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Author Topic: DSLR viewfinders  (Read 3271 times)

unruled

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DSLR viewfinders
« on: April 03, 2012, 06:45:19 AM »
Ive been wondering this for the longest time, and can't find any info about it. DSLRs seem to have very small viewfinders when compared to film camera's, despite the bulkier nature of dslr's.

When looking at dslr specs, I suppose this is relating to viewfinder magnification. I have yet to see a dslr with a 1.0 magnification though. I found this article which discusses "honest viewfinder magnification", at 0.5x for a 350d
http://www.dansdata.com/20d_conf.htm

now I'm aware that fullframe cams such as the 5d have bigger viewfinders, but as far as Im aware, not anywhere close to 1.0x. Is there a technical issue that limits the magnification? Do manufacturers believe accuracy is more important than magnification?

would love it if anyone could shed some light on this. Though my 40d's viewfinder is quite a bit bigger than the 350ds, still wish it was bigger. When I pick up my olympus om40 its like going from a 27" hdtv to a cinema screen.

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DSLR viewfinders
« on: April 03, 2012, 06:45:19 AM »

daveswan

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Re: DSLR viewfinders
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2012, 07:31:55 AM »
The 7D has a 100% 1.0x viewfinder but it is a crop sensor. I don't think I've ever seen a 1.0x 135 format SLR or DSLR. Comparing my old 5D with my '70s era EF I don't see much difference.

Now, for a really big, bright VF you should really be looking at a Leica R series cam

neuroanatomist

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Re: DSLR viewfinders
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2012, 07:41:06 AM »
Here's more reading: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/viewfinders.shtml

FWIW, the 7D does have 100% coverage at 1.0x - but that's achievable only because of the APS-C sensor.  1.0x on APS-C is equivalent to 0.625x on FF.  Compare that to the 1D X, which has 100% coverage at 0.76x.

When looking at dslr specs, I suppose this is relating to viewfinder magnification. I have yet to see a dslr with a 1.0 magnification though. I found this article which discusses "honest viewfinder magnification", at 0.5x for a 350d
http://www.dansdata.com/20d_conf.htm

Interesting concept from the link above: "The viewfinders in non-pro cameras usually show you a bit less of the scene than the camera will actually photograph. That makes framing easier, as you don't have to be perfectly accurate about making objects fit inside the frame."

How does not being able to see the entire frame make framing easier?  Sloppier, less precise, those are adjectives that come to mind.  Not easier.  But ok, it makes sense if extend the argument to the ultimate conclusion - just close your eyes and snap the picture.  I suppose it doesn't get any easier than that. 
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Re: DSLR viewfinders
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2012, 08:00:27 AM »
It took me a bit of adjustment when I first got the 7D as I relied on the un-crop available previously. Not every photo area gives you the time to frame accurately. Conversely to that, I have often wished to get greater than 100% coverage e.g. have a full frame view with APS-C frame lines in it on a crop sensor. Seeing outside the field of view could be handy too.
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D.Sim

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Re: DSLR viewfinders
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2012, 08:01:28 AM »
Here's more reading: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/viewfinders.shtml

FWIW, the 7D does have 100% coverage at 1.0x - but that's achievable only because of the APS-C sensor.  1.0x on APS-C is equivalent to 0.625x on FF.  Compare that to the 1D X, which has 100% coverage at 0.76x.

When looking at dslr specs, I suppose this is relating to viewfinder magnification. I have yet to see a dslr with a 1.0 magnification though. I found this article which discusses "honest viewfinder magnification", at 0.5x for a 350d
http://www.dansdata.com/20d_conf.htm

Interesting concept from the link above: "The viewfinders in non-pro cameras usually show you a bit less of the scene than the camera will actually photograph. That makes framing easier, as you don't have to be perfectly accurate about making objects fit inside the frame."

How does not being able to see the entire frame make framing easier?  Sloppier, less precise, those are adjectives that come to mind.  Not easier.  But ok, it makes sense if extend the argument to the ultimate conclusion - just close your eyes and snap the picture.  I suppose it doesn't get any easier than that.

Interesting point neuro... I've never liked the 95% coverage on my 50D, would far prefer a 100% finder. I'd be happy to get something even bigger - similar to what the M9 has, with frame lines....

awinphoto

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Re: DSLR viewfinders
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2012, 10:25:55 AM »
I read somewhere when talking about this similar topic, there is an incredibly large amount of engineering that goes into building a 100% VF... and if you want 1.0 magnification, even more so.  Film cameras like the rebels for instance i believe wasn't a full 100% but the pro style films were...  Some theorys could be that digital cameras, even the rebels, have so much technology, so much refinement, that to keep costs down and make the camera somewhat affordable, that is one of the compromises, or else we could see even higher prices to compensate, and secondly, back then it was needed to have full frame VF because there was no LCD to review images at 100%, there also wasn't the market of photographers then that there are now... demand was low, supplies were low... Photography required more skill back then... Digital photography has really made photographers, even pro's, lazy because of the instant gratification of the image.  Back then you had to nail the lighting, nail the scene, reshoots were harder, not only did you have to wait for the film to be developed, contacts to be printed, many times that was days later.  If it was a paid shoot and you messed up, you had to coordinate to reshoot it on your dime.  More people shot on fully auto back then just to save their own butts or carried light meters with them everywhere...  So there were fewer photographers buying, cameras lasted longer, and Canon and Nikon really had to make cutting edge cameras (at that time) to entice photographers to splurge on a new camera, especially since 35mm wasn't the norm.  Large format and even Medium format was the norm, so Canon and Nikon had to compete squarely against them to prove their gear was worth it to "professional" photographers... It's a different world now, different market and a new boom of photographers.
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unruled

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Re: DSLR viewfinders
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2012, 10:35:29 AM »
thanks for the replies, that luminous article was pretty informative! I hate to be the "film" guy but with regards to VF... :P

I looked up the specs of my 40d, seems its  95% frame coverage, Magnification: 0.95x
normalising for crop-factor makes it 0.59X

my old 350d was apparently 95% frame coverage, Magnification: 0.8x. though it was also pentamirror instead of pentaprism. Well, no wonder I prefer the VF on my 40d. Normalising that from the crop factor makes it 0.5X

Turns out my OM40 olympus film cam is 93% accurte, 0.92X magnification. No wonder my 40d's 0.59X doesn't match the 0.92X. muuuch bigger

« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 10:41:59 AM by unruled »

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Re: DSLR viewfinders
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2012, 10:35:29 AM »

samueljay

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Re: DSLR viewfinders
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2012, 11:26:43 AM »
I was really worried when I got my 5D Mark III and looked through the viewfinder for the first time, it was really dark and I couldn't get anything in focus (I didn't realise you needed a battery in for it to work properly :P ) But boy, when I did put a battery in, it looks amazing! It's very big, bright, and clear! A lot better than my film cameras, but they're pretty old Minoltas.
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unruled

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Re: DSLR viewfinders
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2012, 12:30:56 PM »
Heh, I've noticed viewfinders getting brighter on a friends nikon when you switch it on (my 350d and 40d don't do that though). Does anyone know what actually happens to make it brighter? afaik the aperture is always open so its not that.

congrats on your 5diii ;)

awinphoto

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Re: DSLR viewfinders
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2012, 12:53:12 PM »
Heh, I've noticed viewfinders getting brighter on a friends nikon when you switch it on (my 350d and 40d don't do that though). Does anyone know what actually happens to make it brighter? afaik the aperture is always open so its not that.

congrats on your 5diii ;)

The 7d and 5d3 have the intelligent VF with the LCD overlay... no battery the LCD goes dead... Dont know if the nikons have a similar LCD overlay or not. 
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Re: DSLR viewfinders
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2012, 01:50:01 PM »
Best viewfinder I ever used was on my Nikon SP 35mm rangefinder. It was 100%. Lifesize. You could shoot with both eyes open and see a very large area outside the photographed area.

The main viewfinder had a paralex correcting frame that floated in the field of view with the focusing area in the center. There was a ring that you turned to "drop in" frames for 80mm(?), 105mm and 135mm FOV. For WA lens use you moved your eye slightly to the left and viewed through a less than lifesize viewfinder that covered the FOV of a 28mm lens. Inside the 28mm field was a frame that defined the FOV of a 35mm lens.
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D.Sim

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Re: DSLR viewfinders
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2012, 09:56:47 PM »
Interesting question on this: Anyone use a brightscreen?

Was thinking of getting one... or at the very least, something that has a bigger eyecup, so i dont need to press my entire face onto the camera...

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Re: DSLR viewfinders
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2012, 09:56:47 PM »