Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

Started Jan 26, 2013 | Discussions
KyleSlamchez Regular Member • Posts: 231
Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?
3

Okay, I've definitely noticed in reading camera reviews and forums that a lot of you love your viewfinders, particularly of the optical type.
Now maybe I'm a young whippersnapper who basically got started on a digital point and shoot that couldn't be bothered to have a viewfinder (a Canon S30), but I like composing with a screen. I don't see what the problem is.
Furthermore, I have a Pentax K20D with an optical viewfinder, and I suck at composing with it. I don't feel like I can see the entire scene, so even a simple photo of a room tends to come out crooked. Not only that, but because I wear glasses, I don't feel like I can get the thing comfortably up to my eye. My nose ends up mashed up against the LCD screen, one eye squinting, and it's just no fun at all.
Therefore, I prefer to use a camera with a Liveview LCD screen, because as far as composition is concerned, what you see is what you get. And I get to use it with both eyes open!
Now I understand that many screens can get washed out in bright sunlight. As far as I can tell, this is the only disadvantage. Is there something I'm missing here?
I feel like I might be out to get hammered by some old pro's, but what the heck. Bring on the hammer!

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Olga Johnson Forum Pro • Posts: 24,360
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

No hammer. Nothing wrong with LCD shooting as long as you can shoot what you care to shoot with it. I prefer to bring the camera to my eye (and I do wear glasses) for stability. Additionally I do quite a bit of action shooting which I can follow better via the optical VF.  If  LCD works for you, more power to you!

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Olga

(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 2,216
Not crazy...

You just have a different opinion, and wouldn't it be a boring world if people didn't hold a variety of opinions?

For someone who is e.g. long-sighted and needs reading glasses to see the screen clearly, viewfinders (optical or electronic) with built-in diopter correction can be much more convenient.

Joe

OP KyleSlamchez Regular Member • Posts: 231
Re: Not crazy...

I was sure there must be some advantage I'm just not experienced enough to realize yet.

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Vernon D Rainwater Forum Pro • Posts: 13,918
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

KyleSlamchez wrote:

Okay, I've definitely noticed in reading camera reviews and forums that a lot of you love your viewfinders, particularly of the optical type.
Now maybe I'm a young whippersnapper who basically got started on a digital point and shoot that couldn't be bothered to have a viewfinder (a Canon S30), but I like composing with a screen. I don't see what the problem is.
Furthermore, I have a Pentax K20D with an optical viewfinder, and I suck at composing with it. I don't feel like I can see the entire scene, so even a simple photo of a room tends to come out crooked. Not only that, but because I wear glasses, I don't feel like I can get the thing comfortably up to my eye. My nose ends up mashed up against the LCD screen, one eye squinting, and it's just no fun at all.
Therefore, I prefer to use a camera with a Liveview LCD screen, because as far as composition is concerned, what you see is what you get. And I get to use it with both eyes open!
Now I understand that many screens can get washed out in bright sunlight. As far as I can tell, this is the only disadvantage. Is there something I'm missing here?
I feel like I might be out to get hammered by some old pro's, but what the heck. Bring on the hammer!

Your inquiry:  Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

No, and I don't believe your choice of viewing/exposing will create such an issue.  However, I prefer using a Viewfinder type equipment and neither will that choice cause the issue.  I would not like having to hold my arms outward.

My belief is that each individual should use the method of their choice.

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Vernon...

René Schuster Forum Pro • Posts: 14,180
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

KyleSlamchez wrote:

Okay, I've definitely noticed in reading camera reviews and forums that a lot of you love your viewfinders, particularly of the optical type.
Now maybe I'm a young whippersnapper who basically got started on a digital point and shoot that couldn't be bothered to have a viewfinder (a Canon S30), but I like composing with a screen. I don't see what the problem is.
Furthermore, I have a Pentax K20D with an optical viewfinder, and I suck at composing with it. I don't feel like I can see the entire scene, so even a simple photo of a room tends to come out crooked. Not only that, but because I wear glasses, I don't feel like I can get the thing comfortably up to my eye. My nose ends up mashed up against the LCD screen, one eye squinting, and it's just no fun at all.
Therefore, I prefer to use a camera with a Liveview LCD screen, because as far as composition is concerned, what you see is what you get. And I get to use it with both eyes open!
Now I understand that many screens can get washed out in bright sunlight. As far as I can tell, this is the only disadvantage. Is there something I'm missing here?
I feel like I might be out to get hammered by some old pro's, but what the heck. Bring on the hammer!

I wouldn't call you crazy but I'm sure you are lot younger than I am, lol! You are used to do it via the monitor, I am used to viewfinders since back in the 60s there were no cameras with monitors.

Must admit I feel looking totally stupid when holding a camera at arm's length like when using the monitor!

René

OP KyleSlamchez Regular Member • Posts: 231
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

Okay then. Guess I feel sorry for those suckers that shell out $600 for the RX1 optical viewfinder.

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Dan Marchant Veteran Member • Posts: 3,108
Just personal preference - but you are mad ;)

I too started with a P&S with just an LCD and hated it. Not only couldn't I see anything in bright sunlight (of which there is a lot where I live) but I simply can't bare the feeling of disconnect I get from not actually looking directly at my subject.

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Dan
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mojorising Regular Member • Posts: 129
Re: Just personal preference - but you are mad ;)
2

^that is interesting about the 'feeling of disconnect'

I started with old SLRs in the 80's. Went to P&S in the digital age.

Have gone back to viewfinder shooting for sports now with a DSLR but going back to VF is where I feel a disconnect with the subject.

You can get very natural shots of a subject with P&S camera held out of the way allowing you to interact with them normally while snapping away silently. The viewfinder approach makes the subject much more aware of the camera and gets in between you and your subject so I feel it is easier to get those natural human subject shots with a P&S.

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Tom Axford Veteran Member • Posts: 6,215
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

I find there is at least one significant advantage in using the camera's screen rather than a viewfinder.

It is that you can make eye contact with your subject while pressing the button, which is particularly important with very young children if you want to get them to smile. Of course, you do need to hold the camera sufficiently steady that it doesn't move significantly while you take your eyes off the screen to look at the subject, but holding the camera steady is something you need to concentrate on doing anyway if you are not to get motion blur while holding the camera at arm's length.

Using a viewfinder and using the screen on the camera involve rather different techniques and it is certainly harder using the screen on the camera if you have been brought up using the viewfinder. In my opinion there are pros and cons to each, however, and for the past few years I have been using cameras without a viewfinder because they are smaller and lighter. I haven't so far been seriously wanting to buy a viewfinder.

Equals Nothing Forum Member • Posts: 90
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?
1

I think there is one big issue people are forgetting here. Any time you use an LCD, on either a P&S, or something with an EVF (mirrorless, SLT), you are giving up your optical view. I played a lot of shooter games in my youth, and if you have ever played one that has a slight input lag, you will know it's impossible to be accurate. You can pan side to side on the joystick before the game moved the first direction, throwing you completely off. There is of course no EVF/LCD that brings the subject to your eye as fast as an OVF. The speed of light will always be faster than a digital display, and for now that difference is more than noticeable.

I have a nice DSLR (also pentax), and I only use my LCD for non moving macros and landscapes. Anything else leaves the possibility of camera movement. Yes some LCDs are less laggy than others, and EVFs are even better, but they still don't compare, in resolution or response time, to an OVF. Aside from OVF only being available at eye level, VF shooting helps reduce camera shake, similar to resting the side of a camera against an object. Being able to see your composition with both eyes is great, but it doesn't make up for the other things. But, if all the other things don't matter to you, by all means enjoy. To each their own, this is just my opinion.

jon404 Senior Member • Posts: 2,231
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

Old habits... large clear optical viewfinders, stability with the camera pressed to your face... important with slow film, low ISOs.

New habits... cameras integrated with cellphones, bright screens, high ISOs allowing high shutter speeds, no need to brace the camera.

I've got the best of both worlds. An old Pentax 645 film camera, and a little XZ-1 where I can use the screen as a B/W previewer, and to see a histogram.

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micronean Regular Member • Posts: 306
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

I prefer the LCD for shooting videos, but viewfinders (especially EVF) for photos. I feel I can move around a lot better not having my eye stuck to the viewfinder when filming people walking, or panning around an environment. When my eye is on the viewfinder, I'm always worried I'm going to trip on something because I can't see anything below.

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Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
Not crazy, but it's not as bad as you think
1

KyleSlamchez wrote:

Okay, I've definitely noticed in reading camera reviews and forums that a lot of you love your viewfinders, particularly of the optical type.

People like what they are used to. That includes you.

Now maybe I'm a young whippersnapper who basically got started on a digital point and shoot that couldn't be bothered to have a viewfinder (a Canon S30), but I like composing with a screen. I don't see what the problem is.

The problems a mainly just two. The screen is not easy to see in bright light, and holding the camera away from the body makes it harder to keep steady.

Furthermore, I have a Pentax K20D with an optical viewfinder, and I suck at composing with it. I don't feel like I can see the entire scene, so even a simple photo of a room tends to come out crooked.

You are right. Most optical viewfinders do not show the whole scene, but, since you get in MORE than the viewfinder, there is a built-in safety factor.... which may, or may not, be useful in the kind of photography you do.

Not only that, but because I wear glasses, I don't feel like I can get the thing comfortably up to my eye. My nose ends up mashed up against the LCD screen, one eye squinting, and it's just no fun at all.

Glasses can be a real nuisance with eyelevel finders whether optical or electronic. That's why they have dioptre control, so that they an be adjusted to stand-in for the spectacle lens... you then do your viewing with the glasses OFF.

For the most comfortable use whilst wearing specs, and in order to get a view out to the edges, look for viewfinders with a "high eye-point".... the whole view can be seen from further back.

Therefore, I prefer to use a camera with a Liveview LCD screen, because as far as composition is concerned, what you see is what you get. And I get to use it with both eyes open!
Now I understand that many screens can get washed out in bright sunlight. As far as I can tell, this is the only disadvantage. Is there something I'm missing here?
I feel like I might be out to get hammered by some old pro's, but what the heck. Bring on the hammer!

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Regards,
Baz
"Ahh... But the thing is, these guys were no ORDINARY time travellers!"

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BertIverson Veteran Member • Posts: 3,928
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

René Schuster wrote:

I wouldn't call you crazy but I'm sure you are lot younger than I am, lol! You are used to do it via the monitor, I am used to viewfinders since back in the 60s there were no cameras with monitors.

Must admit I feel looking totally stupid when holding a camera at arm's length like when using the monitor!

René

I go back to the 50s but I am very near-sighted. If I slip my glasses up onto my (very large) forehead, I get to hold my pocket camera about 6" from my face so no arms length is necessary. In fact I can still keep my elbows against my sides for stability. However, I would still prefer an excellent EVF. Never again an OVF since I can not frame in near dark scenes (flash of course) and manual focusing on EVF, with magnification and highlighting, is once again possible with my old eyes.

Lots of choices these days so we all can be happy,
Bert

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JoeRadza Regular Member • Posts: 208
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

After using so many cameras with no or lousy viewfinders I've become very comfortable using an LCD screen. Not at arm's length, but with elbows tucked in. Anyway, I'm old enough to have used many film cameras that didn't have viewfindrs. For those of you that dislike lcd screens, just think about framing with a TLR. Upside down, reversed, B & W.

René Schuster Forum Pro • Posts: 14,180
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

BertIverson wrote:

René Schuster wrote:

I wouldn't call you crazy but I'm sure you are lot younger than I am, lol! You are used to do it via the monitor, I am used to viewfinders since back in the 60s there were no cameras with monitors.

Must admit I feel looking totally stupid when holding a camera at arm's length like when using the monitor!

René

I go back to the 50s but I am very near-sighted. If I slip my glasses up onto my (very large) forehead,

The same here, but usually the end of one arm of my glasses goes between my teeth, lol!

I get to hold my pocket camera about 6" from my face so no arms length is necessary. In fact I can still keep my elbows against my sides for stability. However, I would still prefer an excellent EVF. Never again an OVF since I can not frame in near dark scenes (flash of course) and manual focusing on EVF, with magnification and highlighting, is once again possible with my old eyes.

Again, the same here. My first digital camera had an EVF (Oly C-2100UZ) and I really liked it. But I still remember when I first looked into that year 2000 EVF, coming from a Canon AE-1, my thoughts were something like "OMG, how shall that ever work?" But after a few days I was perfectly used to that EVF, was good enough to frame the picture, check focus/sharpness and -what I liked best- also check exposure; the latter is what I really missed when I bought an Oly DSLR with an OVF five years later.

René

9VIII Regular Member • Posts: 438
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

BertIverson wrote:

René Schuster wrote:

I wouldn't call you crazy but I'm sure you are lot younger than I am, lol! You are used to do it via the monitor, I am used to viewfinders since back in the 60s there were no cameras with monitors.

Must admit I feel looking totally stupid when holding a camera at arm's length like when using the monitor!

René

I go back to the 50s but I am very near-sighted. If I slip my glasses up onto my (very large) forehead, I get to hold my pocket camera about 6" from my face so no arms length is necessary. In fact I can still keep my elbows against my sides for stability. However, I would still prefer an excellent EVF. Never again an OVF since I can not frame in near dark scenes (flash of course) and manual focusing on EVF, with magnification and highlighting, is once again possible with my old eyes.

Lots of choices these days so we all can be happy,
Bert

Oh, now I get it. Sometimes I forget that not everyone has perfect eyes.

It's nice being able to hold a camera close to your chest and still shoot using a swivel screen, and after doing a bit of outdoor shooting with the OVF I really miss the digital zoom. I find that I can consistently focus better than the AF system that way (though it is definitely not a fast method of focus confirmation).

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DonA2
DonA2 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,387
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

I have used every type VF from wire frame, reflex, optical tunnel, optical 90 deg., pentaprism , LCD and EVF.  I prefer EVFs.  They will get much better with improved sensor tech, unlike most all the rest.   LCDs will certainly improve but have there own limitations such as viewability and stability.  The twist out LCD is certainly a real asset for hard to view shots.

Just my take on the VF issue.  Whatever gets the job done as each type has pluses and minuses.  My old wire frame worked well with a mask when underwater but here the new LCD types do have some advantages, in the right conditions.

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Takagi Forum Member • Posts: 66
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?
1

Whatever works for you. I can't stand using the screen on the back of my camera as a viewfinder. I can't even see it properly when it is sunny. If using that screen as a viewfinder was such a great idea, then why don't people with dslr cameras use it and hold their cameras smelly baby style?

The only rational reason I can see for using the screen on the back of a camera as a viewfinder is that you have no other choice.

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