EVF vs OVF

Larsskv

Enthusiast with Canon related GAS
Jun 12, 2015
684
96
#1
Today I had a photo walk bringing a 6D fitted with a EG-S matte screen and a 35mm Carl Zeiss Milvus f2 lens, together with a 5DIV with the 35LII and the EOS R with the RF 35mm f1.8. I would like to share some insights I got when using and comparing them today.

Note that we had a low sun today, with really nice light for photography. I did street shooting, mainly on still subjects.

As some of you may have noticed, I have been very happy with my EOS R. I can't praise it enough for the AF and the RF lenses. Its AF wipes the floor with the 1DXII and 5DIV, when it comes to low light AF, and AF precision with large aperture lenses, and especially in AI Servo in low light using large aperture lenses. Further, I mostly do find the EVF to be better than an OVF in low light situations.

When shooting still subjects mostly at f2 with the 6D and Carl Zeiss 35 f2 lens today, I had a great time. I loved using the combo for "artistic" photography. The OVF is soo!!! much better than the EVF when it comes to displaying fine detail in a scene. Using the 6D-combo, it was easy to see the the details that were in focus. For the shooting I did, the OVF really did help in terms of composing the photographs. It was inspiring and boosted my creativity. I loved it!

When I pulled out the EOS R for taking the comparison photographs, I could not get the feel for the scene using the EVF. The fine details were missing, and composing the scene felt kind of random. It was hard to tell the outcome. It was less inspiring and less fun to use in that situation.

Honestly, the 5DIV and 35LII combo was a bit in between the 6D and EOS R, when it came to the "joy" of using it. I believe it comes down to the matte screen for manual focus that I have in the 6D. It makes it easier to tell where the field of focus is. For still subjects, I really do find the manual focusing to be more stimulating to my creativity, than using the joystick for moving the focusing point around. When using manual focus on the 6D I become more aware of the framing and the "best" place to place the focus point.

So, for shooting still subjects in good lighting, I have much more fun and joy using a 6D with a EG-S matte screen and manual focus lenses, than I have using the EOS R and its EVF.

About the lenses. They are all very solid performers, and it is quite hard to tell them apart, even when pixel peeping.

The RF 35 f1.8 has me convinced when it comes to sharpness. It is really nice and sharp. Neither of the other lenses were sharper in the shots I got today. Its bokeh is a bit better than the Carl Zeiss 35 f2 Milvus in comparable situations. I did not expect that.

The 35LII has the superior bokeh. I was surprised however, that I didn't find it to be significantly better in terms of color and clarity in the photographs I took today. Sharpness wise, the RF 35 f1.8 seemed on par, but that could be due to less precise focus on the 5DIV, compared to the EOS R.

The Carl Zeiss 35 f2 Milvus is a nice lens, but I did not find it to be sharper or have better bokeh than the RF 35 f1.8. Combined with the 6D though, I did like the colors I got from it over the ones I got from the 35LLII and RF35. It should be noted that I did not take exact comparison shots. I did not use a tripod, and exposures were not exactly the same.

What became clear to me is that DSLRs with their optical viewfinders are still way superior for composing images in good light conditions. Seeing the fine detail in a scene is very important because it adds to and triggers my creativity. It is much more inspiring in use than an EVF.

The EVF in the EOS R was not able to inspire me in the same way, in the soft sunlight I had today.
 
Jul 14, 2018
104
37
#2
When I pulled out the EOS R for taking the comparison photographs, I could not get the feel for the scene using the EVF. The fine details were missing, and composing the scene felt kind of random. It was hard to tell the outcome. It was less inspiring and less fun to use in that situation.

...
The EVF in the EOS R was not able to inspire me in the same way, in the soft sunlight I had today.
I kind of get what you're saying (I have a 6D as well, and you're inspiring me to take another look at it ...) but I'm actually really enjoying the WYSIWYG effect of an EVF, and the fact you can magnify through the EVF should allow better control over fine focusing and detail, especially over distance.
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
Nov 7, 2013
2,271
149
Germany
#4
Thanks, Lars, for sharing your insights and thoughts about VF as well as the 35 lenses.
Esp. this
... the OVF really did help in terms of composing the photographs. It was inspiring and boosted my creativity. I loved it!

When I pulled out the EOS R for taking the comparison photographs, I could not get the feel for the scene using the EVF. The fine details were missing, and composing the scene felt kind of random. It was hard to tell the outcome. It was less inspiring and less fun to use in that situation.
and this
... The RF 35 f1.8 has me convinced when it comes to sharpness. It is really nice and sharp. Neither of the other lenses were sharper in the shots I got today. Its bokeh is a bit better than the Carl Zeiss 35 f2 Milvus in comparable situations. I did not expect that.

The 35LII has the superior bokeh. I was surprised however, that I didn't find it to be significantly better in terms of color and clarity in the photographs I took today. Sharpness wise, the RF 35 f1.8 seemed on par, but that could be due to less precise focus on the 5DIV, compared to the EOS R.
...
was really interesting for me.
I am not so much a street and stills photog, so I will surly try out the EVF or the R myself but the quintessence to me is that AF and lenses are great and the EVF is getting better but maybe needs a few more generations to be perfect (as such: overall good enough) for me.

Thanks a lot.
 

Larsskv

Enthusiast with Canon related GAS
Jun 12, 2015
684
96
#5
I kind of get what you're saying (I have a 6D as well, and you're inspiring me to take another look at it ...) but I'm actually really enjoying the WYSIWYG effect of an EVF, and the fact you can magnify through the EVF should allow better control over fine focusing and detail, especially over distance.
The EVF has many advantages over OVF, but magnifying in the viewfinder will ruin the creative process of finding the most interesting and best framing when using the viewfinder.
 
Dec 13, 2010
3,611
215
#6
Thanks for sharing !

Funny how different people see things so different ! I’m completely opposite on everything you said comparing the EVF with the OVF. Composition much easier when I can both see exposure and move the AF point wherever I want instead of being limited , especially in portrait mode. I find the EVF better because I can always see the real dof instead of f2.5 (the EG-s screen helps with that, but useless at f4). And I can zoom in for manual focus, have the distance scale in VF and those superb new focusing guides. Plus I can see detail much better with the EVF and when I can see histogram and everything it makes it much easier to really get it right in camera.:D(y)
 

Larsskv

Enthusiast with Canon related GAS
Jun 12, 2015
684
96
#7
Thanks, Lars, for sharing your insights and thoughts about VF as well as the 35 lenses.
Esp. this

and this

was really interesting for me.
I am not so much a street and stills photog, so I will surly try out the EVF or the R myself but the quintessence to me is that AF and lenses are great and the EVF is getting better but maybe needs a few more generations to be perfect (as such: overall good enough) for me.

Thanks a lot.
My takeaway is that EVFs and OVFs are slightly different tools for solving the same task, and both have their advantages and disadvantages. Which is better depends on what you shoot and how you shot. For those who like shooting still subjects in good light, you might want to consider getting a cheap and old 5D, 5DII or 6D, which can change matte screens for manual focus lenses. They provide a shooting experience that I don't get with the more modern equipment.
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
Nov 7, 2013
2,271
149
Germany
#8
.. .both have their advantages and disadvantages. Which is better depends on what you shoot and how you shot...
For sure. And I was really interested in reading about your experience with missing the fine details.

As I am shooting a lot of sports, children and animals I need the fast response from the VF, and nothing is faster than direct light transition.
I haven't tried the latest iterations from Canon or Nikon yet but all I've tried before to me was only useful for casual shooting.
The two big advantages from EVF I see today are
  • light amplification in really dark situations
  • displaying additional information during the sooting
But quite for sure I will also have a body with EVF in less than 5 or 10 years.
 
Likes: Larsskv

Larsskv

Enthusiast with Canon related GAS
Jun 12, 2015
684
96
#9
Thanks for sharing !

Funny how different people see things so different ! I’m completely opposite on everything you said comparing the EVF with the OVF. Composition much easier when I can both see exposure and move the AF point wherever I want instead of being limited , especially in portrait mode. I find the EVF better because I can always see the real dof instead of f2.5 (the EG-s screen helps with that, but useless at f4). And I can zoom in for manual focus, have the distance scale in VF and those superb new focusing guides. Plus I can see detail much better with the EVF and when I can see histogram and everything it makes it much easier to really get it right in camera.:D(y)
I agree with what you say as well. For portraits I don't find the 6D+manual focus to have any advantage. I think the EOS R is fantastic for taking portraits of my daughter moving around. This is especially because I don't need to worry about the AF, and I can focus entirely on composition and getting the photo in the right moment.(y)

The great thing about manual focus with a dedicated matte screen, is that you focus using your eyes, not caring about the focus point at all. It is this feature that makes it much better for finding the best composition. Basically, you can move slightly up or down, or from side to side, and see how the composition changes, due to the very good fine detail rendering in the viewfinder. If you have seen Dustin Abbots images, he often takes close up pictures of leaves, snow flakes etc. Those kind of pictures are representative for the type of photography I think the 6D-combo is great for.

I tried to be very clear about in which situations I found the 6D+manual focus combo to be so fun to use - good light, large aperture and photography where the "fine details" adds to the composition - typically close up subjects and with good amounts of bokeh.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

Spends Too Much Time on This Forum
Mar 25, 2011
14,928
322
#10
I was out to photograph a stage rehearsal for a play tonight, I took my R and my 5D MK IV, intending to put my 24-70L II on one and my 70-200mm II on the other. I ended up using the lenses on both cameras so I could compare.

I've only processed about 70 or so of the images, and have found none with less than excellent focus from either camera, so that's a toss up. I'll know more after I get the 1000 shots processed. I'm repeating tomorrow, I find that I miss some shots where there is a unexpected thrust of a knife, or a jump, or any sudden action. I'll remember to catch those tomorrow. I did notice some shots blown out with both cameras. Its usually a issue when taking a wide angle photo with the stage lighting fooling the camera. I had set EC to -1, but that might not have been enough for some situations. The men wear dark clothes, but the women had elaborate white dresses which really increases DR. I'm ok to adjust it as long as they are not blown out. The amount of recovery possible always amazes me.

The main issue with the EVF was that both it and the LCD had very high contrast, and looked nothing like the scene. I'll see if there are any adjustments, but it was not a good experience in that regard.

A second issue was the momentary freeze in the viewfinder after a shot. When trying to catch the right moment in action scenes was difficult when I wanted to time a shot, because the screen was frozen until the image was processed and saved to the card or buffer. My 5D MK IV was a pleasure to use in that regard.

A positive thing was the ability to see subjects in near darkness thru the EVF, when its dark, I can't see the little rectangle focus points with my 5D IV, no issue like that with the R, that part was excellent.

I'll be doing another 800 or so shots tomorrow night, and editing them over a relatively long period. I do plan to print a 24 X 44 print of the final scene to take to the director tomorrow, so those shots were the first to be edited. The entire cast is spread across the stage, lighting is variable, its difficult to get post processed. I used the R for those photos, as far as I could tell, they are the same as past photos like that with my DSLR's.
 
Sep 13, 2011
671
15
#11
After using both the 5Div and R in asnger over a month I do prefer the EVF but the OVF wins out in low light every time there's any action involved and the screen update is still way too slow.
 

Del Paso

M3 Singlestroke
Aug 9, 2018
166
129
#12
Today I had a photo walk bringing a 6D fitted with a EG-S matte screen and a 35mm Carl Zeiss Milvus f2 lens, together with a 5DIV with the 35LII and the EOS R with the RF 35mm f1.8. I would like to share some insights I got when using and comparing them today.

Note that we had a low sun today, with really nice light for photography. I did street shooting, mainly on still subjects.

As some of you may have noticed, I have been very happy with my EOS R. I can't praise it enough for the AF and the RF lenses. Its AF wipes the floor with the 1DXII and 5DIV, when it comes to low light AF, and AF precision with large aperture lenses, and especially in AI Servo in low light using large aperture lenses. Further, I mostly do find the EVF to be better than an OVF in low light situations.

When shooting still subjects mostly at f2 with the 6D and Carl Zeiss 35 f2 lens today, I had a great time. I loved using the combo for "artistic" photography. The OVF is soo!!! much better than the EVF when it comes to displaying fine detail in a scene. Using the 6D-combo, it was easy to see the the details that were in focus. For the shooting I did, the OVF really did help in terms of composing the photographs. It was inspiring and boosted my creativity. I loved it!

When I pulled out the EOS R for taking the comparison photographs, I could not get the feel for the scene using the EVF. The fine details were missing, and composing the scene felt kind of random. It was hard to tell the outcome. It was less inspiring and less fun to use in that situation.

Honestly, the 5DIV and 35LII combo was a bit in between the 6D and EOS R, when it came to the "joy" of using it. I believe it comes down to the matte screen for manual focus that I have in the 6D. It makes it easier to tell where the field of focus is. For still subjects, I really do find the manual focusing to be more stimulating to my creativity, than using the joystick for moving the focusing point around. When using manual focus on the 6D I become more aware of the framing and the "best" place to place the focus point.

So, for shooting still subjects in good lighting, I have much more fun and joy using a 6D with a EG-S matte screen and manual focus lenses, than I have using the EOS R and its EVF.

About the lenses. They are all very solid performers, and it is quite hard to tell them apart, even when pixel peeping.

The RF 35 f1.8 has me convinced when it comes to sharpness. It is really nice and sharp. Neither of the other lenses were sharper in the shots I got today. Its bokeh is a bit better than the Carl Zeiss 35 f2 Milvus in comparable situations. I did not expect that.

The 35LII has the superior bokeh. I was surprised however, that I didn't find it to be significantly better in terms of color and clarity in the photographs I took today. Sharpness wise, the RF 35 f1.8 seemed on par, but that could be due to less precise focus on the 5DIV, compared to the EOS R.

The Carl Zeiss 35 f2 Milvus is a nice lens, but I did not find it to be sharper or have better bokeh than the RF 35 f1.8. Combined with the 6D though, I did like the colors I got from it over the ones I got from the 35LLII and RF35. It should be noted that I did not take exact comparison shots. I did not use a tripod, and exposures were not exactly the same.

What became clear to me is that DSLRs with their optical viewfinders are still way superior for composing images in good light conditions. Seeing the fine detail in a scene is very important because it adds to and triggers my creativity. It is much more inspiring in use than an EVF.

The EVF in the EOS R was not able to inspire me in the same way, in the soft sunlight I had today.
I can only agree.
I have fitted my 5D 3 with a matte focusing screen, so, manual focusing of small details is much easier than with the standard mounted screen.
Especially when using TSE or Zeiss lenses.
Yet, I love using the EOS R with Leica R or even M lenses, since the darkening of the viewfinder (diaphragm closed) ,which is unavoidable in DSLR, is automatically compensated.
Both systems have specific advantages, but I also prefer optical viewfinders by a large margin!
 
Likes: Larsskv
Jul 6, 2017
867
74
Davidson, NC
#13
Maybe it is more of a matter of 50-ish years of experience than technique, but I would miss the aesthetic (for lack of a better word) experience of looking through the OVF. I’m sure I could adjust to using a mirrorless camera if I had to. I’ve taken really good photos with my G7X II and the S cameras I used before that.
 

jd7

EOS T7i
Feb 3, 2013
661
56
#14
Today I had a photo walk bringing a 6D fitted with a EG-S matte screen and a 35mm Carl Zeiss Milvus f2 lens, together with a 5DIV with the 35LII and the EOS R with the RF 35mm f1.8. I would like to share some insights I got when using and comparing them today.
Hi Larsskv. I was wondering if you would be willing to post a few of your comparison images? I'd be particularly interested to see any 35LII v EF35 comparison shots, although comparisons with the Milvus would be interesting too.
 

Larsskv

Enthusiast with Canon related GAS
Jun 12, 2015
684
96
#15
Hi Larsskv. I was wondering if you would be willing to post a few of your comparison images? I'd be particularly interested to see any 35LII v EF35 comparison shots, although comparisons with the Milvus would be interesting too.
I didn’t take any photos on a tripod, and I did not make sure the settings were the same, so the photos I have aren’t directly comparable.

I am interested in a comparison myself, so I might share some pictures at a later point.
 

jd7

EOS T7i
Feb 3, 2013
661
56
#16
I didn’t take any photos on a tripod, and I did not make sure the settings were the same, so the photos I have aren’t directly comparable.

I am interested in a comparison myself, so I might share some pictures at a later point.
OK thanks Larsskv. If you do any comparison photos in future, that would be great.
 

Larsskv

Enthusiast with Canon related GAS
Jun 12, 2015
684
96
#17
OK thanks Larsskv. If you do any comparison photos in future, that would be great.
Since I have so many EF lenses, and I am preparing for new RF lenses, I decided to put my 35LII up for sale. I don't think I will do another comparison with the RF 35, so I will propaply never do a test with a tripod and with a scientific approach. Sorry.

However, I can share the images I made the other day. As I stated earlier, they aren't truly comparable. I did not use a tripod, I did not stand at the same place, or have the same framing, and exposures weren't the same. One of the RF 35 images is at f1.8, not f2 as the others. I used different cameras as well - the 6D with the 35 Zeiss Milvus, the EOS R with the RF 35 f1.8 and the 5DIV and the 35LII. Last, I have not made sure that the white balance is the same, so you cannot read to much into color differences either.

I do believe you can tell that the 35LII bokeh is the best, and that the RF 35 bokeh beats the Zeiss Milvus, at least in these examples. Further, I did not see a meaningful difference in terms of sharpness between the lenses.

I didn´t use the 35LII in the first comparison.
 

Attachments

Feb 3, 2013
661
56
#18
Since I have so many EF lenses, and I am preparing for new RF lenses, I decided to put my 35LII up for sale. I don't think I will do another comparison with the RF 35, so I will propaply never do a test with a tripod and with a scientific approach. Sorry.

However, I can share the images I made the other day. As I stated earlier, they aren't truly comparable. I did not use a tripod, I did not stand at the same place, or have the same framing, and exposures weren't the same. One of the RF 35 images is at f1.8, not f2 as the others. I used different cameras as well - the 6D with the 35 Zeiss Milvus, the EOS R with the RF 35 f1.8 and the 5DIV and the 35LII. Last, I have not made sure that the white balance is the same, so you cannot read to much into color differences either.

I do believe you can tell that the 35LII bokeh is the best, and that the RF 35 bokeh beats the Zeiss Milvus, at least in these examples. Further, I did not see a meaningful difference in terms of sharpness between the lenses.

I didn´t use the 35LII in the first comparison.
Thanks for posting those!

Looking at the images of the railing, I agree the 35LII has the best bokeh, and I would say the RF35 is very close. For images where the subject is close and there is a significant amount of background blur, the RF35 bokeh seems to be good. I have to say I didn't have any real problem with the Milvus bokeh in the railing shot either, albeit it is noticeably less blurred and I agree its bokeh takes third place.

Looking at the images of the tree with the water (harbour?) some distance away, I actually preferred the Milvus bokeh to the RF35 bokeh, although I wouldn't say there is a lot of difference. The background blur in the Milvus shot just seems a little smoother and less nervous to my eyes. From what I've seen so far, it is this sort of shot - when the background isn't so substantially blurred - where the RF35 bokeh may be not as good as on lenses such as the 35LII (especially when used at f/1.4).

Still not sure what I think of the RF35, but I don't have an RF body at the moment so not something I need to worry about at the moment anyway :) If (when?!) I get an RF body one day, I will work out whether to keep my Sigma 35 Art or replace my Sigma 35 Art and 40 pancake with the RF35. I wouldn't expect the RF35 to be as good as the Sigma (at least in my eyes - I like the Sigma!), but the question is whether the RF35 is close enough that I'd take it for its size and weight advantages.
 

Larsskv

Enthusiast with Canon related GAS
Jun 12, 2015
684
96
#19
Having seen the full size images, and the “harbor “ examples, it is not hard to tell that the Milvus lens has more hard edges around branches in the background. Other parts of the image might look better on the Milvus... Personally I find all of these lenses so good that separating them in terms of image quality is hard, and apart from the 35LII bokeh (which is even softer at f1.4) there are no significant advantages to any of them. The size, weight and IS are really good reasons for chosing the RF35.