Why EVF will never replace OVF for me

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Why EVF will never replace OVF for me
11 months ago

Since the mirrorless crusaders are relentless, here are my reasons for not going mirrorless:

Because the LCD kills my nightvision, and I'm not ready to replace my eyeballs with a tiny LCD screen. Who knows what it would do to my nightvision in the long term. Fully adapted, I can see things that no EVF could dream of seeing.

I just did some testing. I closed my eyes and let them adapt for a few minutes (after making the room extremely dark, but leaving enough light for my test. I can do that, because this apartment has light sealed window shutters which give me a full control of light.) I wasn't fully adapted, but enough for my testing purposes. I'd set the camera settings earlier so no light from the camera would enter my eyes before I'd looked around. I then looked through the viewfinder, without the green indicator lights inside, to compare what I could see through the OVF. I could see about 1/3 the light through the OVF that I could with my bare eyes. I turned on the LCD VF (instant loss of night vision, I practically went blind, I could see nothing but the LCD and the closest camera buttons) and set it to as high as it would go, f/1.4 1/30s ISO 12,800. No chance, a lot darker than the OVF. I could easily discern the white leg of the clothes drier I was looking at with my bare eyes. I could barely see it through the OVF, and not at all through the eVF (LV). I then took some exposures to figure out the exposure the camera needed to take to match what I saw with my eyes. The matching exposure was roughly f/1.4, ISO 3200, 10 seconds. That wasn't a correctly exposed photo (that would have required 1-2 minute exposure time) because at those light levels I don't see full brightness. It was the exposure that most closely matched what I saw. As soon as I checked the LCD preview, I went practically blind because I lost my night vision. I could see everything on the screen but hardly anything around me where it was a million times darker.

Now how could an EVF help me, even if it didn't kill my nightvision? When it gets dark enough, I have to use my eyes to locate the subjects, precompose the shot, and select the brightest spot in the scene that I then try to locate through the darker OVF. The EVF has no chance of making out almost anything I see on OVF except for a direct light source (a red led), and both the OVF and EVF are miles darker than what I see with my eyes. If I did the math correctly, based on the camera settings, that's 0.015 lux of illumination, or 32 times darker than a scene illuminated by full moon.

Of course I don't usually do photography at those light levels, because even in the dead of the night with nothing but stars for light, it's brighter than that. I pushed the test so far because I wanted to see the differences between my eyes, the OVF, and the eVF (LV).

Needless to say, EVF would have lost even at ISO 819,200. At 1/30s shutter speed (as slow as it would go), the EVF would have needed an ISO of over 1 million to beat the OVF.

Martin.au
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Re: Why EVF will never replace OVF for me
In reply to canonagain123, 11 months ago

Pro tip. You only need night vision in one eye. Keep one eye shut when messing around with bright lights.

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Re: Why EVF will never replace OVF for me
In reply to Martin.au, 11 months ago

Very informative, thank you.
I didn't do it for the test, because I wanted to see the difference between what I saw with night vision, and without. I wanted to see that without squinting. I'll pay more attention next time and try to include every possible detail!

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Martin.au
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Re: Why EVF will never replace OVF for me
In reply to canonagain123, 11 months ago

canonagain123 wrote:

Very informative, thank you.
I didn't do it for the test, because I wanted to see the difference between what I saw with night vision, and without. I wanted to see that without squinting. I'll pay more attention next time and try to include every possible detail!

Well at least now this thread has educational value.

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headfirst
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Re: Why EVF will never replace OVF for me
In reply to canonagain123, 11 months ago

which camera did you use for this test?

I know that even in DSLRs from ~5 years ago the sensor can see things in low light that I can't. Modern sensors are noticeably better.

& at least on a Sony SLT if you switch "vf setting effect" (effectively exposure simulation) off the camera & EVF effectively becomes an image intensifier - sure the vf image can be grainy but I can see things in it at light levels where I can't unaided.

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Erik Magnuson
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Re: Why EVF will never replace OVF for me
In reply to headfirst, 11 months ago

I know that even in DSLRs from ~5 years ago the sensor can see things in low light that I can't. Modern sensors are noticeably better.

Have you ever let your eyes become completely night adapted?  It's amazing what you can see by just starlight as long as there are not brighter light sources to ruin your adaptation.

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AlphaTikal
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not practical testing
In reply to canonagain123, 11 months ago

No practical testing, unless you take pictures in a completely dark room. Because of this you cannot generalize for everything connected with an EVF. Ot have its strenght and it weak sides.
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Aberaeron
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Re: Why EVF will never replace OVF for me
In reply to Erik Magnuson, 11 months ago

Erik Magnuson wrote:

I know that even in DSLRs from ~5 years ago the sensor can see things in low light that I can't. Modern sensors are noticeably better.

Have you ever let your eyes become completely night adapted? It's amazing what you can see by just starlight as long as there are not brighter light sources to ruin your adaptation.

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Erik

That's hardly the point. Fact is that you can see more through an EVF just as you see more through night-vision devices.

Humans aren't cats or owls. EVF's are more like cat's and owl's eyes, helping our own eyes. Naturally the EVF can be just too bright but all the ones I've used have got adjustable brightness.

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seilerbird666
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Re: not practical testing
In reply to AlphaTikal, 11 months ago

AlphaTikal wrote:

No practical testing, unless you take pictures in a completely dark room. Because of this you cannot generalize for everything connected with an EVF. Ot have its strenght and it weak sides.

You gotta understand that the people who don't like EVFs for some silly reason feel they must post garbage to justify their beliefs. It reminds me of ten years ago when the die hards were explaining to everyone that film would never die.

OP - I could really care less about what kind of viewfinder you use for the rest of your life. Your pathetic thread simply shows you have never used an EVF so therefore your opinions are totally invalid.

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What eyes did you use for your test?
In reply to headfirst, 11 months ago

My eyes can see better than the LV in my camera (5d II or any other DSLR I've ever used) in any light. I'm sorry that's not the case with your eyes. I promise I'm not an escaped lab experiment, I have a good vision and a good night vision. My night vision, like everyone's, requires several minutes to be be functional, 15-20 minutes for full night vision.

The room was completely dark except for some red leds, blue leds and green leds, providing a total of (estimated) 0.007-0.015 lux of light. Starlight is 0.001-0.03906 lux.

Show me an EVF that can see anything in that light, and I'll be happy to recant my statements about the EVF being useless to me.

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Erik Magnuson
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Re: Why EVF will never replace OVF for me
In reply to Aberaeron, 11 months ago

Aberaeron wrote:

Erik Magnuson wrote:

Have you ever let your eyes become completely night adapted? It's amazing what you can see by just starlight as long as there are not brighter light sources to ruin your adaptation.

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Erik

That's hardly the point.

So the answer is "no."

Fact is that you can see more through an EVF just as you see more through night-vision devices.

You might have a better grasp of the facts if you ever tried it.  You can see by starlight alone where your EVF would be a noisy, laggy mess.  The disadvantage is it takes time to adapt any and any brighter (except red) lit will spoil it.

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science, math, disprove?
In reply to seilerbird666, 11 months ago

let's go the mathematical way then. The EVF has to have a refresh rate of at least 1/24, right? Because the same EVF is used for video in the cameras that have EVF. So the maximum exposure it can get is 1/24s, ISO X, f/X, right? If you take the exposure from my test above, f/1.4 iso 3200 10s, at 1/25s you'd need 30/2^8.5 = 3200 * 2^8.5 ISO 1,158,523 to achieve the same exposure at 1/30.

That's fairly simple math. Can you disprove it?

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Chris R-UK
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In reply to canonagain123, 11 months ago

Not exactly what you want but Sony had a camera about 10 years ago, the F717, with built in IR lights and an IR filter that could be flipped up.

You could use these lights to take a conventional IR shot in darkness but also to focus in pitch blackness.  In the latter case you could then take a flash shot to capture the actual picture - assuming you didn't want to a completely black image!  It wasn't very useful in practice but I did get a couple of very low light IR shots of wildlife.

It also had an absolutely terrible EVF!

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exactly
In reply to Erik Magnuson, 11 months ago

hence also my use of 80% red, 10% green and 10% blue leds to provide the illumination (that, and their availability )

I think the people commenting about EVF beating human night vision are smokers and never get any vitamin A in their diet. Night vision goes first, next the rest of your vision if you smoke and don't get enough vitamin A.

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AlphaTikal
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Re: not practical testing
In reply to seilerbird666, 11 months ago

And best part is, he says never. No improvement will be done? It is like film vs digital in early digital camera era. I used an OVF more than one year and switched to the evf.

But OT hey. Good to know you dislike. Different people, different needs and likes.
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Aberaeron
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Re: exactly
In reply to canonagain123, 11 months ago

canonagain123 wrote:

hence also my use of 80% red, 10% green and 10% blue leds to provide the illumination (that, and their availability )

I think the people commenting about EVF beating human night vision are smokers and never get any vitamin A in their diet. Night vision goes first, next the rest of your vision if you smoke and don't get enough vitamin A.

I live way out in the country on a working farm and am quite used to being out in the dark with no artificial light. I am also quite used to optical viewfinders, which unless you have a very high end DSLR, have quite dark and cropped optical viewfinders, quite unlike looking at a dark scene with your bare eyes.

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AlphaTikal
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Re: science, math, disprove?
In reply to canonagain123, 11 months ago

I don't care math unless i need it. In tgis case i worked for years with evf and there is no problem. No. Better yet, its a good thing. The math is pointless, like your dark room testi g.

And hey. If you can see in dark with an ovf, you can aee in the darknes with an evf too. You just need to look without using evf, if you encounter such an extreme situation on wild life. I bet in the darkness is not much to frame, huh?!
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Re: exactly
In reply to Aberaeron, 11 months ago

Aberaeron wrote:

I live way out in the country on a working farm and am quite used to being out in the dark with no artificial light. I am also quite used to optical viewfinders, which unless you have a very high end DSLR, have quite dark and cropped optical viewfinders, quite unlike looking at a dark scene with your bare eyes.

The people you need to hang with are amateur astronomers.  But it also varies with the individual.

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Mattoid
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Re: Why EVF will never replace OVF for me
In reply to canonagain123, 11 months ago

canonagain123 wrote:

Since the mirrorless crusaders are relentless, here are my reasons for not going mirrorless:

Because the LCD kills my nightvision, and I'm not ready to replace my eyeballs with a tiny LCD screen. Who knows what it would do to my nightvision in the long term. Fully adapted, I can see things that no EVF could dream of seeing.

I just did some testing. I closed my eyes and let them adapt for a few minutes (after making the room extremely dark, but leaving enough light for my test. I can do that, because this apartment has light sealed window shutters which give me a full control of light.) I wasn't fully adapted, but enough for my testing purposes. I'd set the camera settings earlier so no light from the camera would enter my eyes before I'd looked around. I then looked through the viewfinder, without the green indicator lights inside, to compare what I could see through the OVF. I could see about 1/3 the light through the OVF that I could with my bare eyes. I turned on the LCD VF (instant loss of night vision, I practically went blind, I could see nothing but the LCD and the closest camera buttons) and set it to as high as it would go, f/1.4 1/30s ISO 12,800. No chance, a lot darker than the OVF. I could easily discern the white leg of the clothes drier I was looking at with my bare eyes. I could barely see it through the OVF, and not at all through the eVF (LV). I then took some exposures to figure out the exposure the camera needed to take to match what I saw with my eyes. The matching exposure was roughly f/1.4, ISO 3200, 10 seconds. That wasn't a correctly exposed photo (that would have required 1-2 minute exposure time) because at those light levels I don't see full brightness. It was the exposure that most closely matched what I saw. As soon as I checked the LCD preview, I went practically blind because I lost my night vision. I could see everything on the screen but hardly anything around me where it was a million times darker.

Now how could an EVF help me, even if it didn't kill my nightvision? When it gets dark enough, I have to use my eyes to locate the subjects, precompose the shot, and select the brightest spot in the scene that I then try to locate through the darker OVF. The EVF has no chance of making out almost anything I see on OVF except for a direct light source (a red led), and both the OVF and EVF are miles darker than what I see with my eyes. If I did the math correctly, based on the camera settings, that's 0.015 lux of illumination, or 32 times darker than a scene illuminated by full moon.

Of course I don't usually do photography at those light levels, because even in the dead of the night with nothing but stars for light, it's brighter than that. I pushed the test so far because I wanted to see the differences between my eyes, the OVF, and the eVF (LV).

Needless to say, EVF would have lost even at ISO 819,200. At 1/30s shutter speed (as slow as it would go), the EVF would have needed an ISO of over 1 million to beat the OVF.

Turn the brightness of the EVF right down.  Problem solved.

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Andy C Knight
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Re: Why EVF will never replace OVF for me
In reply to canonagain123, 11 months ago

canonagain123 wrote:

Because the LCD kills my nightvision,

Put some red plastic film over the LCD. The red sensitive receptors in our eyes can be dazzled - without loosing dark adaptation, as they are not used in low light!

[Snip...] and I'm not ready to replace my eyeballs with a tiny LCD screen.

Agreed...

[snip...] I just did some testing. I closed my eyes and let them adapt for a few minutes (after making the room extremely dark, but leaving enough light for my test.  could easily discern the white leg of the clothes drier I was looking at with my bare eyes. I could barely see it through the OVF, and not at all through the eVF (LV)...

I have a GH1 and several Canon Rebels. When my eyes are fully dark adapted (takes a minimum of 30 mins) I can easily see the brighter stars through the Canons.  - I can even see the brighter stars through my Compact OVF (Canon a620). - But not through the GH1 EVF, nothing but a black screen.

The only way I can see anything on the LCD/EVF is to use 5 or 10x magnification. It seems that at 1x, pixels are thrown away. (Perhaps 1 in 4 in both directions? - So maybe only a 1 in 16 chance of seeing a bright star!)

[snip...] As soon as I checked the LCD preview, I went practically blind because I lost my night vision. I could see everything on the screen but hardly anything around me where it was a million times darker.

The other method I often use, is to keep my right (telescope) eye shut when I look at the LCD.

Now how could an EVF help me, even if it didn't kill my nightvision?

One thing I find the EVF/LCD invaluable for, is to focus the image using liveview with 10x mag. Even with 5-10x focus magnifiers, I often found OVF's are a tiny fraction out of perfect alignment. I guess with AF, they were never designed to be used that way these days.

So really I need both!

Regards

Andy.

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