Those pricy viewfinders?

Started Apr 9, 2013 | Discussions
BobT
Forum ProPosts: 11,604Gear list
Like?
Those pricy viewfinders?
Apr 9, 2013

I have a XZ-1 AND a E-PL2, and would like to know, if I feel the need to purchase one of those expensive little clip-in-the-hotshoe eye viewfinders, does one version fit all?  Can I get one that will work with BOTH of my cameras?  I have the suspicion that the answer is NO, which will tick me off, and likely keep me from purchasing either of them.  Thanks.

Olympus PEN E-PL2 Olympus XZ-1
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
Ken Gosden
Contributing MemberPosts: 791Gear list
Like?
Re: Those pricy viewfinders?
In reply to BobT, Apr 9, 2013

Actually the answer is they are supported on both.  I don't recall if the E-PL2 supports the newer VF-3, but both cameras support the VF-2.  The Olympus site seems to indicate that the E-PL2 supports both models.  I have the VF-3 on both my XZ-1 and my wife's E-PM1.  It is not a great viewfinder if you want it to get a high quality eye level image.  The color is pretty marginal, but for use on sunny days to compose a shot or in dark spaces to avoid the LCD screen blinding others, it works great.  The manual focus zoom works well with the VF-3.  In fact, it is much easier to use than it is on the LCD since the camera is more stable on your eye than at arms length.  The VF-2 is a higher quality with more pixels and better color.  The VF-3 only comes in silver and looks a little odd on the black XZ-1.  But I got mine over black Friday last year for $80 so I don't mind the silver.

 Ken Gosden's gear list:Ken Gosden's gear list
Olympus Stylus 1030 SW Olympus XZ-2 iHS Olympus E-5 Olympus E-M1 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50mm 1:2.0 Macro +10 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
baxters
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,002Gear list
Like?
Re: Those pricey viewfinders?
In reply to Ken Gosden, Apr 9, 2013

The VF2 and VF3 fit most of the Olympus PEN cameras, as well as the OMD EM5 and the compact XZ1 and XZ2. The only exception is the first PEN, the EP1, which does not have the electronic interface. The EPL1 needs the latest firmware to use the VF3, but the VF2 runs on everything else.

The difference between the two is that the VF2 has a wider screen, maybe 10%, while the VF3 has a lock. Many users pooh pooh the lock, but if you ever had a $200 viewfinder turn up missing as I have, then you become a believer. I replaced my lost VF2, and later picked up the VF3 for $99.

 baxters's gear list:baxters's gear list
Olympus Body Cap Lens 15mm F8.0
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Greynerd
Senior MemberPosts: 3,339Gear list
Like?
Re: Those pricy viewfinders?
In reply to Ken Gosden, Apr 9, 2013

My E-PL2 works fine with the VF-3. It may not on the original firmware but I am not sure about that. The colours are a little flat but I prefer the fact that it locks on to the body.

Ken Gosden wrote:

Actually the answer is they are supported on both.  I don't recall if the E-PL2 supports the newer VF-3, but both cameras support the VF-2.  The Olympus site seems to indicate that the E-PL2 supports both models.  I have the VF-3 on both my XZ-1 and my wife's E-PM1.  It is not a great viewfinder if you want it to get a high quality eye level image.  The color is pretty marginal, but for use on sunny days to compose a shot or in dark spaces to avoid the LCD screen blinding others, it works great.  The manual focus zoom works well with the VF-3.  In fact, it is much easier to use than it is on the LCD since the camera is more stable on your eye than at arms length.  The VF-2 is a higher quality with more pixels and better color.  The VF-3 only comes in silver and looks a little odd on the black XZ-1.  But I got mine over black Friday last year for $80 so I don't mind the silver.

 Greynerd's gear list:Greynerd's gear list
Olympus TG-310 Samsung EX2F Pentax X-5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS30 Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
BobT
Forum ProPosts: 11,604Gear list
Like?
Re: Those pricy viewfinders?
In reply to BobT, Apr 10, 2013

Looks like the VF-2 might be my best bet for usability on BOTH cameras.  I had heard so many GREAT things about this device, that your neg. comments caught me by surprise.  Like I hadn't realized that I the VF might not deliver good color rendering, for example.  Interesting.  Maybe I should just forget it, and rely on my LCD alone.

Anyway...thanks for the food for thought.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Donald B
Senior MemberPosts: 3,083Gear list
Like?
Re: Those pricy viewfinders?
In reply to BobT, Apr 10, 2013

BobT wrote:

Looks like the VF-2 might be my best bet for usability on BOTH cameras.  I had heard so many GREAT things about this device, that your neg. comments caught me by surprise.  Like I hadn't realized that I the VF might not deliver good color rendering, for example.  Interesting.  Maybe I should just forget it, and rely on my LCD alone.

Anyway...thanks for the food for thought.

the vf2 is a must have, excellent quality.

cheers don

-- hide signature --

Pentax K7, Panasonic fz150, Olympus XZ1, my main toys.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
geoffmalter
Senior MemberPosts: 1,940Gear list
Like?
Re: Those pricy viewfinders?
In reply to BobT, Apr 11, 2013

BobT wrote:

Looks like the VF-2 might be my best bet for usability on BOTH cameras.  I had heard so many GREAT things about this device, that your neg. comments caught me by surprise.  Like I hadn't realized that I the VF might not deliver good color rendering, for example.  Interesting.  Maybe I should just forget it, and rely on my LCD alone.

Anyway...thanks for the food for thought.

Have you reviewed the Clearviewer (clearviewer.com)? I have had one on my LX-5 24/7 for nearly two years. Does the same job as an EVF, with a compact form factor when not in use, and a fraction of an EVF's price. Highly recommended.

 geoffmalter's gear list:geoffmalter's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 Olympus Tough TG-1 iHS Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Sony SLT-A57 Sony DT 55-300mm F4.5-5.6 SAM +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Len_Gee
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,191Gear list
Like?
Re: Those pricy viewfinders?
In reply to BobT, Apr 11, 2013

Yes , they will fit.

Check eBay or Craig's List for a good deal.

 Len_Gee's gear list:Len_Gee's gear list
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
BobT
Forum ProPosts: 11,604Gear list
Like?
Re: Those pricy viewfinders?
In reply to geoffmalter, Apr 11, 2013

No question that the price is "certainly right" versus the VF-2/3s.  But how does the quality compare.  Which connection system would be recommended for use with the XZ-1?  The version that connects to the hotshoe looks as though it might be best for remaining attached to the camera (almost) permanently.  Is this correct?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Michael Meissner
Forum ProPosts: 23,048Gear list
Like?
Re: Those pricy viewfinders?
In reply to geoffmalter, Apr 11, 2013

geoffmalter wrote:

BobT wrote:

Looks like the VF-2 might be my best bet for usability on BOTH cameras.  I had heard so many GREAT things about this device, that your neg. comments caught me by surprise.  Like I hadn't realized that I the VF might not deliver good color rendering, for example.  Interesting.  Maybe I should just forget it, and rely on my LCD alone.

Anyway...thanks for the food for thought.

Have you reviewed the Clearviewer (clearviewer.com)? I have had one on my LX-5 24/7 for nearly two years. Does the same job as an EVF, with a compact form factor when not in use, and a fraction of an EVF's price. Highly recommended.

I wrote a review of clearviewer almost two years ago: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/38501501

In general, I almost never use the VF-2.  I will use the clearviewer if I'm going to be shooting in the sun, and I'm primarily out there shooting.  If I just have a camera on my shoulder to take random grab shots, I typically won't use either, and just deal with the sun.

Note, I have modded the VF-2, so I have a thin wire around it, that I attach to the shoulder strap ring, so if it should fall off, I will have it dangling off the camera, and not somewhere on the ground.

 Michael Meissner's gear list:Michael Meissner's gear list
Olympus C-2100 UZ Olympus Tough TG-2 Olympus Stylus 1 Olympus E-5 Olympus PEN E-PM2 +19 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
baxters
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,002Gear list
Like?
Re: Those spendy viewfinders?
In reply to BobT, Apr 11, 2013

I have both. They have the same connections. The VF3 is cheaper, a little smaller and gives a 10% smaller view. Used for framing, I see no difference. Used for manual focus, sure, bigger is better, but the smaller view works fine for me. I use manual focus with long teles on my EPL1.

Photoshopped. Only have one XZ1.

VF3 is better sized for XZ1.

In real life, you will probably never use these on your XZ1. Size is less important on your PEN,

So how do you like that XZ1?

 baxters's gear list:baxters's gear list
Olympus Body Cap Lens 15mm F8.0
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
geoffmalter
Senior MemberPosts: 1,940Gear list
Like?
Re: Those pricy viewfinders?
In reply to BobT, Apr 18, 2013

BobT wrote:

No question that the price is "certainly right" versus the VF-2/3s.  But how does the quality compare.  Which connection system would be recommended for use with the XZ-1?  The version that connects to the hotshoe looks as though it might be best for remaining attached to the camera (almost) permanently.  Is this correct?

The one I have is the upgrade designed for 3" LCDs, and connects to the tripod mount. Folds up against the LCD when not in use. The manufacturer makes them for many specific models. As an example, mine has an off-set screw to accommodate the the LX5's tripod mount in relation to the center of the lens. It's all metal (Aluminum) with quality hinges and glass. There are small felt pads, so when folded, the LCD is protected. IMO the image you see is the same quality as the LCD itself. Against your eye, it helps stabilize the camera, and using your left hand over it as you hold the camera, very little if any light gets in between the LCD and the Clearviewer optics (disclaimer: I have no financial interest in this product. I promote it because I'm a very satisfied user. Do a search for Clearviewer on DPR and you'll find the same type comments).

 geoffmalter's gear list:geoffmalter's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 Olympus Tough TG-1 iHS Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Sony SLT-A57 Sony DT 55-300mm F4.5-5.6 SAM +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Greynerd
Senior MemberPosts: 3,339Gear list
Like?
Re: Those pricy viewfinders?
In reply to geoffmalter, Apr 19, 2013

It does not really create a stable platform to hold the camera steady. Also the LV2/3's can be tilted up for viewing down. Probably an economical solution but I think I would prefer a viewfinder myself. Many people swear by them on all the forums  so who I am I to argue.

geoffmalter wrote:

BobT wrote:

No question that the price is "certainly right" versus the VF-2/3s.  But how does the quality compare.  Which connection system would be recommended for use with the XZ-1?  The version that connects to the hotshoe looks as though it might be best for remaining attached to the camera (almost) permanently.  Is this correct?

The one I have is the upgrade designed for 3" LCDs, and connects to the tripod mount. Folds up against the LCD when not in use. The manufacturer makes them for many specific models. As an example, mine has an off-set screw to accommodate the the LX5's tripod mount in relation to the center of the lens. It's all metal (Aluminum) with quality hinges and glass. There are small felt pads, so when folded, the LCD is protected. IMO the image you see is the same quality as the LCD itself. Against your eye, it helps stabilize the camera, and using your left hand over it as you hold the camera, very little if any light gets in between the LCD and the Clearviewer optics (disclaimer: I have no financial interest in this product. I promote it because I'm a very satisfied user. Do a search for Clearviewer on DPR and you'll find the same type comments).

 Greynerd's gear list:Greynerd's gear list
Olympus TG-310 Samsung EX2F Pentax X-5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS30 Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Mittskitts
Contributing MemberPosts: 681Gear list
Like?
Re: Those pricy viewfinders?
In reply to Ken Gosden, Apr 20, 2013

I have a similar experience. I have the VF-2 for my E-PL1, and find that while the color rendering is a bit muted it is still a big help on a bright day or with manual focusing. I like that it tilts. It is a little bulky and it can be dislodged with a bump or knock and doesn't have a lock on it, so I pay attention to not catching it on anything. If I didn't already have it, I might be enticed by the VF-3 because of the locking feature.

 Mittskitts's gear list:Mittskitts's gear list
Olympus Tough TG-1 iHS Olympus SH-50 Olympus PEN E-PL1
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
skeys
skeys MOD
Senior MemberPosts: 1,405Gear list
Like?
Pricey, yes, but for me, priceless...
In reply to BobT, Apr 26, 2013

Purchased a used VF-2 and mounted it on my daughter's XZ-1 and used the adjustment wheel. Result: I can read the text in the viewfinder, a feat which requires me to use my reading glasses with the screen on the back of the XZ-1. Now all I need is an Oly PEN so I can use the VF-2.

As for the possibility of the VF-2 being knocked off the body on which it is mounted, check this thread: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/39268246  .

Steve

-- hide signature --

My comments and opinions are my own. I am neither a staff member, nor a paid employee, of DPReview.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
OpticsEngineer
Senior MemberPosts: 2,191Gear list
Like?
Re: Pricey, yes, but for me, priceless...
In reply to skeys, Apr 27, 2013

Thanks for posting the link about how to keep the VF2 on.  I have been in need of that.

 OpticsEngineer's gear list:OpticsEngineer's gear list
Olympus XZ-1 Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V Fujifilm XF1 +18 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
SW Anderson
Regular MemberPosts: 104
Like?
Re: Pricey, yes, but for me, priceless...
In reply to skeys, Apr 30, 2013

A bit of ancient history from the days of film cameras and non-hot shoes on cameras. One day I was using a new shoe-mounted flash (pc-cord connection) for some indoor shots and discovered that it was a loose fit. Not so loose that it fell out, but enough to be distracting and annoying. I had a piece of sandpaper in the car. I cut a small square, just big enough to fit in the camera shoe. It was just enough to secure the flash and end the jiggling distraction.  Later, for a more-permanent fix, I removed the two screws that held the shoe mount on the camera, crimped the hot shoe tabs with a pair of Vise Grips and put it back on the camera. Problem solved. Those were simpler days.

I've used the sandpaper solution several times over the years, including on cameras with dedicated flash contacts in the shoe, although obviously not when using a dedicated flash. To keep from scratching the contacts I placed the sandpaper so its gritty side faced the nondedicated flash instead of the hot shoe on the camera.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads