May 31st, 2012, 07:12 PM
Fujifilm X-Pro 1, Sony NEX-7, Panasonic DMC-GH2, Olympus VF-2: EVF comparison
Recently I had a chance to spend a large amount of time with two of the most interesting mirrorless cameras currently on the market: Fujifilm X-Pro 1 and Sony NEX-7. I am also a happy owner of the Panasonic GH2 and have extensive experience shooting with various Olympus Micro 4/3 cameras using the VF-2 add-on viewfinder. That's why I wanted to make a comparison of the viewfinders used in those cameras because for me this is one of the most important features in any camera.
To some extent, this comparison is also applicable to the Olympus OM-D E-M5 (which uses the same EVF module as the VF-2), Panasonic LVF-2 (which has almost the same EVF as the Panasonic GH2), Sony Alpha A77, A65 and NEX-5N with the FDA-EV1s (those cameras feature the same EVF as the NEX-7).
1. Fujifilm X-Pro 1. The hybrid viewfinder of the X-Pro 1 is excellent. In the optical mode, it obviously doesn't have any delay and is as bright and clear as any other optical viewfinder out there, but with useful electronic overlays including virtual bubble level, histogram, and parallax-corrected AF point indication. Simply stunning. In the electronic mode, the X-Pro 1's EVF has a very good resolution of 1.44M dots and features relatively good dynamic range. The biggest downside of the EVF in the X-Pro 1 is its slow refresh rate and noticeable delay, especially in low light. It also has no diopter correction whatsoever. The size of the EVF is relatively small - it looks almost the same as Olympus VF-2, maybe slightly bigger.
2. Sony NEX-7. The NEX-7's EVF has the highest resolution (2.35M dots). It's also one of the biggest — approximately on par with the EVF in the Panasonic GH2. However, in many ways it's inferior to every other EVF in this comparison. Its dynamic range is very narrow and it crushes shadow areas completely. Surprisingly, it's also the noisiest in low light situations. And its eye-relief is very tight; I wear glasses and I'm not able to see the whole frame at once when shooting with the NEX-7. It has one redeeming quality, however — it has a relatively deep eyecup which is more effective at blocking stray light than others.
3. Panasonic GH2. Panasonic was the first camera company to offer truly excellent EVFs. The EVF in the GH2 is very large and bright. It also has a very good resolution of approx. 1.44M dots. Unlike other Panasonic cameras, the EVF in the GH2 is multi-aspect to match its unique sensor. It also provides generous eye-relief — I have never had any problems with glasses. Its dynamic range is somewhere between the Sony NEX-7 and the Fujifilm X-Pro 1.
4. Olympus VF-2. This EVF is superb. It's not as big as the Panasonic one, but it's very crisp and clear, with excellent dynamic range (although still much worse than an OVF) and color rendition. Its eye-relief is also quite good.
I know that such things are a matter of personal preferences, but I think Olympus VF-2 is simply the best of the bunch. The Panasonic GH2 EVF is a close second, and the EVF of the Sony NEX-7 is a distant third. As for the X-Pro 1, its viewfinder is unique. As a whole it's super awesome, but its EVF part is no fun because of slow refresh rate and noticeable delay.
Hope that simple comparison is useful for you!
Last edited by stratokaster; May 31st, 2012 at 07:55 PM.
May 31st, 2012, 07:32 PM
Is the GH2 viewfinder the same as the one in the G1, G2, and GH1? I find the colour "tearing" to be quite uncomfortable on the GH1. The problem is made worse by it's large size since your eye virtually needs to look around to see the entire display. I agree that despite being smaller the VF-2/E-M5 viewfinder is the better of the two, to the point where I'd consider it to be more than just for "emergency" use only.
Nic (Canonite, Olympian, Panasonian, Samsunite) ~flickr~
May 31st, 2012, 07:36 PM
I don't think it's the same unit. It has faster refresh rate and is also multi-aspect to match the sensor of the camera. It definitely has less color tearing than my former G2. I hardly notice it.
Originally Posted by Luckypenguin
May 31st, 2012, 07:44 PM
Thanks for the comparison Pavel. I've used them all as well, and I agree with your assessment.
Current Gear: A little bit of this and a little bit of that, but want more!
May 31st, 2012, 07:46 PM
Why do I feel like the E-M5 EVF is smaller than the VF-2? I feel like it's quite a bit smaller.....is it indeed the same?
May 31st, 2012, 07:49 PM
The unit is indeed the same, but it has different optics in front of it.
Originally Posted by Luke
May 31st, 2012, 09:21 PM
Interesting. Thank you.
Had my first detailed play with the Nex 7 this past weekend. Nice camera in many ways, though I think it would benefit from being a bit bigger.
Anyway, I was really disappointed in the EVF. Perhaps my expectations were too high. But I prefer the Olympus VF2.
May 31st, 2012, 09:49 PM
Thank you, Pavel. I've been toying with the idea of a Sony A65 because of the OLED EVF. But it sounds like I'd do just as well with something like the A35, which has a more traditional (if any EVF can be called traditional) LED EVF. If I'm not mistaken, the EVF in the Sony A 33/35/55/57 is the same unit used by Olympus. What's more, the A35 is, for all intents and purposes, the same size as the GH2. Good deal!
Last edited by Biro; May 31st, 2012 at 09:57 PM.
Panasonic G5 and GX1; Lumix 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6, Lumix 45-150mm f/4-5.6, Lumix 100-300mm f/4-5.6, Lumix 14mm f/2.5, Lumix 20mm f/1.7
Olympus E-PM2; Zuiko 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6, 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II R, Zuiko 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6, Zuiko 40-150 f/4.0-5.6 R, Zuiko 15mm body-cap lens, Zuiko 17mm f/1.8, Zuiko 45mm f/1.8
Pentax Q; 01 prime, 02 and 06 zooms
May 31st, 2012, 09:50 PM
Yep, this EVF was hyped as the best viewfinder EVAH!!!, when in fact it's not better than its direct competitors.
Originally Posted by Pelao
May 31st, 2012, 10:29 PM
Not exactly, it does not have one built in but you can change diopters, just have to buy them
Originally Posted by stratokaster
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