An introduction to OLED

OLED screens are becoming increasingly common on enthusiast cameras. So, what’s all the fuss, and why should you care about the technology behind your camera’s screen?

During the world's largest electronics show, CES 2012, OLED was the most talked about technology. You have probably heard about OLEDs – flexible transparent displays that can provide brilliant colors and be power efficient. In this article I'll provide a short introduction to OLED technology and explain how it will affect you as a photographer.

OLED screens and microdisplays are appearing in an increasing number of higher-end cameras, such as the Samsung NX200.

OLEDs (or Organic Light Emitting Diodes) are thin, light-emitting devices, made by placing a series of organic thin films between two conductors. When electrical current is applied, a bright light is emitted. OLED are thin, efficient and bright – and can be used to make displays and white lighting panels.

OLED advantages

Unlike LCD displays, OLEDs do not require a backlight. In an OLED display each ‘pixel’ is a small light emitting diode (or, more commonly, three: red, blue and green). This means that the basic structure of an OLED is simple (no need for backlighting, filters and polarizers) and so OLEDs are ultra-thin and lightweight.

The biggest advantages of OLED displays are the things that photographers are most likely to appreciate. Firstly, the color gamut is wider than that of an LCD display, allowing more accurate reproduction of the colors of your images. Secondly, thanks to the totally unlit black pixels, the contrast is really high, allowing a more realistic impression of how your images will look. OLED displays have greater viewing angles, allowing more flexible use of the camera, both for shooting and reviewing images, or showing them to others.

Perhaps the feature that makes OLED most attractive for use in photography is its speed. With refresh rates about 1,000 times quicker than an LCD, it can be used to represent the increasingly fast live view output from the latest cameras with ever improving realism. This is particularly important where the technology is being used for electronic viewfinders, and a rapidly updating, smooth representation of movement can help re-create the optical viewfinder experience.

OLEDs are considered very power efficient, but it is important to understand that this depends on the image shown. Each pixel is lit independently and so a black pixel does not draw power at all. When designing a user interface for an OLED display, it is better to use white text on a black background for example (when Microsoft designed the Windows Mobile 7 interface, they indeed assumed that most phones will use OLED displays and this effected their choices). The nature of photography, where the amount of black in the image varies massively, means this benefit is rather reduced, outside of menu use.

Challenges for OLED

Historically OLEDs had three disadvantages: lifetime, sunlight readability and price. It is true that OLED brightness decreases over time and the panel’s lifetime is limited, but in the past few years we've seen steady improvement in OLED device lifetime, to the point now that this is no longer a real issue (some OLED materials can last for over a million hours before degrading to half their original brightness).

In the first generation OLED panels visibility under sunlight was poor indeed (mostly because of light reflection from the metal cathode used in OLEDs). In touch panels the problem was even worse. But since then the technology advanced and the panels are brighter and behave better in such conditions. For touch displays, Samsung developed the Super AMOLED technology which embeds the touch sensor into the OLED panel. Super AMOLEDs are pretty much equivalent to a touch enabled LCD and some consider these displays to be the best mobile touch displays available today.

Large OLED TVs are coming soon, initially at a high price. Karl Guttag

OLEDs are indeed more expensive than LCDs – about 20% more for a small sized display, although the gap is closing quickly. Some say that eventually OLEDs will be cheaper than LCDs, especially if/when manufacturers are able to adopt a printing process. Making large sized OLED is still very costly – mostly because current OLED fabs are small, and scaling the manufacturing process is not easy. It is expected that the 55” OLED TVs unveiled at CES 2012 by Samsung and LG will cost around $8,000.

The OLED market was estimated at about $3.3 billion in 2011 (having more than doubled from about $1.25 billion in 2010). Most display makers have active OLED programs, and Samsung's investment in OLED displays alone is estimated to be around $4.3 billion in 2011 and in excess of $6 billion in 2012.

OLEDs for cameras

OLEDs have been used for camera displays since 2003 – in fact the first gadget to sport an AMOLED display was a camera: Kodak’s LS633 (though that camera was never mass produced). Today you can find OLED-equipped cameras from some of the biggest names in the industry including Sony, Nikon, Olympus and Samsung.

 The Olympus E-P3 features an OLED screen

Cameras with OLED screens include:

  • Olympus XZ-1 and E-P3
  • Sony TX200V
  • Samsung WB850F and WB150F
  • Samsung NX200
  • Nikon S100

Direct emission and microdisplays

Although I said earlier that, in OLED displays, each pixel is made from RGB sub-pixels, this is a direct-emission architecture isn't the only possibility. Some companies are actually using white OLED subpixels behind a color filters layer. While this design is less efficient, it is also easier and cheaper to make. It’s also easier to make very small, and most OLED microdisplay products sport this architecture.

Sony's OLED microdisplays are the highest resolution electronic viewfinders currently in use but French company MicroOLED hopes to use the even finer resolution models it has just unveiled.

OLED microdisplays are starting to be used as electronic viewfinders, with Sony being the clear OLED EVF pioneer, In August 2011 they unveiled four cameras that use an XGA OLED microdisplay (which are made by Sony themselves): the A77 and A65 SLRs and the NEX-7 and NEX-5N mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras.

The development of a high-resolution OLED display was a key step in Sony moving over to an electronic viewfinder design for its top-of-the-range A77.

Reviews of this Sony EVF have been very favorable, as the OLED microdisplay offers better color, refresh rate and brightness compared to an LCD viewfinder (they should be more efficient, too). OLED EVFs are likely to be especially important for the development of mirrorless cameras – as some consider the lack of an optical viewfinder to be the biggest drawback of these cameras. OLED EVFs are starting to close that gap.

Flexible and transparent OLEDs

Transparent OLED displays could find use in conjunction with optical viewfinder designs. Philips Lumiblade

It is actually possible to create flexible OLEDs, and transparent ones, too. Prototypes have been shown for years, but now it seems that the technology is actually  coming to the market. TDK/Futaba are already producing small transparent PMOLED panels (used in Lenovo’s S-800 phone), and Samsung promises to start offering flexible panels in 2012.

Flexible OLEDs give more freedom to camera designers. OSRAM

The first products probably won't themselves be bendable but the technology will make it possible to place them on a curved surface. In the same way that fast readout sensors allowed the creation of mirrorless cameras, the advent of flexible OLED technology potentially allows camera designers to step further away from the traditional idea of what shape a camera has to be.


Ron Mertens is OLED-Info’s editor-in-chief and an amateur travel photographer (with a Nikon D90 and an Olympus XZ-1). OLED-Info is the web's leading OLED portal since 2004, providing daily news and  resources. OLED-Info also maintains a complete list of cameras that sport OLED displays. OLED-Info is also the publisher of The OLED Handbook, a comprehensive guide to OLED technology, industry and market.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.

Comments

Total comments: 67
spencerberus
By spencerberus (Feb 17, 2012)

I've been wondering for a while why many cameras don't have OLED displays, as they are brighter and have been on a lot of smart phones for several years now. Reading about the challenges mentioned here, now I know why. I too have a Samsung smart phone with Super AMOLED screen, and it looks great, much better resolution and easier to see in bright light than my camera's 460k pixel LCD screen. Hopefully other manufacturers can either develop something similar or license it from Samsung.

1 upvote
Ivankealiiho
By Ivankealiiho (Feb 7, 2012)

my samsung phone has had an amoled display. I think it looks worlds better than LCD displays. I just wish it wasn't a pentile matrix.

shuttleparkcity.com

Comment edited 49 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Claudio NC
By Claudio NC (Feb 7, 2012)

At the moment I've only read this very good review, no comments from readers.
Despite that I had already read a lot of information on the subject, so many are already know to me, I can say here it was a great pleasure to read this text, very well written and understandable by those with no so good knowledge of English.
Writing with clarity so that all can understand it is not easy, is an art so rare, thanks a lot!

Sometimes I also visit directly this site:

www.oled-info.com

for more news about OLED tecnology.

Best Regards,
Claudio Costerni

2 upvotes
Alberta Canuk
By Alberta Canuk (Feb 7, 2012)

I have very fond memories of using my Minolta STR-202 in my younger days. Analogue controls that were extremely easy to change shutter and aperture, and a bright viewfinder with a very satisfying "slap" of the mirror.

EVF- nope. I bet there are legions of baby boomers looking at this and screen menus longing for a sensible - and familiar - SLR touch and feel but with modern digital "film".

1 upvote
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Feb 7, 2012)

I did not see any mention of the age-related color shifting problems with OLED that have been reported to hold back its use for more demanding photographic applications. If I missed it, let me know. Otherwise that is a question that would be good to have an answer to, and one usually not addressed by the cheerleaders of OLED. Hey, I'm rooting for OLED too because of its other advantages...but it is good to be sure there isn't a "catch."

0 upvotes
thielges
By thielges (Feb 7, 2012)

I understand that OLEDs consume less power when viewing an image with black pixels since those don't consume any current. But when used as a viewfinder it is rare that pixels are completely black (i.e. hex #000000 in standard 24 bit RGB notation). More likely "black" pixels will just be very dim, #040202 for example.

My question is whether these "dim" pixels also consume less power compared to brighter pixels. My guess is "yes" they consume power proportional to their brightness. But it would be good to hear from a real OLED expert. Anyone out there who knows?

I'm using two cameras (Samsung HZ35W and TL500) that have OLED viewfinders and am very impressed with their image quality and usability in bright light.

0 upvotes
Ron Mertens
By Ron Mertens (Feb 7, 2012)

Yes, OLED's power consumption is related to the brightness of the pixel. So a dim pixel consumes less power than a bright one.

1 upvote
fmian
By fmian (Feb 6, 2012)

Will wait for someone to fit a transparent one over the top of a TTL optical viewfinder, kinda like what the X100 does, but on an SLR.
Anyone who thinks this tech is even remotely close to an OVF has not used a bright screen 35mm SLR from the 70's.
IMO there is a LONG way to go before EVF can give you the level of immersion that an OVF can.
For the moment they are just a distracting filtered layer that shows you an 'interpretation' of the scene, and not the scene itself, creating a barrier between the photographer and the image that is to be taken.

3 upvotes
OneGuy
By OneGuy (Feb 6, 2012)

A challenge for dpr is OLED evaluation in terms of aging and, of course, in sensor-to-display color fidelity. Taking the manuf specs of, say 50% in 1000 hours, could a 5 year old camera's be at the retirement age? The article says "Some OLED materials can last for over a million hours before degrading to half their original brightness," but that sounds very much like a generalized self-serving statement. Some people can live 150 years. Statements such as these are hiding something and my guess is that the smaller the pixel, the quicker the aging.

After seeing the (poor) studio pics of Sony's NEX-7, I don't take Sony's design decisions as a guide to quality.

0 upvotes
migus
By migus (Feb 6, 2012)

Timely topic, thanks!
One question on the OVF vs. EVF race: Eye accommodation for those bespectacled, either short- or long-sighted, and worse for bi/tri-focals? Seems that an optometrist should be invited in the dialog OVF/EVF... :-)

A landscape seen *thru* an OVF maintains the same focus as in real life (negative accommodation)... no adaption effort required. OTOH, the same landscape seen *on* an EVF requires a massive refocus, i.e. (positive) re-accommodation. I love my NX100's AMOLED, and yet often i'd prefer even a tunnel OVF as in P&S or rangefinder. Mitch

1 upvote
eyewundr
By eyewundr (Feb 7, 2012)

As a lifetime wearer of eyeglasses, coping with any viewfinder has always been a compromise.
EVF`s by themselves are unlikely to change that
But possibly installable software that can modify the EVF imagery to compensate for vision variations could help some.
`Haven`t seen anyone write about that, yet, but certainly is do-able.

Last year laser eye surgery completely re-vitalized my interest in photography.

0 upvotes
DaveMarx
By DaveMarx (Feb 7, 2012)

There are OVFs and then there are OVFs. One has to distinguish between a rangefinder and DSLR/SLR. If the image is resolved on ground glass, DSLR/SLR-style, the focal point is local, not distant, just like an EVF.

The real issue for me is, do I want to see only what the lens sees (OVF), or do I also want to see what's coming off the imaging sensor and out of the image processor (EVF)? SLRs were the right solution in their day, addressing the specific weaknesses of earlier approaches, but they can't tell you whether the exposure is correct, or how the negative might print. That's why some photographers used auxiliary Polaroid backs for test shots.

Digital photography is electronic photography. It's closest cousin is video, not silver halide. Why pretend otherwise? You don't see many videographers shooting through an OVF. Never have. Video monitors/EVFs tell them far more. WYSIWYG.

EVFs have some weaknesses; image lag, pixelation, and power consumption. OLED reduces all of them.

0 upvotes
d3xmeister
By d3xmeister (Feb 6, 2012)

If that's true, why any OLED display I have seen on devices show very unnatural color and exagerated contrast ? On the Olympus E-P3 photos shown on screen are waaaaaay of, you se a totally different image when you dowload the photos and see them on a professional calibrated monitor.

0 upvotes
migus
By migus (Feb 6, 2012)

perhaps your particular LCD/OLED settings could be tweaked?
An NX100 AMOLED is equal or better than my best IPS screens, e.g. a 10-bit HP ZR30w (115% Adobe RGB) and Bertha T220 (8-bit pro 9Mpix). Like any other external screen, it's no good in full sun, snow, beach... OVF remains the king there. Mitch

0 upvotes
d3xmeister
By d3xmeister (Feb 6, 2012)

This small portable devices screen cannot be ,,tweaked,,
Also I noticed my photos look more realistic, more what they look like on a calibrated stodio monitor on the IPS iPhone 4 screen, but they look totally off on a Galaxy S2 AMOLED.

2 upvotes
NZ Scott
By NZ Scott (Feb 6, 2012)

"On the Olympus E-P3 photos shown on screen are waaaaay of" (sic)

The E-P3 ships with its screen set to "vivid". This means that any E-P3 you play with in a shop will show oversaturated colours on the screen. Once you've delved into the menu and set the screen mode to "natural", you will get very accurate colours and saturation.

I know this for a fact, as I own an E-P3 myself. This is how to change the screen setting:

1) Go into the big menu.
2) Sroll down to the Spanner icon
3) Click OK
4) Scroll down to the third icon "Adjust the brightness and colour temperature of the LCD monitor"
5) Click on the Info button to toggle between Natural and Vivid settings.

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
d3xmeister
By d3xmeister (Feb 6, 2012)

Thanks, that's very interesting

0 upvotes
EXR
By EXR (Feb 9, 2012)

The problem is, that OLED-Screens have a very wide color-gamut. But we usually have no source to use this. Usually we are still shooting sRGB, and most decent LCDs can show sRGB-colors.
So for now, there are usually only 2 choices for OLED, either spread the source-color (usually sRGB) to show of the wide gammut, or to convert the color correctly in the screens color-space, which usually means no advantage against LCD in color-reproduction.

BTW: to get a decent color-reproduction on the Galaxy S2, you need to set the screen-mode to video.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Matthew Bartok
By Matthew Bartok (Feb 6, 2012)

This technology has a lot of promise for a lot of different areas. First of all a refresh rate 1,000 times faster, assuming an lcd refreshes as 60hz, an oled could refresh up to 60khz. This would be an amazing solution for stereo monitors and shutter glasses, which at the moment are stuck at 120hz or 60hz for each eye. Even doubling that would be a huge improvement. Also, any time a technology uses less to give you more is always a win, the fact that you don't have to backlight or filter the lightsource should make the quality of the image that much better with lower distortions.

0 upvotes
GordonSaunders
By GordonSaunders (Feb 6, 2012)

Let's hope that the ability to "step further away from the traditional idea of what shape a camera has to be" will help buyers to accept that camera don't have to look the same as they did during the film and mirror era which now looks like becoming history. Film already is but the shape of cameras doesn't show that there are plenty of options in shaping cameras and, perhaps making them modular. Why not, for example allow the shutter button to be on the left if that's what a left-handed person wants. The connection with the taking of a picture is electronic, after all, so it could go anywhere. The OLED screen could be detached, thus allowing the user to place the camera on the ground and check the view without lying in a puddle. Camera users must learn to be less conservative although the criticism of the new Pentax K-01 suggests that we're a long way from accepting even mild departures from the norm.

1 upvote
rurikw
By rurikw (Feb 7, 2012)

Exactly my opinion. As an articulated screen addict I have also been dreaming of totally detachable ones. As well as wondering why still cameras still look like film cameras instead of like video cameras, gaming consoles, hairdryers, guns (oops, that one is problematic, but you get my point...)

0 upvotes
lylejk
By lylejk (Feb 6, 2012)

I've been waiting for this technology to be the norm. Huge contrast and color gamuts is definitely the dream for all those who do retouching I would think. Being able to literally print out the display will make creating color chaning walpaper the norm too. Exciting stuff. I would say, potentially, it would make the material cost for creating displays reduce by 2/3rds. When the whole kit-and-kaboodle can be printed (circuits as well as OLEDs, then it would be almost free to create these displays. Minority Report/Harry Potter magazines will then be the norm. Only time will tell. :)

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Feb 6, 2012)

Who cares, really, whether it is OLED or LCD? A screen is a screen and an EVF is an EVF, after all. Are we supposed to have wet dreams at night and salivation attacks during the day about every stupid four-letter abbreviation that falls off the technology turnip truck?

0 upvotes
A Schamber
By A Schamber (Feb 6, 2012)

You sir, for sure, don't appreciate the leaps in technology. You should just stick with a 1999 Canon D30, because it's all "almost the same".
Those things make a better experience overall, and make the working progress a little easier. That's all you need to know. And that's quite a lot to welcome it.

0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Feb 6, 2012)

No, a screen is not just a screen, and not all EVF's are created equal. LOL. That's like saying, "Who cares what sensor a digital camera has? A sensor is a sensor, after all!"

The reason we *care* about whether the EVF uses an OLED vs an LCD is that an OLED has a wider color gamut, more accurate color reproduction, higher contrast, much faster refresh rate, and lower power consumption. Some of us actually *care* about these things, because they happen to be pretty useful and beneficial to cameras.

0 upvotes
Jim Evidon
By Jim Evidon (Feb 6, 2012)

I absolutely agree with Carver. Glass plate daguerreotypes, flash powder and horse drawn vehicles certainly did the job. Why change? As the head of the U.S.Patent Office recommended in the early 20th century, shut it down since there is nothing more to invent. Now, if you will excuse me, I'll have to chop some wood, light up my stove and boil some coffee to have with my hand rolled oats which I grew so I can have breakfast.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Feb 7, 2012)

"Are we supposed to have wet dreams at night and salivation attacks during the day about every stupid four-letter abbreviation that falls off the technology turnip truck?"

Yes, when it makes a real difference in the quality of how we shoot or view. OLEDs have real advantages over LCD, and different issues compared to optical.

To say "a screen is a screen" is, with all due respect, a gross oversimplification that reveals a certain level of non-awareness. Surely you would not think that editing photos on a passive matrix LCD monitor is just as good as a high-end active-matrix NEC LCD?

0 upvotes
Claudio NC
By Claudio NC (Feb 7, 2012)

Is there someone in this forum ready to go into the homes of Carver and Evidon to confiscate all radio and TV devices they have, and bring them only a crystal radio and a TV-container with a long tube monochromatic-strong ray emission, such as those of years 1940 ... 1950?
Confiscate also all computers, phones, etc.
Cut the main power lines because anyway the old TV would not show any images and crystal radio does not need power.

Carver, you are not obliged to read technology topics if you are mentally close-minded and your ignorance will corrode the spirit.

Please, go do something more useful for you and your family with your knowledge in the field useful for you, thanks!

Which is your address?

0 upvotes
jmmgarza
By jmmgarza (Feb 6, 2012)

Flexible..

0 upvotes
Sdaniella
By Sdaniella (Feb 6, 2012)

I'm hoping for OLEDs/OLETs to be the key to future HYBRID DUAL OVF/EVF displays, where one can have BOTH, or EITHER, so one can choose strengths of one over the other, if conditions call for it. Having both combined may be tricky, even if Transparent OLEDs/OLETs are progressing, but Transparency is less than optimal for OVF viewing in 'hybrid' OVF-EVF modes.
Good bright light conditions favors OVF usage, especially for non-powered longer term TELE magnified monitoring/compostion/tracking of distant moving subjects (wildlife, sports, military, etc), where clarity and zero lag are of prime importance.
In extreme low light, like moonlight, EVFs may be too bright, and OVF nearly useless, so a combination toggling between the two modes to figure out which works better helps, but even hybrid combined views may be superior, because in the dark, it is more about framing/composition than clarity. One already has MF tricks to get focus exact in near pitch dark conditions w/ lit ref distance pts

0 upvotes
Philip Carsendonk
By Philip Carsendonk (Feb 6, 2012)

So what you are saying is you can't make up your mind and you want to pay a premium for that. Why not run a Best Buy from your backpack so you can choose what lenses to take when you are out there on mount Everest?

0 upvotes
88SAL
By 88SAL (Feb 7, 2012)

@ Philip,

I wonder what sort of camera would be guaranteed to work on Everest? Probably Russian.

0 upvotes
itsastickup
By itsastickup (Feb 6, 2012)

I thought OLED gave real red, unlike LCD. Now that's worth something.

Is that right?

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Alexramos
By Alexramos (Feb 6, 2012)

The problem with the transparent OLED is transparency itself.
The actual Transparent AMOLED are between 50 and 60% of transparency, that is not enough to make a good OVF.
The AMOLED technology more than the PMOLED or the Sony OLED technology is the promise for the future EVF, they are faster, more contrast and with better color.

0 upvotes
jj74e
By jj74e (Feb 6, 2012)

I don't see what advantage flexible screens will provide for camera designs. A curved screen would skew what an image would look like on any other flat screen (unless for some reason people start wanting curved screens on their laptops, TVs, etc.), so flat screens would still be the practical choice even if flexible screens mean different body shapes? But maybe I'm missing something

Also, is this article saying that AMOLED screens only save energy when there are black parts present (because then they can simply turn off)? I thought AMOLED technology was inherently more efficient than LCDs regardless of what the image is presenting.

0 upvotes
Alexramos
By Alexramos (Feb 6, 2012)

They are.
The black is really black in the AMOLED compared with PMOLED and LCD, so the contrast in high luminous environment is better.
The color are more real but that depend of the adjust in the contrast and saturation.
When you have part of the scene dark or completely black, the AMOLED use less energy than a LCD that practically use the same energy than all the screen white.

0 upvotes
Simon97
By Simon97 (Feb 6, 2012)

Flexible means the screen won't be cracked if the device is dropped. Probably the biggest problem with cell phones. This can mean more durable cameras can be engineered at a lower cost.

0 upvotes
dannv
By dannv (Feb 6, 2012)

flexible means they can shape the screen to fit the lens of your sunglasses. distortion is corrected in software.

rethink the camera. the days of holding a black box to your face (or, worse, at arms length) are drawing to an end...dav

0 upvotes
jimr
By jimr (Feb 6, 2012)

The Samsung TL 500/ EX-1 also has an OLED screen................

It's a steal of a deal with its high speed lens...

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Alexramos
By Alexramos (Feb 6, 2012)

The Samsung NV24HD was the first OLED (AMOLED) camera in the market.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Feb 6, 2012)

http://www.dpreview.com/news/2003/3/2/kodakls633

0 upvotes
adiprcike
By adiprcike (Aug 16, 2012)

Yup, Samsung was the first one.

0 upvotes
Code9
By Code9 (Feb 6, 2012)

Very good. It is this type of content that brings me back to dpreview.

5 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Feb 6, 2012)

Definitely OLED is the future. For the time being, manufacturers are still so conservative in building new plants for manufacturing OLED because their past investments in LCD were so huge; and the current written-down value of those LCD plants are still representing a very important asset/investment in their books. No CEO will take the risk to build new OLED plants and write-off the LCD plants in the short-run for prevention of negative impacts to their share price. Since the market of OLED is already there; once the investments in the old manufacturing plants for LCD are amortized to a certain level, manufacturers will begin to build new plants for OLED; then the price of OLED panels will be dropped significantly. Let’s wait for another one or two years…

1 upvote
A Schamber
By A Schamber (Feb 6, 2012)

Conservative companies are what just sell you the same body with a slightly better sensor, and call it revolution. Small companies, as Fuji, Pentax, Olympus, are the ones that actually make the photography world go forward.

0 upvotes
migus
By migus (Feb 6, 2012)

Edmond, your point is true to a certain point. However, the OLED fab investment will be accelerated by competition, despite financial restraints from the CIO: Once Joe Doe sees the OLED TV, vivid colors, DEEP black (a pain for most other technologies), fast refresh... there'll be no return. He will want OLED TVs and monitors, and move the fancy new 3D 55" LCD in kids' room or basement. Then no vendor in the consumer space will want to be left out of the initial high margins (and costs, granted) of a ramping up market... because the long tail after the climax is a money looser (likely in mid'20). See the LCD market today.

Question: Is the OLED good enough to trigger such mass reaction? If Samsung's AMOLED-based phone market share growth is a representative estimator, then YES - massive OLED investments have already started (silently). Mitch

0 upvotes
eyewundr
By eyewundr (Feb 7, 2012)

I have trouble thinking of Fuji, Pentax, and Olympus as small companies. That said, they are likely to offer OLED based viewfinders sooner than Nikon, Canon, and Leica.
I doubt the current generation of OLED, even MicroOLED`s, will replace better prism viewfinders, but the next evolution of OLED might.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Feb 7, 2012)

Fuji is a BIG company. Pentax is now owned by Ricoh; and Ricoh is also a BIG company. Well, you can say the companies like Olympus, Nikon are small companies because their turnover (sales) are comparatively small. Take a look of their financial results for 2011 (source from FORTUNE Global 500) then you can determine whether they are BIG or small.
SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS – turnover in 2011 (US$ 133,781,000,000)
SONY – turnover in 2011 (US$ 83,845,000,000)
CANON – turnover in 2011 (US$ 42,246,000,000)
FUJIFILM – turnover in 2011 (US$ 25,886,000,000)
RICOH – turnover in 2011 (US$ 22,674,000,000)
Both OLYMPUS and NIKON are not listed (turnover below US$ 19,538,000,.000)

1 upvote
Valentinian
By Valentinian (Feb 6, 2012)

Is it realistic to expect that the oled EVF is now on the way to improve to the point that both the mirror optical viewfinder (DSRL) and the optical rangefinder (Leica, and, well....also Fuji Xpro1) are going to be considered as dynosaurs?

0 upvotes
A Schamber
By A Schamber (Feb 6, 2012)

Not a chance. Have you ever shot with a Leica?

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Feb 9, 2012)

Rangefinders cause a bit of a problem as the view is actually bigger than the lens coverage. You'll see more than the sensor basically.

EVF equipped EVIL/mirrorless is the future but there is always people that would stick with rangefinder, Rolli, etc.

0 upvotes
Joesiv
By Joesiv (Feb 6, 2012)

I like the idea of the transparent OLED for use in viewfinders of DSLRs. It would make any DSLR a hybrid similar to the Fuji X100. Basically transparent when your are using the mirror, or flip the mirror up and go live view still using the OLED for composition/info/review.

I guess it couldn't do the actual "hybrid" optical at the same time as electronic though without a secondary imaging sensor, who knows with metering sensors getting more and more detailed, maybe it *could*, or at least you could get a live histogram and peaking while in mirror down mode!

2 upvotes
Gerard Hoffnung
By Gerard Hoffnung (Feb 6, 2012)

If this technology is an improvement over LCD, why does dpreview's hands on preview of the Samsung NX200 not mention it except in the specs?

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Feb 6, 2012)

An oversight on the writer's part. I did write quite a bit more in the NX10 review.

0 upvotes
Gerard Hoffnung
By Gerard Hoffnung (Feb 6, 2012)

OK. I'll take a look there. Thanks for the reply.

0 upvotes
increments
By increments (Feb 6, 2012)

Really informative, thank you.

1 upvote
A Schamber
By A Schamber (Feb 6, 2012)

LED displays have been my choice for over 4 years now, only buying cameras with LCDs because there was no choice for Pentax. The difference is apparent at first sight... I could just never go back to LCDs. Hope manufacturers finally understand this.

0 upvotes
VadymA
By VadymA (Feb 6, 2012)

Actually LED displays have a standard LCD display with a different backlit module. They are better than the older version of LCD's but OLED is much more different.

0 upvotes
A Schamber
By A Schamber (Feb 6, 2012)

Don't get mistaken: LED blacklit is different than LED.

1 upvote
A Schamber
By A Schamber (Feb 6, 2012)

Still a better love story than Twilight...

1 upvote
shaocaholica
By shaocaholica (Feb 6, 2012)

Having a super wide color gamut does not mean it will be more accurate.

Using a longer meter stick vs a smaller ruler is not always going to give you more accurate results if the things you're measuring are on the scale of the ruler.

Having a display that can reproduce 100%+ of AdobeRGB isn't going to help if your subject matter never covers all that gamut space. Rarely have I seen real world colors that vibrant and when I do its not always visually pleasing to reproduce them.

1 upvote
BJN
By BJN (Feb 6, 2012)

Actually, you'd be surprised by how many "everyday" colors that sRGB can't reproduce. Nearly any blue sky image can't be accurately rendered in sRGB color space, for example.

It sounds like you came to your impression that ARGB means excessively vibrant colors from bad color management workflow. ARGB colors look oversaturated when you're viewing them via software that doesn't have color management capability.

0 upvotes
Flashback
By Flashback (Feb 6, 2012)

Just makes you wonder, if the OLED EVF improves to the stage where it can negate the fitting of the preview screen on the back of the camera. Full circle!

Comment edited 11 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Feb 6, 2012)

The field sequential EVFs on Panasonic m4/3 cameras are already at that stage, yet the rear screens are still there. You can't use an EVF to shoot above head height, or from other awkward angles, and flicking through the menu is also much easier at arms length than with the camera up to your face.

2 upvotes
underxposed59
By underxposed59 (Feb 6, 2012)

You can if they are head mountable.
In the future we will all be assimilated and become Borg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZEJ4OJTgg8

:-)

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Cani
By Cani (Feb 6, 2012)

Very interesting! Thanks.

1 upvote
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Feb 6, 2012)

Well written and well illustrated. Good job, thanks for posting.

2 upvotes
Total comments: 67