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Epson announces mass production of high-res electronic viewfinder LCD

By dpreview staff on Jan 23, 2013 at 18:53 GMT

Epson has said it is starting full production of its high-resolution SVGA LCD panel for use in electronic viewfinder cameras. The 1024 x 768 pixel screen sits alongside the company's existing 800 x 600 pixel display, as used in the Olympus OM-D and, we suspect, in Fujifilm's X100 and X-Pro1. The latest panel, unveiled at Photokina, offers the same 2.36m dot resolution as announced in the Fujifilm X100S. It'll be interesting to see how it compares to the Sony OLED display of the same resolution used in various Sony models and Fujifilm's X-E1.

The latest panel shares exactly the same outside dimensions as the 800 x 600 pixel (1.44m dot) version so, from a physical design perspective, could be slotted-in to the next-generation version of any camera that uses the existing display.


Press Release:

New Epson Ultimicron Brings Benefits for Camera Enthusiasts

Epson begins volume production of panel for electronic viewfinders

TOKYO, Japan, January 22, 2013

Seiko Epson Corporation. ("Epson," TSE: 6724) today announced that it has begun volume production of its latest Ultimicron panel These high-temperature polysilicon (HTPS) TFT color panels bring to life the electronic viewfinders used in mid-to high- end digital interchangeable lens system cameras. The new panel will be exhibited at Epson's booth at CP + 2013 in Yokohama, Japan, from January 31 to February 3.

Measuring just 0.48 of an inch diagonally, the latest in the Ultimicron series offers XGA (1024 x 768) resolution in red, green and blue for a total of 2.36 megapixels. The new panel is equal in size to a 0.47-inch SVGA panel, but offers higher resolution. In addition, Epson has increased the surface luminance to 520 cd/m2, allowing photographers sufficient visibility in any environment, from the brightest sunlight to the darkness of evening.

The Ultimicron series is positioned to meet growing demand among camera enthusiasts of all levels and abilities for superb quality electronic viewfinders.

Advantages and features

  • Compact
    Small 0.48-inch diagonal screen contributes to compact, thin cameras
  • High resolution
    High pixel density with XGA resolution (1024 x RGB x 768, 2.36 megapixels)
  • No color breakup
    Use of a color filter ensures that it is not affected by the color breakup that can occur with fast-moving subjects and panning shots when using a field-sequential color system.
  • Bright
    Achieves brightness of 520 cd / m 2

New panel specifications

Name L3F04X-80300C
LCD type TN mode, organic alignment layer
Color display system Color filter (RGB stripe)
Effective pixels 1024 x RGB x 768 (XGA)
Panel size (diagonal) 0.48 inch (1.2 cm)
Pixel pitch 9.6 μm (3.2 x RGB) x 9.6 μm
Color space 92% of sRGB
Backlight Yes
Surface luminance 520 cd / m 2
Displayable colors Approx. 16.77 million colors

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.

Related information
To learn more about Ultimicron, visit:
http://global.epson.com/products/htps/ultimicron/

For sales enquiries, please locate your regional Epson electronic device sales office at:
http://www.epson.jp/device/e/device_worldwide.htm

Product exhibition
The new panel will be on display at the Epson's booth in CP + 2013 to be held at Pacifico Yokohama, Yokohama, Japan, from January 31 to February 3.
http://global.epson.com/products/htps/event/

Comments

Total comments: 33
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (Jan 29, 2013)

In video mode EVFs like this are light years ahead of OVFs ;)

0 upvotes
Osvaldo Cristo
By Osvaldo Cristo (Jan 25, 2013)

It is a step forward for EVF users... but at 0.8M pixels it is far, far away from OVF. At this rate I probably will consider some EVF in some years from now...

I am curious about the reflesh rate in the practice in the field for action. Let us see.

2 upvotes
Wolfgang Fieger
By Wolfgang Fieger (Jan 25, 2013)

Resolution is just one of 5 critical parameters: color space, contrast, brightness, refresh time and yes, resolution.
At the moment we have below sRGB, maybe okish contrat and brightness, noticeable refresh time related distortion and 0.8 m resolution.
There is still a VERY long way to go!

2 upvotes
Josh152
By Josh152 (Jan 28, 2013)

Exactly, which is why all this nonsense about how an EVF is "what you see is what you get" is so laughable. The EVF isn't showing you what the sensor is actually going to record any more than an OVF does. It is a lower res, lower dynamic range, smaller color space image that is a software produced guess at what the sensor will record.

Comment edited 33 seconds after posting
1 upvote
wakaba
By wakaba (Jan 25, 2013)

This is a low resolution display priced in cents. EVF are much cheaper to engineer and make than a prism viewfinder. 0.8mp is bad.

A large and very decent quality high resolution Lifeviewscreen on a Nikon D600 is still a lot worse than the prism viewfinder on the same cam.

Display viewfinder on a phonedisplay like the new Nokias are big and bright. Makes sense on a phone - compact cameras are just dead.

2 upvotes
chrisnfolsom
By chrisnfolsom (Jan 25, 2013)

I just want to see these and their quality leak into the vr glasses - then you can be independent of the viewfinder itself - no reason why you could pic your own display - your ipad, phone, ovf, back of the device - I know this is sacrilege to a certain degree, but why not have your own display for your own needs your own way - the details of refresh, size and such can be defined in the output of the camera, or the input of the viewing device - hell, have it stream over wifi.. whatever, it's just information anymore.

0 upvotes
T_O_M_E_K
By T_O_M_E_K (Jan 25, 2013)

I just love this statement:

•High resolution
High pixel density with XGA resolution (1024 x RGB x 768, 2.36 megapixels)

When Sigma tells you their Foveon sensor is 46MP every one is quick to point out that it is only around 15MP, but when it comes down to EVF everyone is happy with 3 times multiplier.

1024 x 768 = 0.79MP and not 2.36MP

Please explain…

2 upvotes
stephensells
By stephensells (Jan 25, 2013)

I'm with you. XGA resolution is NOT 2.36 megapixels.

Do definitions mean anything to marketing?

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 25, 2013)

We wouldn't call them pixels, either. We'd describe this as 1024 x 768 pixels, 2.36m dots, since three dots are required to create a full-colour pixel.

1 upvote
Simon97
By Simon97 (Jan 24, 2013)

How are the newer EVFs in bright sunlight for eyeglass wearers? My only experience is with an old 4mp camera from 2004. The EVF becomes too hard to see unless I cup my hand around the eyepiece. OVF, of course doesn't have this issue.

0 upvotes
Humboldt Jim
By Humboldt Jim (Jan 24, 2013)

Brighter is almost always better but the design of the lens (ocular) and eyecup seem to have more effect on eyeglass friendliness than the LCD.

0 upvotes
Benarm
By Benarm (Jan 24, 2013)

Another step towards obsolescence of OVF, the writing is on the wall folks. Sure, there will always be a niche for OVF, like with film photography.

1 upvote
Ak pinxit
By Ak pinxit (Jan 27, 2013)

sorry , this doesn't looks like a "step towards" , more like "aside" , not even covering sRGB and never performed under bright , real world sunlight

2 upvotes
windmillgolfer
By windmillgolfer (Jan 24, 2013)

I look forward to seeing this become a commonplace quality of EVF. It is just a matter of time before EVF/Mirrorless become the norm for 99.9% of cameras, even the high end equivalent of today's dSLR. Flogged my dSLR gear already...

1 upvote
MarkByland
By MarkByland (Jan 24, 2013)

Great. I'll start carving the headstone for the glass pentaprism now. :(

0 upvotes
Ak pinxit
By Ak pinxit (Jan 27, 2013)

too early :)

0 upvotes
JKP
By JKP (Jan 24, 2013)

I wonder, if these new EVFs are bright enough so you can see stars in the night sky through them? Using OVF, it is hard to see where you are pointing your camera at.

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Jan 24, 2013)

Any EVF is bright enough, whether you can see stars depends on how the camera handles the live view feed; almost all will slow the frame rate (shutter speed) in dark conditions to brighten the display so it just depends what the minimum shutter speed is.

0 upvotes
Ak pinxit
By Ak pinxit (Jan 27, 2013)

small tip (not cynic) : point with both eyes open - one looking through VF and after second or so you'll build your where about from full picture of the other eye , though for focus you still need to use screen

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Jan 24, 2013)

Almost up to 1/4 the resolution of a low-end APS-c pentamirror OVF, with only infinitely more lag and infinitely more battery consumption along with 1/64th the dynamic range and color gamut.

6 upvotes
Sean Nelson
By Sean Nelson (Jan 24, 2013)

To be fair, optical viewfinders have a lag of about 250ps, based on an optical path of about 3 inches. ;-)

In practice, EVF lag is for all intents and purposes irrelevant once it gets down to a small enough fraction of human reaction time. Not there yet, but getting closer...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 39 seconds after posting
10 upvotes
viking79
By viking79 (Jan 24, 2013)

A well implemented EVF also has advantages vs OVF. Trying using an OVF in low light where you cant see anything through the finder. An EVF will often give a nice image, albeit grainy, even in very low light levels. Plus, the OVF does have more dynamic range, but it lies to you since it shows what your eye sees, and not what your photo is going to look like. The EVF actually shows what you are going to get.

15 upvotes
MightyMike
By MightyMike (Jan 24, 2013)

I guess some of us still have young eyes, I haven't encountered a situation worth shooting where it was so dark i couldn't even see anything... I guess i haven't been trying to photograph black bears hibernating in a coal mine.

3 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Jan 24, 2013)

Well, I'd love to see an OVF that can do on-demand image magnification or focus peaking. Also, unlike OVF's, EVF size isn't limited to the size of the sensor format. In other words, you can have an APS-C or m4/3 camera with a huge electronic viewfinder equal to, or even greater than, the size of a 35mm FF camera.

People disparaging EVF sound just like film shooters who disparaged digital photography. Gee, I wonder how that battle played out? LOL..

Plus, how many of us actually like shooting video with a DSLR while looking at the rear LCD? I think most of us would much rather use the eyepiece viewfinder, even when shooting video, especially with bigger bodies and lenses. An OVF doesn't allow that, but EVF's do.

There are just a lot more possibilities with EVF technology.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
9 upvotes
Spunjji
By Spunjji (Jan 24, 2013)

Not infinitely more on either account... especially not battery consumption. Flipping that mirror doesn't come for free!

Yes, I'm being facetious, but so are you. ;)

2 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Jan 23, 2013)

One of the most interesting characteristic of a EVF, the maximum refresh rate, is missing.

7 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Jan 23, 2013)

I wonder which one the next OM-D will use. The Epson would be a sure thing, but now Sony owns 10% of Oly...

0 upvotes
Cane
By Cane (Jan 23, 2013)

Please list all complaints below.

4 upvotes
SHood
By SHood (Jan 23, 2013)

Higher resolution is nice but I wish they would also make them bigger.

3 upvotes
slncezgsi
By slncezgsi (Jan 23, 2013)

I am also wondering how long it will take to get an EVF with image size comparable to (at least) current full frame SLRs (which are around 0.75x which is actually not much for a full frame). I do understand that large image size in the EVF will also mean the EVF will get larger, but I would be willing to pay that price on a camera like OM-D.

4 upvotes
SHood
By SHood (Jan 23, 2013)

I am surprised the GH3 didn't get a larger EVF with the increase in body size. In 4/3 format the GH3 EVF is actually smaller now than the one from the GH2.

1 upvote
ajs jones
By ajs jones (Jan 23, 2013)

The optics take care of "apparent size" and more MP is better. Now if they put one of these in the prism of a real SLR so you have the choice of 1) fixed small optical image or 2) Mirror-up Live ViewEVF + live histogram + auto-zoom for critical focus when MF ring is moved and exposure simulation etc etc - that would be nice hybrid

2 upvotes
Thorbard
By Thorbard (Jan 24, 2013)

Those sound like excellent features; the sort of things that EVF should be aiming for. They've always seemed a pretty poor alternative to OVF or LiveView...

3 upvotes
Total comments: 33