a techie sort of question about p&s cameras and optical viewfinders

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by albert, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. albert

    albert Guest

    I currently shoot with a Panasonic Lumix fz50 -- and I am generally pleased
    with the camera [I was an SLR shutterbug in the days of film, I chose the
    Panasonic fz50, and previously had an fz20, because I no longer wanted to
    lug around all the lenses and such with a digital SLR]. I now find that I
    would like to have something that was even easier to shoot with -- something
    I could fasten to my belt, and have ready in a moment [I carry the Lumix in
    my backpack, and by the time I get the backpack off my back, fight with the
    zippers, and pull out the camera, the shot I saw is often gone]........

    What I would like is a 10X [or better] optical zoom, competent at 200 ISO
    [but really wish for 400 -800] -- *with an **optical** viewfinder* [and
    motion compensation, and shutter/aperture flexibility, etc., of course]. I
    see that there are digital cameras of the size I'd like with an optical
    viewfinder [e.g., the Canon PowerShot A590 IS] -- but currently, that
    size/feature set of camera does not offer more that 4-5X optical zoom. At
    the same time, I see cameras with roughly the same dimensions [e.g.,
    something on the order of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H10 or Canon PowerShot
    SX110 IS, size-wise] -- which offer the kind of zoom I'd like, but do not
    have an optical viewfinder.

    So, my question for the experts here -- how is it that optical viewfinders
    are not available ["yet" I presume] with compact/subcompact cameras that
    offer >5X optical zoom? Is it an engineering problem? Is it a consumer
    market, consumer profile, consumer demand factor? It seems to me, as a
    layperson, that it should not be all that difficult, or expensive, to graft
    on an optical zoom apparatus to any camera -- and it would seem that
    offering such would be a postive selling point. But obviously, since there
    is no such camera I can find, there is some factor or factor set I am not
    aware of. I'd much appreciate any insight into this question.

    tia
    albert
     
    albert, Dec 12, 2008
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. albert wrote:
    []
    > So, my question for the experts here -- how is it that optical
    > viewfinders are not available ["yet" I presume] with
    > compact/subcompact cameras that offer >5X optical zoom? Is it an
    > engineering problem? Is it a consumer market, consumer profile,
    > consumer demand factor? It seems to me, as a layperson, that it
    > should not be all that difficult, or expensive, to graft on an
    > optical zoom apparatus to any camera -- and it would seem that
    > offering such would be a postive selling point. But obviously,
    > since there is no such camera I can find, there is some factor or
    > factor set I am not aware of. I'd much appreciate any insight into
    > this question.
    > tia
    > albert


    Albert,

    Such viewfinders would be too big and too expensive, or too in accurate.

    For a much more compact camera than your Panasonic FZ50, you could
    consider the TZ3/4/5 series. 28-280mm image-stabilised lens:

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonictz3/

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonictz5/

    You may appreciate the wider 28mm end of the zoom range.
    I had the Panasonic FZ5 and my wife the FZ20, but we have now moved on to
    Nikon DSLRs and a shared TZ3. The DSLR has a top-quality optical finder,
    of course, and isn't a lot bigger than the FZ50....

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Dec 12, 2008
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. albert

    Mark Thomas Guest

    David J Taylor wrote:
    > albert wrote:
    > []
    >> So, my question for the experts here -- how is it that optical
    >> viewfinders are not available ["yet" I presume] with
    >> compact/subcompact cameras that offer >5X optical zoom? Is it an
    >> engineering problem? Is it a consumer market, consumer profile,
    >> consumer demand factor? It seems to me, as a layperson, that it
    >> should not be all that difficult, or expensive, to graft on an
    >> optical zoom apparatus to any camera -- and it would seem that
    >> offering such would be a postive selling point. But obviously,
    >> since there is no such camera I can find, there is some factor or
    >> factor set I am not aware of. I'd much appreciate any insight into
    >> this question.
    >> tia
    >> albert

    >
    > Albert,
    >
    > Such viewfinders would be too big and too expensive, or too in accurate.

    Yes, creating a bright and accurate zooming viewfinder linked to such
    lenses is a bit of an engineering challenge.. Also, in this market, the
    OVF has a few additional issues:
    - because it is not through the lens, it cannot be used to help with
    knowing how the sensor will render the image, eg focus, d-o-f effects
    and to some extent shadow/highlight definition
    - it cannot easily display overlaid shooting info

    It seems to me that the better solution to this problem is to create the
    proverbial *decent* EVF. The Panasonic G1 suggests it's not far away
    and hopefully this technology will trickle down into p&s cameras.

    > For a much more compact camera than your Panasonic FZ50, you could
    > consider the TZ3/4/5 series. 28-280mm image-stabilised lens:
    >
    > http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonictz3/
    >
    > http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonictz5/
    >
    > You may appreciate the wider 28mm end of the zoom range.
    > I had the Panasonic FZ5 and my wife the FZ20, but we have now moved on
    > to Nikon DSLRs and a shared TZ3. The DSLR has a top-quality optical
    > finder, of course, and isn't a lot bigger than the FZ50....


    Good advice, as long as you add that the Pana's are possibly not the
    best choice if you shoot in low light frequently. But then, not many
    similar cameras are..
     
    Mark Thomas, Dec 12, 2008
    #3
  4. albert

    dj_nme Guest

    Hi Albert,
    If what you're looking for is an accessory coupled-zoom viewfinder for
    your fz50, then you're essentially out of luck.
    The best you can hope for is an add-on VF that matches the widest end of
    the zoom range, ie: a 3.5cm VF that may have been intended for use with
    a rangefinder camera or something similar.
    The only alternative (apart from a DSLR camera) that is available with a
    coupled zoom optical VF is something like the Canon G10
    <http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canong10/> which has the whole thing
    (camera and optical VF) built into a single unit.
    The G10 also has the advantage that it's small enough that it should fit
    in a large pocket, rather than having to carry it in your pack as you do
    with your FZ50.
    I'm sure that there are other compact digicams with an optical
    viewfinder and using the "buying guide"
    <http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/compare.asp> on dpreview.com is a good
    start, but may not have some recent compacts (other than Canon) in their
    database.
     
    dj_nme, Dec 12, 2008
    #4
  5. albert

    Dave Cohen Guest

    dj_nme wrote:
    > Hi Albert,
    > If what you're looking for is an accessory coupled-zoom viewfinder for
    > your fz50, then you're essentially out of luck.
    > The best you can hope for is an add-on VF that matches the widest end of
    > the zoom range, ie: a 3.5cm VF that may have been intended for use with
    > a rangefinder camera or something similar.
    > The only alternative (apart from a DSLR camera) that is available with a
    > coupled zoom optical VF is something like the Canon G10
    > <http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canong10/> which has the whole thing
    > (camera and optical VF) built into a single unit.
    > The G10 also has the advantage that it's small enough that it should fit
    > in a large pocket, rather than having to carry it in your pack as you do
    > with your FZ50.
    > I'm sure that there are other compact digicams with an optical
    > viewfinder and using the "buying guide"
    > <http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/compare.asp> on dpreview.com is a good
    > start, but may not have some recent compacts (other than Canon) in their
    > database.


    Most of us (certainly myself) do prefer an optical viewfinder. However,
    when out in public, I notice a lot of casual shooters holding the camera
    at arm's length even when the camera has an optical finder. Maybe
    marketing feedback has persuaded camera makers they can dispense with
    the optical finder. Apart from cost it enables a larger lcd in a compact
    size.
    Dave Cohen
     
    Dave Cohen, Dec 12, 2008
    #5
  6. albert

    dj_nme Guest

    Dave Cohen wrote:
    > dj_nme wrote:
    >> Hi Albert,
    >> If what you're looking for is an accessory coupled-zoom viewfinder for
    >> your fz50, then you're essentially out of luck.
    >> The best you can hope for is an add-on VF that matches the widest end
    >> of the zoom range, ie: a 3.5cm VF that may have been intended for use
    >> with a rangefinder camera or something similar.
    >> The only alternative (apart from a DSLR camera) that is available with
    >> a coupled zoom optical VF is something like the Canon G10
    >> <http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canong10/> which has the whole thing
    >> (camera and optical VF) built into a single unit.
    >> The G10 also has the advantage that it's small enough that it should
    >> fit in a large pocket, rather than having to carry it in your pack as
    >> you do with your FZ50.
    >> I'm sure that there are other compact digicams with an optical
    >> viewfinder and using the "buying guide"
    >> <http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/compare.asp> on dpreview.com is a
    >> good start, but may not have some recent compacts (other than Canon)
    >> in their database.

    >
    > Most of us (certainly myself) do prefer an optical viewfinder. However,
    > when out in public, I notice a lot of casual shooters holding the camera
    > at arm's length even when the camera has an optical finder.


    My guess is that the optical VF on most compacts (those which have one)
    tends to be quite small to look through and has quite a bit of parallax
    error, especially when shooting up-close.
    So it ends up being easier to look at the LCD, rather than squinting
    through a little tunnel which can't really be trusted for framing anyway.

    > Maybe
    > marketing feedback has persuaded camera makers they can dispense with
    > the optical finder. Apart from cost it enables a larger lcd in a compact
    > size.
    > Dave Cohen


    Also that it's cheaper to dispense with another set of lenses and a zoom
    coupling mechanism which are needed for a decent optical VF on a compact
    digicam.
     
    dj_nme, Dec 12, 2008
    #6
  7. albert

    albert Guest

    "albert" <> wrote in message
    news:can0l.70491$...

    <snip>

    > would like to have something that was even easier to shoot with --
    > something
    > I could fasten to my belt, and have ready in a moment [I carry the Lumix
    > in
    > my backpack, and by the time I get the backpack off my back, fight with
    > the
    > zippers, and pull out the camera, the shot I saw is often gone]........
    >
    > What I would like is a 10X [or better] optical zoom, competent at 200 ISO
    > [but really wish for 400 -800] -- *with an **optical** viewfinder* [and



    <snip>


    It appears that what I currently would like is just over the horizon, but
    not quite here yet.

    Thank you all for the explanations, observations and recommendations.

    albert
     
    albert, Dec 14, 2008
    #7
  8. albert

    Marty Fremen Guest

    "albert" <> wrote:

    > What I would like is a 10X [or better] optical zoom, competent at 200 ISO
    > [but really wish for 400 -800] -- *with an **optical** viewfinder*


    A compromise you might try is an adaptor which turns the LCD into a sort of
    EVF - you can get gizmos which look like a loupe on a little bellows unit,
    they clip onto the LCD and fold flat when not in use. I don't know how good
    they are, but the prices I've seen weren't too bad.
     
    Marty Fremen, Dec 15, 2008
    #8
  9. albert

    albert Guest

    "Marty Fremen" <> wrote in message
    news:Xns9B75F49E5BC0C9A6@212.23.3.119...
    > "albert" <> wrote:
    >
    >> What I would like is a 10X [or better] optical zoom, competent at 200 ISO
    >> [but really wish for 400 -800] -- *with an **optical** viewfinder*

    >
    > A compromise you might try is an adaptor which turns the LCD into a sort
    > of
    > EVF - you can get gizmos which look like a loupe on a little bellows unit,
    > they clip onto the LCD and fold flat when not in use. I don't know how
    > good
    > they are, but the prices I've seen weren't too bad.
    >


    I will take a look, thanks.
     
    albert, Dec 15, 2008
    #9
  10. albert

    Dave Cohen Guest

    dj_nme wrote:
    > Dave Cohen wrote:
    >> dj_nme wrote:
    >>> Hi Albert,
    >>> If what you're looking for is an accessory coupled-zoom viewfinder
    >>> for your fz50, then you're essentially out of luck.
    >>> The best you can hope for is an add-on VF that matches the widest end
    >>> of the zoom range, ie: a 3.5cm VF that may have been intended for use
    >>> with a rangefinder camera or something similar.
    >>> The only alternative (apart from a DSLR camera) that is available
    >>> with a coupled zoom optical VF is something like the Canon G10
    >>> <http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canong10/> which has the whole thing
    >>> (camera and optical VF) built into a single unit.
    >>> The G10 also has the advantage that it's small enough that it should
    >>> fit in a large pocket, rather than having to carry it in your pack as
    >>> you do with your FZ50.
    >>> I'm sure that there are other compact digicams with an optical
    >>> viewfinder and using the "buying guide"
    >>> <http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/compare.asp> on dpreview.com is a
    >>> good start, but may not have some recent compacts (other than Canon)
    >>> in their database.

    >>
    >> Most of us (certainly myself) do prefer an optical viewfinder.
    >> However, when out in public, I notice a lot of casual shooters holding
    >> the camera at arm's length even when the camera has an optical finder.

    >
    > My guess is that the optical VF on most compacts (those which have one)
    > tends to be quite small to look through and has quite a bit of parallax
    > error, especially when shooting up-close.
    > So it ends up being easier to look at the LCD, rather than squinting
    > through a little tunnel which can't really be trusted for framing anyway.
    >
    >> Maybe marketing feedback has persuaded camera makers they can dispense
    >> with the optical finder. Apart from cost it enables a larger lcd in a
    >> compact size.
    >> Dave Cohen

    >
    > Also that it's cheaper to dispense with another set of lenses and a zoom
    > coupling mechanism which are needed for a decent optical VF on a compact
    > digicam.


    The optical finder tends to crop somewhat, so if shooting close I mainly
    film the frame and leave a little room at the top. Seems to work ok and
    I can always keep the shutter button depressed to check the playback
    (not doing so displays the image for 2 secs). Those lcd images are hard
    to see in sunlight (when reviewing you can shield somewhat). However,
    having said that I should add I always review and crop prior to printing.
    Dave Cohen
     
    Dave Cohen, Dec 15, 2008
    #10
    1. Advertising

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

It takes just 2 minutes to sign up (and it's free!). Just click the sign up button to choose a username and then you can ask your own questions on the forum.
Similar Threads
  1. Colin Brace

    P&S optical viewfinders

    Colin Brace, Apr 3, 2006, in forum: Digital Photography
    Replies:
    15
    Views:
    749
    Colin Brace
    Apr 3, 2006
  2. RichA
    Replies:
    26
    Views:
    851
    Doug McDonald
    Aug 20, 2007
  3. zalek
    Replies:
    45
    Views:
    1,384
    Tzortzakakis Dimitrios
    Feb 6, 2008
  4. Replies:
    41
    Views:
    1,016
    John Turco
    Jul 20, 2010
  5. RichA
    Replies:
    36
    Views:
    1,474
    Wolfgang Weisselberg
    Mar 5, 2011
Loading...

Share This Page