Camera - Without Viewfinder? And Other Related Questions

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Psamathe
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Camera - Without Viewfinder? And Other Related Questions

Postby Psamathe » 7 Jun 2018, 10:32pm

Looking at travel cameras and those on my shortlist seem to mostly be missing viewfinders. Never used a camera without a viewfinder beyond a smartphone (rarely).

Does the move from a more traditional "with viewfinder" to a viewfinder-less camera just take a bit of getting used to or is a viewfinder a real necessity. Happy to get used to something that is different and don't really want to pay the higher price for those models that do have a viewfinder; but at the same time don't want to chose something that has major limitations.

From the reviews I've read about the various cameras the lack of a viewfinder is sometimes listed as a "Con" but nobody seems to be listing specific issues (so I've not seen comments like e.g. "useless in bright sunlight" or anything).

Welcome any thoughts or experiences.

Thanks
Ian
Last edited by Psamathe on 8 Jun 2018, 11:39am, edited 1 time in total.

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661-Pete
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Re: Camera - Without Viewfinder? Thoughts/Experiences

Postby 661-Pete » 7 Jun 2018, 10:57pm

I certainly favour a viewfinder, which is why I prefer a DSLR for 'proper' photographs, particularly of difficult subjects like birds or insects (which have generally moved on by the time you've got them in field-of-view :( ). But it has to be said that Mrs P's compact camera, which easily fits in a pocket, is very handy for unplanned snapshots, on those days when you don't want to be lugging a full-size DSLR about.

So half-and-half, I'd say.

Which gives me an excuse to 'crow'. The other day, walking on the South Downs, we came across a couple of rare Man Orchids*. We are familiar with the (secret) locality where these flowers are known to occur, but haven't seen any there for some years, until now. Alas! We had no camera at all with us: only a couple of mobile phones, neither of which boasts a good camera. This is the best I could do, with Mrs P's not-so-smart smartphone:
IMG_20180603_113906_man_orchid_2.jpg

If I'd had the DSLR, I think I could have improved on this, but at least it gives you the idea.

Certainly, flowers don't 'get up and fly away', which is an advantage :lol: . But it still took several goes to centre the flower on the viewing screen. Would have been a lot easier with a viewfinder!

*They are commoner on the North Downs. And in France, where in some places I know of they grow thick as weeds. Don't confuse with the vaguely similar but much commoner Twayblade.
Pete

Et qui rit des curés d'Oc?/De Meuse raines, houp! de cloques./De quelles loques ce turque coin./Et ne d'anes ni rennes,/Ecuries des curés d'Oc. - Louis d'Antin

brynpoeth
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Re: Camera - Without Viewfinder? Thoughts/Experiences

Postby brynpoeth » 8 Jun 2018, 4:40am

I do a lot of photos but just snapshots

Would like a viewfinder but I am a bit mean, seems unfair that they cost more

I was disappointed that my new camera has no black-and-white function, that is an extra now :?
Cycling? Of course, but it is far better on a Gillott.. Alternative facts welcome

mercalia
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Re: Camera - Without Viewfinder? Thoughts/Experiences

Postby mercalia » 8 Jun 2018, 6:16am

my little ancient kodak has a viewfinder aswell as screen, saves on battery life and really is the only practical thing in bright sunlight. so I wouldnt be without a viewfinder. only need the screen for closeups. my little kodak uses 2 AA batteries and cost me £6 on ebay

is fine for pictures to display on pc screens
the nice thing about my viewfinder is that it zooms in and out as the lens does 8)

all the pics shown on these forums taken by me were taken with it

Image


consider a 2nd hand kodak from ebay. my cx7530 is harder to find these days. takes an sd card. is one of the good ones, has a firm control dial that wont move accidently

I used to have an Olympus OM2 film system, I much prefer this little camera
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Cunobelin
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Re: Camera - Without Viewfinder? Thoughts/Experiences

Postby Cunobelin » 8 Jun 2018, 6:45am

There are multiple reasons for this trend, including smaller size, less electronics, and arguably more accuracy as WYSIWYG with a screen, also with a (Tilting screen you can frame shots that would require the skills of a contortionist with a viewfinder

However they can be very difficult to use in bright sunlight, as some screens become impossible to see. - think of the problems some mobile phones have

I have a full digital SLR, but for lighter travelling use an Olympus PEN which has an additional viewfinder available

My "Carry Camera" then I am never without is an Olympus Stylus 1s, which has all the tricks, settings, and abilities of some of the DSLR, Bridge and "4/3" cameras and has both a tillable screen and a viewfinder:



pwa
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Re: Camera - Without Viewfinder? Thoughts/Experiences

Postby pwa » 8 Jun 2018, 7:05am

Look at Lumix for well made high performance compacts with viewfinders. LED screen like most cameras, but the small viewfinder activates (and main screen goes off) when your face gets close to the viewfinder. Excellent overall spec and it feels cold and metallic in the hand.

Tiberius
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Re: Camera - Without Viewfinder? Thoughts/Experiences

Postby Tiberius » 8 Jun 2018, 8:24am

I've found it just about impossible to take decent motorsport photographs using a camera without a viewfinder, and I would now never buy a camera that didn't have one.

As/the suggestion above, I went with a Lumix.

Bez
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Re: Camera - Without Viewfinder? Thoughts/Experiences

Postby Bez » 8 Jun 2018, 8:44am

As you may already infer from the previous posts, the answer is "it depends". IME:

- If you're going to be taking handheld telephoto shots, a viewfinder is a big help because the camera is much more stable against your face than it is in just two hands. In particular if you're looking to shoot wildlife, motorsport or air displays then you'll be heavily compromised without a viewfinder.

- The sunlight thing is nowhere near the issue it used to be: screens are much better now. It's still an issue, but how much notice you should take of other people's remarks about it depends on how modern their camera is.

- I recently read something that resonated with me, relating to street photography, which is that although the lack of a viewfinder encourages different ways of working, and often it's helpful to be stealthy, a viewfinder has a sort of psychological effect in that by cutting off your peripheral view it makes you less conscious of the world around you. It allows you to shift into an isolated scene and thus even though you have a camera pressed to your face you feel less self-conscious and can shoot more freely.

- The one issue which I am starting to find is that now I need reading glasses, I can struggle to use a non-viewfinder camera without them; whereas with a viewfinder the diopter adjustment means I can use it just fine without glasses.

To qualify the above comments: these days I rarely shoot with a lens longer than 50mm equivalent (normally Ricoh GR or GXR). If I went back to longer lenses I'd unquestionably go back to a viewfinder (admittedly I have the 28-300 unit for the GXR but I very rarely use it). I keep an eye out for the viewfinder to fit the GXR but they go for silly (to my mind) money.

Oh, and not all viewfinders are created equal. They use different technologies, are of different sizes… test before buying, if possible.

pwa
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Re: Camera - Without Viewfinder? Thoughts/Experiences

Postby pwa » 8 Jun 2018, 9:05am

I find with my Lumix camera that while I do just use the normal LED screen most of the time, there are definitely occasions where sunlight gets in the way and the little viewfinder (with a dial to customise focus for your eye) allows more accurate framing. I made a point of getting a camera with that feature. I seem to remember at the time (a couple of years back) there was also a Sony compact with a viewfinder. I'd not buy a camera without one.

Psamathe
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Re: Camera - Without Viewfinder? Thoughts/Experiences

Postby Psamathe » 8 Jun 2018, 9:49am

Panasonic Lumix ones were on my list but quite low down because another feature I consider really useful is GPS (or tagging photos with Long/Lat location info). Many cameras now do that through your smartphone using Bluetooth (i.e. use the GPS in your smartphone) but in the Lumix ones you have to get into the £700+ to get Bluetooth to support that functionality. so lower down the list because of cost.

Top of my list (though I'm unsure, hence this thread) is the Canon EOS M100 (but no viewfinder).

Ian

pwa
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Re: Camera - Without Viewfinder? Thoughts/Experiences

Postby pwa » 8 Jun 2018, 9:52am

A bit Off Topic, but my compact Lumix is the best camera I've had, and that includes my old, much loved, Olympus OM 10 SLR (the sort with film). I'd not bother with a DSLR now because they are too big to carry around on walks and rides, and the compact Lumix will allow me to get very good pics whilst keeping the camera volume low. I can control depth of field etc like I used to with the SLR and low light images are very good. But it depends what your mission is: an activity for which you just take a camera to record the experience, or photography as the main focus (pun intended). I see myself as a walker / cyclist who comes back with great pictures, not a photographer who takes his camera out.

pwa
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Re: Camera - Without Viewfinder? Thoughts/Experiences

Postby pwa » 8 Jun 2018, 9:54am

Psamathe wrote:Panasonic Lumix ones were on my list but quite low down because another feature I consider really useful is GPS (or tagging photos with Long/Lat location info). Many cameras now do that through your smartphone using Bluetooth (i.e. use the GPS in your smartphone) but in the Lumix ones you have to get into the £700+ to get Bluetooth to support that functionality. so lower down the list because of cost.

Top of my list (though I'm unsure, hence this thread) is the Canon EOS M100 (but no viewfinder).

Ian


I'd say that by prioritising GPS over the viewfinder you are prioritising additional information over (potentially) the quality of the image you take.

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fausto copy
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Re: Camera - Without Viewfinder? Thoughts/Experiences

Postby fausto copy » 8 Jun 2018, 10:07am

I can heartily recommend Lumix compacts and I've recently bought a TZ70 travel zoom compact camera which cost just over £200.
Its got a viewfinder which I use all the time.
There's an option on it to use: either screen on the back, or the viewfinder, or screen normal and viewfinder functions as you move your eye to it.
It's compact enough to carry with you virtually all the time and the extended zoom is amazing.
My expensive Lumix GX80 with separate lenses now sulks in the drawer. :roll:

Psamathe
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Re: Camera - Without Viewfinder? And Other Related Questions

Postby Psamathe » 8 Jun 2018, 12:06pm

Thanks for feedback; a few additional related questions (not wanting to start another thread):

Camera I always thought virtually ideal was the next model after an existing one i.e. I was waiting for the next version to be released ... but it never was and instead Nikon discontinued it and all store stock disappeared so could not even get the older model!

But now I've found a store with old old model but having looked at the newer (higher priced) cameras my expectations in some areas have increased. Though always too easy to want "the best" so wondering what people thought about:
    Only 30-74mm zoom lens (35mm equivalent)
    14.2 mega-pixels
    No viewfinder
    No image stabilisation (I always managed without this fine with film technology)
    Most control done menus using buttons (menu, up/down/left/right, select, i.e. few knobs)
    No Wi-Fi, no bluetooth, uses USB cable
    Discontinued model
But
    GPS
    Very robust
    Very waterproof
    Supports RAW image format
    3rd party USB battery charger available
    Mid-range price

I appreciate it's always a compromise but my difficulty is how you weight up different featured (or missing features). Intended use (travel, backpacks, panniers, outdoors) I get concerned about robustness and weatherproofing and being techy/fussy I rate more pixels highly (despite that everybody says to the contrary, but with limited zoom range maybe more pixels gives flexibility on computer digital zoom/cropping?).

Ian

pwa
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Re: Camera - Without Viewfinder? And Other Related Questions

Postby pwa » 8 Jun 2018, 12:26pm

Don't forget to add good low light image quality to your list. Sometimes when choosing between two cameras a higher pixel model can have poorer low light performance.