Viewfinder Survey

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by John M Flores, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Hey folks,

    With the launch of the Pentax K-01, there's a raging debate about its lack of a viewfinder and viewfinder accessory port. People have taken sides and are digging in, some saying it was a huge mistake not including one, others saying that it's no longer necessary.

    I thought that I'd ask the early adopters of mirrorless cameras about their feelings on viewfinders. As we know some M43 cameras come with viewfinders, some can be used with an accessory EVF, and some rely solely upon the rear LCD.

    Please take a moment to take this survey and let us know about your experiences and likes/dislikes about viewfinders. For the moment, let's try to set aside the OVF vs EVF discussion - that's a whole 'nother can of worms LOL!

  2. aw614

    aw614 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 19, 2011
    for my gf1 I found it more necessary to use the lvf1 for framing and shooting in low light with holding my hands still, though when I do use my ep1, I dont really miss the view finder,and I think the IBS helps the shake that I get on my gf1 when i use the lcd
  3. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I don't like using a viewfinder very often, but when I want it, I generally REALLY want it. But I don't want it to be in the way for the bulk of the time I'm not using it. So I have a built in hybrid finder on my X100, a built in dumb OVF on my X10, and have generally had a removable finder for my Olympus m43 cams. If the new Oly OMD (or whatever its gonna be called) has a finder that's not in the way (not like the GH2 or G3 finders that extend back a cm or more from the camera body), I may buy that camera to have a built in finder. If its large or bulky, I won't buy it.

  4. mzd

    mzd Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 30, 2010
    another GF1 user here. i picked up the LVF1 (got a great deal lightly used in the classifieds here!) but use it pretty sparingly. as Ray mentioned, when you need it, you need it, but i've found those times to be not too often.
  5. snkenai

    snkenai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    I need and use VF for most of my work. Outdoors, in bright light near impossible to manual focus accurately without one.
  6. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    My E-P1 doesn't have one (obviously) and its perfectly useable. My E-PM1 has a VF2 attached most of time because the LCD on the back is pretty small. I like shooting legacy glass so I'd say I'm more likely to have a VF than not. I've had a Panasonic G2 with a built-in VF and several Olympus PENS where an external one was needed. I have to say that I prefer the handling of the mini DLSR with EVF over the PEN cameras. There are things that I like and value about the PEN cameras but I really miss my G2 (a lot more than I thought I would).

    If the new OM-D has a built-in EVF and articulating (or tilting) LCD I'll be looking to sell bunch of gear to get one.
  7. speltrong

    speltrong Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Northern California
    GF1 here. I borrowed the LVF1 from a friend and found it pretty useless because of the low quality. It also tends to catch on my bag, so I have to take it off every time I store it, which is a major pain. I'd love to have a built-in one as well as an articulating screen for the 7-14mm lens. It probably would have made the 100-300 more tolerable, but I don't find myself wanting it for the 20mm.
  8. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 9, 2011
    Whitehorse, Yukon
    I love my GF2 but have learned that I would like a viewfinder. Manual focus and bright light primarily. Also I really like shooting with my (new to me) film SLR with viewfinder.

    I really want that K-01 but the viewfinder might be the deal-breaker for me. Still not sure...
  9. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    You know I had an LVF1 on my GF2 for a bit. I didn't an issue so much with the quality as I did with the small size.
  10. MacBook

    MacBook Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 24, 2010
    South Carolina
    I have a G3 with the built-in viewfinder. It is a necessity for me. When I had an Olympus E-PL1, I had a VF-2 viewfinder.
  11. FastCorner

    FastCorner Mu-43 Veteran

    May 28, 2011
    On the G2, I use the viewfinder almost all the time except when touching the touch screen to select a focus point. Even then, I immediately switch back to the VF after the selection has been made. The VF is also essential for moving the camera back the last couple of inches when you can't step back any farther.

    On the GF1, I sold the LVF1 because it was too low resolution. I find that I miss the VF on the G2 when I use the GF1, but can live without it.

    I'm happy to see that the new OM-D has a built-in viewfinder.
  12. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    This debate was hot with the E-P1 before it was even available to the public. The G1 was the first digital Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens (MIL) system camera, and the E-P1 followed on its heels. The G1 had a built-in viewfinder, but didn't lend itself to creating the new breed of cameras we now call "Compact System Cameras" (CSC).

    So as soon as the E-P1 Digital PEN was first announced as a really compact new system camera with no EVF, the first complaint before anybody ever had it in their hands was... no EVF.

    My thoughts at the time were this: 1) With the demand for an EVF, they will produce a new model with EVF probably in about 6 months (as I stated on the Four-Thirds forums). The E-P1 is like a prototype in production. 2) This camera fills a need that no other camera can (DSLR quality and functions with high-end point-and-shoot size). I would prefer an EVF, but with or without one this is a camera that I need!

    I was right on both counts... The E-P1 was followed within 6 months by both the Panasonic GF-1 and the Olympus E-P2, both with a new accessory port for an Electronic Viewfinder. However, being an early adopter of the E-P1 I had no qualms about paying that high premium for a camera which would be replaced so soon, as getting those 6 months of use before the E-P2 came out really did open up a new world of photography for me, filling that need that I knew I had for this kind of system. Not only could I take it out with just a lens as a compact kit, which I was never able to do and still take photos which met my standards, but I could also add it as a second body to my DSLR, mounting the same lenses, with almost no extra bag space needed.

    After the initial announcement of the E-P1, the lack of viewfinder was the only thing that I had to think twice about to consider buying this camera, as I have been shooting with an eye-level viewfinder for as long as I can remember. I'm so glad I took the plunge though, as I actually found the freedom from the eye-level finder to be completely liberating. The only time I really wished for an EVF was in the bright sunlight.

    However, now that we have the high quality accessory EVFs we have, and can continue to make the camera bodies themselves just as small while still accommodating them, I would not buy another Compact System Camera without the option. I find my VF-2 to be extremely useful and the quality of it actually allows me to replace my pro-grade pentaprism DSLR finders for all intents and purposes. That closes the gap between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, and nearly eliminates the question of "what, by design, can a DSLR do that a mirrorless can't?"

    I understood Olympus' reason for introducing the E-P1 without it, and the quick release of the E-P2 with the option shows that Olympus was under time constraints to release the E-P1 as the first of its kind. Obviously they were already developing the EVF before the E-P1 was released, or there's no way they could produce that technology in just 6 short months... even if Panasonic did most of the footwork.

    The Sony NEX system came out without these "DSLR-type functions" like hotshoe flash and eye-level viewfinder, and proved itself to be in the "point-and-shoot on steroids" class rather than the "miniaturized DSLR" class. Panasonic followed that idea with one model only (the GF-3) and made the smallest system camera yet with a DSLR-sized sensor. However, Olympus never stooped to removing these DSLR-type accessories, but still managed to match the GF-3 in size with the E-PM1! So what was the gain in limiting the camera? Not to make the smallest camera possible, as Olympus has shown it can be done without real limitations, in a camera that is still ultimately capable of handling the same accessories and creating the same image as a top-line DSLR. In fact, the only place that the GF-3 is larger than the E-PM1 is in height... where Panny chose to ditch the hotshoe in favor of a pop-up flash. So if anything, limiting camera functions actually made the camera LARGER, not smaller. Ironic, huh?

    Which brings us right back to the Pentax K-01. I tolerated the lack of EVF on the E-P1 only because it was a new breed of super-small system cameras. I see no more reason to not have an EVF with the current technology and with a camera as large as the K-01 I see no reason to not have a BUILT-IN viewfinder. I prefer the accessory EVF like the PEN series because it does offer the option of a smaller camera when EVF is not mounted. However, if I'm going to carry around a camera as large as a K-01, then I expect an EVF to be built-in. No matter how much I think on it, I simply can't see a reason to build a camera like this with no EVF option at all.
  13. frank2

    frank2 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 29, 2011
    Columbus, Ohio
    Simply put I would not want a camera without an EVF. I want and need all the info it provides in addition to the stability it offers. I value the rear projection of the EVF on my G3 as it leaves room for my nose. Also having the viewfinder on axis with the lens is my preference as opposed to the trend for rangefinder type bodies with off axis viewfinders. On axis give me a stronger connection to the lens. My only real complaint about the G3 is I would prefer to have the screen pivot about the lens axis like the Sony alphas as it acts more like a waist level finder.
  14. Declan97

    Declan97 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 3, 2012
    Padang, Indonesia
    From dslr + manual focusing I"ve find that evf is critical, not only about habbit but more into how the eye working on vf rather than lcd

    So yes, I'll had vf

    And btw ned, there is still 'room' for ep&ep-l 4 to had built in vf probably? Filling the gap between to em-5?

    Sent from my GT-I9100 using EP-L1
  15. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    Interesting. 72% use a viewfinder, and another 12% wish they had one. I guess the "no viewfinder" crowd isn't nearly as large as it is vocal.
  16. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    I really doubt it. I think the Pen series will continue with the current design motif (what some people call "rangefinder style"), and the OM series will have the built-in EVFs. I'd be surprised to see a NEX-7 style Pen.

    But I've been wrong before.
  17. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I have two, one for each body. They stay permanently mounted on the camera, and I only use the LCD when I need to scroll extensively through the set-up menus, Typically I can even manage the SCP while in the viewfinder and not have to resort to the LCD.
  18. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    I wouldn't interpret it that way. In fact, I would say the "I WANT VIEWFINDER" crowd to be the most vocal. You can't really extract a subpopulation's size from how vocal they are...

    Those who could care less about a feature usually don't bother voting in polls for said feature. Or even discussing it. :smile:
  19. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I think it could be done, but it hasn't yet... every camera with a built-in EVF so far has been significantly larger because of it. On all the Panasonic cameras the EVF juts out the back quite a lot, and on the Sony NEX-7 it takes up a big corner of the camera and overall that body is actually quite large (compared with a PEN for instance!). If they can build an E-PM1 without a built-in EVF though, then surely they could build an E-P3 with it. :)

    I like the modular setup of the accessory EVF, allowing me to pack the viewfinder in a separate corner and allowing me to invest in one high quality EVF which I can use on all my cameras. However, I would take a built-in if it were really small, but that would have to be smaller than anything we've seen thus far. The other thing I love about the current accessory EVFs which we don't see in any built-ins is the variable angle. That's an awesome advantage which I would actually miss...
  20. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 10, 2011
    Ashland, OR USA
    Real Name:
    I bought the GX1, but I would not have had it not been available with the new viewfinder. After taking it on and off for about the first week, it has become a fixed attachment on the camera now. I can't even remember the last time I took it off.