Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

Started Jan 26, 2013 | Discussions
Leonard Migliore
Leonard Migliore Forum Pro • Posts: 17,191
Then I'll respond instead

GodSpeaks wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

I'm thinking of large format cameras (sheet film, say, 10x8" and 5x4" ) with a ground glass for composing on. With this type of camera the image is large but also upside-down and very dim...

I am also quite sure that you are fully aware of the fact that large format cameras are not a part of this discussion. Hence not included in the 'any' part of my comment.

and please, don't bother responding.

If coudet says "any camera", I assume he means any camera. So Barrie's counterexample is relevant.

And I've always wanted to be able to invert my live view image just so I could remember days gone by.

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coudet Veteran Member • Posts: 4,109
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

toomanycanons wrote:

Not a fan of cameras without viewfinders. Maybe it's a generational thing but...I hate composing with just an LCD. There are no downsides to OVFs and maybe EVFs will catch up sooner or later.

It is a generational thing and it isn't.

You don't have to be someone who's been shooting for 30 years to appreciate the benefits of a viewfinder. Not having one affects one's stability, composition and not in a good way. Now, if you're a young snapshooter, whose first "camera" was an Iphone, you don't know what you're missing and I can completely understand why that kind of shooter doesn't need a viewfinder.

coudet Veteran Member • Posts: 4,109
Re: So many viewfinders; all have their merits.

Barrie Davis wrote:

coudet wrote:

GodSpeaks wrote:

Absolutely agree. Any camera without a builtin viewfinder is severely crippled.

..and not worth buying.

Errr... "Any" camera? That's a bit of a sweeping statement, isn't it?

Did you mean to reply to me, and not to GodSpeaks? If your reply was indeed meant for me, it's my choice, viewfinder is a must-have and I won't buy a camera without one.

There are many cameras of older form still sold that work exclusively with a rear screen for a viewfinder, and I'm sure their buyers think they purchased worthwhile photographic instruments.

Undoubtedly. But, not relevant to my post you've replied to.

Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
Re: So many viewfinders; all have their merits.

coudet wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

coudet wrote:

GodSpeaks wrote:

Absolutely agree. Any camera without a builtin viewfinder is severely crippled.

..and not worth buying.

Errr... "Any" camera? That's a bit of a sweeping statement, isn't it?

Did you mean to reply to me, and not to GodSpeaks? If your reply was indeed meant for me, it's my choice, viewfinder is a must-have and I won't buy a camera without one.

There are many cameras of older form still sold that work exclusively with a rear screen for a viewfinder, and I'm sure their buyers think they purchased worthwhile photographic instruments.

Undoubtedly. But, not relevant to my post you've replied to.

If you use or endorse the term "any camera" you have, as Leonard has pointed out, opened the argument up to include ANY camera! Please don't blame me if you made or endorsed a more sweeping statement than intended.

Indeed, what is a suitable viewfinder for different shooting tasks is an important consideration, and it is NOT wrong to open it up.

For instance, the fact that TTL (SLR) finders shut down at the precise moment of exposure make them less suitable for many subjects, portraiture for one, which is why the twin lens reflex cameras continued for many years in that application.

How about optical finders which are NOT TTL? (Tunnel kind, including albada type, also known as 'bright line' finder.)

Here I am referring to those cameras known as "rangfinders". Parallax apart, they work well enough with mid-length lenses at normal shooting distances, but provide an achingly small view of the details in wide angle shots (only general outlines of the subject masses are visible)...

.... and an even smaller view of anything at all when masked down for tele shots...

.... so much so that cameras like the Leica are rarely used with a lens that's longer than 135mm.

Would I use an LCD display in preference to this kind of much compromised eye-level one?

The answer is definitely YES.. with the proviso that I'd like a tripod for longer lens shooting, making two hands available for keeping the light off the LCD. With wide angle shooting I can manage without the tripod... I'll be looking over the top of the camera if I want to see any additional detail, thank you.

There is no universally BEST kind of viewfinder... and there isn't a universally worst one, either.

A little more objectivity would do no harm here.

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Mark B. Forum Pro • Posts: 25,839
Re: I respectfully disagree

RedFox88 wrote:

Mark B. wrote:

No, it is because you wear glasses. If you ever use an optical device such as an optical camera viewfinder or a telescope you have to not wear glasses if you want to see through it well. It is fully because you wear glasses.

I've worn glasses since my first SLR. Inconvenient maybe, but I can see well enough - but I'd never trade an optical VF for going LCD only.

I was not at all saying that using the LCD is better, never said that.

And if you've always only used glasses, you argue that using glasses isn't an obstacle to using a viewfinder. I wear glasses and also use contact lenses. Whenever I'm going to use an SLR camera, I use contact lenses. The difference is that significant. You don't know what you're missing if you've never had the chance to use a viewfinder as it was meant to be designed.

Well, you made it sound like it's an absolute that you can't wear glasses and see clearly through an optical VF.  You're mistaken.

Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

ljfinger wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

ljfinger wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

zenit_b wrote:

Robert Anderson wrote:

I have to tilt my head back and view through the bottom part of my glasses. I

With the LCD screen I cannot tell if my distant subject is smiling or if their eyes are closed.

Then DON'T look through the camera, look over the top!

Best detailed view finder ever..

Golly! I am amazed anybody needs to be told this!!

It's often not so simple. My camera's resolving power at around 35mm is about the same as my bare eyes. So, if I'm shooting at, say, 200mm (which is extremely often for me) I can't see enough detail "over the top". Further, looking "over the top" means losing your attention on framing which usually means missing the shot.

I wouldn't consider using a 200mm lens to shoot with an LCD viewing camera. Not a suitable combination.

My SX260 has no viewfinder and goes to 500mm.

Sorry. You are sending mixed messages, here. Didn't you say you wouldn't countenance a camera without a viewfinder? Or was that somebody else?

With a lens of 500mm equivalent on 35mm, I would find it very hard to shoot handheld without an eyelevel finder. I don't think I would even attempt it.

And I am not a sneak-shot paparazzi, either, so I wouldn't really use such a long lens to shoot human subjects even with an eyelevel finder.

My 70-200 is my primary portrait lens.

And you already stated your primary f-length of choice was the long end, right?

I don't go there...

The longest lens I have ever used for pro portraits is 180mm for a headshot, but that was on 2¼" square. It is all a matter of taste, but I wouldn't ever use a 200 on 35mm, let alone APS, due to gross flattening of the features at the distances involved. Also, my shots are carefully set up, so throwing confusing backgrounds out of focus at wide aperture is not of great concern.

....the longest lens I have ever used for a fashion shoot was 180mm, and THAT was on 2¼" square...(Hassy). Even so, the models were so far away they couldn't hear me in the traffic noise of a city street, so I had to relay my posing directions via mobile 'phone to an assistant stationed just out of shot.

I do it all the time from just 5-30 feet away.

Do what? Use a 'phone to communicate?

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tbcass
tbcass Forum Pro • Posts: 42,795
Re: So many viewfinders; all have their merits.

Excellent and well thought out response. Too many people seem IMO excessively rigid in their responses which limits their possibilities. I personally prefer eye level viewfinders but when I bought my RX100 I wanted a pocketable camera with IQ that was acceptable to me. It happens to be the only camera small enough that meets my standards. It has no eye level viewfinder, the first camera I've ever owned without one. Now that I have gotten used to it I would say the only major draw back is the ability to hold it steady at low shutter speeds. Any other short comings I have been able to over come. It certainly is better than the crappy non TTL OVFs typical of tiny cameras. All in all I still prefer eye level viewing most of the time with my larger cameras but the LCD is still usable for a large majority of uses.

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tbcass
tbcass Forum Pro • Posts: 42,795
Re: glasses

RedFox88 wrote:

KyleSlamchez wrote:

Not only that, but because I wear glasses,

No, it is because you wear glasses. If you ever use an optical device such as an optical camera viewfinder or a telescope you have to not wear glasses if you want to see through it well. It is fully because you wear glasses.

I disagree with that as I use such devices all the time with glasses on with no problems whatsoever.

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tbcass
tbcass Forum Pro • Posts: 42,795
Re: I respectfully disagree

RedFox88 wrote:

Mark B. wrote:

No, it is because you wear glasses. If you ever use an optical device such as an optical camera viewfinder or a telescope you have to not wear glasses if you want to see through it well. It is fully because you wear glasses.

I've worn glasses since my first SLR. Inconvenient maybe, but I can see well enough - but I'd never trade an optical VF for going LCD only.

I was not at all saying that using the LCD is better, never said that.

And if you've always only used glasses, you argue that using glasses isn't an obstacle to using a viewfinder. I wear glasses and also use contact lenses. Whenever I'm going to use an SLR camera, I use contact lenses. The difference is that significant. You don't know what you're missing if you've never had the chance to use a viewfinder as it was meant to be designed.

I agree with Mark. Just because you have problems with wearing glasses while looking through eye level viewfinders it doesn't mean everyone else does. Please don't assume your experiences apply to other people. I use glasses without problem all the time, end of story.

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Lee Jay Forum Pro • Posts: 54,468
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

Barrie Davis wrote:

ljfinger wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

ljfinger wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

zenit_b wrote:

Robert Anderson wrote:

I have to tilt my head back and view through the bottom part of my glasses. I

With the LCD screen I cannot tell if my distant subject is smiling or if their eyes are closed.

Then DON'T look through the camera, look over the top!

Best detailed view finder ever..

Golly! I am amazed anybody needs to be told this!!

It's often not so simple. My camera's resolving power at around 35mm is about the same as my bare eyes. So, if I'm shooting at, say, 200mm (which is extremely often for me) I can't see enough detail "over the top". Further, looking "over the top" means losing your attention on framing which usually means missing the shot.

I wouldn't consider using a 200mm lens to shoot with an LCD viewing camera. Not a suitable combination.

My SX260 has no viewfinder and goes to 500mm.

Sorry. You are sending mixed messages, here. Didn't you say you wouldn't countenance a camera without a viewfinder? Or was that somebody else?

That camera is practical to use at the long end under less than stressful conditions, but it's totally impractical to "look over the top" as you'll lose framing instantly.

My 70-200 is my primary portrait lens.

And you already stated your primary f-length of choice was the long end, right?

I use the whole range, sometimes I even use the long end on APS-c.

I don't go there...

I do.

The longest lens I have ever used for pro portraits is 180mm for a headshot, but that was on 2¼" square. It is all a matter of taste, but I wouldn't ever use a 200 on 35mm, let alone APS, due to gross flattening of the features at the distances involved.

The difference in feature flattening between 85mm and 300mm is actually quite small.

Also, my shots are carefully set up, so throwing confusing backgrounds out of focus at wide aperture is not of great concern.

Mine are often of kids playing and you don't really want to chase them around.

....the longest lens I have ever used for a fashion shoot was 180mm, and THAT was on 2¼" square...(Hassy). Even so, the models were so far away they couldn't hear me in the traffic noise of a city street, so I had to relay my posing directions via mobile 'phone to an assistant stationed just out of shot.

I do it all the time from just 5-30 feet away.

Do what? Use a 'phone to communicate?

Shoot portraits at long focal lengths.  I've never used a communication device other than my voice for this.

Do the math.  A 25cm tall head shot at 200mm means you are only 1.39m from your target.

200mm on full-frame:

200mm on APS-c:

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Lee Jay
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Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

ljfinger wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

ljfinger wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

ljfinger wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

zenit_b wrote:

Robert Anderson wrote:

I have to tilt my head back and view through the bottom part of my glasses. I

With the LCD screen I cannot tell if my distant subject is smiling or if their eyes are closed.

Then DON'T look through the camera, look over the top!

Best detailed view finder ever..

Golly! I am amazed anybody needs to be told this!!

It's often not so simple. My camera's resolving power at around 35mm is about the same as my bare eyes. So, if I'm shooting at, say, 200mm (which is extremely often for me) I can't see enough detail "over the top". Further, looking "over the top" means losing your attention on framing which usually means missing the shot.

I wouldn't consider using a 200mm lens to shoot with an LCD viewing camera. Not a suitable combination.

My SX260 has no viewfinder and goes to 500mm.

Sorry. You are sending mixed messages, here. Didn't you say you wouldn't countenance a camera without a viewfinder? Or was that somebody else?

That camera is practical to use at the long end under less than stressful conditions, but it's totally impractical to "look over the top" as you'll lose framing instantly.

My 70-200 is my primary portrait lens.

And you already stated your primary f-length of choice was the long end, right?

I use the whole range, sometimes I even use the long end on APS-c.

I don't go there...

I do.

The longest lens I have ever used for pro portraits is 180mm for a headshot, but that was on 2¼" square. It is all a matter of taste, but I wouldn't ever use a 200 on 35mm, let alone APS, due to gross flattening of the features at the distances involved.

The difference in feature flattening between 85mm and 300mm is actually quite small.

Also, my shots are carefully set up, so throwing confusing backgrounds out of focus at wide aperture is not of great concern.

Mine are often of kids playing and you don't really want to chase them around.

....the longest lens I have ever used for a fashion shoot was 180mm, and THAT was on 2¼" square...(Hassy). Even so, the models were so far away they couldn't hear me in the traffic noise of a city street, so I had to relay my posing directions via mobile 'phone to an assistant stationed just out of shot.

I do it all the time from just 5-30 feet away.

Do what? Use a 'phone to communicate?

Shoot portraits at long focal lengths. I've never used a communication device other than my voice for this.

Do the math. A 25cm tall head shot at 200mm means you are only 1.39m from your target.

That would suggest that your zoom is not yeilding anything LIKE a full 200mm at that working distance. Have you tried shooting headshots with an actual 200mm PRIME lens?

200mm on full-frame:

200mm on APS-c:

Your choice, not mine... (see below)

You can't see the flattening, can you? Hmmm....

To me it is excessive.... but I have noticed over the years, people have been shooting headshots with longer and yet longer lenses. Somehow they are able to 'tune out' the flattening from their perceptions, to the point where grown womens' noses are shrunk 'till they all look like two year olds... (see above)..

It has to be said, if you like this "kiddi-fication" of adults, and find it appealing, I'm afraid I don't.

Do you do it to men, as well?

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Baz
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Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
UPDATE: 200mm lens on full frame.

Barrie Davis wrote:

Do the math. A 25cm tall head shot at 200mm means you are only 1.39m from your target.

That would suggest that your zoom is not yielding anything LIKE a full 200mm at that working distance. Have you tried shooting headshots with an actual 200mm PRIME lens?

UPDATE: It happens that I have a prime lens of 200m in the house at this time. (It is on loan to my son in case he wants to buy it.)

I have tried it out with my wife as model, framed as your shot below. I could NOT frame as loose as your shot below from a distance of 3 metres, but had to move back to more than four, nearly five metres.

This supports my contention that your "200mm," like may zooms, is much shorter than nominal longest when focused close.

I don't know how that accords with your maths, but mine was a practical test.

200mm on APS-c:

Your choice, not mine... (see below)

You can't see the flattening, can you? Hmmm....

To me it is excessive.... but I have noticed over the years, people have been shooting headshots with longer and yet longer lenses. Somehow they are able to 'tune out' the flattening from their perceptions, to the point where grown womens' noses are shrunk 'till they all look like two year olds... (see above)..

It has to be said, if you like this "kiddi-fication" of adults, and find it appealing, I'm afraid I don't.

Do you do it to men, as well?

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

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Lee Jay Forum Pro • Posts: 54,468
Re: UPDATE: 200mm lens on full frame.

Barrie Davis wrote:

UPDATE: It happens that I have a prime lens of 200m in the house at this time. (It is on loan to my son in case he wants to buy it.)

I have tried it out with my wife as model, framed as your shot below. I could NOT frame as loose as your shot below from a distance of 3 metres, but had to move back to to nearly four.

This supports my contention that your "200mm" is much shorter than nominal when focused close.

I don't know how that accords with your maths, but mine was a practical test.

I didn't say that the shot I posted was from any particular distance.  I was on the order of 10 feet away, but I could have been 6 or 8 or 12 or 15 feet.  I didn't measure it.  I just did the math for a tight head shot:  25cm/36mm * 200mm = 1.39m.

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Lee Jay
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Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
Re: UPDATE: 200mm lens on full frame.

ljfinger wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

UPDATE: It happens that I have a prime lens of 200m in the house at this time. (It is on loan to my son in case he wants to buy it.)

I have tried it out with my wife as model, framed as your shot below. I could NOT frame as loose as your shot below from a distance of 3 metres, but had to move back to to nearly four.

This supports my contention that your "200mm" is much shorter than nominal when focused close.

I don't know how that accords with your maths, but mine was a practical test.

I didn't say that the shot I posted was from any particular distance. I was on the order of 10 feet away, but I could have been 6 or 8 or 12 or 15 feet. I didn't measure it. I just did the math for a tight head shot: 25cm/36mm * 200mm = 1.39m.

On the order of 10 feet (3 metres) away, AND not getting an actual 200mm... [??]

I don't know about you, but I always got inconveniently tight headshots with a 135 on full frame, which is why a real 200mm would be out of the question.

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Baz
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Jack West Senior Member • Posts: 1,144
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

i find it difficult to keep steady with that "stinky diaper" pose

Lee Jay Forum Pro • Posts: 54,468
Re: UPDATE: 200mm lens on full frame.

Barrie Davis wrote:

ljfinger wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

UPDATE: It happens that I have a prime lens of 200m in the house at this time. (It is on loan to my son in case he wants to buy it.)

I have tried it out with my wife as model, framed as your shot below. I could NOT frame as loose as your shot below from a distance of 3 metres, but had to move back to to nearly four.

This supports my contention that your "200mm" is much shorter than nominal when focused close.

I don't know how that accords with your maths, but mine was a practical test.

I didn't say that the shot I posted was from any particular distance. I was on the order of 10 feet away, but I could have been 6 or 8 or 12 or 15 feet. I didn't measure it. I just did the math for a tight head shot: 25cm/36mm * 200mm = 1.39m.

On the order of 10 feet (3 metres) away, AND not getting an actual 200mm... [??]

Should be pretty close.

I don't know about you, but I always got inconveniently tight headshots with a 135 on full frame, which is why a real 200mm would be out of the question.

I have no trouble with that.  I don't mind being farther away and I don't might being very tight.

I use a very wide range of focal lengths for "portraits" or people shots, including 15mm fisheye on full frame.  This was taken from about 6 inches with the fish.

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Lee Jay
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Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
Re: UPDATE: 200mm lens on full frame.

Fair enough. Nothing further to say, except that I like your shot of the baby.

Mind how you go, Lee. 
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Baz
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Cane Veteran Member • Posts: 6,900
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

Old people think it's the only way to shoot. Most of my shots aren't taken at eye level, so it's pointless for me to use one, but I've been told I am doing it wrong. I should be on my knees in the mud!

toomanycanons Forum Pro • Posts: 12,770
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

Cane wrote:

Old people think it's the only way to shoot. Most of my shots aren't taken at eye level, so it's pointless for me to use one, but I've been told I am doing it wrong. I should be on my knees in the mud!

Lots of my shots aren't taken at eye level either.  You may not realize this, but it's possible to hold my camera-with-OVF somewhere other than eye level and take the shot.  It's true.

So taking a shot low is a young people thing?  How inventive!

DonA2
DonA2 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,388
Re: Not A Fan of Viewfinders. Am I crazy?

Cane wrote:

Old people think it's the only way to shoot. Most of my shots aren't taken at eye level, so it's pointless for me to use one, but I've been told I am doing it wrong. I should be on my knees in the mud!

Whatever works for you.  Personally I do most all shooting with an EVF but that swivel out LCD sure does come in handy.  No getting down in the mud or climbing up over people for that impossible shot.

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