The importance of viewfinders! (Panasonic and others, please read this)

Discussion in 'Panasonic Lumix' started by Borked Pseudo Mailed, May 20, 2006.

  1. Battery life is cited as a primary reason to use a viewfinder but I think there are better reasons that should be mentioned more often. Viewfinders allow you to press a camera against your eye socket and lock your elbows to your chest for maximum stability. Yes, you can lock your elbows (awkwardly) with just an LCD but the eye-bracing thing is vital. It completes a "stability triangle" that you can't get with only two rigid points.

    A viewfinder (if it isn't distorted) also lets you compose scenes and level horizons better since the shot fills your vision and the geometry is easier to study. EVFs are my favorite since they let you see how the exposure will actually look.

    It's hard to explain, but squinting at an LCD a foot away leaves out a certain unspoken control factor when you're setting up a shot. People with eye problems don't like it either. LCDs are best for quick snapshots and going through menus.

    I'm inspired to write this because Panasonic/Lumix saw fit to not include a viewfinder on their otherwise great DMC-TZ1 pocket 10X zoom. Did they leave it out only to keep the camera small? I'd rather have an EVF and a smaller LCD screen than just that big LCD. When I'm outdoors I rarely use an LCD, even if it's good with glare.

    Granted, the OIS (anti-shake) system will try to compensate when you hold the camera out in front like a zombie, but at long ranges, anti-shake can always use help.

    Pana-Lumix, in the future, please include an EVF on all your long zoom models! I was prepared to buy a TZ1 as a compact trail camera to augment my FZ20, but the missing EVF made me balk. I couldn't get comfortable framing scenic shots with just the LCD. How about designing an upcoming TZ1-V? The "V" would stand for viewfinder, with a smaller LCD in the same chassis. I'd buy one with little hesitation then.

    N.C.
     
    Borked Pseudo Mailed, May 20, 2006
    #1
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  2. Borked Pseudo Mailed

    Celcius Guest

    there are better reasons that should be mentioned more often. Viewfinders
    allow you to press a camera against your eye socket and lock your elbows to
    your chest for maximum stability. Yes, you can lock your elbows (awkwardly)
    with just an LCD but the eye-bracing thing is vital. It completes a
    "stability triangle" that you can't get with only two rigid points.
    level horizons better since the shot fills your vision and the geometry is
    easier to study. EVFs are my favorite since they let you see how the
    exposure will actually look.
    certain unspoken control factor when you're setting up a shot. People with
    eye problems don't like it either. LCDs are best for quick snapshots and
    going through menus.
    a viewfinder on their otherwise great DMC-TZ1 pocket 10X zoom. Did they
    leave it out only to keep the camera small? I'd rather have an EVF and a
    smaller LCD screen than just that big LCD. When I'm outdoors I rarely use an
    LCD, even if it's good with glare.
    the camera out in front like a zombie, but at long ranges, anti-shake can
    always use help.
    models! I was prepared to buy a TZ1 as a compact trail camera to augment my
    FZ20, but the missing EVF made me balk. I couldn't get comfortable framing
    scenic shots with just the LCD. How about designing an upcoming TZ1-V? The
    "V" would stand for viewfinder, with a smaller LCD in the same chassis. I'd
    buy one with little hesitation then.
    My previous camera, a Canon Pro 1, had a pretty good view finder. I found
    myself using it rather than the LCD. First, I could use the dioptric
    adjustment whereas, I needed my glasses on the LCD and in the sun, it was
    more practical to use the viewfinder than the LCD, which was sometimes
    completely washed out. Of course, now with my Rebel XT, I don't have the
    choice ;-)
    Marcel
     
    Celcius, May 20, 2006
    #2
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  3. Agreed. I use the VF on my FZ20 all the time, except for close-up stuff on a
    tripod.

    DP
     
    Dennis Pogson, May 20, 2006
    #3
  4. Borked Pseudo Mailed

    Don Wiss Guest

    I think I agree, but with your really long line lengths it is really
    difficult to read! Please fix your software to have the standard line
    length of 75 characters.

    Thanks, Don <www.donwiss.com/pictures/> (e-mail link at page bottoms).
     
    Don Wiss, May 21, 2006
    #4
  5. Nope. You can hold a camera out in front of you much more stably than
    you can pull it against your face -- if you use a neck-strap
    properly. I'd been shooting low-light long shutter speed work for
    decades when I got my first digital camera, and was really surprised
    to discover how much lower a shutter speed I can use.

    This is easiest with a camera with a "normal" neck strap setup -- one
    end of the strap connected to each side of the camera. Put the strap
    around your neck, hold the camera firmly, pull your elbows into your
    belly, and then push out against the strap. It's amazingly stable.
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, May 21, 2006
    #5
  6. Borked Pseudo Mailed

    Freda Guest

    Must admit I've never heard of that unusual method, but it's certainly not
    the way that the majority of 'Joe Public' take pictures.

    Waving a camera around in front of you at arms length is the province of
    rank novices, people who haven't got a clue what the expression 'camera
    shake' means, or people who neither know nor care any different.

    Anyone who is even the slightest bit serious about the results from
    hand-held photography, will use the tried and trusted method described by
    the OP. Waving a camera around trying to peer into an LCD screen not only
    looks extremely silly, but is asking for trouble. On any half decent digital
    camera (ie ones with viewfinders also), the LCD is simply there for
    reviewing photos, changing menu settings and close-up or macro shots.
     
    Freda, May 22, 2006
    #6
  7. That's true. But let's blame the ignorant users, rather than the
    technology. And try to educate any users who care. Joe Public
    doesn't hold his film P&S up to his eye very steadily either.

    I developed the method about 15 minutes after I got my first digital
    camera. I'd used a complex double-shoulder chest strap for SLRs that,
    after very finicky adjustment, let you hold the camera up to your eye
    while pushing against the strap, and that was pretty good, but your
    arms were still in the air, unsupported. I'm also familiar with rifle
    sling techniques for shooting -- same problem of holding steady and
    aiming accurately that we have with cameras.

    I also get very good luck resting the camera on my knee, sometimes
    pointed at a strange angle, and again it's much easier to frame with
    the LCD than by pure intuition. 1/4 sec at about 50mm angle-of-view
    focal length works a lot of the time -- more problems from subject
    movement than camera shake.
    Or people who know a lot and care a lot and are doing it a bit more
    carefully.
    I am a counterexample to your claim. I use what works, and with
    cameras with an LCD preview, holding it out in front against the strap
    works a lot better than holding it up to my face.

    The lack of preview on DSLRs, while pretty well tied to technological
    issues (CCD clearing, allocation of space on the CCD chip, benefits of
    separate phase-detection focus sensors, and probably other things), is
    still a disadvantage. I'm on my second DSLR, and on balance I find
    that disadvantage worth it for the other advantages is buys me, but
    I'm still aware there's a tradeoff.
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, May 22, 2006
    #7
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