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MicroOLED promises even greater electronic viewfinder resolution

By dpreview staff on Jan 27, 2012 at 23:24 GMT

French manufacturer MicroOLED has announced a 5 million dot OLED suitable for use as an electronic viewfinder - far beyond the resolution of the current best units used in recent Sony cameras. The 5.2M effective dots mean it can display 1280x1024 pixel resolution in color, assuming a four-dots-per-pixel layout. Imaging Resource has written an  article in which they suggest it could spell the end of the optical viewfinder.

They also point out that the company (majority owned by French defense company Photonis), is targeting the high-end photography, industrial and military markets with its product, rather than the more mass-market products in which Sony has included its 1024x768 pixel (2.8M dot) OLED viewfinders.


Press Release

MicroOLED introduces highest pixel density OLED microdisplay

MicroOLED's new 5.4 mega pixel 0.61 inch diagonal microdisplay gives users SXGA resolution in full color at half the power consumption of competing products

Grenoble, France, January 27, 2012-MicroOLED, a maker of highly power-efficient superior image quality microdisplays for near-to-eye applications, today introduced a new 5.4 million pixel density 0.61 inch diagonal, low power consumption OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Display) microdisplay on silicon for applications demanding high picture quality, such as professional camera and camcorder equipment, night vision systems and head-mounted displays used in surgery.

The ultra-compact 5.4 million-pixel microdisplay with a sub-pixel pitch of 4.7 micrometres by 4.7 micrometres is the highest pixel density OLED microdisplay available today. By doubling the pixel density of comparable products, MicroOLED has eliminated the gap between pixels. With no black matrix present, the resulting image resolution is of the highest quality. This makes the 5.4 million-pixel 0.61 inch diagonal microdisplay most suitable for defense, medical and professional camera applications that demand sharp images with very smooth transitional tones.

High contrast (maximum 100,000:1) and high uniformity (96 per cent) also play key roles in picture quality. Depending on how one drives the OLED microdisplay, it can perform using as low as 0.2W, half the power consumption of other products in its category.  MicroOLED achieves this low level power consumption even when the fully digital video input is embedded.

"We are really excited by the market potential of our new 5.4 million pixel density 0.61 inch diagonal OLED microdisplay that is superior in picture quality to any product in its category," said Eric Marcellin-Dibon, CEO of MicroOLED. "This OLED microdisplay is already creating quite a stir among world leaders in imaging products who commend the high pixel density and the remarkable image quality. Moreover, the current trend in replacing optics with electronics components fits excellently with our ability to produce this exceptional picture quality in miniature format. We see many opportunities opening up in existing applications and new markets as a result."

MicroOLED will market the 5.4 million-pixel density 0.61 inch diagonal microdisplay to address needs in three areas: head-mounted displays used by surgeons, where high resolution and quality of colors and contrast are a must; professional camera and camcorders, where picture quality is key; and night vision applications, where heightened contrast and uniformity enable defense and security professionals to improve the performance of detection and identification equipment.

The 5.4 million-pixel density microdisplay comes in full color (16 million colors), SXGA or monochrome formats (2,560 by 2,048 pixels), both with digital video input. It meets the standard environmental operating requirements for military applications. The new product builds on MicroOLED's exclusive OLED patent technology that is recognized for its ability to eliminate defects common in other microdisplays, such as color non-uniformity or fixed pattern noise.

Comments

Total comments: 215
12
jj74e
By jj74e (Jan 28, 2012)

are our eyes even able to perceive that much resolution?

not to mention, wouldn't that slow down refresh rates? people have highly acclaimed sony, panasonic, olympus, and fujifilm viewfinders. certainly they could be better, but performance is more important than resolution now IMO, and I would rather save a few hundred bucks than get the ultimate EVF display

0 upvotes
eyewundr
By eyewundr (Jan 28, 2012)

Yes your eyes can resolve 1280 x 1024.
Plus you`ll have the option to digitally zoom for focus or detail examination.
The REAL performance bugaboo has to do with auto-focus, as `live-view`electronics trail badly behind optical in auto-focus performance.

1 upvote
pannumon
By pannumon (Jan 28, 2012)

eyewundr, in many cases contrast detect auto-focus (used in live view) is actually better than the phase-detect auto-focus (the 'optical' solution), when considering entry level or mid-range cameras. They are both accurate enough (but CDAF is more accurate), they are both fast enough (but PDAF is in general faster), PDAF is far better when the distance of the subject from the camera is changing but CDAF is not limited by the number of focus points, so it can keep the focus on the subject as it moves along the frame.

It's like arguing which are better, apples or oranges. The same goes with the whole OVF vs. EVF discussion.

1 upvote
jc52e53
By jc52e53 (Jan 29, 2012)

What will be the test is the refresh rate. If they solve that which Sony has gotten better at but not good enough yet, they will have a great technology. But even if it is used for a camera with slower technology as in a studio camera this would be better than the amount of resolution given by Sony for this purpose. I would not put it on a sports camera unless it refreshes faster than Sony's, but this as I said before for a studio FF or Medium format camera with high megapixel count.The problem with the Sony is that they say it is not life like enough for the studio not does it refresh fast enough.

0 upvotes
_sem_
By _sem_ (Jan 30, 2012)

I guess this is still not the resolution comparable to OVF on full-frame cameras, needed for accurate MF. But we're getting closer.
Looks like the DR has been increased too. Though the DR bottleneck seems to be in 16-bit in-camera image processing - some recent sensors have much more DR than what the cameras give out.

0 upvotes
Brandon Feinberg
By Brandon Feinberg (Jan 28, 2012)

Could you imagine if they made tv's or computers with this display. It would look better than life but cost more than anything.

0 upvotes
aliquis
By aliquis (Jan 28, 2012)

You mean the same amount of pixels / area size?

Unless it's a shitty laptop most screens already got a higher resolution. It's just that it's silly measured on this display. Just as the amount of pixels on the sensors.

0 upvotes
daniel0ng
By daniel0ng (Jan 28, 2012)

Interesting.

As much as resolution is impressive, a quick response/refresh time - pseudo-OVF if possible - would be more important to me as a photographer!

0 upvotes
numagf
By numagf (Jan 28, 2012)

I don't know if anyone ever suggested to include two finders in the same camera. One electronic viewfinder for good lighting conditions and final output preview, and an optical viewfinder for low light viewing.

0 upvotes
AlanG
By AlanG (Jan 28, 2012)

Fuji actually makes a camera with one.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 28, 2012)

No, their cameras use one VF that does double duty. Question was about two independents VFs side by side. A great idea!

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Jan 28, 2012)

whoa! Great idea? Not! It will be clumsy and hard to use. Its difficult enough to design a camera with one view finder, and two? Nope. I think its strange enough with a camera with two release buttons - one for video and one for still photos. But, that at least is practically solvable.

0 upvotes
IcyVeins
By IcyVeins (Jan 28, 2012)

Wow, good thing Canon has a mirrorless system that could use this viewfinder to keep up with the competition.

Oh wait...

4 upvotes
arndsan
By arndsan (Jan 28, 2012)

looking trough the lens is just such simple but wonderful idea what all photographer enjoy. I wonder why the guys need to question that because they have a good new product. - anyway, if there no optical viewfinder anymore I don't need a DSLR and sick to my IPhone 5.6.7s

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
1 upvote
eyewundr
By eyewundr (Jan 28, 2012)

EVF`s depict what the sensor sees, which is looking through the lens.

1 upvote
arndsan
By arndsan (Jan 28, 2012)

but everything is right there and ready for the best sensor (the eye).
i agree EVFi is good for some application's but why replacing that optical viewfinder? - the mirror-less cameras are not that much smaller and the people i know will bring a bag camera bag anyway.

0 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (Jan 28, 2012)

What the sensor sees and what the lens sees are two different things. The sensor creates a representation of what the lens sees, and that representation has a restricted dynamic and tonal range compared to the actual scene as viewed by the optics. It's also got noise to deal with.
Not everyone want to see an approximation of the final image in the viewfinder, some want to see and judge the actual scene in order to choose the correct exposure. If you know how to judge a scene, and know the limitations of your camera, then you don't have to worry about blown highlights anyway.

1 upvote
Fullframer
By Fullframer (Jan 28, 2012)

" If you know how to judge a scene, and know the limitations of your camera, then you don't have to worry about blown highlights anyway."

Exactly, Revenant. Unfortunately many of the noobs today (digital experience) only, have to rely on heavy post processing and RAW to fix all their mistakes instead of getting it right in the camera, like we had to do with film. Yes, you could post process film, but it wasn't as easy to do as with digital. Today you have people that don't know what they are doing behind the camera, but then use Photohop to try to make decent pics.

0 upvotes
underxposed59
By underxposed59 (Jan 28, 2012)

"Exactly, Revenant. Unfortunately many of the noobs today (digital experience) only, have to rely on heavy post processing and RAW to fix all their mistakes instead of getting it right in the camera, like we had to do with film. Yes, you could post process film, but it wasn't as easy to do as with digital. Today you have people that don't know what they are doing behind the camera, but then use Photohop to try to make decent pics."

Then why do they put rear LCD's with histogram and blinkies on PRO cameras.
All the pertinent EXIF detail could be checked in the top plate.
I thought only "digital noobs" chimped their shots
;-)

Comment edited 41 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Yanko Kitanov
By Yanko Kitanov (Jan 28, 2012)

The name of the link :

"IMAGINE Resource" ))))

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 28, 2012)

Sorry - it looks correct so I didn't spot it.

1 upvote
chlamchowder
By chlamchowder (Jan 28, 2012)

Good, now make a 4912x3264 (48M dots, 3 dots/pixel) EVF unit to match my camera's 16 MP sensor. Make sure that it has zero power consumption, maintains at least a 100Hz refresh rate (preferably higher) even in low light, doesn't decay over time, is bright enough for use in sunlight, and can be dimmed down enough to not affect my night vision in low light.

When that happens, I'll gladly take the EVF, provided that it's cheaper than an OVF equivalent.

4 upvotes
dosdan
By dosdan (Jan 28, 2012)

"Good, now make a 4912x3264 (48Mdots, 3 dots/pixel) EVF unit to match my camera's 16 MP sensor."

Your camera has 16M sensels, not 16MP. After demosaicing, the colour res. is about 8MP for the Green channel, & 4MP on each of the Red and Blue channels. I think the luminescence res. is about 8MP, but it could be lower after the AA filter.

On the display side, 5M "dots", if the 4-dot layout is RGBG, rather than RGBW, could be interpolated to 2.5Mdots for Green & 1.25Mdots each for Red and for Blue.

So a 16M ot (not 48Mdot) RGBG interpolated display should be able to replicate the demosaiced output res. of a 16M sensel Bayer CFA sensor.

If it's RGBW, I'm not sure what the various resolutions would be.

Dan

Comment edited 5 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
chlamchowder
By chlamchowder (Jan 28, 2012)

The actual resolution may not match the theoretical resolution of a 16 mp sensor, but the output image size is 16 mp. Having a 48M dot EVF would allow a more accurate preview of the output image.

But anyways, I was just joking around with that post :)

0 upvotes
xlynx9
By xlynx9 (Jan 28, 2012)

"the end of the optical viewfinder."

Resolution isn't the issue with modern EVF. It's latency in low light.

4 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Jan 28, 2012)

yep they have some positive sides.. but a lot of issues too.

1 upvote
mappingbirder
By mappingbirder (Jan 28, 2012)

It's nice that you used HD resolution to explained the meaning of x.x Mdot about EVF technologies. I f you can add this standard when specified data of new cameras at their rear LCD screen and viewfinder this willl be a must for us, readers of DPReview.

0 upvotes
rude
By rude (Jan 28, 2012)

sounds good but there will be always a dslr with a mirrored ovf from someone. lisa

0 upvotes
sesopenko
By sesopenko (Jan 28, 2012)

Let's see an aps-c dslr sporting an optical view finder give a viewfinder image the same size as a full-frame or medium format camera...

1 upvote
AV Janus
By AV Janus (Jan 28, 2012)

Why would we assume 4 dots per pixel, what is this madness?
And 5:4 ratio means its effective resolution is smaller when viewing real photos.

Another thing that is quietly ignored is how big will manufacturers make this thing appear in the viewfinder. No point in high res if it appears as a 40" TV viewed from 3m distance.
There is a limit to a pixel size that eye can see at a certain "distance"
1080p on a 32" screens has a usable limit of 90cm to 1m, beyond that you mind as well have an ordinary 720p screen...

0 upvotes
Fullframer
By Fullframer (Jan 28, 2012)

"No point in high res if it appears as a 40" TV viewed from 3m distance.
There is a limit to a pixel size that eye can see at a certain "distance"
1080p on a 32" screens has a usable limit of 90cm to 1m, beyond that you mind as well have an ordinary 720p screen..."

Agreed! Many times there is no difference in a 720p vs 1080p picture on a TV, based on your viewing distance. If you are sitting 10 feet from a 42" TV, 720P and 1080P are going to look the same.

0 upvotes
BJN
By BJN (Jan 28, 2012)

Resolution is just one of the issues I have with EVFs. In fact, it's the the least important issue. Poor refresh rates, low light noise, and significant lag times are the problems that make me want to switch to my DSLR. Especially in low light when EVFs are at their worst. My Panasonic G2's EVF is pretty good but only in good light and when I'm not trying to track a subject. It's telling that only resolution is addressed in this press release.

1 upvote
steelhead3
By steelhead3 (Jan 27, 2012)

Nothing against the French, but I have a hard time thinking of a product on the cutting edge that they have brought successfully to market. Their government will make some standards that render it only good for the internal market.

4 upvotes
LE_Gui
By LE_Gui (Jan 28, 2012)

Angénieux lenses, Essilor glass, Two Notes audio products, Renault/Peugeot/Citroën/Bugatti cars, Dassault aircrafts (Mirage, Falcon...), Eurocopter helicopters, TGV (high speed train), Ariane & Airbus (partly), not to mention medical research...

Cutting edge enough ?

Who do you think you are ?!

6 upvotes
oselimg
By oselimg (Jan 28, 2012)

With due respect the list you give above either inferior products to their competitors or there is nothing cutting edge about them. Some of them actually quite old technologies and there are no secrets about them. The point "steelhead3" makes is cutting edge technology that performs and delivers the goods above the competition. Don't let your national pride get ahead of you.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
LE_Gui
By LE_Gui (Jan 28, 2012)

I don't like his condescending tone "only good for the internal market"...

Where he could be right is that our government sucks and doesn't support innovating companies and lets our smartest guys go work overseas because they are more paid there...

Doesn't prevent his post to be totally rude, hurting and out of line when the topic here is a new item. You can discuss technology and problems to get it to market without insulting a whole people. See what I mean ?

2 upvotes
photoholiko
By photoholiko (Jan 28, 2012)

I agree with you France has always been a technological power house and deserves more respect, all countries have shortcomings including the U.S. but you have to consider there are also narrow minded people in every country. A good example is saying "only good for the internal market" you can bet the Japanese can't wait to get their hands on it.

1 upvote
Greynerd
By Greynerd (Jan 28, 2012)

When I travel from the UK to France by train transferring from a British train to a French train is like being in a time machine going from the 19th Century to the 21st Century. The French seem to be a pretty hich tech nation to me.

1 upvote
jc52e53
By jc52e53 (Jan 29, 2012)

The problem with the US is that we think we are so advanced. It is this mentality that is making us go backwards. Its very Republican.
The type of people that reject the best we can do. Its more important to curb our spending to nothing instead of investing in viable technology. Just look at the Tea Partiers. America's party is over. We do not produce any camera to compete with any of the Japanese outside of Red which is more of a movie camera. We have toys of the past not machines of the future.

1 upvote
Couscousdelight
By Couscousdelight (Jan 29, 2012)

Soitek, ST micro electronics, Alsthom, Dassault, Catia, a big part of Airbus, Falcon private jets, CapGemini, Bugatti, Bull...
In France, the average cost of a Internet connection is 30€, with 28mpbs download, free overseas phonecalls & HDTV via I.P. How much did you pay for Internet in the U.S and for waht kind of services did you have ?

you just don't know what you are talking about...:)

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
James Van Artsdalen
By James Van Artsdalen (Jan 27, 2012)

What color space can this achieve? Does is look realistic?

How fast is it? Does it allow for lag-free viewing?

EVFs work fine for framing, bit for composition I still have to look around the camera and eyeball the subject directly.

1 upvote
Jogger
By Jogger (Jan 27, 2012)

have they solved the issue of oled decay? if not, then you gonna get colour shifts as the EVF ages since the colours decay at different rates. Sony's approach makes more sense, since its all white OLED around.. LG uses the same technique in their 55inch OLED TV

0 upvotes
Steve FStop
By Steve FStop (Jan 27, 2012)

Sounds very nice but very expensive too.

Luckily, 2.4M dots are just enough for me right now.

1 upvote
Graystar
By Graystar (Jan 27, 2012)

Wasn't the new Sony EVF supposed the spell the end of the optical viewfinder? Or maybe it was the EVF before that one...or maybe it was the one before that which was supposed to kill the optical viewfinder...I can't remember.

I like my optical viewfinder...stop trying to take it away!

6 upvotes
chrswggl
By chrswggl (Jan 27, 2012)

The problem is that you THINK you like your viewfinder. EVF's really do offer a whole lot more functionality than that old-fashioned mirrorbox.

0 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Jan 28, 2012)

yes and you have so much more time for composition.... because of the EVF LAG.... lol....

give me a break they are not ready for prime time.

4 upvotes
chlamchowder
By chlamchowder (Jan 28, 2012)

"EVF's really do offer a whole lot more functionality than that old-fashioned mirrorbox."

Can't you get that through live view? That approach lets you keep the benefits of an OVF, while also giving you access to EVF features like magnified focus checking.

A pure EVF camera can only beat an OVF + live view camera in video shooting, IMO.

1 upvote
kelpdiver
By kelpdiver (Jan 28, 2012)

they offer no functionality unless the camera is in live view. And currently, outside of the Sonys, that means no phase shift focusing. No upside to me, just a battery drain and another point of failure.

1 upvote
PhotoArtKC
By PhotoArtKC (Jan 28, 2012)

I see lots of people bashing EVF's, but to be honest, I was actually rather impressed with the electronic view finder of the new Nikon V1. While any EVF has a drawback to a prism, I can see many ways it is also superior too. While it will be some time before they entirely replace the OVF, this is not unlike what digital did to the film photography industry. Eventually technology became so good that it overtook the advantages film held.

5 upvotes
eilivk
By eilivk (Jan 28, 2012)

Good news. High resolution EVFs made me continue taking photos. When you get older eyesight is not getting better. You can compose images better, less PP.
Still lots of OVFs in big cameras. But it's the same with most new products, - not good enough - don't want it - don't need it. Maybe just panic that OVF will disappear. I'm glad for any progress and you still have alternatives, so be happy, don't worry!

0 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (Jan 28, 2012)

"Wasn't the new Sony EVF supposed the spell the end of the optical viewfinder? "
In a few years, I think this will be the concensus, yes.
OVF didn't stop selling overnight, but finally there was EVF that many felt was good enough, and from this point onwards EVF will continue to get better.
And early adopters will like them and slowly the rest will follow.
(Early adopters are those who try to find the good use of products, instead of focusing on what it cannot do.)

That doesn't mean that Sony will be the dominant EVF/DSLR maker, but they opened the door for the masses.

When Nikon release their sensors based PDAF on a DSLR, the next wave comes. And alot of OVF's will be on ebay.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 28, 2012)

Nobody is trying to take away your optical VF from you, Graystar. Did you read the press release? It wasn't about killing OVFs by Fantomas, you know.

0 upvotes
Fullframer
By Fullframer (Jan 28, 2012)

"I see lots of people bashing EVF's, but to be honest, I was actually rather impressed with the electronic view finder of the new Nikon V1. While any EVF has a drawback to a prism, I can see many ways it is also superior too. While it will be some time before they entirely replace the OVF, this is not unlike what digital did to the film photography industry. Eventually technology became so good that it overtook the advantages film held."

The EVF has come a long way, but until it can match or beat the full prism OVF in my D3S (which the best EVF can not at this time), then it's not as good.

0 upvotes
Fullframer
By Fullframer (Jan 28, 2012)

"Good news. High resolution EVFs made me continue taking photos. When you get older eyesight is not getting better. You can compose images better, less PP. "

You do realize that OVF's have higher resolution and no lag then the best resolution of the best EVF? right? Try the OVF in a full frame DSLR.

0 upvotes
Fullframer
By Fullframer (Jan 28, 2012)

"When Nikon release their sensors based PDAF on a DSLR, the next wave comes. And alot of OVF's will be on ebay."

Sorry, incorrect! The latest Pro DSLR are still big/bright full OVF and will continue to be for the next 4 yrs at least. No Pro is shooting sports with EVF.

1 upvote
dennismullen
By dennismullen (Jan 28, 2012)

There are more posts here than in the forums!

0 upvotes
Russell McMahon
By Russell McMahon (Jan 29, 2012)

I own a Sony A77 - Sony's best EVF attempt so far. The A77 EVF is utterly marvellous and in many situations is far more useful than an OVF would be and one can grudgingly forgo the OVF advantages in such situations. ***BUT*** in low light the A77 EVF is very bad and in very low light it is close to useless. It happens that I greatly value the ability to take good low light photos. Anything that needs more than say 1 second at f3.5 at ISO1600 (maybe around 1 lux) is an indistinct noise dominated mess in the EVF. Framing for a flash photo is about impossible. In that light my eye can still distinguish detail well and of course there is no "noise". Focusing manually on the moon is OK. Even finding bright stars (one noise dot amongst many) is problematic. For night time street photography and similar it's a disaster. An order of magnitude improvement (3 stops) is probably needed before it would be noisy but acceptable in most low light situations.

0 upvotes
iAPX
By iAPX (Jan 29, 2012)

I have a Fujifilm X100 with it's hybrid viewfinder, I prefer to use it as hybrid, mixing OVF + electronic informations.
As for each and any of the EVF I used over time (had too many of them!), colors are totally incorrect, contrast is totally wrong, highlight burned, shadows totally blacks, people skin pinky or wellow, definition totally incompatible with the idea of doing instinctive manual focus.
And worse: what I see on the EVF is *NOT* what I will see on the back display (better colors, contrast and dynamic), and *NOT* what will be the picture when displayed on a calibrated computer display.
I don't see the point of the EVF where it could not reproduce colors with accuracy, contrast correctly, and it,s resolution is so poor you could not manual focus quickly!

0 upvotes
jc52e53
By jc52e53 (Jan 29, 2012)

Its new and someone has to pay to better the technology and that is the people who buy it early. I have been there and bought things that were new early on. I will wait and it will get better or it will die. Usually things get better.

0 upvotes
iAPX
By iAPX (Jan 30, 2012)

I agree, will be better, in fact it could one get better!
But don't try to sell a technology that is *NOT* new and that don't deliver what we all expect!

0 upvotes
Total comments: 215
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