A99 viewfinder - please help

Started Apr 8, 2013 | Discussions thread
Febs
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Re: sounds normal — try applying some +EC
In reply to William Porter, Apr 8, 2013

William Porter wrote:

Fabian,

Congratulations on your new A99. I feel pretty confident that, once you get to know it, you're going to love it.

I've read your original post and some of the follow-up comments. The thing that strikes me is your mention of "bright sunlight." That sounds to me like the most important "clue" in your statement, for those of us who'd like to help you.

The EVF on the A99 (and the A77, etc) does a wonderful job in good "normal" light with a normal dynamic range and moderate (rather than high) contrast. What you see in the EVF is pretty close to what you'd see in a good OVF. But when the light is marginal — really dark or really bright — the EVF behaves in a way that might seem odd at first. Let me give you two examples:

  • In very low light, the A99 seems to brighten the scene a bit. I just pointed the A99 behind me at a shelf in a fairly dark corner of my office. Camera is in P for this test. Viewed through the EVF the scene seems brighter than it does when I put the camera down and view it directly. The white door to my office looks much whiter in the EVF than in "real life." DRO is off. The resulting photo was also brighter than I expected.
  • In very bright light, the opposite effect may occur. I just stepped outside and pointed the A99 up at a cloudy but quite bright midday sky; I was pointing in the direction of the sun. In the EVF the scene looked rather dark, and the resulting photo was also dark.

Note that the EVF was in fact WYSIWYG or close to, in both cases. So what's happening here?

What's happening is that the camera is doing exactly what it's supposed to do — and you're seeing it happen live, in the EVF. The camera is simply exposing for middle gray. Photograph a white wall and it will come out gray — unless you apply positive exposure compensation. All cameras work this way. The difference with the A99 (A77, etc) is that you see the exposure-compensating effect in the viewfinder.

So if the scene is very bright and you want it to look very bright (a) in the EVF and (b) in the resulting photo, then apply some positive exposure compensation.

Will

Febs wrote:

When I shoot in bright daylight the viewfinder image appears very dark and when I shoot at an angle of 45 degree towards the sun, I actually can't see anything in the viewfinder unless I use my left hand to shield the eye from all the surrounding light. I should note here that I'm wearing glasses.

...

Are you guys experiencing the same?? Is there a way to fix this problem? As it stands the A99 seems unsuited for use in bright light?!

Hello William,

I like what the EVF does in dark circumstances. But in bright light it's just too dim. A complete nuisance. What I noticed is that when I pull up the exposure by 1 stop, the EVF would get brighter, kind of okayish, but then my pictures are overexposed too. 

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