Electronic Viewfinder

The electronic viewfinder is a great digital camera accessory that is used by professional and casual photographers. It combines the best features of the optical viewfinder and the LCD viewing screen while avoiding many of their problems. It is ideal for taking photographs in bright sunlight or when the camera is placed in an awkward position. The electronic viewfinder is attached to the hot-shoe on a digital camera, avoiding the need for batteries because power is drawn from the camera. Most models have a button that switches the view between them and the LCD viewing screen. Like any expensive camera accessory, there is a long list of features that should be checked before getting one.

Photographers have long known about the problems with optical viewfinders, such as parallax error and edge distortion. Parallax error is the reversal of the picture caused by the arrangement of the lenses and mirrors inside the camera and viewfinder. Edge distortion is the blurring near the edges of the viewfinder caused by the curvature of the lenses. A less serious problem is the inability to adjust the position of the optical viewfinder, making it difficult to compose a picture when the camera is in an awkward position. An electronic viewfinder does not suffer from parallax error or edge distortion, and it can usually be tilted to a position that better suits the photographer.

The main component of an electronic viewfinder is its tiny LCD screen, which is similar to the large viewing screen on the back of a digital camera. It is fixed inside a housing that resembles an optical viewfinder and is designed to be held against the eye. Many photographers prefer this position to holding the camera with outstretched arms because they can compose the picture more accurately and with less shaking. An optical viewfinder cannot be adjusted because that would change the focus of the view, but an electronic viewfinder has no such restriction and can usually be rotated horizontally and vertically. This allows the photographer to compose a picture from above the camera or from the side.

The main features of an electronic viewfinder are its screen size and resolution. To get the sharpest view, it is vital that the screen have a very high resolution to compensate for its small size. The brightness and contrast ratio also need to be high to show detail in the dark areas of the picture. To avoid delays between moving the camera and seeing the change, the refresh rate of the screen must be as fast as possible. A wide field of view is also a good feature to look for in an electronic viewfinder. Another good feature is a button that switches between the large viewing screen and the viewfinder.

Installing an electronic viewfinder is a simple process of attaching it to the hot-shoe of a suitable digital camera. There needs to be an electrical connection so that the viewfinder can show the picture from the sensor and also receive power from the batteries. Some models only need to be plugged into the hot-shoe but others also have a small cable plugged into the accessory port. Other than that, there is little else that needs to be done to get an electronic viewfinder up and running. Most models can be tilted or swiveled to make it easier for the photographer to compose a picture when the camera is on the ground, against a wall, or obstructed by some other object.

The electronic viewfinder is a great substitute for the LCD viewing screen, but there are a few minor problems with it that need mentioning. While it occupies the hot-shoe, a flash unit cannot be installed there. If the internal flash is not suitable, the photographer may have to resort to using a handheld flash or even a standalone flash. Another problem is that an LCD screen can never have the color accuracy of an optical viewfinder, so colors may appear slightly different and shadows may appear darker or softer. But overall, an electronic viewfinder has enough advantages to outweigh these minor problems.

This Electronic Viewfinder Review is Written/Updated on Dec 23rd, 2010 and filed under Consumer Electronics. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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