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Thread started 16 Sep 2009 (Wednesday) 07:32
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Who cares about viewfinder size?

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Joined Mar 2009
Sep 16, 2009 07:32 |  #1

Maybe it's me, but I am a bit surprised by the amount of marketing efforts and seeming importance people place on the viewfinder. Canon and Sony literally have pages on their brochure boasting the size of the pentaprism. To me, that just means you get more of an ache carrying that extra bulk.

I mean, does it really matter to you if it's that slightly larger? I don't notice much of a difference between cameras of the same sensor size anyway. It's not like it will affect image quality or my composition, why such a big deal over it?

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Sep 16, 2009 07:34 |  #2

Larger is certainly nicer but if a camera came out with the specs of a 5d2 and a viewfinder the size of my rebel i wouldn't care.

One of the perks of being young with healthy eyes, I suppose

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Sep 16, 2009 07:44 |  #3

I value the higher fidelity of my large viewfinders, especially when photographing groups of people. They make it easier to spot stuff that needs fixing.

But it's easy enough to get used to anything, really. Of far greater importance is the viewfinder coverage IMO ;)

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Sep 16, 2009 07:48 |  #4

kasey wrote in post #8654143 (external link)
Maybe it's me, but I am a bit surprised by the amount of marketing efforts and seeming importance people place on the viewfinder. Canon and Sony literally have pages on their brochure boasting the size of the pentaprism. To me, that just means you get more of an ache carrying that extra bulk.

Seriously? What are we talking, the difference between 3oz. and 4oz? When I'm carrying a 1D and some L zooms in a bag, the weight of the pentaprism isn't something I really worry about too much. :lol:

And yes, it matters, as does the relief point of the VF.

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Cream of the Crop
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Sep 16, 2009 07:50 as a reply to  @ lkrms's post |  #5

100% coverage is a big deal for people who don't like to crop and like to know exactly what they're getting before they shoot. With digital it's easy to check the LCD and reshoot, but back in film days it was always surprising what snuck into the corners of an image. Those of us (myself included) who printed "full frame" (which back then meant a ground out negative carrier ;)) always had a few frames ruined by something that JUST got in the edge where we couldn't see it.

As for the actual SIZE of the finder, not sure if it's age because I'm "only" 31 and have (corrected) good vision, but I really prefer larger finders (like in the 1 series, 5 series and D700). I will say for ACTION shooting in bright light, the smaller crop finders can be nice because it's easier to check the 4 corners when they're closer together, so for very fast framing, small can be nice, but for what I typically shoot (candids and landscapes/travel) the larger finder makes all the details easier to see and get right.

If you've ever used a non 35mm system, part of the joy in MF and LF shooting is just how big the finder or groundglass is. :D

honestly though, this is similar to screen/tv/monitor sizes. A few people will tell you smaller is better for whatever reasons (cost, space), but MOST people will tell you bigger is better.

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Sep 16, 2009 07:50 as a reply to  @ mikekelley's post |  #6

Let me ask you, as your sig doesn't have you equipment list I can't assume anything:
Have you shot with a FF camera and then jumped to a XSI for example?

I think the difference is very noticeable\

I even notice a big difference between how the XSI viewfinder compares to the 40D when I switched, even and when they both cover roughly the same area and have the same size of sensor, but the 40D carries a pentaprism viewfinder

For me that is important


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Sep 16, 2009 08:41 |  #7

I changed to the 5d for the viewfinder! I means everything for what i do. I rarely/never use AF, so a bigger viewfinder is important. I need aperture priority mode, iso 100 and a large viewfinder ;)

I really cant think of going back. If anything i want a bigger viewfinder. The entrylevel models are horrible.

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Sep 16, 2009 10:31 |  #8

I agree, the entry level models are horrible. What I still don't get is why my film body has a MUCH better viewfinder than my 5D (larger/brighter... hard to compare coverage with most shots).

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Sep 16, 2009 10:33 |  #9

I tried a 50D in a store a while back, the larger viewfinder is very nice to have, more so that i wear glasses, which causes the eye to be even further from the viewfinder.

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Sep 16, 2009 10:33 as a reply to  @ Cyrix_2k's post |  #10

A bigger, brighter viewfinder makes for easier manual focusing..

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Cream of the Crop
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Sep 16, 2009 10:37 |  #11

I can't see why someone wouldn't want a bigger viewfinder. That is like saying "who really wants to watch a big TV when I can watch movies on my ipod?" . I know when I used a Nikon D90 it was noticeably brighter and larger than my 1000D. Why would you not want that? The viewfinder is how you use your camera, so it is a big part of the experience. That said, I think you can easily get used to and adapt to a smaller viewfinder, so it is not a huge factor for me - just ones of those niceties (like a nicer grip).

I find the added bulk argument pretty funny.

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Cream of the Crop
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Sep 16, 2009 10:52 |  #12

It really depends on what you shoot. ( The standard answer for anything in photo!!) The relative size of the image in the viewfinder obviously helps in all situations. But the coverage percent to me is not a big deal at all. Now if it was 60% we have a problem. But 98% is nothing to me. If you do a lot of studio work, for me any way, it makes no difference. Especially when shooting on a white background, well any studio background actually. There is just nothing to avoid sticking into the frame. On location it can be a different matter. But still not as bad as the manufactures make it seem. You simply look around for anything that might get in the way. Problem solved.

Now as to WHY manufactures just don't put 100% in all of the cameras. Simply cost. The on board flash has nothing to do with it. The flash can simply be designed arround a better viewfinder. It is in the money! Sony recently announced a cheap model of the FF A900. Most of the cost savings was realized in cutting down the viewfinder. (external link)

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Sep 16, 2009 10:59 |  #13

I like the added brightness that the larger viewfinder gives me.

The difference in my 20D to my 1D is very noticeable.

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Cream of the Crop
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Sep 16, 2009 11:10 |  #14

Larger, brighter... this is what you see the world through when you have a camera up to your face. Who would not want or could not benefit from that ?

I also do not like to crop and the 5D is not 100% which can be and has been annoying.

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Sep 16, 2009 11:14 |  #15

look thru a Olympus OM-1 you want big... thats big. it is like you not even looking thru ANYTNING at all, turn you cam upside down, put it up to your eye... yeah. hot.

5d2 is a pleasant change form the 40-20d view finder.

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Who cares about viewfinder size?
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