Digital Finders, Why So Small?

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Alan Smithee, Aug 29, 2006.

  1. Alan Smithee

    Alan Smithee Guest

    OK. So I'm shopping for a digital camera for colour work. I'm still with
    film for Black And White work. How disappointing is all I can say. I compare
    the finders of my film cameras Konicas (T3, FT-1) and Leicas (M3 and Rs) to
    the "best" D-SLRs. They're all (ie. Canon 30D, Olympus E-, Lumix, Nikon)
    about 60% smaller than the film cameras. I'm squinting. I feel like I'm
    looking through a keyhole. I've totally written off any digital camera with
    a through the lens LCD finder. Impossible to focus. What gives? Does anybody
    make a decent finder (D-SLR or D-Rangefinder/Point and Shoot) anymore?!
    (Thanks for letting me vent.)
    Alan Smithee, Aug 29, 2006
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  2. For some reason Nikon did not use a pentaprism in the D70s and just used
    mirrors instead, resulting in a very poor viewfinder. I'm not sure why they
    decided to skimp on such an important part of the camera- are pentaprisms
    very costly?. It's so long since I've used a film SLR (about 20 years ago)
    I can't remember how bright or large the image is, but I can imagine that
    someone migrating from film would be disapointed, but I have migrated from
    digital p&s so *any* SLR viewfinder is going to seem better than having to
    use a 2 inch LCD as a "viewfinder".
    Adrian Boliston, Aug 29, 2006
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  3. I assume you already understand "why" they are smaller. And I suppose that
    you also understand that you can get a decent viewfinder on a digital SLR with
    a full frame sensor, such as the 1Ds or probably even the 5D.
    Thomas T. Veldhouse, Aug 29, 2006
  4. Alan Smithee

    Alan Smithee Guest

    Honestly, I don't fully understand the "why" question. Is it because of the
    smaller image footprint? Looking though the Canon 30D and Nikon D70 reminded
    me of an older economy Pentax Z- series film camera. I never understood why
    that finder was so small and it was film.
    Alan Smithee, Aug 29, 2006
  5. Alan Smithee

    Jack Guest

    The Canon 5D view finder is supposed to be very good, however some of this
    is probably due to is having a full frame 35mm sensor.
    Jack, Aug 30, 2006
  6. I had the chance (briefly) to look through one recently, and it was much
    darker than I remember my Nikon F3. Of course, I had Nikon f/1.4 and
    f/2.8 lenses - the Canon probably had some f/5.6 zoom. Probably where
    most of the difference lies.

    David J Taylor, Aug 30, 2006
  7. Alan Smithee

    Jack Guest

    Granted, a 1.4 would be brighter, however the OP was referring to size.
    Jack, Aug 30, 2006
  8. The size on the 5D was fine, but the lack of brightness should also be of
    concern to the OP.

    David J Taylor, Aug 30, 2006
  9. Alan Smithee

    Jack Guest

    Maybe you old-uns need to compensate for your eyesight, however to be honest
    I never notice much difference whether I am shooting using a 1.4 prime or an
    f4 zoom. I am too engrossed in the photo to worry about that.

    What I would really prefer is a 100% view finder.
    Jack, Aug 30, 2006
  10. The test I mentioned was under rather low light shooting conditions. The
    lens aperture would have made a significant difference. Framing was much
    easier with the EVF on my Nikon 8400 than with the dim image on the 5D.
    Of course, precision focussing was easier on the 5D.

    Diopter adjustment is important, at least to me. In fact I would regard
    it as an essential feature of a camera, and would not buy a camera

    Why do you put up with cameras which do not provide 100% view?

    David J Taylor, Aug 30, 2006
  11. Alan Smithee

    Jack Guest

    You lost me with the electronic viewfinder. No thanks.
    Jack, Aug 30, 2006
  12. Most people find the 5D viewfinder way better than any of the cropped
    cameras _other than the Nikon pro cameras_. I find that it's OK, but (1) I'd
    like a "higher eyepoint" so I don't have to scrunch my nose so hard against
    the camera, and (2) the viewfinder readout is too small and too dim. The
    300D had the "tunnel vision" problem that most people hate, but I found it
    OK for composing images (and less nose scrunch), and the readout was bigger
    and brighter. Sigh.

    FWIW, my opinion here (as a glasses wearer who has difficulty with a lot of
    SLR viewfinders) is that more than the format (cropped, FF, or medium
    format) or the construction (mirrors or prism), it's the basic design of the
    optical system. Professional cameras such as the F3 and Canon 1-series have
    _much_ better viewfinders than non-professional cameras (e.g. Olympus OM-1,
    Nikon FM3, Canon 20D/30D, and yes, Canon 5D). And in non-pro cameras, I
    really don't see a significant difference between mirrors and prisms.

    The parameter that seems to be the most significant in making a viewfinder
    wonderful (pro cameras) or horrible (just about everything else) is the size
    of the lens and opening at the back of the viewfinder system, the part
    closest to your eye.

    Personally, I think it's a capitalist plot by the camera industry to abuse
    people too cheap to buy a professional camera. (The only exception I know of
    is the Nikon F100; not a top-of-the-line pro camera, but way better than
    anything Canon has ever made outside their 1-series cameras.)

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Aug 31, 2006
  13. Today's EVFs are obviously nothing like as good as the optical view
    provided by a proper SLR, I agree. You didn't comment on my question:

    "Why do you put up with cameras which do not provide 100% view?"

    David J Taylor, Aug 31, 2006
  14. Alan Smithee

    Neil Ellwood Guest

    I think that the most accurate viewfinder with normal lenses that I have
    personally come across is the Leica 111g.n
    Neil Ellwood, Aug 31, 2006
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