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Citizen Finetech Miyota creates 3.69m dot equivalent EVF

By dpreview staff on Apr 11, 2013 at 00:56 GMT

Citizen Finetech Miyota has developed an LCD panel for electronic viewfinders of digital cameras its claiming is the highest resolution available. It offers a 1280x960 pixel display (equivalent to 3.69 million dots). This exceeds the 2.36m dot (1024 x 768 pixel) resolution of the current Sony OLED and Epson LCD units. It uses a field-sequential design, showing red, green and blue information in sequence rather than being able to show them all at the same time, but the panels 120Hz design should avoid color breakup (tearing) the company says. The panel will enter mass produced in summer 2013.

Comments

Total comments: 67
GordonAtWork
By GordonAtWork (Apr 14, 2013)

If it's anything like the power usage monitor I have, any quick movement with the eye will show three colour images blurring into one, 40Hz isn't that good. It's going to take a lot to convince me that an OVF is due to be obsolete any time soon. I don't doubt that an EVF which performs as an OVF is around the corner.

0 upvotes
lighthunter80
By lighthunter80 (Apr 13, 2013)

Is it likely that I - one day - can get a new view finder for my Oly Pen with that module and it fits into my hot shoe? I don't see any issues with that...? Would be great!

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Apr 13, 2013)

I am taking a guess here but I would think it is not likely. The Image processing engine in your camera has to be fast enough to deliver the images to the display. Bigger display requires a faster = more expensive and more power consuming imaging engine. To safe cost and battery life it is likely your camera maker has chosen to build in the engine with just enough resolution for the available EVF at the time of design.

0 upvotes
lighthunter80
By lighthunter80 (Apr 13, 2013)

Thanks. You might be right. I got the EP-L 5 which is pretty new... maybe I am lucky and it can support better viewfinders in the near future.
Anyways... the Olympus VF2 is actually not too bad. I find it very useful especially at daylight and the resolution is so high that I almost don't see separate pixels. The refreshrate could be a little better though.

0 upvotes
kaiser soze
By kaiser soze (Apr 11, 2013)

The OLED vs field-sequential LCD conundrum. OLED apparently has a significant advantage in dynamic range, which certainly is very applicable to the EVF. I.e., with LCD viewfinders, you readily notice that shadowy areas are a uniformly black smudge, while well-lit areas are washed out uniformly in white. But with field-sequential LCD, you genuinely get an improvement in detail, as I previously tried to explain. With LCD this is possible because three separate light sources can be used and time-multiplexed synchronously with the refreshing of the LCD grid. Until such time as OLED displays have pixel density exceeding the ability of the eye to resolve the individual pixels, a tradeoff and choice between resolution and dynamic range may persist. But many newer LCD displays have excellent dynamic range. The ipad I am using now, for example. The Citizen LCD panel is genuinely a breakthrough, and I look forward to a chance to for myself just how good it is.

0 upvotes
kaiser soze
By kaiser soze (Apr 11, 2013)

A field-sequential display does have real advantage in image sharpness compared to a non-sequential display with the same quantity of actual picture elements per unit area, i.e., the same actual pixel density. This advantage is at least a 2x improvement, but possibly not the 3x improvement that is implied in the practice of multiplying by three to obtain the quantity of "dots". The quantity of pixels used for each of three primary colors is the full quantity of actual pixels, as compared to only 1/4 that quantity for R and B (each) and 1/2 that quantity for G. Because luminance detail aligns very closely with detail in G, and because there is a doubling of G pixels, the improvement in luminance detail is better than 2x. For a non-sequential display, detail in R and B is only half of luminance detail. This is universally deemed the best use of real estate (and ditto with sensors), but is avoided in a field-sequential display.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Peter Heckert2
By Peter Heckert2 (Apr 11, 2013)

If the EVF had 2x and 3x focus magnification would be more useful to me than an increased pixel count. Why increase the pixel count?

0 upvotes
kaiser soze
By kaiser soze (Apr 11, 2013)

Focus magnification is a function of image processing, and not a function of the EVF per se. Regardless of the amount of magnification, it is generally true that up to the point where the eye can no longer resolve the individual pixels, greater resolution implies better abillity to determine the sharpness of the focus. It is not simply a matter of seeing where the image is in focus. It is a matter of being able to accurately assess the relative sharpness of focus, at any location in the image. The greater the resolution, the easier it is to do that.

0 upvotes
SergioNevermind
By SergioNevermind (Apr 11, 2013)

And maybe a camera will be a wifi or bluetooth lens inside a box, with every control in your phone display.

Samsung can do that right now I think, just pulling apart the lens from their last Android camera.

0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Apr 11, 2013)

Equivalent focal length, equivalent aperture, equivalent field of view and, according to some, «equivalent ISO» and «equivalent image quality» (yes, I read that too!) And now a resolution equivalence. What's next? Equivalent battery life? Shutter lag...?
A happy day for the equivalence trolls, who will have no end of fun calculating equivalences. Just wait until Olympus implement this EVF on their cameras.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
facedodge
By facedodge (Apr 11, 2013)

"equivalence trolls"?

4 upvotes
kaiser soze
By kaiser soze (Apr 11, 2013)

That is an extremely bizarre comment. Well, we might as well go ahead and define what an "equivalence troll" is: a person who is not a troll in the true sense, but who, for intents and purposes, is the equivalent of a troll. Hmmm. Manuel, you might just fit that definition. Bizarre.

4 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Apr 11, 2013)

This isn't a term we've created. The problem is that field sequential displays use only one 'dot' per output pixel, so don't sound very impressive when compared to conventional LCDs that use three. (this is display has 1.2m dots but is higher resolution than the 2.4m dot displays currently in use).

Panasonic used to use the term 'dot equivalent' in the descriptions of its 800 x 600 EVFs in its Micro Four Thirds models.

2 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Apr 11, 2013)

Yes, facedodge. That's the kind of people who come up with the strangest theories about equivalent depth of field, equivalent aperture and other oddities whenever a new micro 4/3 camera or lens from Olympus is announced here at dpreview.com. Surely you must have read some of those comments. If not, just wait for the next Olympus announcement. (Panasonic seems to be spared from this foolishness, despite its use of micro 4/3 sensors. Go figure.)
Anyway, never mind: it was only a sarcasm. Fortunately, R Butler "got" it. Unlike kaiser soze...

0 upvotes
kaiser soze
By kaiser soze (Apr 11, 2013)

Manuel, you are correct in saying that your first comment was only sarcasm. That is all that it was. It was not intelligent or informed in any way. The concept of equivalence is of tremendous pragmatic value, and is perfectly valid. For example, without describing the focal length of a lens in term of 35mm equivalence, the important relationship between focal length and angle of view is different for each different size of sensor. The reason for this convention is manifest and i do not see any reason for being sarcastic about it. For field-sequential displays, the concept of equivalent dots is a fully valid and pragmatically useful concept. I explained this in another comment that you can read if it behooves you. Your comment was pure sarcasm, devoid of any value at all. It was a rant, and just the sort of thing that is associated with trolls. And i am not the only person who found it irritating.

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
BJN
By BJN (Apr 11, 2013)

Manuel, I suspect the equivalence ideas are "strange" to you but they're probably correct. There are fanboy equivalence trolls who also try and make themselves believe that their micro four thirds camera can do anything a top DSLR can.

1 upvote
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Apr 12, 2013)

Oh gosh, I felt into the idiots' vault... must be more careful next time.

0 upvotes
Josh152
By Josh152 (Apr 13, 2013)

@Manuel

There is no better way to demonstrate you have no idea what you are talking about and can't discuss a topic intelligently than to just start insulting people.

3 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Apr 13, 2013)

Sarcastic comments do not really serve the community. If sarcasm is not understood they are confusing. If the sarcasm is understood they make the reader feel bad. People who dislike sarcasm are not idiots but are nice people who simply have something better to do than reading sarcasm.

0 upvotes
falconeyes
By falconeyes (Apr 11, 2013)

There is so much more to an EVF which can rival an OVF, e.g., closer to 3 MP (iPad) rather than 1.2 MP, closer to 70 Hz rather than 40 Hz refresh rate, a true contrast ratio of closer to 15 stops with dimmed, still readable GUI. A lack of lag (i.e., less than 20 ms). And not to forget, combined to an AF which can actually track fast action.

So, does DPR need to report every and any minuscule progress in the field?

1 upvote
EinsteinsGhost
By EinsteinsGhost (Apr 11, 2013)

Because it matters.

5 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (Apr 11, 2013)

I don't understand why this short notice would bother you. If you're not interested, don't read it. Or filter out the "Other news" from the news feed if you don't want to see it at all.

0 upvotes
kaiser soze
By kaiser soze (Apr 11, 2013)

Thanks for the summary of the important considerations for an EVF. It was a bit terse and obscure, bit still useful. The news is however highly relevant. Mirrorless cameras are enticing but still do not satisfy all camera users, owing to the limitations of the EVF. A jump in resolution of this magnitude is highly relevant. Although, i'm still trying to come to a full understanding of the business of dots vs. true pixel count.

1 upvote
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Apr 13, 2013)

This Display has a 50% resolution improvement, which will be significantly visible. Thus it is worth the news. Same as a 8 MP camera was news in the days of all cameras being 6 MP.

0 upvotes
lorenzo de medici
By lorenzo de medici (Apr 11, 2013)

EVF uses less battery power than the full sized LCD on the back of the camera. The camera of the future will have no mirror or OVF, and no mechanical shutter. Getting rid of all those moving parts is too big of a prize to let pass by. They're getting there. Right now the OVF still has an edge in size, clarity, and accuracy, but the EVFs keep getting better and better.

5 upvotes
Wally626
By Wally626 (Apr 11, 2013)

Not always true. The Sony EVF consume more power than the rear LCDs. Of course that is OLED versus LCD as well.

1 upvote
kaiser soze
By kaiser soze (Apr 11, 2013)

One of the seldom mentioned drawbacks of the SLRs TTL OVF is that the actual size of the image projected onto the focusing screen is the same as the sensor. To achieve a big viewable image in the viewfinder, for a camera with a sensor that is not a full-frame sensor, optical magnification has to be used in the eyepiece. To do this without distortion requires a complex arrangement of multiple lenses, and the magnification also has the direct effect of reducing the brightness of the image. So long as the magnification is less than 2x, the loss of brightness will be less than a full stop, i.e., it isn't a huge effect, but it is real, and it is seldom acknowledged by people who express their dislike for EVFs.

1 upvote
BJN
By BJN (Apr 11, 2013)

EVFs are pretty good now compared to having nothing but an LCD back panel, but resolution is probably the least of EVF's problems that still need solving.

1 upvote
Benarm
By Benarm (Apr 11, 2013)

The writing is on the wall. EVF will replace OVF like digital replaced film. Same goes for mirror flip and mechanical shutters. Obviously it won't happen overnight or in a first attempt/generation.

10 upvotes
Provia_fan
By Provia_fan (Apr 11, 2013)

Digital has not replaced film. It took a big chunk of it but it has not replaced it. When people make statements like that they only think of 35mm. Digital still is not match for MF or LF. All these gazillion megapixel cameras cannot still reproduce the depth and colour depth of film and that goes a long way in making an image look real. Also, if digital killed film as you say, what about the lomography movement? Why is Instagram so popular?? Why do people use digital camera to then go home and make their images look like expired film? :D I still use film and will continue to do so until digital technology advances enough to give me the same depth and colour that film does. Oh not to mention that drum scanners can scan 500+ MP of MF and LF frames, but that's another subject.

3 upvotes
Iskender
By Iskender (Apr 11, 2013)

Well, he said "EVF will replace OVF like digital replaced film.". You're saying film went nowhere, only declined in numbers. I don't think these statements need to be incompatible, if EVFs replace OVFs in the same way. That is, OVFs will become much rarer but they won't go away.

I think mirrorless is the future but on the other hand I think SLRs will disappear completely only about the time large format film disappears. And I can't see LF disappearing anytime soon. But I think *most* hobbyists will grow tired of the bulk of the mirror box before that.

3 upvotes
Bjorn_L
By Bjorn_L (Apr 11, 2013)

I think this is entirely true. I am a fan of OVF's for now as I think the best current gen EVFs are lacking. But I think EVFs have several long term design advantages and will eventually take over.
As for the nonsense that digital has not taken over for film... open you eyes and look around. Most film companies are out of business. Most MF cameras now use MF digital backs. Film has gone from "the" format to a largely irrelevant one. Relegated to very small niche markets. The fact that some trvial percentage of photos is still taken on film is just that a bit of trivia. I used to shoot film, not everything about it was bad, but it is clearly yesterdays news. Not because anyone wishes it ill, but because the market has spoken.

7 upvotes
Dheorl
By Dheorl (Apr 11, 2013)

@Provia_fan.

People use instagram to replicate film because they like the look of old, worn film, not the actual fim itself. It is much easier to get the look you want with digital.

Also yes, you can get a 500MP scan of a MF/LF frame, but that in no way means the contain 500MP worth of resolution. I think that digital medium format cameras are easily good enough that if processed right the difference is immaterial. People who like shooting film from what I see do it because they like shooting film/possibly budget. Very little to do with the actual end result.

3 upvotes
Greynerd
By Greynerd (Apr 11, 2013)

The only trend I can see is the OVF being replaced by no VF at all or if you are lucky available as an expensive accessory.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
LensBeginner
By LensBeginner (Apr 11, 2013)

Problem is, OVF is likely to become a niche thing, while nowadays it's on every reflex.
Glass costs money to manufacture to a certain degree of accuracy.
I put my eye to the huge viewfinder of my old Pentax KX (the film one, without the dash in between the letters) and it feels beyond words every single time.

0 upvotes
atlien991
By atlien991 (Apr 11, 2013)

Film was the leader. Digital replaced it. In legal terns, his statement is completely accurate. Thanks for the oft repeated film dossier.

0 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (Apr 11, 2013)

Digital has definitely made film into a niche market. Therefore, it's rather interesting, that 63% of the revenue of Fujifilm's imaging division during the latest fiscal year actually came from film and related materials (paper, chemicals etc.), while digital cameras, lenses and accessories contributed 37%.
Of course, film-related materials are supplies that need to be replenished, which explains the larger revenue, but still I would have expected digital imaging to bring a larger revenue.

0 upvotes
Tord S Eriksson
By Tord S Eriksson (Apr 11, 2013)

Provia-Fan,

It has been ages since the volume of shots were analog, as big former big users like magazines, newspapers, reconnaissance entities, astrophysicists, and the normal joe have totally changed to digital. Some studios still use film, and a few thousand enthusiasts, mainly because they simply can't afford as good digital gear, as they have analog.

A nice analog Hasselblad 503CW kit costs today about $3,500, while a barebones Hasselblad H5D-200MS kit costs over ten times more - a good Phase One kit costs a lot more, again, or roughly 5 times a nice Leica kit!

So quite a few of us with less than brilliant finances have to keep up with what we got, no matter if it is digital, or analog, but if I got a modern Phase One, I go for that, instantly - just need a far better computer to handle the load!

0 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (Apr 11, 2013)

Sony already have 1280 x 720 OLED panels as found in their 3D monitor glasses, but they are OLED non field sequential. They are rumoured to be releasing the NEX-7n with a 3.9 million dot OLED EVF which should be 1280 x 1024, which going by the panels they already make, shouldn't be a stretch.

3 upvotes
stanislaff
By stanislaff (Apr 11, 2013)

So, in fact this is a 1.2 Mp display, not 3.6. Just running in 120 Hz, which corresponds to 40 Hz for full-color image.

4 upvotes
RaZZ3R Death
By RaZZ3R Death (Apr 11, 2013)

It doesn't say 3.6 MP but 3.6 M dots which is not the same. But the 40 Hz per color does seem slow since a lot of people CAN perceive changes in the 30-60 Hz range of displays be it OLED or LCD. When they can get at least 60 Hz per color, making a total of 180 Hz then field-sequential design might be equal to the show all colors at all times method.

3 upvotes
stanislaff
By stanislaff (Apr 11, 2013)

Thank you for explaining in details my thoughts :)

0 upvotes
mandm
By mandm (Apr 11, 2013)

'The panel will enter mass produced in summer 2013.' Mass production on something that will be replaced in a few months by a higher Rez Sony with OLED.
Note: I don't have any inside info, but Sony will not give up the parts business.

2 upvotes
Aleo Veuliah
By Aleo Veuliah (Apr 11, 2013)

Neither Epson.

1 upvote
Revenant
By Revenant (Apr 11, 2013)

I think there's room for one more player in this field. Fuji alone releases enough superzoom cameras to keep several EVF makers afloat.

0 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (Apr 11, 2013)

EVFs are going to have a story similar to the megapixel race.

1 upvote
mandm
By mandm (Apr 11, 2013)

There are people now who think dust/marks on the mirror or viewfinder affect the image, they will also believe they need the highest pixel count EVF to get the best image.

2 upvotes
_sem_
By _sem_ (Apr 11, 2013)

I think the EVF megapixel race is welcome at least until they reach about true 5MP (not the funny mega-dots). In other words, until their resolution is no longer a practical concern when judging sharpness, compared to OVFs. People with impaired eyesight may be satisfied with less.

5 upvotes
bushi
By bushi (Apr 11, 2013)

...there was a rational, technological (and human perception) reason for megapixel race AT THE BEGINNING of it (ie, where cams started to appear with 1MP, 2MP, 3MP sensors etc.), just like there is one now for EVFs - until they reach resolutions, that would make it's further increase meaningless (i.e., beyond the capabilities of human eye, to resolve pixels, or at least have perception of something "unnatural")

1 upvote
Eleson
By Eleson (Apr 11, 2013)

I really hope the race will be on the refresh side, or giving us the choice to set the display for "Hi Refresh - Lo Rez", or "Lo-Refresh Hi-Rez".
In terms of framing, more MP doesn't that much.

3 upvotes
Bjorn_L
By Bjorn_L (Apr 11, 2013)

I think _SEM_ nailed it. This is just part of a natural process of EVFs gradually creeping in to OVF level of performance. It is not there yet. But it will be once it gains enough resolution and speed so as to compete head to head the better OVFs

5 upvotes
chrisnfolsom
By chrisnfolsom (Apr 12, 2013)

I think much of what these viewfinders physical limitations mean will be less important then the software showing us the information - autozooming with eye contact - edge detailing, contrast, focus and other information. Eventually we will use this technology as our main input for data - scary for society and such, but I believe inevitable - there is just so much more that can be communicated and personal which is where we are today when you have 5 people in a room staring at their smart phones...I try to fight it, but I NEED to check dpreview.com for some new articles to see in anyone responded or commented to this thread ;)

0 upvotes
chrisnfolsom
By chrisnfolsom (Apr 11, 2013)

This is great - that much closer to glasses with 1080p! As with most things it probably uses less energy than the last version (although the electronics to drive it have to do more work). The EVF used in Sony SLR's and the mirrorless solutions can always use more resolution as long as the color is high quality and the refresh is good!

3 upvotes
jon404
By jon404 (Apr 11, 2013)

Great. Just what we need... a new technology allowing even-smaller viewfinders. Hey, camera makers! We baby boomers, the only segment left with some savings, have poor eyesight! All the pixels in the world can't help if the display device is physically very small...

3 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Apr 11, 2013)

They are speaking of resolution not the size of the EVF. Its also not a new technology, its good old LCD panel.

12 upvotes
remylebeau
By remylebeau (Apr 11, 2013)

Yikes...I wonder how much more power this thing will consume, refreshing at 120hz and using LCD not OLED panels.

2 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Apr 11, 2013)

The issue is more one of processing and backlight really.

Can anyone answer: do the EVFs tend to use more or less juice than the large external LCDs?

1 upvote
ageha
By ageha (Apr 11, 2013)

lol, you really have no idea what you're talking about, right? Higher resolution will make even higher magnifying EVFs possible. They are getting bigger, not smaller.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Jerodequin
By Jerodequin (Apr 11, 2013)

On most mirrorless cameras, my experience is that using an EVF uses less power than using the main LCD screen - many others have reported the same within the mirrorless forums.

3 upvotes
hjulenissen
By hjulenissen (Apr 11, 2013)

I guess it makes sense that an EVF should use less energy than a regular LCD screen. It is smaller, and shielded from stray light, meaning that less brightness (backlight) is needed to present a usable image?

Color-sequential is known from DLP projectors, but how is it used in a transmissive LCD? 3 sets of r-g-b LED backlights that take turns lighting a achromatic LCD panel?

120Hz is interesting from a latency/movement perspective. Even though you need 3 cycles to present a full color image, perhaps the ""rainbow effect" can benefit in having some indication of what is happening in the scene?

0 upvotes
Shamael
By Shamael (Apr 11, 2013)

practice shows other results, switch lcd off and evf on with Sony NEX, and the camera needs more power, despite evf only working when you look in it.

0 upvotes
RaZZ3R Death
By RaZZ3R Death (Apr 11, 2013)

Actually the grater the megapixels the bigger the EVF physical size can be without getting to jagged and/or low details. And most of the EVF's to date are bigger then entry level and some mid-level DSLR's and on par with the professional range like Canon xD and Nikon Dxxx & Dx.

2 upvotes
TrojMacReady
By TrojMacReady (Apr 11, 2013)

Higher resolution means more pixels from the sensor being read out and more processing power required, thus more power consumption.

That being said, the Sony A58 with OLED EVF already lasts as long or longer on a single charge, than most of its current OVF counterparts sub $1000. Which shows that even here (efficiency) important progress is being made.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Zdman
By Zdman (Apr 11, 2013)

@hjulenissen. I imagine they're chaning the colour of the backlight for each of the refresh cycles and have a mono lcd without a colour filter. this is why its 3.6m equivalent but only 1280x960=1.2m actual pixels. Quite clever actually but liable to colour shift over time as the lcd backlights lose brightness.

0 upvotes
joejack951
By joejack951 (Apr 11, 2013)

"That being said, the Sony A58 with OLED EVF already lasts as long or longer on a single charge, than most of its current OVF counterparts sub $1000. Which shows that even here (efficiency) important progress is being made."

Nope, it just uses a higher mAh battery than its competitors. 1600 vs. 1030 for the Nikon D3200 and D5200. It doesn't have to move a mirror either.

Calculated out, it uses a 55% higher capacity battery to yield 40% more photos (690 vs. 500). That tells me that the EVF is sucking up a good bit of power.

0 upvotes
chrisnfolsom
By chrisnfolsom (Apr 12, 2013)

I think we are looking at this wrong as I believe that having optics of higher and higher quality will eventually allow us to build in compatibility and allow for BETTER vision to deal with issues - perhaps different color schemes will work better for someone with cataracts, or other issues - it can be custom for you - or super bright if needed, or to compensate for color blindness (quite common). Sony - and the 4/3rd guys have pioneered EVF's in quality cameras and I believe the benefits will outweigh and eventually enhance the capability of the camera - we have just started to see what will happen to photography using the digital medium - I "think" about film, but haven't taken any in a while....as will happen with EVF's in the not so distant future.

0 upvotes
chrisnfolsom
By chrisnfolsom (Apr 12, 2013)

Speaking of DLP's - they could also use more than 3 colors, and some DLP's have dramatically higher refresh - as well as the ability to show 3D data - actually had not thought of that until now - that adds some interesting capabilities to the UI...

0 upvotes
Total comments: 67