Digital SLRs need bigger finders

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Michael A. Covington, Dec 17, 2004.

  1. Here's one of those "D'oh!" obvious thoughts...

    Digital SLRs need much more magnification in the viewfinder.

    When Canon and Nikon made SLRs such as the 10D, Digital Rebel, and D70, they
    left the viewfinder magnification the same as in film SLRs.

    But the focusing screen is smaller, to match the smaller sensor size.

    So... The finder *needs* to have higher magnification, to help us see what's
    in it!

    The finder magnification is presently "0.75x with a 50mm lens" which itself
    is a bit low compared to earlier film SLRs. But a 50mm lens is not a normal
    lens on these cameras; a 30mm lens is. Accordingly, the magnification
    should be increased to about "1.25x with a 50mm lens."

    This might actually make the finder prism assembly more compact. Why don't
    they do it?
    Michael A. Covington, Dec 17, 2004
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  2. Michael A. Covington

    dj_nme Guest

    The why not is easy.
    The dslr manufacturers have a huge investment in production lines that
    can produce parts for both film and digital slr cameras.
    The fact that they can flog cameras for both formats that use identical
    parts in the optical path makes the overall cost of manufacturing both
    less than if seperate finders were made for film and digital.
    Also, any stockpiles of parts (prisms, mirrors, etc) from previous film
    models can be re-tasked for digital bodies with no modification.
    Canon, Nikon, Pentax and (even) Sigma all do the same thing in this regard.

    Perhaps Sigma, the dslr manufacturer with the least to lose (and most to
    gain) in market share, could do the cheapest mod to their next camera
    and ditch the "sportsfinder" for a "capture area only" viewfinder.
    It would be cheaper than upgrading the sensor to a larger or higher res one.
    dj_nme, Dec 20, 2004
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  3. Michael A. Covington

    Pete D Guest

    The new Pentax DS I think is .95 and is very good.
    Pete D, Dec 20, 2004
  4. My crib is more to do with the fundamental design of the
    cameras/lenses. In the last, say 10 years, what advances have been made
    to make faster, brighter and cheaper lenses? Any zoom or telephoto lens
    that says F2.8 or less gets priced at $1000 or above.

    Then, how much has AF and metering electronics improved? What
    improvements are there in the pipeline in terms of technology?
    - Siddhartha
    Siddhartha Jain, Dec 20, 2004
  5. Michael A. Covington

    Chris Brown Guest

    ISTM that Canon in particular seem to be concentrating very much on two
    areas with their optics - consumer zooms for digital SLRs, and extreme
    telephotos for their lucrative photojournalism market. They seem to have all
    but abandoned developing new wide-angle and short-telephoto primes,
    attractive to amateur landscape/street/portrait photographers.

    I see Pentax come out with cool stuff like their new pancake lens for DSLRs,
    and I start to feel like I bought into the wrong lens system. Canon are
    chasing the mass market, which makes sense for them, but it's not so great
    if you're the sort of hobbyist who values classic style primes and taking
    your time over your hobby.
    Chris Brown, Dec 20, 2004
  6. My concern is when can I get camera/lens systems that do not blow a
    hole in my pocket, do not hunt for AF in low-light or low-contrast
    subjects, and meter perfectly almost everytime without switching to
    centre-weighed or spot.

    I mean if you consider AF and metering as the basic minimum functions
    of a modern SLR/dSLR then don't you think they should be rock solid in
    these two departments without you selling your limbs for getting that
    mega-$$$$ lens.
    Despair not, my friend :)

    Buy a M42-to-EOS adapter and get Pentax screw mount lenses. Read a bit
    about these and you might get excited:
    Zenitar 16mm f/2.8 (~$100)
    Peleng 8mm f/3.5 (~$200)
    Pentax 50mm f/1.4 (~$50)

    Not perfect but still interesting for the price. And don't forget the
    MF and stop-down metering hassle or fun, as I put it. ;)

    - Siddhartha
    Siddhartha Jain, Dec 20, 2004
  7. Michael A. Covington

    dj_nme Guest

    Okay, I stand corrected on the Pentax DSLR cameras.
    Pentax seems to have asked some actual users what they want.
    dj_nme, Dec 20, 2004
  8. Michael A. Covington

    Chris Brown Guest

    Now that does sound interesting - looking it up, M42 seems to have a
    slightly longer registration distance than EF, so there should be no reflex
    mirror problems. Very tempting.

    Having said that, my wonderful wife has just bought me a splendid Christmas
    pressie in the shape of a Mamiya 7 plus Mamiya 43mm f/4.5 ultrawide lens,
    which seems to be widely regarded as one of the best lenses in the world, so
    I suspect the digital stuff might be getting a rest for a while. Hmm,
    luuverly 6*7 slides...
    I'll go with the "fun" interpretation, methinks. Some of my favourite shots
    recently were shot on a 1938 Zeiss Ikoflex TLR - manual focusing via a
    loupe, and no metering of any kind. Modern cameras turn us all into spoilt
    brats. ;->
    Chris Brown, Dec 20, 2004
  9. Michael A. Covington

    Darrell Guest

    Pentax figured that out, I don't know why the others haven't. I still don't
    know why Pentax et al don't show 100% of the image though!
    Darrell, Dec 20, 2004
  10. One problem is that the finder then becomes dimmer, as the same amount of
    light is spread out over a larger field.
    Andrew Koenig, Dec 20, 2004
  11. That did not stop Pentax from doing it right.
    Anyone knows if the Pentax finders are too dim?

    Roland Karlsson, Dec 20, 2004
  12. Michael A. Covington

    Leonard Guest

    Elan7N : 90% coverage at 0.7x
    20D : 95% coverage at 0.9x

    Not enough to overcome the smaller sensor size, but getting there. The
    DRebel also has slightly better magnification and coverage than the
    film version.

    - Len
    Leonard, Dec 20, 2004
  13. People keep saying that, but I wonder. I tried a Nikon F100 with the Tokina
    17/3.5 in a store the other day (three or four years ago<g>) and was blown
    away. It's far better than any of the 645 SLRs with a 35mm f/3.5 wide angle.
    The F100 really is a lot brighter.

    So I distrust the "light is spread out over a larger field" since it would
    tell you that the medium format SLRs and TLRs should be a lot brighter than
    a Nikon F100, and none of them are anywhere near as bright. (I meandered by
    the local pro lab the other day, and they were demoing digital backs on
    various MF cameras, and the Hassy 500 screen was so dim I couldn't even
    focus the thing. The Hassy H1 was fine, though.)

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Dec 20, 2004
  14. There's an additional variable: What fraction of the light reaching the
    focusing screen eventually finds its way to the eyepiece? I suspect that
    fraction is higher for 35mm cameras than for medium-format cameras because
    the marketplace demands it.
    Andrew Koenig, Dec 21, 2004
  15. Michael A. Covington

    Ken Tough Guest

    Canon's done work on the DO lenses, which are expensive now but
    I suppose could be cheaper in future. Nowadays the advances in
    manufacturing mean they can assemble cheap aspherical elements,
    making much cheaper/brighter/lighter lenses. It's hard to make
    robust quality (metal, seals etc) cheaper, so pro-lenses won't
    come below a certain price I guess.

    There's also cutting edge technology that uses diffractive
    coding of wavefront through a special lens coating, which
    can then use processing to focus the image algorithmically.
    That means very cheap lenses, but is currently military stuff.
    Ken Tough, Dec 21, 2004
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