Camera Craniums

General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: StephenBatey on February 26, 2015, 12:43:56 PM

Title: What are camera viewfinders for?
Post by: StephenBatey on February 26, 2015, 12:43:56 PM
To me, they exist to let you check the framing and composition. That was always given as the big advantage of the SLR design over the rangefinder - what you saw was what you got.

And from that - the viewfinder should let you work on seeing what was going to be recorded. Not add distractions.

Camera makers thought otherwise. First the aperture, then the shutter speed. Then all manner of other things. And all the while in generally a small viewfinder. For goodness sake, why a small poky viewfinder? Ah, well you get small viewfinders because the APS-C sensor is smaller, don't you? That's why it's smaller than the old hat 35mm SLRs. Fiddlesticks! I've looked through APS-C viewfinders which are small; but the really small Olympus E3 has a viewfinder that gives the same size image as my OM1 - which was reckoned to give a large image in its day. The only reason for a small image viewfinder is cost and size.

Do we really need to have shutter speed, aperture, ISO, blinkies for over/under exposure, grid lines and spirit levels on show, all keeping our attention away from the actual scene? I'll make an exception for grid lines, as I have them on my usual camera (Walker Titan SF 5x4) and I can ignore them; but then the screen is bigger.

What do you use your viewfinder for?
Title: Re: What are camera viewfinders for?
Post by: donoreo on February 26, 2015, 03:43:13 PM
My viewfinder only shows 97% on an APS-C.   Sometimes that is annoying.  I want my next camera to have 100% coverage in the viewfinder.  I do not find any of the other info in there distracting.  I would be more annoyed in a lot of cases to have to take my eye away from the viewfinder to look at the display to see a setting. 
Title: Re: What are camera viewfinders for?
Post by: Reinardina on February 26, 2015, 04:50:44 PM
My technical knowledge is negligible. For instance, I don't know what a range finder is. Nor do I know how much my view finder shows.

I have the grid there, as I find it helpful. The rest I can remove, by just clicking a button.
I can remove it in stages: I can have the whole lot (which does not distract me), just the 'horizon line,' or nothing at all.

Title: Re: What are camera viewfinders for?
Post by: Oldboy on February 26, 2015, 07:06:57 PM
I thought they were for catching dust!  :uglystupid2:
Title: Re: What are camera viewfinders for?
Post by: ABERS on February 26, 2015, 10:47:06 PM
The viewfinder on my NEX7 is somewhat of a distraction sometimes. Unless I clear it of information it looks like the dashboard of a space rocket.

It is a evf viewfinder and  sometimes it is usefull to employ the facility that allows a preview of differences that alterations in exposure can make to the image, especially in high contrast or low light situations. Not used very often though.
Title: Re: What are camera viewfinders for?
Post by: Graham on February 27, 2015, 07:28:31 AM
  The biggest, and probably most obvious, problem with view finders, is that you only squint through them with one eye.
  So often (though less so now) I get my pics up on the screen and think "Why didn't I see that!". It seems that the last thing photographers learn is how to look, and I would venture to suggest that, particularly with the squinty one eyed viewfinder, it should be the first.
  Of course the answer to this viewfinder problem is something like Stephen's view camera where you can keep both eyes open.
  Iv'e only used a view camera a couple of times and found the dark, upside down image a bit of an issue but the folks who used them regularly (I was on an A level photography course) said that this actually helps . in that it forces you to look at the scene with so much more care.
Title: Re: What are camera viewfinders for?
Post by: Hinfrance on February 27, 2015, 09:03:45 AM
I thought they were for catching dust!  :uglystupid2:

Definitely.
Title: Re: What are camera viewfinders for?
Post by: SimonW on February 27, 2015, 06:34:50 PM
If only they could actually find a view rather than us having to search one out!
Title: Re: What are camera viewfinders for?
Post by: hssutton on February 27, 2015, 08:48:37 PM
My APS-C camera does have a 100% viewfinder coverage and info in the viewfinder can be switched on/off, however I do like the Viewfinder level and the metering mode displayed.
it can also display any of the following. Mode, WB setting, Drive Mode, AF operation, Image Quality and Flicker setting. As I have three custom setting My camera is set up for the type of photography I do, so the above setting I find no use for.

Harry