What's the truth about viewfinder brightness?

Started Dec 3, 2012 | Discussions thread
Leonard Shepherd
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Re: Many are commenting without looking through DX and FX viewfinders
In reply to JimPearce, 9 months ago

If you set up a similar viewfinder system DX and FX body (D300 - D3 etc) with 2 zoom lenses each f2.8 adjusted to give the same angle of view in relatively low light where the eye more easily notices light level differences, the DX extra brightness is obvious.

If you then use dof preview on the DX body at around f4 you can work out at what aperture the viewfinders have equal brightness to within a third of a stop.

The F100 looks about a third of a stop brighter with an f1.8 than than a D3, roughly proportional to the higher F100 viewfinder magnification. I make it f2.2 equivalent on the F100, f2.5 on the D3 and f2.8 on a D300.

Not all screens and viewfinders are the same. The D600 screen seems about a third of a stop brighter than a D800, but dof is easier to judge on the D800.

Put an f1.8 on an FM2 and a D3 or D800 and prepare to be very surprised

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Leonard Shepherd
Many problems turn out to be a lack of intimate knowledge as to how to get the best out of modern and often complex camera equipment.

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