Dim Nikon viewfinder compared to Canon?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by N.Morrow, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. N.Morrow

    N.Morrow Guest

    I'm shopping for a DSLR and comparing Nikon and Canon models. The optical
    viewfinder on the Canon XS seemed to be quite a bit brighter than either the
    Nikon D3000 or D5000. I'm talking a couple of f-stops brighter. None of the
    cameras were turned on (dead batteries is a Sears demo trademark) and the
    viewing was done inside a store with flourescent lights. Is the dim
    viewfinder a characteristic of Nikon, or there something else I'm missing?

    -N.Morrow
     
    N.Morrow, Jun 22, 2010
    #1
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  2. If you are judging the rear screens, look for a brightness setting
    in the menu. If you are looking through the eyepiece VF, make
    sure the lenses are the same speed and set to the same zoom
    settings. BTW, the Nikon bodies below the D80/D90 use mirrors
    instead of the brighter pentaprisms. I don't know what various
    models of Canons use...
    --DR
     
    David Ruether, Jun 22, 2010
    #2
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  3. N.Morrow

    Me Guest

    Nikon's DSLR viewfinders are very dark unless charged batteries are in
    the camera.
    I guess that the D3000/5000 VF are similar to Canon XS.
     
    Me, Jun 22, 2010
    #3
  4. N.Morrow

    Robert Coe Guest

    :
    : :
    : > I'm shopping for a DSLR and comparing Nikon and Canon models. The optical viewfinder on the Canon XS seemed to be quite a bit
    : > brighter than either the Nikon D3000 or D5000. I'm talking a couple of f-stops brighter. None of the cameras were turned on (dead
    : > batteries is a Sears demo trademark) and the viewing was done inside a store with flourescent lights. Is the dim viewfinder a
    : > characteristic of Nikon, or there something else I'm missing?

    Maybe the Nikon needs power to keep the lens at full aperture and ther Canon
    doesn't.

    : If you are judging the rear screens, look for a brightness setting
    : in the menu. If you are looking through the eyepiece VF, make
    : sure the lenses are the same speed and set to the same zoom
    : settings. BTW, the Nikon bodies below the D80/D90 use mirrors
    : instead of the brighter pentaprisms. I don't know what various
    : models of Canons use...

    I'm pretty sure the XS uses mirrors.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Jun 23, 2010
    #4
  5. Don't confuse viewfinders with displays. SLR viewfinders are optical,
    they don't use electricity so battery status *should* be irrelevant in
    any comparison.

    What matters with an optical viewfinder is:
    1: How fast is the lens? Make sure that you are comparing equal f/#
    lenses or taking the difference into account - and "bright" focus
    screens don't show the benefit of fast optics as much as dim focus
    screens, so it not only better to compare at the same f/# but at the f/#
    of the lenses you are likely to use. Also, be sure the lens is fully
    open when you make the comparison - as others have commented this may
    depend on whether the lens is powered: Canon are open fully by default,
    with Nikon it depends on the lens.
    2: What is the viewfinder technology? As someone else mentioned, cheap
    cameras use penta-mirrors instead of pentaprisms - and get darker
    viewfinders as a result and, more significantly, are more prone to loss
    of viewfinder/sensor alignment as they wear. Do your research, although
    in this case all of the cameras you are comparing have cheap
    pentamirrors.
    3: What is the viewfinder magnification? Expect a larger viewfinder
    image to be darker if everything else is equal - sensor size, f/#, etc.
    4: If everything else is the same - as far as you can tell - it might
    just be the focus screen, bit even that isn't as simple as you might
    think. Bright focus screens are great for low light work, but they
    don't show depth of field very well - making the camera's DOF Preview
    button often worse than useless in that it gives a completely false and
    very optimistic DOF preview. A darker focus screen gives a better DOF
    preview, but is less useful for framing the subject in low light. Not
    such a problem if you can use Live-view, but in a lot of situations you
    can't (eg. night time wildlife).

    Pays your money - takes your choice. ;-)
     
    Kennedy McEwen, Jun 23, 2010
    #5
  6. N.Morrow

    /dev/null/ Guest

    Nikons seem to default to around a mid aperture setting when turned off.
     
    /dev/null/, Jun 23, 2010
    #6
  7. N.Morrow

    /dev/null/ Guest

    Gee TROLL BOY your reading comprehension is pretty poor. The OP said: "The
    optical viewfinder" not the LCD screen. He also said;
    "None of the cameras were turned on (dead batteries is a Sears demo
    trademark)"

    Nikon requires power for the aperture to open up, no power- lens closes
    down.

    DUH!!!
     
    /dev/null/, Jun 23, 2010
    #7
  8. N.Morrow

    Me Guest

    Nope - the aperture stays the same (open) when the battery is removed.
    There's an LCD overlay on Nikon's VF's which displays focus points and
    on-demand gridlines (not sure if the latter is on all models). When the
    battery is out or completely flat, the viewfinder screen is very dark.
    It presumably takes some power to power the LCD, but it can't be much,
    as I had an old D70 left unused for 6 months or so, and the battery
    didn't lose charge.
     
    Me, Jun 23, 2010
    #8
  9. N.Morrow

    Me Guest

    This is wrong. The aperture stays open. The viewfinder screen darkens
    when the battery is removed or dead.
     
    Me, Jun 23, 2010
    #9
  10. N.Morrow

    Me Guest

    It's not a bug. It's the feature of on-demand gridlines (as opposed to
    having to change VF screens). There is of course some battery drain for
    this and also for the top LCDs which remain active and shows shots
    remaining even when the camera is "turned off". Battery drain must be
    very low, as after 6 months left unused, my old D70 battery charge
    indicator still showed 100% (OTOH the D70 battery charge indicator with
    OEM battery was prone to show 100% for 1000 shots or more, then drop to
    0% over 50 shots).
     
    Me, Jun 23, 2010
    #10
  11. N.Morrow

    Peter Guest

    Except in places such as B&H and Adorama, sales help are not exactly high
    paid. What do you expect? Yes there are exceptions. But, I never draw to an
    inside straight.
     
    Peter, Jun 23, 2010
    #11
  12. N.Morrow

    Me Guest

    When I first got a D70, I'd read many forum posts by "experts" claiming
    to have "used" the camera, that the D70 VF was dim and dark compared
    with Canon's APS-c cameras.
    I actually didn't mind the smaller VF on the d70. I have the impression
    that good (often simple) composition usually withstands small sizes -
    you can often pick winners on the web from small thumbnails. My main
    gripe was that placement of AF points wasn't very good.
     
    Me, Jun 23, 2010
    #12
  13. []
    I was very pleased with the improvement in auto-focus when I upgraded my
    Nikon D60 to a D5000. The viewfinder is more than adequate, and having
    the swivel LCD makes the camera more versatile.

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Jun 23, 2010
    #13
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