X20 and viewfinder parallax

Started Dec 10, 2013 | Discussions
jon weber
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X20 and viewfinder parallax
Dec 10, 2013

I want to use my X20 viewfinder for quick street photography.

Can anyone tell me the best way to set things up so as to minimize the parallax that I will encounter.

Sure I could use the LCD...but I kind of want to do the Cartier-Bresson thing!

Thanks in advance.

Fujifilm X20
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Nastavnik
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Re: X20 and viewfinder parallax
In reply to jon weber, Dec 10, 2013

best advice I can give is to practice in a controlled environment. Doing so you 'll notice that 2 of the 4 sides are more or less acurate, 2 others not at all, the more so as you get closer or zoom in (worst is at tele position and minimum focusing distance.

But testing at home with a few objects as reference, and chimping at the lcd so you can see teh difference is best. Once that is done for a few distances and a few focal lengths, you'll have a good idea of how it works, and on what side of the visor you have to be carefull. After that, you just really need to decide which of those positions are the one that you will encounter the more often while doing street shooting. After you are well aware of it, it isn't really a problem any more.

One other thing you have to keep in mind is that while there is parallax for what you see , there is also for where the focus box actually is. It is hard to describe by writing, just make a few tests with things close buy (and up to 2-3 meters) and you 'll see what I mean. There again, once you know about it, you'll know how to "auto correct" it so to speak.

It is a great camera, for sunny or bright days.

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Red5TX
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Re: X20 and viewfinder parallax
In reply to jon weber, Dec 10, 2013

I found you need to shoot pretty loose with the X20.  Not a big deal for street photography since ultimate detail and resolution are rarely the goals, meaning that cropping doesn't matter much.

The OVF is gorgeous, though, and worth the hassle.  Very fun camera to shoot with.

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Limburger
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Re: X20 and viewfinder parallax
In reply to jon weber, Dec 10, 2013

Often a smaller aperture is used to create a bigger DOF. You also could try prefocussing and switch to manual.

Another thing is understand AF. AF typically locks on the nearest point with enough (not the most!) contrast.

Understanding your subject is important too. Recognizing a good spot and wait till somebody walks into the frame.

The VF has parallax and is noticed best at close distances about 3-5ft away or closer. The LCD is a read out from the sensor so has no parallax. Basicly parallax could be disregarded for subjects further than 3-5ft. away as far the VF (FOV) as focus points are concerned. My X100 is consistant with this.

For framing it's slightly more complicated since the VF shows 85% of the image, you need to get used to that I am afraid.

Just practice a bit both with VF and LCD and use what you prefer.

I'd go for aperture priority, prefocus and auto iso and most likely B&W. Just got a X100 and needed to unlearn myself looking on the lcd because I got used to looking at it on small camera's. For some reason a VF works better for me. Maybe a bit more cerebral shooting as holding the camera closer (firmer, opposed to arms stretched out) may give you an advantage in shutter speed as well.

If you like to shoot HCB style just go out, try, learn and have fun.

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photoreddi
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Re: X20 and viewfinder parallax
In reply to jon weber, Dec 10, 2013

jon weber wrote:

I want to use my X20 viewfinder for quick street photography.

Can anyone tell me the best way to set things up so as to minimize the parallax that I will encounter.

Sure I could use the LCD...but I kind of want to do the Cartier-Bresson thing!

Then you'll get parallax similar to what HCB got when he used his old Leicas, but when he started using the M3, it introduced movable frame lines that corrected for its viewfinder parallax error.

http://www.lightstalking.com/iconic-cameras-the-leica-m3

.

I've found that my X10's viewfinder points pretty much straight ahead, parallel to the lens's axis. So for distant subjects there's no noticeable parallax error. You can get an idea of what the parallax error will look like if you mount your X20 on a tripod and align it with a subject that you'd like to take a picture of, using the LCD. Then look through the viewfinder, and because it's pointing straight ahead, it's not pointing where the lens is pointing. Since the viewfinder is higher than the lens and to the left of the lens, if you want to get the viewfinder to point directly towards your subject you'll have to point it slightly down and slightly to the right.

What this means in practical terms is that if the X10/X20 is used to take closeup pictures, you should compensate for it by pointing it slightly down and slightly to the right to have the camera's lens point where you want. The amount depends on how close you'll need to focus.

Fuji's X10 and X20 viewfinders aren't high precision devices and the lens captures more than you see through the viewfinder, so you should take a lot of test photos at varying camera-to-subject distances to get a feel for how you'll need to adapt to the viewfinder to get the most out of it. If you use mostly the 28mm focal length, with enough practice you might find that it's not even necessary to use the viewfinder or the LCD. Just point and shoot!

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buzz61
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Re: X20 and viewfinder parallax
In reply to photoreddi, Dec 13, 2013

Good advice to compare the LCD to viewfinder using the camera on a tripod.  I own an X20 and use the viewfinder most of the time. In my camera, for distant shots, the larger area of the LCD includes all that can be seen in the viewfinder, at the 28mm. As the zoom is applied I notice a shift in register. At maximum zoom, by the time I have to go to macro, the difference will result in clipping off the top of a subject as seen in the viewfinder. As long as I leave a little extra at the top, the rest of the differences don't matter much as most pictures end up cropped since most of my prints end up either 4 x 6 in or 5 x 7 in. This behaviour can vary from camera to camera.  I find it easy to compensate for.

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VaLeX
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Re: X20 and viewfinder parallax
In reply to jon weber, Dec 14, 2013

I wouldn't be very concerned with parallax - it means you're using the viewfinder, which covers only 85% of the frame. What you'll loose due parallax you can recover by re-frame&recrop in post-processing, cropping the 85% of lower - left side of the picture. Now, if you're really into H C Bresson thing, you won't cut anything out. But again, no matter how perfectionist and purist with the geometry of his frame HCB was, he didn't bother to much about parallax, if you look at some of his photos - those who really are about the decisive moment. For instance:

Through the viewfinder in the typical rangefinder you'd probably see more from the left side of the frame, which makes the relevant counterpart of the mail visual element - the boy - and really enhances the meaning of this photo.

Anyway as somebody mentioned above, the parallax effect might become significant only at at full telephoto. Street photography is in the 35-50 territory. So, try just to frame a bit wider and look for the decisive moment ...

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maninthestreet
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Re: X20 and viewfinder parallax
In reply to VaLeX, Dec 14, 2013

The focus area ( a green square or rectangle) in the OVF is adjusted for parallax error.
This is one of the great features of the X20 that barely gets a mention in the X20 manual.
This link explains this feature quite well:

http://www.dumeril7.com/2013/10/the-fujifilm-x20-and-parallax.html

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VaLeX
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Re: X20 and viewfinder parallax
In reply to maninthestreet, Dec 16, 2013

It's an interesting point that you're making here. It seems that this reviewer (Thom Hogan - is he authoritative?) didn't get it quite right:

Despite the fact that there are many improvements in the X20 handling over the X10's, somehow it still feels a little incomplete to me. I'm not entirely sure what's driving that impression, as there's nothing specific that stands out at first glance. I think it's partly centered on that optical viewfinder, actually. Let's assume that I'm shooting your portrait at about six feet. I really need to adjust a bit for parallax, but that has potential to mess up how I'm judging the focus point. I spent some time playing with main subjects at different distances, and I found that I had to get to almost five feet before continuous autofocus was mostly getting on the object I wanted it on. So the camera has a bit of a blind spot from typical macro shooting to that point, at least when you're using the optical viewfinder.

With single servo autofocus, of course, I could simply try to focus and reframe, but I'm still flying a bit blind because the focus indicator in the viewfinder isn't parallax corrected. I actually don't think it would be that difficult for Fujifilm to do the parallax correction of focus point with the overlay, and that's probably the missing element that's giving me the slight misgivings over the camera's handling. I can live with the 85% view much more than I can with focus parallax misses.

http://www.gearophile.com/cameras/camera-reviews/fujifilm-x20-review.html

maninthestreet wrote:

The focus area ( a green square or rectangle) in the OVF is adjusted for parallax error.
This is one of the great features of the X20 that barely gets a mention in the X20 manual.
This link explains this feature quite well:

http://www.dumeril7.com/2013/10/the-fujifilm-x20-and-parallax.html

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photoreddi
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Re: X20 and viewfinder parallax
In reply to VaLeX, Dec 16, 2013

VaLeX wrote:

It's an interesting point that you're making here. It seems that this reviewer (Thom Hogan - is he authoritative?) didn't get it quite right:

His camera guides are generally acknowledged to be authoritative. His reviews can't be, really. They may be 20 or 30 pages long, while the guides can be anywhere from 600 to nearly 1,000 pages long, and they're not padded with filler material. Even so, his reviews are usually far more complete than any others you're likely to find.

.

Despite the fact that there are many improvements in the X20 handling over the X10's, somehow it still feels a little incomplete to me. I'm not entirely sure what's driving that impression, as there's nothing specific that stands out at first glance. I think it's partly centered on that optical viewfinder, actually. Let's assume that I'm shooting your portrait at about six feet. I really need to adjust a bit for parallax, but that has potential to mess up how I'm judging the focus point. I spent some time playing with main subjects at different distances, and I found that I had to get to almost five feet before continuous autofocus was mostly getting on the object I wanted it on. So the camera has a bit of a blind spot from typical macro shooting to that point, at least when you're using the optical viewfinder.

With single servo autofocus, of course, I could simply try to focus and reframe, but I'm still flying a bit blind because the focus indicator in the viewfinder isn't parallax corrected. I actually don't think it would be that difficult for Fujifilm to do the parallax correction of focus point with the overlay, and that's probably the missing element that's giving me the slight misgivings over the camera's handling. I can live with the 85% view much more than I can with focus parallax misses.

http://www.gearophile.com/cameras/camera-reviews/fujifilm-x20-review.html

maninthestreet wrote:

The focus area ( a green square or rectangle) in the OVF is adjusted for parallax error.
This is one of the great features of the X20 that barely gets a mention in the X20 manual.
This link explains this feature quite well:

http://www.dumeril7.com/2013/10/the-fujifilm-x20-and-parallax.html

Note that Thom is talking about having to deal with parallax error while shooting at about 6 feet. At that distance it's pretty tricky getting the parallax correction to provide much help, and the parallax adjustment provided by the AF frame is not at all obvious, especially as dumeril7 notes that to use it, it's an iterative process that's "a pain in the butt", but shooting with film was even more of a pain, "So stop yer whinin'." Can't disagree with that, but as long as you're pointing out what Thom didn't get right or missed, why not also point out the things that he did get right, things that other reviewers missed.

Take the OVF's AF frame for example. Parallax error is most significant when the subject is close to the camera. At 6 feet some error is there, but it's not a big problem for most people. At very close and macro distances it's a much bigger problem, and how many reviewers do you know that pointed out that in Macro or Super Macro mode, just when it's most needed, the OVF no longer shows an AF rectangle, and it's not just this but all of the overlay information that disappears from the OVF, as Thom mentioned in his review.

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VaLeX
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Re: X20 and viewfinder parallax
In reply to photoreddi, Dec 17, 2013

photoreddi wrote:

... as long as you're pointing out what Thom didn't get right or missed, why not also point out the things that he did get right, things that other reviewers missed.

Well, I'm glad you did. It was not my intention to attack reputations or credibility of reviewers that it happens I didn't know much about. I was just pointing out conflicting opinions about X20 (a camera that I don't have, but I'm interested in buying) in order to get input from more people and clarify things. It so happens that Thom himself picked up the issue very promptly and revised his text.

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photoreddi
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Re: X20 and viewfinder parallax
In reply to VaLeX, Dec 17, 2013

VaLeX wrote:

photoreddi wrote:

... as long as you're pointing out what Thom didn't get right or missed, why not also point out the things that he did get right, things that other reviewers missed.

Well, I'm glad you did. It was not my intention to attack reputations or credibility of reviewers that it happens I didn't know much about. I was just pointing out conflicting opinions about X20 (a camera that I don't have, but I'm interested in buying) in order to get input from more people and clarify things. It so happens that Thom himself picked up the issue very promptly and revised his text.

So he did. I wouldn't have thought to look for the revision had you not mentioned it. One thing that I had intended to mention in an earlier reply was that dumeril7's parallax article mentions using the AEL/AFL button to identify the location of the focus area.

If you press the AEL/AFL button, the OVF will show you the location of the focus area. However, it won't be corrected.for parallax! So for close subjects, this display is likely to give you the wrong idea about the actual location of the focus area, and this misinformation is likely to cause focusing issues for these close-up subjects. The X20 needs to know the distance to the subject before it can calculate the parallax-corrected location of the focus area on the OVF, and it can't know the subject distance until it's tried to focus on something - thus, the half-press. Despite that, it's much better to half-press the shutter button to find the focus area because that's much closer to reality. (I will say, however, that the AEL/AFL button is useful just to know which of the 49 possible focus areas you've selected, in case you've forgotten.)

I haven't been able to duplicate this AEL/AFL button functionality, whether using the default central AF focus area or one of the other 48 areas. This button is linked to the OVF's overlay, but when it's pressed, instead of showing all of the overlay elements in green (indicating ok) or in red (indicating warning) it shows a subset of the elements in blue, a subset that never shows the AF rectangle or the green dot in the lower left corner which is what I assume is a focus confirmation indicator. I wonder if anyone else has been able to get focus area confirmation using the AEL/AFL button.

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captura
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Re: X20 and viewfinder parallax
In reply to jon weber, Dec 18, 2013

I can't see that parallax would have any impact at all unless you are shooting at very close range.

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timo
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Re: X20 and viewfinder parallax
In reply to captura, Dec 18, 2013

I can't see that parallax would have any impact at all unless you are shooting at very close range.

Define 'very close'. Actually it doesn't have to be very close to make quite a difference.
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