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Thread started 25 Dec 2009 (Friday) 04:06
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will live view bring the end to viewfinders on Slrs?

 
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Dec 27, 2009 03:36 as a reply to  @ post 9268669 |  #61

As someone who wears specs, I find live view very useful.

Just my 2 pennies worth.


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Lars ­ Daniel
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Dec 27, 2009 03:59 |  #62

I find it a bit odd, that so few people in this thread mention AF speed (or the lack of) when using LV. If AF speed in LV was even comparable to normal use (VF) I would probably use it once in a while, but as things are, using LV is not an option for me for 99.7% of my shots.
I think the DSLR of my dreams would have an articulated (flip-out) screen and LV with AF speed as fast as normal.


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pwm2
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Dec 27, 2009 09:21 |  #63

AF speed is a function of technology.

It is possible to build a camera with live view, that still uses phase detection for the AF (and without flipping the mirror). Sony A550 for example uses a separate image sensor for live view, which means that live view does not flip the mirror, and hence keeps the image projected on the ordinary focus and exposure sensors. But there are other methods possible to get metering and AF together with live view - such as a half-mirror.

And there is no problem creating very fast LCD monitors, in which case the view finder can be replaced with a small monitor that has only some ms of lag while at the same time gets the ability to:
- automatically zoom in on currently selected focus point if you manually turn the focus on the lens
- automatically magnifies low light
- shows live histograms
- projects a grid
- changes magnification or masks parts of the image in case you want to switch the camera between 5fps full-frame or 10fps in 1.3x or maybe 1.6x crop depending on need.
- ...

We have seen a huge amounts of improvements from the early digital bodies. But the majority of progress is still ahead of us. Technology will improve. Costs will drop. New ideas how to use the cameras will drive new inventions/application​s.

Live view is very valuable. But I don't think it will replace a view finder in this type of cameras. From a cost perspective, I think the manufacturers will always find a way to let the two methods complement each other. The ability to have a view finder is one of the advantages you can get from having a rather large camera body. The small P&S don't have space for both, because the camera size is one of the important driving factors. With a 35mm ff camera, the size of the lenses is to a large part limited by physical laws, so it isn't so meaningful to have a tiny, toy hanging behind the lens tube and then have the photographer desperately trying to press button "3" without accidentally also press button "2" or "4".

And in the same way, the lenses represents a large cost. It isn't too meaningful to try to make a $100 camera body if it is intended to be used with a $1000 lens. Not unless you get a situation where we stop buying cameras with replaceable lenses, and instead buy lenses with built-in cameras. I don't think this is a route that will be taken. A couple of telescope vendors have gone this way. But since the digital technology moves at such a high pace, they have ended up having high-end telescopes mated to third-rate cameras. In the end, they spent a huge amount of R&D money without being able to regain their investments.


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RDKirk
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Dec 27, 2009 09:49 as a reply to  @ pwm2's post |  #64

Live view is very valuable. But I don't think it will replace a view finder in this type of cameras. From a cost perspective, I think the manufacturers will always find a way to let the two methods complement each other. The ability to have a view finder is one of the advantages you can get from having a rather large camera body.

As I said back in post #27:

The form-format of the eye-level viewfinder is probably not going away soon--it works too well for high-performance handling being intimately "connected" to the brain/eye on the head in operation.

Even 4x5 press cameras and TLRs had "eye-level viewfinders" for sports and other fast action shooting, albeit nothing but open frames that roughly identified the viewing area as on P&S cameras. Connecting the camera directly to the eye is simply too ergonomically critical to ignore, and that's never going to change. How we connect the image-capture device to the eye will change, but it's always going to be as directly connected to the eye as possible for high-performance photography.

You people worried about "losing the viewfinder"-- don't sweat it. The eye-level viewfinder isn't going away. But that's a different argument than whether the eye-level viewfinder will lose the optical groundglass focusing screen. Probably more sooner than later, the eye-level viewfinder will lose the optical groundglass focusing screen.


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Tallking
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Dec 27, 2009 10:19 |  #65

RDKirk wrote in post #9269977 (external link)
. . . Connecting the camera directly to the eye is simply too ergonomically critical to ignore, and that's never going to change. How we connect the image-capture device to the eye will change, but it's always going to be as directly connected to the eye as possible for high-performance photography.

You people worried about "losing the viewfinder"-- don't sweat it. The eye-level viewfinder isn't going away. But that's a different argument than whether the eye-level viewfinder will lose the optical groundglass focusing screen. Probably more sooner than later, the eye-level viewfinder will lose the optical groundglass focusing screen.

Nope, I agree, the VF won't be going away any time soon. But I don't see that as a function of any inherent ergonomic superiority. With all due respect, I think (IMO, no more...) that you've allowed yourself to fall in love with what is just one approach from several available. I'd estimate that I compose 98% of my G-10 shots via the LV and not its vestigal viewfinder. Also, at age 48, I'm now inescapably tied to my bifocal glasses. Wearing my glasses, I find using the VF on my DSLR to be a distinct PITA. But I do it anyway, since for the most part, LV on the XSi is a PITA too (especially compared to how good it is on the G-10).

Mr. Spock required physical contact to establish the Vulcan mind-meld. I, on the other hand, am able to meld just fine with my camera at a somewhat greater distance. I frequently engage in "best performance" photography by putting the camera in the optimal location for the shot, not holding the camera where some doctrine says I should hold it. With LV, your camera goes to the optimum place for the shot, your head need not follow. And I've taken a few very low angle shots that would have required you to be on your belly to use the VF, in places where you wouldn't want to be on your belly... :cool:


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pwm2
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Dec 27, 2009 10:40 |  #66

Tallking wrote in post #9270112 (external link)
I'd estimate that I compose 98% of my G-10 shots via the LV and not its vestigal viewfinder.

But what is the weight of the G-10?

What is the weight of a DSLR with built-in or external battery grip together with a 70-200 2.8 or 100-400 or maybe 300/2.8? Or maybe with a 24-70 + 580EX?

The G-10 isn't comparable to some of the situations where a DSLR is used, in which case it can't be used as a reference except for specific situations.

Someone earlier noted the Minolta Dimage cameras with a monitor in the viewfinder instead of an optical viewfinder. When I have been using my Dimage 7, I have almost always been using the live view. Not because the monitor in the viewfinder is so lousy, but because it is a way smaller/lighter camera that allows it to be used in a different way.

It happens when I directly switch between DLSR and the Dimage 7 that I move the Dimage 7 to my eye and get a sudden feeling "this is wrong". What is natural in one situation may be very awkward in another situation.

When using the DSLR, I very often use live view together with the tripod, but hardly ever for freehand use. It's not old-time habits. It is a question of what feels natural and most practical. When I take the weight of the camera, I want that weight as close to my body as I can. And I also feel that I can aim faster with a heavy camera if the camera is close to the body. With a light P&S, I can aim faster using live view, since a light P&S allows me to shift aim by turning my wrist. The P&S don't require me to care for my footing.


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Tallking
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Dec 27, 2009 12:45 |  #67

pwm2:

As I noted in a previous post, I'm not saying one approach is right, and another wrong. Whatever works for you is what you should do. Also, remember, I use both types of camera. You are totally correct that the G-10 is lighter and smaller than the XSi (which incidentally isn't that big compared to top line Canon DSLRs). This, in my experience, cuts both ways. The DSLRs, almost always have that nice large lens barrel out front which helps in holding on. Even fully deployed, the lens on the G-10 feels too small to use to handle the camera, and it does not counter balance the G's sturdy metal body very well. I do have large hands, and find that, irrespective of which framing method I might use, that size is a slight disadvantage. And I still love its LV... ;)


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Erik_L
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Dec 27, 2009 12:51 |  #68

why is the live view AF so much slower than that in a point and shoot camera?

live view is evil and I hardley ever use it, unless I want to be sure I get exactly the right thing in focus (in my light box) and it helps with tricky exposures.


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Dec 27, 2009 12:59 |  #69

Quick answer to the OP's OP......No


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pwm2
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Dec 27, 2009 13:23 |  #70

Erik_L wrote in post #9270772 (external link)
why is the live view AF so much slower than that in a point and shoot camera?

live view is evil and I hardley ever use it, unless I want to be sure I get exactly the right thing in focus (in my light box) and it helps with tricky exposures.

The AF we have right now with live view is contrast based. The camera compares the difference between neighbour pixels and accumlate a score for the picture.

Then the camera changes the focus of the lens, waits for one more capture from the image sensor and computes a new score. Depending on if the contrast is increasing or decreasing, the camera then adjusts the focus again, and repeats.

The little P&S have a very small lens with little weight. The small weight means that it will be faster to refocus the lens between each attempt.

How is this different from the phase detection normally used in the DSLR? With the phase detection, the camera will split the light into two and have the light shine on a one-dimensional sensor. Depending on the phase shift between the two rays, the camera will not only be able to compute that it is out-of-focus. As long as it isn't totally out of focus, it will also be able to estimate exactly how much out of focus it is. So instead of moving the focus a bit and check the new result iteratively, the camera can tell the lens to change the focus 3.17m. The lens does this full-speed. After that, the camera does a second AF test, to verify that everything is still ok.

So with the phase detection, the camera can overcome the much slower mechanics of the large lens by just refocusing once (or potentially a tiny final adjustment) while in live view mode the lens may have to refocus ten or twenty or even more times until the camera finds the focus.

A P&S that had a half-mirror infront of the sensor to allow the addition of a phase-detect system would be absolutely lightning fast. But such a design would make the camera more expensive, and - more importantly - much thicker because of the half-mirror.

But there is another factor involved here too. The P&S sensor is optimized for use in a P&S camera. So it is optimized for a quite fast read-out time, because you need to wait one read-out cycle after each refocus iteration.

The sensors in the DSLR cameras are not optimized for fast read-out. It is more important to have a large dynamic range, so that the sensor can take advantage of 12- or 14-bit AD conversions for people shooting raw.


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Dec 27, 2009 13:26 |  #71

I will refuse to purchase an SLR in the future that does not have a viewfinder. I've always used a rangefinder, even on my point and shoots.


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Dec 27, 2009 13:34 |  #72

Tallking wrote in post #9270744 (external link)
pwm2:

As I noted in a previous post, I'm not saying one approach is right, and another wrong. Whatever works for you is what you should do. Also, remember, I use both types of camera. You are totally correct that the G-10 is lighter and smaller than the XSi (which incidentally isn't that big compared to top line Canon DSLRs). This, in my experience, cuts both ways. The DSLRs, almost always have that nice large lens barrel out front which helps in holding on. Even fully deployed, the lens on the G-10 feels too small to use to handle the camera, and it does not counter balance the G's sturdy metal body very well. I do have large hands, and find that, irrespective of which framing method I might use, that size is a slight disadvantage. And I still love its LV... ;)

Yes, I hear you. I just wanted to point out that besides personal views on what is "best" (which tends to be religion, and not possible to resolve), there is also a very significant difference in usage depending on camera weight and if the camera is used with or without tripod and what the camera is used for. Most photographers are open for new inventions, when the technology changes brings advantages. But an advantage for one usage may not represent an advantage for a different usage of the camera.

And as already noted - size of hands matters. Glasses matters. Eyesight matters. Strength of arms matters.

When we got the first cameras with live view, there was a lot of threads about how useless it was. Quite similar to the threads we got when Canon introduced video recording in the DSLR line. A couple of years later, the debate about live view has disappeared. Too many excellent photographers that people listens to have tried the live view and consider it invaluable in some situations. It is so useful that it isn't seen as an optional extra, but as a standard feature. Not as a replacement, but as a complement. Some day, the same may be true about electronic view finders, that suddenly allows our eyes to see what we are doing even at 6400 or 25600 ISO. After all, technology, when correctly used, should help us, and not be there just because it can be done.


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Erik_L
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Dec 27, 2009 13:50 |  #73

Good info. If a micro 4/3 camera (with their light weight lenses) used a mirror for AF, they would be faster than a full SLR?

pwm2 wrote in post #9270946 (external link)
The AF we have right now with live view is contrast based. The camera compares the difference between neighbour pixels and accumlate a score for the picture.

Then the camera changes the focus of the lens, waits for one more capture from the image sensor and computes a new score. Depending on if the contrast is increasing or decreasing, the camera then adjusts the focus again, and repeats.

The little P&S have a very small lens with little weight. The small weight means that it will be faster to refocus the lens between each attempt.

How is this different from the phase detection normally used in the DSLR? With the phase detection, the camera will split the light into two and have the light shine on a one-dimensional sensor. Depending on the phase shift between the two rays, the camera will not only be able to compute that it is out-of-focus. As long as it isn't totally out of focus, it will also be able to estimate exactly how much out of focus it is. So instead of moving the focus a bit and check the new result iteratively, the camera can tell the lens to change the focus 3.17m. The lens does this full-speed. After that, the camera does a second AF test, to verify that everything is still ok.

So with the phase detection, the camera can overcome the much slower mechanics of the large lens by just refocusing once (or potentially a tiny final adjustment) while in live view mode the lens may have to refocus ten or twenty or even more times until the camera finds the focus.

A P&S that had a half-mirror infront of the sensor to allow the addition of a phase-detect system would be absolutely lightning fast. But such a design would make the camera more expensive, and - more importantly - much thicker because of the half-mirror.

But there is another factor involved here too. The P&S sensor is optimized for use in a P&S camera. So it is optimized for a quite fast read-out time, because you need to wait one read-out cycle after each refocus iteration.

The sensors in the DSLR cameras are not optimized for fast read-out. It is more important to have a large dynamic range, so that the sensor can take advantage of 12- or 14-bit AD conversions for people shooting raw.


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pwm2
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Dec 27, 2009 14:11 |  #74

In the general case, smaller is faster. So a four-thirds camera with same AF technology should be faster than a 35mm FF camera with similar technology.

But there is actually a third factor to consider here when switching to smaller sensors. And that is depth-of-field. With smaller sensors, you normally get larger DOF because the maximum apertures do not get scaled proportionally. With a large DOF, it isn't as important to get the focus absolutely exact.

So yes, in general, a four-thirds camera with same AF technology should be faster than a 35mm FF camera.


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Tallking
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Dec 27, 2009 15:15 |  #75

Erik_L wrote in post #9270772 (external link)
why is the live view AF so much slower than that in a point and shoot camera?

live view is evil and I hardley ever use it, unless I want to be sure I get exactly the right thing in focus (in my light box) and it helps with tricky exposures.

Erik:

I note from your sig block that you seem to be an exclusive user of DSLRs. Is that correct? Here's a friendly challenge for you: if you can get your hands on a later G-series camera, would you be willing to try shooting with it exclusively for a week or so? If you would, I would wager that you would very, VERY quickly find that while LV may be a PITA in DSLRs, it works beautifully in the PS cameras, especially the high-end ones that have gorgeous displays on them (hence my suggestion of later G-series cameras). Good LV, on a camera meant to take advantage of it is not evil -- it's manna from Heaven. If you want to see real photographic evil, try the data-free viewfinder of the G-series. . . ;)


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