why OVF?

So Interestingly enough, the biggest complaint I’ve seen about the E-P1 is the fact that it doesn’t have an optical viewfinder (or at least an eye-level EVF, though Ironically enough a large complaint about the panny G1 was that it was too big – largely resulting from *having* an eye-level EVF- but no matter!)

Look, I’ve composed images on all kinds of framing devices – rangefinders, SLR prisims, Waist-level MF finders, eye-level EVFs, LCDs, heck even ground-glass on a view camera. 

All require a different way of shooting, and all have their pros and cons.   But there seems to be almost a knee-jerk reaction against composing an image on an LCD, which I really don’t get.   Sure, it has some drawbacks – notably washing out in bright light (less and less of an issue as lcds get better) and being somewhat less stable to hold (just requires adaptation to some new shootign stances, not as much of an issue with IS anyway).   But there are also some big pros to it – things like “having a live histogram overlaid while composing” (awesome) or superimposed levels for getting straight horizons (useful when running&gunning). 

However, what many folks seem to miss is that one of the LCDs biggest weaknesses is also one of its greatest strengths – you don’t use it against your face.  Now while this does make it less stable, it does something wonderful as well – it removes the barrier between you and your subject, allowing a far more intimate and direct connection while shooting.  Same as shooting with a waist-level, don’t underestimate the value of being able to make eye-contact with your subject and engage with them while you are taking their picture.  It’s a great thing, and in my eyes more than makes up for the drawbacks of framing on an LCD. 

So I have to ask honestly – what’s with the vehemently anti-lcd crowd?  I’ve never had a problem framing with LCDs – is there really an issue or is it simply coming from folks who grew up on dSLRs and see OVF=SLR=Pro and LCD=pockecam=amateur?  To me it’s just another way of framing…

inquiring minds and all… not trying to be provocative, just legitimately curious.

4 thoughts on “why OVF?”

  1. as a man who wears glasses, i prefer framing using the lcd instead of smashing my face and glasses up against that tiny ass viewfinder.

  2. I’m with on this one; I have the feeling that all these complainers are just a loud crowd and the main market for this camera doesn’t give a damn about viewfinders, or that is fine with a 17+external VF. I don’t get these complains, if you want a VF get an DSLR or a G1; for the rest of us is good to have choices

  3. I think what a lot of people complain about is that LCDs are inaccurate in regards to how the photo is going to look. They usually lake the dynamic range of what a printed photo can handle and thus don’t look right. There is also some debate as to the speed of the shutter response on non-optical systems. I don’t think that is going to be a problem.

    As for me, I like it. Well, I like both. The only thing I wish thy did with the LCD is have it tip out a bit. I used to have a waist level viewer on my old (okay ancient) MF camera. I loved it because like you said, I didn’t have something between my subject and me. I would look down compose the picture and then interact with the subject. If you’re having issues with a subject smiling, they usually smile when they see you smiling.

    That all being said. I think it’s just a bunch of trad-offs. I use my old Fuji S5000 which is a EVF superzoom and still love it. But I love my D700. I think it’s just about using the right tool for the right job.

    As a side note, with an EVF you don’t get the issue with light coming in the view finder and throwing off the sensor like you do with a standard view finder. It’s nice when you are doing long exposure stuff and forget your little cap.

  4. The whinging about the lack of an OVF is in a word, stupid.

    If people want a camera that they can hold to their eye, then that’s what they should buy. They can even buy a micro 4/3 camera that they can hold to their eye in the G1.

    If the Pen doesn’t have what they want, they should be encouraged to vote with their dollars and buy the things they’re into.

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