the vf-4 is probably best quality.

When I got my em10 a few years ago, I stopped using the Pm1 entirely, it was just so much better in every way and not that much bigger, so to answer your question I am biased.
A straight choice with no money difference then the em10 wins hands down, but with patience you should pick up a second hand viewfinder for a lot less than 150 euros. You pays your money and takes your choice.
You're absolutely clear, thank you. I have to think a lot about all the answers I got here ...
 

PakkyT

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all three of the external viewfinders (VF-2, VF-3, VF-4) become opaque if you shoot in horizontal mode and use polarized sunglasses
This is also true on my E-M1.1 so I would assume other OM-D models as well, so for that issue, an OM-D model won't likely be any better than a VF-x.
 

Michael Meissner

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This is also true on my E-M1.1 so I would assume other OM-D models as well, so for that issue, an OM-D model won't likely be any better than a VF-x.
Actually it depends on whether the OM-D has a TFT viewfinder or an OLED viewfinder (OLED viewfinder does not have polarization issues, but it might not refresh as fast as TFT):
  • VF-2 external viewfinder: TFT LCD viewfinder (opaque with my sunglasses)
  • Olympus E-m1 mark I: TFT LCD viewfinder (about 1/2 of the screen is distorted with my sunglasses)
  • Olympus E-m1 mark II: TFT LCD viewfinder (about 1/2 of the screen is distorted with my sunglasses)
  • Olympus E-m1x: TFT LCD viewfinder (about 1/2 of the screen is distorted with my sunglasses)
  • Olympus E-m5 mark I: TFT LCD viewfinder (about 1/2 of the screen is distorted with my sunglasses)
  • Olympus E-m5 mark II: TFT LCD viewfinder (opaque with my sunglasses)
  • Olympus E-m5 mark III: OLED viewfinder (works with my sunglasses)
  • Olympus E-m10 mark I: TFT LCD viewfinder (I never tested it)
  • Olympus E-m10 mark II: OLED viewfinder (works with my sunglasses)
  • Olympus E-m10 mark III: OLED viewfinder (I haven't tested it, but it should work)
  • Pen-F: OLED viewfinder (works with my sunglasses)
  • Stylus-1: TFT LCD viewfinder (about 1/2 of the screen is distorted with my sunglasses)
The E-m10 mark II is the cheapest option, and it has more features than its replacement (E-m10 mark III). Eventually Olympus will run out of E-m10 mark II's, but for now if you search around and wait for sales, it can be fairly cheap.
 
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@pastzag, on the other hand, fellow member @Top362nd liked so much the VF-4 that he went as far as to get an E-P5 as a throne for it in order to use its most potential - however finding a good condition E-P5 can be much more difficult than getting a brand new E-M10ii full with precious warranty coverage

in any case the E-PL5 is old by now and even the 3 years younger model E-M10ii feels so much more capable and modern despite the same 16mpx sensor
 

davidzvi

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I've tried the attached VF several times. It's good in theory, but I think if you want an EVF regularly, get a body with one built in. If you only use it rarely, and prefer super compact, then get the attachment. I found I prefer one regularly. YMMV.
Completely agree. I also prefer an in body EVF. I can get along with an EVF-less body, but I'm pretty good at working within the bounds of the gear I happen to have with me at any given moment.
 

Top362nd

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Actually it depends on whether the OM-D has a TFT viewfinder or an OLED viewfinder (OLED viewfinder does not have polarization issues, but it might not refresh as fast as TFT):
  • VF-2 external viewfinder: TFT LCD viewfinder (opaque with my sunglasses)
  • Olympus E-m1 mark I: TFT LCD viewfinder (about 1/2 of the screen is distorted with my sunglasses)
  • Olympus E-m1 mark II: TFT LCD viewfinder (about 1/2 of the screen is distorted with my sunglasses)
  • Olympus E-m1x: TFT LCD viewfinder (about 1/2 of the screen is distorted with my sunglasses)
  • Olympus E-m5 mark I: TFT LCD viewfinder (about 1/2 of the screen is distorted with my sunglasses)
  • Olympus E-m5 mark II: TFT LCD viewfinder (opaque with my sunglasses)
  • Olympus E-m5 mark III: OLED viewfinder (works with my sunglasses)
  • Olympus E-m10 mark I: TFT LCD viewfinder (I never tested it)
  • Olympus E-m10 mark II: OLED viewfinder (works with my sunglasses)
  • Olympus E-m10 mark III: OLED viewfinder (I haven't tested it, but it should work)
  • Pen-F: OLED viewfinder (works with my sunglasses)
  • Stylus-1: TFT LCD viewfinder (about 1/2 of the screen is distorted with my sunglasses)
The E-m10 mark II is the cheapest option, and it has more features than its replacement (E-m10 mark III). Eventually Olympus will run out of E-m10 mark II's, but for now if you search around and wait for sales, it can be fairly cheap.
That is true, I did that! But I confess, I'm a HUGE fan of rangefinder style cameras. I owned an EM-10 II and gave it to my adult daughter. I got the VF4 for an EPL7 body I had around, and then deciding once I had it that it really deserved an E-P5. But I am a rangefinder nut, who likes the ability to have the viewfinder on occasion. I also have a Lumix GX9, and the viewfinder on that is junk compared to the VF4.
 

Michael Meissner

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I also have a Lumix GX9, and the viewfinder on that is junk compared to the VF4.
Yes, the GX cameras have a third type of viewfinder (field sequential). In addition to be too small to use (IMHO), a certain segment of the population sees a rainbow effect if they move the camera quickly, move their head, or the subject moves. I tried to replicate this in the store, but I am evidently part of the majority of the population that doesn't see the rainbow effect (so, I might be wrong on exactly what it does).

According to FAQ from crystalfontz.com the differences between TFT LCD and OLED are:
  • TFT displays are also known as an “Active Matrix TFT LCD module” and have an array of thin film transistors fabricated on the glass that makes the LCD. There is one of these transistors for each pixel on the LCD. Most TFTs use white LEDs to backlight the display.
  • OLED displays are an emissive display technology. Each dot that is illuminated on the display is creating a small, bright area of glowing phosphor. No backlight is needed, as the OLED elements do direct illumination.
IIRC, field sequential displays relies on our eyes persistence of vision, and has a single light source that rapidly displays each color, relying on the eye to merge these together. Presumably some peoples eyes can record the differences faster than others and it can create the rainbow effect.
 

Holoholo55

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I was contemplating getting a pl7 or pl8 to use with the viewfinder, as I sold my e-pm1, but in the current sell off bought an em5ii instead, hence no need for the viewfinder anymore.
The PL7 and 8 models have the Accessory Port required for the VFs. The PL9 does not. So, an optional EVF is not possible for it. I had a PM-2 and two PL-5s and got a VF-3 and VF-4 for them respectively. I found the VFs kludgey and susceptible to getting snagged on stuff and they also prevented flash use. The tilting VF feature wasn't that essential as I could use the tilt screen for that (at least on the PL5). I ended selling my PENs and getting an EM10 II. I realized that the slightly larger size was well worth having the built-in EVF and screen when I needed it, and having a control arrangement closer to that of my EM1.2 reduced my frustration level. So, I recommend going OMD if you want an EVF.
 

Michael Meissner

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Another option is to use an add-on unit that fits over your rear screen, and adds an eyepiece so you can put the camera up to your eye and block out the sunlight. In the past I've used Clearviewer. It can be a kludgey to use, but if you only occasionally want to use a viewfinder, it is a lot cheaper than getting a whole new camera. My ultimate solution was to move up to an E-m5 mark I.
 

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