Previous news story    Next news story

Epson creates Ultimicron electronic viewfinder with 2.4m dot XGA resolution

By dpreview staff on Sep 28, 2012 at 19:04 GMT
Buy on GearShopFrom $999.0024 deals

Epson has developed a higher resolution, XGA version of its LCD panel used for electronic viewfinders. The latest version of the company's Ultimicron technology offers the same 2.4m dot resolution (1024 x 768 x 3) as the Sony OLED viewfinders used in recent Sony and Fujifilm cameras. SVGA (800 x 600 x 3) versions of Epson's technology are already used in the Olympus OM-D E-M5, along with add-on finders for Olympus, Ricoh and Leica cameras. This additional option for a high-resolution finder can only be positive for the next generation of mirrorless cameras.


Epson Develops New Ultimicron Panel for Electronic Viewfinders

- TOKYO, Japan, September 18, 2012 -

Seiko Epson Corporation ("Epson," TSE:6724), has developed a new high-temperature polysilicon (HTPS) TFT color panel for electronic viewfinders used in mid- to high-end digital interchangeable lens system cameras. The new panel will be revealed for the first time at Epson's booth (Hall 2.2, booth B13) at Photokina 2012 in Cologne, Germany, from September 18 to 23.

Epson's latest Ultimicron panel offers the resolution and fidelity needed to focus the image while providing the ability to recreate smooth gradations and a natural softness. In addition, the use of a color filter prevents the color break-up that tends to occur with other color systems when shooting fast-moving subjects and while panning.

Measuring just 0.48 of an inch diagonally, the new panel offers XGA (1024 x 768) resolution in red, green and blue for a total of 2.36 megapixels. It is the latest addition to Epson's renowned ULTIMICRON series, which already includes a 0.47-inch SVGA panel and a 0.52-inch QHD panel.

"We are delighted to increase our Ultimicron series offering to the market," said Nobuyuki Shimotome deputy chief operating officer of Epson's Visual Products Operations Division. "With superbly sharp images that are faithful to the original, electronic viewfinders have become an important element of light, compact digital single lens reflex cameras. Epson's new panel is ideal for the growing number of customers who are seeking ever higher resolutions and an ever better experience from their cameras."

Electronic viewfinders and Epson's Ultimicron

Electronic viewfinders are employed mainly as the finders - the small windows used to view the subject of a photo - in digital single-lens reflex cameras and camcorders using LCD screens. Epson's Ultimicron electronic viewfinders have the advantages of both high resolution and of being highly compact. This makes it easy for manufacturers to make the camera compact, and for users to focus the camera when taking pictures.

1426
I own it
261
I want it
172
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 61
Scott Schryver
By Scott Schryver (Oct 3, 2012)

Next, we'll have Sharp with a 3.14 "megapixel" Quattron EVF. Enough already with counting sub-pixels!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Oct 3, 2012)

Olympus was the major customer of Epson viewfinder panels. But now with Sony tie-up, their new cameras and external viewfinders introduced in a year or so might use Sony panels instead.

0 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (Oct 1, 2012)

1024x768 actually rather low given the field of view; it's pretty easy to make out the individual pixels. Here's hoping for 1600x1200 in the next couple of years.

1 upvote
Sergey Borachev
By Sergey Borachev (Oct 1, 2012)

Looks like 2.4m EVFs will be on so many cameras soon. Another coffin nail for DSLR

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
Sosua
By Sosua (Oct 1, 2012)

Good EVF's are great - The only OVF's that 'look better' are on more expensive full frame DSLR's which cost $2K plus.

I recently went back to mid range OVF and its visually garbage even without the inherent advantages an EVF provides (Not to mention reduced size and mirror vibrations):

Composing in black and white
Live histogram and exposure preview
Manual focussing aids
Full time DOF preview
100% view / information and gridlines
Chimping on the EVF is awesome

OVF lovers mention the ability to 'match what the eye sees' - well considering your sensor isn't able to match that, I would suggest WYSIWYG is much more valuable for most users.

4 upvotes
nawknai
By nawknai (Sep 30, 2012)

I don't think current EVFs are very good. They're not as my eyes in dark conditions, and even when the image sensitivity is boosted, it looks a bit noisy and the refresh rate is too slow.

Having said that, most DSLRs that are sold have really bad OVFs. They're very small, and they're not particularly bright. For those people, an EVF with a somewhat high magnification may be better.

2 upvotes
rocklobster
By rocklobster (Sep 30, 2012)

There are some really poor OVFs on entry level DSLRs that makes a good EVF look like the better option. Sure, the colour (WB) may not be totally natural and the contrast / dynamic range not quite right but having all that information in view while composing the shot is a big advantage.

Cheers

Comment edited 14 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Sep 30, 2012)

I'm intrigued by the WB thing. If the EVF faithfully reproduces the colours as they are in reality then the viewfinder will show the same orange cast (etc) as exists in the tungsten lit room - but our eyes/brains adjust/acclimatise to the ambient WB and so we don't notice it, and so I suppose neither would we notice it in the EVF, just as we don't in an OVF. If the same view was sent by telemetry to another EVF outside in the daylight I guess the viewer there would see it as having an orange cast.

Is there any way an EVF can be tuned to make us perceive a colour cast as it will appear later in an uncorrected print - i.e. looking through such an EVF in a tungsten lit room, suddenly we would see things with an orange cast, even though we don't have that perception looking at the room through our eyes?

0 upvotes
G Davidson
By G Davidson (Sep 29, 2012)

More is better and whilst I'm not so impressed by the smoothness of the image I've seen in EVFs, so far, which is a bit jagged and stuttery compared to a really good OVF, being able to see the final image, etc make this a much more useful option. If we can have a really high quality image too, that would make imos pleasure to use.

0 upvotes
ntsan
By ntsan (Sep 29, 2012)

Does that mean E-P5 hopefully would have it..?

0 upvotes
Fotogeneticist
By Fotogeneticist (Sep 29, 2012)

Until an EVF has the same refresh rate and dynamic range that matches my eye, it will never replace OVFs for me. What does an EVF give me except for battery drain and shadows you can't see into? And to the poster that said an EVF needs 2MP to out-resolve an OVF, if you out resolve what your eye can see anyways, what good would that do?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (Sep 29, 2012)

"What does an EVF give me except for battery drain and shadows you can't see into?"

Many things. I like OVF and EVF both, but both have advantages and disadvantages.

EVF- Eyelevel manual focusing aids, histogram, menu, all settings displayed, rot grid, real time exposure simulation with filters in camera if you prefer, many many things.

Both have their place, but just say you don't like it and be done with it- claiming they offer nothing other than negatives is extremely bogus and naive.

Carl

10 upvotes
rocklobster
By rocklobster (Sep 30, 2012)

Ok Fotogeneticist, why do all DSLRs have LCD screens then?

0 upvotes
Fotogeneticist
By Fotogeneticist (Sep 30, 2012)

cgarrard, rocklobster, I will admit that my preference is not the same as everyone else's. But I am primarily a landscape/low light photographer. I take photos in conditions so dark that an EVF wouldn't even be able to display, but that my eye can still discern. Secondly, for me, and I think for some other photographers, seeing the image is more important than seeing the settings. All these overlays interfere with that connection you get with the scene, at least for me. I don't need them. The more my camera disappears from my awareness at capture, the better I have found my composition and vision to be. I can always use the LCD to chimp afterwards (rock, BTW, that's the only use I have for a color LCD screen). Even on my DSLR, I turn off all grids and focus confirmations.

3 upvotes
Gianluca Grossi
By Gianluca Grossi (Sep 30, 2012)

..."I take photos in conditions so dark that an EVF wouldn't even be able to display, but that my eye can still discern."...is exactly the opposite...with the EVF you can see much more in dark conditions then OVF..
...but of course you never really try the last generation EVF...

1 upvote
citizenlouie
By citizenlouie (Sep 30, 2012)

I can see more things in the dark with OVF than EVF. This varies of course from person to person, because OVF depends on your own eyes' unaided light sensitivity. EVF boosts the light level at the cost of color accuracy and noise level. I think current gen of EVF is good enough in term of resolution, but what's lacking is refresh rate and noise level under low light and lack of color accuracy under extreme bright light (which is quite often in California that you see light above EV16, which is cloudless sunlight, sometimes you might even encounter EV18 situation).

3 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Sep 30, 2012)

For dark scenes I use the LCD to compose. Don't find using the EVF or OVF very convinient when the cam is on a tripod at anything other than eye level. Thats where a vari angle LCD comes in very handy.

And I prefer an EVF for boosted sensitivity any day in low light compared to an OVF. I generally shoot with a friend and he packs up at least half an hour earlier than me since he can't see squat in his OVF but my EVF can still make out 'some' detail.

0 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Sep 30, 2012)

" I take photos in conditions so dark that an EVF wouldn't even be able to display"

How does that work then? Surely, so long as the sensor is able to 'see' and record a useful image, then the EVF can display that image? Or are you maybe taking long exposure photos, where the sensor is 'accumulating' the image over a long period?

Maybe then they would need an EVF mode which has a low refresh rate and similarly 'accumulates' the image over a period. I think our eyes do something similar - just try playing table tennis in low light. You can still see the ball, but somehow it always seems to move too fast to play it.

Comment edited 13 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
waitformee
By waitformee (Oct 1, 2012)

when you see the OVF and your photo on the LCD - are they the same? when you see the EVF and your photo on the LCD - they the same? Honestly, the VF that can show the same thing as the Photo should be better as it tells you what you will get before you shoot.

1 upvote
Cephalotus
By Cephalotus (Oct 1, 2012)

to see in the dark an EVF is much better than an OVF (in theory) as many military applications already proof. Who would try to see in the dark with a pure optical device ?

2 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Oct 1, 2012)

You're being rather hypocritical. On the one hand on the other hand you say "if you out resolve what your eye can see anyways, what good would that do?" but in the other hand you say you say you want a refresh rate that matches your eye, which you wouldn't be able to see anyways (ie, "what good what that do?").

0 upvotes
Fotogeneticist
By Fotogeneticist (Oct 1, 2012)

There is no hypocrisy... lag is very discernable, supposedly anything greater than 80 milliseconds is discernable by humans, whereas resolution greater than 300 dpi (depending on viewing distance) is difficult to see.

Also, for the type of photography I primarily do, conditions are extremely dark, requiring 30 second or greater exposures. In EVFs I've played with in the past, at some point, the display is unable to match what the corresponding exposure would be, but through settings, I am able to make the image correspond to what I see through an OVF. Here is a link to some examples of the dark conditions I photograph in:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1021&message=42096217

1 upvote
Josh152
By Josh152 (Sep 29, 2012)

Until EVFS have real time refresh rates with dynamic range and resolution that at least come very close to matching the sensor of the camera, they will never replace OVFs for still photography. Especially on the pro side of things.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (Sep 29, 2012)

Wanna bet?
hint: Never is a long time ...

3 upvotes
BJL
By BJL (Sep 29, 2012)

SLR OVF's do not have nearly as much resolution as the sensor or lenses, due to using a secondary image produced by focusing the image from the lens on a frosted glass or plastic screen. From what I have read, EVFs need about 2MP to out-resolve OVFs.

And of course with zoom for manual focus, EVFs already give a far bigger and more detailed view of the subject, for far more precise focusing.

7 upvotes
DaveMarx
By DaveMarx (Sep 29, 2012)

Higher resolution, multiple manufacturers and technologies... All good things. The future of EVF is looking better all the time.

Lag? That is mostly a microprocessor issue, and those, too are moving forward at a brisk pace. Our biological "processor" lag is worse. Nerve impulses move much slower than electrons through copper wire and silicon, and muscle contraction is hardly instantaneous. We're constantly anticipating shots - we just don't recognize it.

Do you think EVF is not ready for prime time? Ask the TV cameramen who have been using EVF since the day they attached a vacuum tube-based monitor to a vacuum tube-based video camera - Day One.

The clearest viewfinder isn't found on an SLR or rangefinder... It's the wire frame on 4x5 press cameras. Inaccurate? Yep. But framing accuracy wasn't as big a deal when your photo editor could crop like crazy. The tiny 35mm negative made framing accuracy critical. A "small sensor" issue.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 29, 2012)

Guess VF-4 from Olympus is coming. :) Tho Ricoh should use this as their EVF is pretty poor..

0 upvotes
SHood
By SHood (Oct 1, 2012)

Yes, VF-4 will be coming but will it work only the next E-PL6 and not be compatible with the E-PL5? Seems to be what has happened in the past.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Sep 29, 2012)

The exising resolution wasn't a problem, but the refresh rate was. So now I get a higher resolution image of the bird in my EVF that still isn't there when I release the shutter?

Surely refresh rates is where the most improvement is needed, better resolution (and DR) can follow later.

2 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Sep 29, 2012)

"Surely refresh rates is where the most improvement is needed, better resolution (and DR) can follow later."

No, lag is. You might think they're the same, but they aren't. You could have 1000fps and still have a second of lag if there are 1000 frames stored in the imaging pipeline.

I'd like to see lag under 5ms in good light, and no more than 30ms in bad light.

2 upvotes
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Sep 30, 2012)

Thanks for the clarification.

0 upvotes
orendanger
By orendanger (Sep 29, 2012)

am i the only one that wounders what camera that is in the picture?

0 upvotes
Couscousdelight
By Couscousdelight (Sep 29, 2012)

OMD-E5

1 upvote
orendanger
By orendanger (Sep 29, 2012)

Thing is they are talking about a new EVF and the omd has an older one so I don't think so

0 upvotes
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Sep 29, 2012)

The OM-D was the source of many jokes about the accessory port that allowed us to add a 2nd EVF to the built in one. Now this comical vision may just become a reality!

1 upvote
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (Sep 29, 2012)

They're just using the camera viewfinder from the E-M5 as a place holder/example image- as it had the previous generation of EVF. It's not rocket surgery guys.

0 upvotes
orendanger
By orendanger (Sep 30, 2012)

it doesnt have the port so it cant be

0 upvotes
citizenlouie
By citizenlouie (Sep 30, 2012)

@orendanger

Yes, there is. It is above the EVF. It's just obscured behind the accessory port cover, which is also hot shoe cover.

0 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Sep 29, 2012)

I am not a huge fan of EVFs but I must admit now that Sony has forced me to exclusively use EVFs I have kinda grown accustomed to their advantages.

I used a friends A900 (100% FF OVF) and it didn't WOW me like it used to earlier since its about as big as the EVF in my $550 A37.

Also stuff like focus peaking, accurate exposure and even focus magnification have all blunted my initial dislike for EVFs.

That said EVFs are definitely not the best option for tracking subjects. Sure a skilled person could do it but its definitely not so easy with a EVF.

6 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 29, 2012)

I guess that in 2-3 years it will be both fast and accurate enough to really replace OVFs.

2 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Sep 29, 2012)

How does HTPS compares with OLED from SONY?

1 upvote
chrisnfolsom
By chrisnfolsom (Sep 28, 2012)

Would like to see this tech in other viewfinders, or glasses (3D) - that tech has been stalled at 800x600 (usually VGA) for a while perhaps the high res and fps (60fps+ please...) can help with some of the headache problems.

Ultimately I want my workstation 27" 2560x1440 (WQHD) at virtual 20" distance on from glasses so I can work - or play - anywhere...

1 upvote
sirok
By sirok (Oct 2, 2012)

Sony already has it in their new Hi Def 3D headset. its awesome.
check it out at a Sony Store

0 upvotes
Snappy Happy
By Snappy Happy (Sep 28, 2012)

Innocent question: Will lag time on these new generation electronic viewfinders be imperceptible? Are any out now that are there already?

0 upvotes
DrewE
By DrewE (Sep 29, 2012)

The lag of the display device itself is generally less of an issue than the video lag in getting the image to the display. It necessarily needs to wait for a frame to be captured, read out the data from the sensor, apply whatever processing is needed (scaling, white balance, etc.), and feed the resulting image to the video circuitry which then drives the LCD. I wouldn't expect a perceptible change in latency solely from using the new device.

4 upvotes
What do I know
By What do I know (Sep 28, 2012)

Wake me up the day EVF gets as good or Better than a good 100% OVF

Comment edited 53 seconds after posting
8 upvotes
Hans2348562191
By Hans2348562191 (Sep 28, 2012)

Wake me up when an OVF displays accurate exposure compensation, focus peaking and depth of field with full brightness. Sorry, but SLR technology is old, IMO EVF is already better than OVF.

26 upvotes
Nello
By Nello (Sep 29, 2012)

Hey Hans wake me up when u can track a raptor IF @ about 1000mm eq. w ur nice "new tecnology" EVF πŸ˜‚
Get ur head out ur a** mate...for some uses EVF is OLD before it even left the blocks πŸ˜‚

6 upvotes
dmartin92
By dmartin92 (Sep 29, 2012)

The error is to think of EVF as being something that is going to replace OVF.

Many, many cameras already don't have an OVF. Those sort of cameras, that don't have an OVF, could start to have an EVF. And that would be a big improvement over framing the image via the camera's back display screen.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
6 upvotes
Archer66
By Archer66 (Sep 29, 2012)

@nello
Just learn to use *proper* tracking technigue, keep both eyes open and track using the free eye.

BTW this works with OVF too.

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
ventur
By ventur (Sep 29, 2012)

@Nello

whats the problem of tracking a raptor or whatever with an EVF??

i shoot action sports with an A77 and a 500mm and i cant see what you are talking about...

with EVF what you see is what you get, and a live histogram is very very good for correct exposures, the -1/+1 on SLR's is primitive comparing to a live histogram... and many other things like horizon level, shoot video with the EVF (impossible with the OVF), no mirror slapping, peaking with MF lenses...

and another thing i love on EVF's, i can put the sun in the framing without getting blind!

4 upvotes
AmateurSnaps
By AmateurSnaps (Sep 29, 2012)

EVF will eventually take over as the tech will continue to improve. At this moment I just can't get on with the ones I've tried.

The tech is moving so quickly it hopefully won't be long :)

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Eleson
By Eleson (Sep 29, 2012)

@Nello
Honestly, if you gather all ppl with 1000mm setup together, it still wouldn't get crowded would it?

I've seen videos of raptors, how do the film those ???

0 upvotes
Glen Barrington
By Glen Barrington (Sep 30, 2012)

Wake me up when all you guys get a life! I like OVF, but an EVF is better than no VF at all which is what the Camera manufacturers want to go to.

1 upvote
waitformee
By waitformee (Oct 1, 2012)

If you like OVF so much then you should go back to use film. Film is like OVF and Digital is like EVF. So why you wanna use OVF with Digital? Whatever you can say about OVF applies well to the film, whatever you talk about for EVF applies for our DSLR.

0 upvotes
What do I know
By What do I know (Oct 1, 2012)

All the EVF fans here has more than likely never owned a Professional camera with a full 100 % OVF and if you need exposure preview and focus peaking you are not a real photographer, learn to use your equipment, hey Ventur there are millions of sport pictures taken all over the world by professional sport photographers and not one needs or use EVF and other Sony gimmicky junk BTW the Closes thing Sony ever made to a Pro level Camera is and was still the A900 with a nice OVF.
Hans wake up and have a look at the Fuji X100 with it's Optical/Electronic Viewfinder

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
1 upvote
ventur
By ventur (Oct 3, 2012)

@ What do i Know:
i've never stated that an OVF is unsuited for sports photography, if you read my comment youll see that... i was saying that theres is no problem shooting sports with an EVF, i do that alot with the best EVF on the market and i dont have any problem!

peolple tend to give opinions about things that they never try for more then 10 minutes, and EVF doesnt have a fast learning curve, but once you get used to it its hard to get back to OVF... and people also talk about 100% OVF, but that's not the only thing that makes a good OVF, there are alot of awfull OVF with 100% coverage (theres also magnification, brightness, crop factor...)

and yes, i need focus peaking, its the best way to focus an MF lens, better then any film camera (or DLSR) ever did! and about live histogram, if Ansel Adams was alive thats what he would use, or you gonna say that you still use the Zone system?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
What do I know
By What do I know (Oct 9, 2012)

If you think I have not used or own a camera with a EVF you are wrong.
I have and still use a Sony a700, a900 and own a NEX-7 and when it comes to an APS-C viewfinder I will say the NEX-7 is as good or even better, but I do not see the benefit of it on a FF a99, when compared to the a900 OVF sorry.
When the Nikon D800 is only $200 more compared to the a99, guess which one anybody will pick when compared side by side, all they will have to do is put their eye on the viewfinder and I am willing to bet money that extra $200 will not even make a difference and they will be walking out with the Nikon everytime.
And if you like the histogram so much there is no reason Sony can't have that displayed on the OVF

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Klarno
By Klarno (Sep 28, 2012)

You misspelled "Ultimicron" in the title and the summary.

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

I always read it as Ultra, not Ulti.

Could be worse - an earlier draft was spelled 'mircon.'

4 upvotes
bcalkins
By bcalkins (Sep 28, 2012)

Excellent news...

1 upvote
Total comments: 61