ClearView vs. VF-2

Started May 12, 2013 | Discussions
BobT
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ClearView vs. VF-2
May 12, 2013

Can anyone comment on the differences between these 2 different viewfinders.  I know the specs of each, so no need to tell me what they are or how they work.  I'm more interested to know if the VF-2 is 2X or 3X times better in what it does than the ClearView: as the cost differenses are about that much. For use on the E-PL2.  Thanks.

Olympus PEN E-PL2
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Bob Tullis
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In reply to BobT, May 12, 2013

BobT wrote:

Can anyone comment on the differences between these 2 different viewfinders.  I know the specs of each, so no need to tell me what they are or how they work.  I'm more interested to know if the VF-2 is 2X or 3X times better in what it does than the ClearView: as the cost differenses are about that much. For use on the E-PL2.  Thanks.

One is an aide for the LCD arms-length preference of composing.   The other is an EVF.

There is no comparison.

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tedolf
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Bob, this is obvious......
In reply to BobT, May 12, 2013

BobT wrote:

Can anyone comment on the differences between these 2 different viewfinders.  I know the specs of each, so no need to tell me what they are or how they work.  I'm more interested to know if the VF-2 is 2X or 3X times better in what it does than the ClearView: as the cost differenses are about that much. For use on the E-PL2.  Thanks.

obviously with the VF-2 you can steady the camera agianst your head; with the Clear view you can't.

Add the ruber eyecup to the VF-2 and you can close out all stray light; with the clear view you can't.

The clear view costs less, the VF-2 more.

Why do you ask questoins like this?

Tedolph

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James Pilcher
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obvious differences and one big ClearView advantage
In reply to BobT, May 12, 2013

BobT wrote:

Can anyone comment on the differences between these 2 different viewfinders.  I know the specs of each, so no need to tell me what they are or how they work.  I'm more interested to know if the VF-2 is 2X or 3X times better in what it does than the ClearView: as the cost differenses are about that much. For use on the E-PL2.  Thanks.

ClearView is for those folks who refuse to purchase or cannot afford a proper EVF. As a viewfinder solution, it is makeshift at best. Admittedly, it offers an advantage over  the raw camera experience, but it cannot compete with a dedicated EVF.

One advantage that ClearView has is that it tends to work with any camera, not just a single one. If you have multiple cameras which you use the rear LCD for composition, the ClearView is a flexible and inexpensive add-on for all of them.

Me? I have two cameras (Olympus E-PL5, Lumix LX7) that accept external viewfinders, and I purchased one for each camera. It is so essential to me that I consider an EVF as part of my initial purchase/cost considerations.

Jim Pilcher
Summit County, Colorado, USA

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Pikme
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Re: ClearView vs. VF-2
In reply to BobT, May 12, 2013

Lots of digicam users love the Clearviewer because it allows anyone with 'older' eyes to see the LCD without having to hold the camera so far away.  I have one and tried to use it with my LX5 but didn't like it (don't like Panny's optional EVF either).  For one thing, it is kind of a nuisance thing to fiddle with on the back of the camera, but also it shows a rather distorted 'bubble' type image of the center of the LCD with the edges in the dark 'bubble' edges.  But look on the digicam sites for other opinions, as many people really like these, just didn't work at all for me.

The VF2 is excellent. EVFs are not all the same, the VF2 is one of the best (now there is a better one coming).  You would prefer it if you prefer using a viewfinder, but might actually prefer the Clearviewer if you like using LCD (if you need one at all - why are you considering it?).  It does a good job of blocking light from the edges, has good resolution and is large and bright, offers better (truer) color than the LCD IMO, and has neat ability to swivel up to 90 degrees (great for macros).

People complain that it doesn't lock on, but i've used mine for 3 years, grabbing the camera in and out of tight bags and wearing the camera on movable shoulder straps during hiking, etc. and never had any problem with the EVF coming off.  I used mine first with EP2 and then also with XZ-1.

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baxters
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Re: ClearView vs. VF-2
In reply to BobT, May 12, 2013

The clearwater is 1/2X or 1/3X the price of a VF2? Wow, A lot of money for a magnifying glass.

Moot point anyway.

The VF3 and VF2 are back to $179 and $249 again. Maybe they go on sale again for Fathers Day next month, Independence Day in July, or the Perseids Shower Sales Event in August.

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Gregm61
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Re: Bob, this is obvious......
In reply to tedolf, May 12, 2013

tedolf wrote:

BobT wrote:

Can anyone comment on the differences between these 2 different viewfinders.  I know the specs of each, so no need to tell me what they are or how they work.  I'm more interested to know if the VF-2 is 2X or 3X times better in what it does than the ClearView: as the cost differenses are about that much. For use on the E-PL2.  Thanks.

obviously with the VF-2 you can steady the camera agianst your head; with the Clear view you can't.

Add the ruber eyecup to the VF-2 and you can close out all stray light; with the clear view you can't.

The clear view costs less, the VF-2 more.

Why do you ask questoins like this?

I think he's almost run out of questions to ask, and yet I know he hasn't....

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Michael Meissner
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Re: ClearView vs. VF-2
In reply to BobT, May 12, 2013

I wrote the following when I got a clearviewer specially modded to work with my leather case:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/38501501

Personally, I have problems with both VF-2 and clearviewer:

VF-2 problems:

  • VF-2 is useless if you shoot in landscape orientation with polarized sunglasses.  If you shoot in portrait orientation, VF-2 is great.  This is the opposite of the LCD, where you can see landscape mode fine with polarized sunglasses on, but the screen is dimmer if you are shooting in portrait mode.  However, while the LCD screen is dimmer using polarized glasses, you can at least shoot with it.  I cannot use the VF-2 at all in landscape orientation.
  • The VF-2 does not have a lock, and several people have lost theirs.  I wrapped some thin wire around my VF-2's hinge, and put a clip on the end that I attach to the shoulder strap.  They solved this with the VF-3, and presumably the VF-4.
  • You cannot use the VF-2 when you are using a flash, except if you are using the pop-up flash on cameras that have a builtin flash (E-PL1, E-PL2, E-P3, and E-P5).  You also can't use it when you are using the external microphone (SEMA-1) and other accessory port accessories (Penpal, MAL-1, etc.).  I often times have the FL-36 constantly attached to my E-P2, and at other times, I want to shoot movies and use the SEMA-1.  One thing I've meant to so, is somebody found the wires to the flash are still active with using the VF-2, so you could tape/solder wires underneath the VF-2 so that you could use an external flash.
  • The VF-2 is a rather big power hog, and it drains your batteries a lot quicker.  This may be hard to imagine, given the LCD in the VF-2 is much smaller than the LCD on the back of the camera, but it is driving with a refresh rate of 60 fps, and it has more pixels than my E-P2's lcd.  My newer E-PM2 has more pixels, but I haven't used the VF-2 as much.
  • I would worry about packing the camera with the VF-2 mounted, as it would seem likely it would knocked and broken.

Clearviewer problems:

  • It is a minor hassle to unfold the clearviewer, particularly if you have something else in your other hand.  I often times in things like renaissance faires or steampunk events will go with the camera turned on and in my right hand by my side, and if I see a decisive moment coming up, I will raise the camera to my eye, take the picture and put it back down.  This tends to be less annoying that stalking somebody with the camera up to your eye.
  • When i have the camera dangling on my shoulder strap, I don't like the clearviewer lens bouncing on my side, even folded up, but this is fairly minor.  You could buy the one that fits on the hot-shoe, but then you have the problem of using it with flash.
  • You do have to have your eye in just the right position to see the screen (particularly with glasses), and depending on the camera, you might not be able to see the left/right sides as clearly without moving your head.  I find it takes a small amount of time to get used to it when putting the the clearviewer on after I haven't used it in awhile.

The rare few times I manually focus, the VF-2 is far superior for such focusing.  Due to the issue of polarized sunglasses, I tend to use the clearviewer when I use either one for shooting out in the sun.  My go to camera for shooting in the sun is still my E-5.

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drusus
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Re: ClearView vs. VF-2
In reply to BobT, May 13, 2013

BobT wrote:

Can anyone comment on the differences between these 2 different viewfinders.  I know the specs of each, so no need to tell me what they are or how they work.  I'm more interested to know if the VF-2 is 2X or 3X times better in what it does than the ClearView: as the cost differenses are about that much. For use on the E-PL2.  Thanks.

I cannot compare the two because I have only used the Clearviewer. I find it very useful and worth its cost. A proper viewfinder is not important enough to me to invest in the electronic ones, but my eyesight is no longer good enough for manual focusing with the LCD unless I put on my reading glasses. I use the clearviewer to manual focus with a legacy 50 mm lens and for video clips, for which autofocus doesn't work well enough on my GF1+20mm combo. With the legacy lens I still get some shots out of focus but that's likely due to not being fast enough in adjusting focus (the subject being a toddler). With video, I am sometimes not precisely sure of the focus through the Clearviewer, but I hunt around and usually find it again. The effect is acceptable for my home movies, but would not be for serious work (unless you want the intentional technique of focus adjustments used in one-camer shows like The office). Also, in bright sunlight the Clearviewer helps but not all the time. If the sun is right behind you and you'r not wearing a baseball cap, the LCD can be invisible even with the Clearviewer.

Drusus

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BobT
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Re: ClearView vs. VF-2
In reply to drusus, May 13, 2013

Drusus,

I feel your last statement was the most important.  Thanks

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jeffharris
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Re: ClearView vs. VF-2
In reply to drusus, May 13, 2013

drusus wrote:

BobT wrote:

Can anyone comment on the differences between these 2 different viewfinders.  I know the specs of each, so no need to tell me what they are or how they work.  I'm more interested to know if the VF-2 is 2X or 3X times better in what it does than the ClearView: as the cost differenses are about that much. For use on the E-PL2.  Thanks.

I cannot compare the two because I have only used the Clearviewer. I find it very useful and worth its cost. A proper viewfinder is not important enough to me to invest in the electronic ones, but my eyesight is no longer good enough for manual focusing with the LCD unless I put on my reading glasses. I use the clearviewer to manual focus with a legacy 50 mm lens and for video clips, for which autofocus doesn't work well enough on my GF1+20mm combo. With the legacy lens I still get some shots out of focus but that's likely due to not being fast enough in adjusting focus (the subject being a toddler). With video, I am sometimes not precisely sure of the focus through the Clearviewer, but I hunt around and usually find it again. The effect is acceptable for my home movies, but would not be for serious work (unless you want the intentional technique of focus adjustments used in one-camer shows like The office). Also, in bright sunlight the Clearviewer helps but not all the time. If the sun is right behind you and you'r not wearing a baseball cap, the LCD can be invisible even with the Clearviewer.

There's also the Hoodman HoodLoupe 3.0. There's a folding rubber version.

http://www.hoodmanusa.com/products.asp?dept=1017

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