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So...just a basic question about the direction of mirrorless cameras...

Discussion in 'Sony RX1 Forum' started by rpavich, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. rpavich

    rpavich SC Veteran

    267
    Jul 17, 2013
    I'm new to mirrorless cameras. i've owned an X100S and now the RX1 and since I've spent virtually all my time in the DSLR world, I never gave the humble viewfinder a thought.

    I recently realized (in just looking at all of the mirrorless cameras available) that having a built-in view finder is not the norm (or it doesn't seem to be)...is this true; that built-in viewfinders are not commonplace in mirrorless cameras?

    It seems that the X100S, and XPro-1, and it's siblings are an exception...
     
  2. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    Other mirrorless (assuming here simply larger than 1" sensor) with built in view finders:

    basic optical finders: Fuji X10, Canon G1X
    More advanced optical VF: Fuji X20, X100, X100s, XPro 1
    Rangefinders: Leica M8, 8.2, 9, ME, M240
    Electronic viewfinders: Panasonic GX7, G6, 5, 3, 2, 1 and 10. GH 1, 2 and 3. Olympus OMD. Sony NEX 6 and 7. I think there's a Samsung model with a viewfinder. Nikon J1, J2, J3. Fuji XE1. I'm sure I'm missing some.
    EVF with SLT: Sony's SLT line (a33, 35, 55, 58, 77, 99 or something like that. I don't know that line too well).

    If you ONLY mean optical, than you are correct. The issue is simple: there are only a few ways to do an optical viewfinder:

    1) a parallel viewfinder, but the closer you get to the subject the worse the parallax error. This can be ignored (X10) or you can use framelines (XPro 1). Also, if your camera is using anything OTHER than a fixed prime lens, you also have to figure out zooming/different focal lengths.
    2) view through the lens, which auto-corrects for parallax and focal length, but then you have to have a mirror in the path, and then you have a DSLR.

    An EVF helps solve this, as long as the EVF can read the image to the screen and then take the shot and return the image back to the viewer ASAP. So, most mirrorless makers are going EVF. Two possible issues with EVF: it's hard sometimes to get the color and contrast just right (but then again, with an EVF you can better simulate the expected exposure), you can't see anything the sensor can't see. That is, with the X100, XPro 1 and Rangefinders, you can see objects coming towards but not yet into the frame. I suppose you could do this with an EVF in the future, but my guess is sensors are still pretty expensive, and companies aren't yet willing to "waste" sensor space to give you an edge outside the frame. Also, EVFs will eat batteries more than an OVF.

    There are TONS of upsides to EVF (see exposure simulation is one of the biggest. See in B&W or other filter/art settings is another).
     
  3. rpavich

    rpavich SC Veteran

    267
    Jul 17, 2013
    Well.that's interesting! Thanks for the info....I'm not up on any technology outside of the DSLR arena.
     
  4. Several offer them as an attachment.

    The idea behind the mirrorless is to create a low weight/size product. As such certain features were eliminated.
     
  5. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    All the Panasonic G's except the GF's and GX1 had viewfinders built in. It's not so uncommon. The first micro four thirds mirrorless (the G1) featured one.

    That being said, I don't like the ongoing approach by Olympus. I think the E-P5 was a HUGE mistake they will pay for and the biggest mistakes are the price point for a viewfinder-less camera -- and the lack of a viewfinder to begin with.

    We'll see how the GX7 does. I'll probably end up with one used eventually. I'm using Panasonic GH1 and GH2 and an X100 after trying most of the more common cams in the mirrorless universe. The price of things like the RX1 puts me off -- if I'm going to spend that kind of money I'll buy a Leica, lol.
     
  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I guess time will tell, but I don't think all that high a percentage of people considering these cameras see an EVF as a must have these days. Yeah, 20 years ago just about everyone looking at decent cameras wanted a viewfinder because that was the ONLY option for visualizing your shot. But today LCD screens are getting really good and a lot of younger photographers who learned on point 'n shoots and/or cell phone cameras and now want to step up to something nicer are very accustomed to shooting without a finder of any kind. Hell, I DID come up shooting with finders on basically everything (with the exception of the ground glass viewer on the old TLR's I shot with as a kid) and I'm just as happy with or without a viewfinder in most situations today. For longer lenses, I pretty much always prefer one. For small and light cameras like the Coolpix A or GR or EPL5 or DP1M, I pretty much always prefer NOT to have one. And for some in-between cameras like the EP2 and EP3 that I've owned, the RX100, the Nex bodies I've shot with, etc, etc, etc, I can easily go either way and a removable EVF is easily enough. And I'm more of a finder-user than many younger photographers coming into it today. I think some of us who came up with finders think its the only way to shoot because its the only way THEY'RE comfortable shooting (my brother and brother-in-law are like this and they're not really into photography much at all, but its all they've ever known and it just feels too foreign to them otherwise), but there are a LOT of very good ways to visualize the image a camera is about to record and many of them don't involve holding the camera to your eye...

    -Ray
     
  7. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    No doubt my prejudices figure into it, lol. But still, I think they are important for when you need them -- especially on something like the X100 where you have no stabilizer. The "three point" support can help with sharpness considerably and of that I'm sure.

    But if you don't need it, perhaps it's a frill. I still don't want to be without it even after shooting a lot without one in my mirrorless journey. To me it's an essential element of low light photography for anyone without ultra-high ISO capability in their cams and/or no stabilzation. Some of you shoot moving subjects that require high enough shutter speeds that camera shake is a marginal consideration compared to subject movement -- but for still subjects in low light I remain convinced of the virtue of an eye-level finder.
     
  8. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I don't find that anchoring a camera against my face really adds much in terms of stability. When I shoot without a finder, I'm not holding the camera out in front of me any distance. I'm generally holding it about 6-10 inches in front of my face, with two hands, and with my elbows braced against my body. This is very nearly if not quite as stable as having it against my eye. And if I have a flip up rear screen, I'm often holding it against my waist or belly which I'm convinced is every bit as stable as my eye, and if I have a strap its hanging down at the ends of, I think its considerably MORE stable.

    I'm not saying finders don't have their place. I just think for some people they're a necessity but for a large (and increasing) number of others, they're somewhere between a minor and non-existent consideration. Which is why, your preferences and mine aside, I doubt offering cameras without them (or with removable ones - arguably the best of both worlds for an ILC) is a bad sales strategy.

    -Ray
     
  9. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    olli
    I think part of the reason why many cameras in these categories did not have viewfinders has to do with cost. EVF's are still relatively new and are subject to the same price/performance constraints as other newer technologies. As performance improves and manufacturing prices fall, I think they will become more common, except where size or price is an absolute priority.

    While I like my RX100 I would like the option of the EVF (but not enough to by the Mk2), and I prefer an EVF on NEX. While it is possible to compose on a rear screen I prefer to compose on an EVF because even if the image is identical. I find psychologically it makes a difference (and I also find a difference between a central VF and an offset VF - but I'm probably odd).

    The other great advantage to an EVF comes as you get a bit older and discover you no longer have the fine vision of your youth.
     
  10. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    Mostly, Ray, I think it's two things: you may be more stable than the average photographer, and your moving subjects cause you to keep your shutter speed up.

    If you want to see what I mean, go shoot some video for awhile. Shoot with the camera held out, and with it to your head. I'll be EXTREMELY surprised if you find they are equivalent. I've done this test myself and it tells.

    Again, for YOUR stills the two shooting styles may be equivalent -- but there is absolutely no question that in objective terms they aren't.
     
  11. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    This is one of the main factors for me, and is also why I don't have an X-Pro, which I was busting for when they were released... the lack of diopter adjuster with a range of adjustments was simply unacceptable.

    The thing about vision, though, is that it can go either way... do you (generically speaking) need glasses for reading? You'll need to be holding the LCD screen a long way from your face if you are to see it properly (I'm heading this way, even as we type)... If you don't, but you need glasses for seeing long distance (already there) then the screen is fine. If you're in the middle (like me) then you may need both... multifocals or whatever... I find it easier to see in an optical or electronic viewfinder, as time wears on, than on the rear screen. I don't even know why I keep buying things without viewfinders of one kind or another, because really, the rear screen can be utterly amazing, but if your eyes can't compensate for where it needs to be held for stability, or composition... useless. This is why, even though the screen on my XZ is great, I've just acquired the VF-2... because I am finding it increasingly difficult to be able to use the rear screen at all. I'm diabetic, just started on insulin, so am hoping my eyes stabilise soon... but until they do... I need viewfinders. I'm just glad that manufacturers do see a need for them, though Canon always disappoints with its crappy smidgy tunnel finders and rubbish EVFs... especially since its OVFs are so big, bright and beautiful. Perhaps they will relent in the coming years.

    I know... I'm rambling... Just crawled out of bed and on first coffee... I'll make more sense later.
     
  12. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    John, we could argue for a good long time about whether shooting with a viewfinder or not are equivalent in terms of stability (perhaps that can be a topic of discussion at lunch!). I'm not saying the two shooting styles are equivalent - although it appears I think there's less difference between them than you might think.

    But the larger point that I was trying to make is that regardless of whether there's no difference, a small difference, or a big difference in how stable a camera can be held at the eye vs elsewhere, I don't think it matters much to the MARKET, which is consisting more and more and more of people who grew up without viewfinders as a given in their photographic lives.

    You said you don't think the EP5 is a smart camera to release without a viewfinder because of stability, but it DOES have the same 5-axis IBIS that the OMD has. That's a reality of that camera that makes the viewfinder FAR less necessary than it might be in others. I have an OMD that has a really good EVF and I use it with very long lenses (ie, the 75-300) - mostly because the separate evf IBIS calms the image and allows me to lock and hold focus in a way I've never been able to with long lenses previously. But I use it almost never with lenses shorter than about 150mm equivalent and I also haven't used it when I've shot video with that camera. Because the IBIS is THAT effective. Even for long exposures. Below are a couple of several shots I often pull out to make this point. They were both shot with the OMD, the first at .8 seconds, the second at .4 seconds - not fast shutter speeds to say the least, without the viewfinder, hand held with the camera nowhere near my face, but braced against my body. If the OMD can do it, the EP5 can do it too. That's probably stable enough for about anything, at which point the EVF becomes only about personal preference. This is an extreme example and not all cameras have that technology, but many have enough stabilization to make a viewfinder a nice option rather than a necessity for many many shooters for the vast majority of their shooting.

    8289828028_022b3e17be_b.
    Rush Hour... by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    6968695936_4d16b37d53_b.
    NYC 4/18/12 by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    -Ray
     
  13. rpavich

    rpavich SC Veteran

    267
    Jul 17, 2013
    I have no comment about the finders discussion; I only had to comment about Ray's two excellent images...even though i've seen them before, they still cause me to stop breathing for a second when i see them again.
     
  14. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    What I don't understand is why that woman has feet, but no body. I just said it that way to sound funny. But seriously, how can her shoes not be moving while she's walking. I've always loved those shots.
     
  15. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I guess one foot is always still when you're walking and there's a point (maybe about half a second or a second or so) in each step when both of them are on the ground and not moving. Probably just lucky that both of these shots have main characters who are caught in that particular instance. OR, maybe they're not actually both planted at the moment I took these shots - maybe it's just that each foot is planted at SOME point in the half second or more of each of these exposures and they only show up during the instant they're planted because that's the only time they're still enough to make an impression??? I just looked at a few others and they all seem to have people with both feet seemingly not moving, which makes the second theory seem more likely to be the right one....

    -Ray
     
  16. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    For me I can hold the camera more still with an EVF. OTOH, I like to hold the PL5 at waist level with the LCD titled horizontal. Especially with a taut neck strap this position can be very stable.
     
  17. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Now I get it. The whole body is CONSTANTLY in motion during a half second, but the feet are also moving....but they do they still enough for probably half of that exposure to register is less ghostly. I love the body-less feet.
     
  18. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Yeah, that's what I was trying (not very effectively) to say in an earlier post. The two shots above were taken that way, braced against my body at the end of a taut neck strap. I think thats more stable than any other way I've tried to steady a camera without a tripod or something. A flip up or fully articulating screen is helpful but not necessary - I've done the same with my RX1. And if you can find something to lean against, it's damn near as good as a tripod.

    -Ray
     
  19. rpavich

    rpavich SC Veteran

    267
    Jul 17, 2013
    I find that the RX1 allows amazingly slow shutter speeds without screwing things up. When braced against something I can do 1/10 easy...and I'm shakey...normally with a DSLR I need EASILY 1/shutter speed to not have camera-movement problems.
     
  20. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    Agreed. I hate Ray too.:tongue: