22 August, 2014

EVFs

Queens Park, Brisbane

I like electronic viewfinders (EVFs). EVFs are the tiny screens that serve as viewfinders in many mirrorless cameras, as opposed to the optical through-the-lens finders in digital single lens reflexes (DSLRs), or the optical finders in Leica rangefinders.


Focus peaking, focus assist (magnification) and eye focus (detecting the subject's eye and then focusing on it); these are all tied to EVFs and LCDs. And, I really like being able to see a histogram and all the specs for a shot within the viewfinder.

With an EVF I don't need the pentaprism and mirror mechanism of a DSLR; so the camera is lighter, smaller and less expensive.

Finder lag in EVFs is down to almost nothing in the newer cameras.

EVF critics point out that the image in the electronic viewfinder is going to be different to the actual digital capture. Shock, Horror. There's always been a disparity between what's in the eyepiece (of whatever kind) and the final image (in whatever medium). In earlier times, it was a useful bit of the craft to be able to predict what the image was going to look like on Tri-X, Kodachrome or whatever – 'cause it wasn't going to look exactly like what you saw in the viewfinder.

I do think that EVFs are too contrasty, and, therefore, it's correct to to say that the image in the EVF will probably not let you see into the darker areas of the scene. There are, I think, two answers for that: The first is to remember you saw the scene before you put the camera up to your eye. And if you want to, you can have a second peek with your naked eye. Secondly, there's a tactic that helps on my Sonys. (This isn't my own idea. I'm not sure, but I think that I found the tip somewhere on the Luminous Landscape. If anyone knows who's idea it was, let me know and I'll make sure they are credited in this post.) So here it is:

Because I shoot only RAW, I set the NEX-7, for example, to "Portrait" within the "Creative Styles." Within that "style" I can then dial down the contrast of the display. The EVF rendition is flatter, but it shows me more of the detail in shadow areas. This doesn't affect the final images, because RAW ignores the "creative styles."

I love the perfect framing of EVFs – what I see in the frame is what I get in the image. No parallax correction. No mirror slap. So, no mirror lock-up in seeking vibration-free pictures. No lubricant from the mirror box putting junk on my sensors.

Did I mention that I like EVFs?

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