Unoffical empeg BBS

Quick Links: Empeg FAQ | Software | RioCar.Org | Hijack | jEmplode | emphatic
Repairs: Repairs | Addons: Eutronix | Cases

Topic Options
#337986 - 05/10/2010 22:56 Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2413
Loc: Roma, Italy
So, once more I'd appreciate your insights and thoughts to a mostly theoretical question.

I've been reading a lot, recently, about the new mirrorless APS-C cameras - Sony Compact System Camera NEX 5, for example.

The advantages of such a system is clearly in size of the camera body, of course. Disadvantage is in that you can't see what enters the lens, as you don't have a pentaprysm and a viewfinder.

(am I missing anything else?)

While I too really wanted a viewfinder, which is one of the reasons why I bought a reflex camera, I want to be the devil's advocate and ask: how important is it to have a viewfinder+LCD versus an LCD-only?

Viewfinder will show you exactly what "enters" the lens. But that same light (photons) will eventually hit the sensor. And, can't it be argued that the LCD display on the back of the mirrorless cameras will show you "what the sensor sees", which is what ultimately matters? What is wrong/inaccurate in this, in your view?


Edited by taym (06/10/2010 00:21)
Edit Reason: added "one of the reasons" :)
_________________________
= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

Top
#337987 - 05/10/2010 23:39 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: Taym]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5402
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Originally Posted By: taym
I want to be the devil's advocate and ask: how important is it to have a viewfinder+LCD versus an LCD-only?

In my view it is the single most important aspect of any camera design. To boil it down to a single word: ergonomics.

How anybody can take a decent picture, awkwardly holding a camera at arms length, waving it around and watching the image slide sideways and up and down in the LCD screen is totally beyond me. Nobody who is serious about taking pictures would put up with that for an instant.

Of course, that's just my opinion (supported by more than 45 years of photography experience). YMMV.

tanstaafl.
_________________________
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

Top
#337988 - 06/10/2010 00:20 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: tanstaafl.]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2413
Loc: Roma, Italy
So, yes, I'd also agree that the viewfinder is a significant benefit from an ergonomics point of view in many occasions.

Still, I notice that many great pictures are obtained with compact cameras, often admittedly "advanced" (like the G11/G12 by Canon), but still w/o viewfinder.

So, probably there's a component of subjectiveness and habit and "tradition" in handling style, in that.

Also, one may argue that the lcd, especially when tilting, is in some occasions a benefit over viewfinder as well. I, for one, do miss an lcd like the one in my G11 when using the reflex, in some occasions.
_________________________
= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

Top
#337989 - 06/10/2010 00:25 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: Taym]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14002
Loc: Canada
I thought the G series has viewfinders.. ?

But yes, stability. With a viewfinder, one can hold the camera in a braced position (photography manuals/courses teach this) to minimize vibration, yielding sharper photos.

Also, for me, using an LCD means 200-300 photos per battery charge. Using only a viewfinder means 1000-2000 photos per battery..

Cheers

Top
#337990 - 06/10/2010 00:44 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: mlord]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2413
Loc: Roma, Italy
Originally Posted By: mlord
I though the G series has viewfinders.. ?

Yes, you're right. I never used it with my G11 and I just forgot it was there. smile

I find it useless. Unlike a reflex viewfinders, I find the G11 one inaccurate, small, overall unpleasant to use. That has been true for all compact cameras I had.
Just the opposite than that of a reflex, where, by looking into the viewfinder, I get a feeling of higher accuracy and control on "composing" the image.
I don't mean at all that the LCD is a bad experience. I am overall very happy when taking pictures with the G11, and I've been with all compact cameras I've had.

Simply, when compared with a reflex viewfinder, I found the latter more "real". I got a sense or better control on what I was doing, for one because I can concentrate more on what I see when I look into the (good) viewfinder of a reflex.

From this point of view, though, a viewfinder with an LCD inside (as some new Sony Alpha cameras), instead of "real" light coming from the lens, is a significantly closer experience to the traditional viewfinder. What do you guys think about that, instead?

Quote:

But yes, stability. With a viewfinder, one can hold the camera in a braced position (photography manuals/courses teach this) to minimize vibration, yielding sharper photos.

Also, for me, using an LCD means 200-300 photos per battery charge. Using only a viewfinder means 1000-2000 photos per battery..


I see. Both good points I think.
_________________________
= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

Top
#337991 - 06/10/2010 01:50 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: Taym]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14002
Loc: Canada
Heh.. I just thought of another positive point for viewfinders: the one on my DSLR includes a diopter adjustment. Which means I can still see sharply through it as my eyes age. With an LCD display, arms-length won't be sufficient much longer. frown

Cheers!

Top
#337994 - 06/10/2010 08:38 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: mlord]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2413
Loc: Roma, Italy
smile I adjusted my 7D viewfinder because I am nearsighted, but then I decided I prefer to keep my glasses on rather than remove them and put them on again after taking the picture.
_________________________
= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

Top
#337998 - 06/10/2010 12:18 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: tanstaafl.]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Does anyone make a non-reflex camera that has a viewfinder-style electronic display? Seems like that would be the best of both worlds.
_________________________
Bitt Faulk

Top
#337999 - 06/10/2010 12:54 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: wfaulk]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
Originally Posted By: wfaulk
Does anyone make a non-reflex camera that has a viewfinder-style electronic display? Seems like that would be the best of both worlds.


Doesn't everyone? At least everyone did at some point. There was certainly no shortage of cameras with EVF, including the one I previously had, Nikon E5700.

EVF = shite. Slow, pixelated, muddy cropped representation of what's on the other side of the lens.

I have yet to see a non-SLR that doesn't suck (in comparison to an SLR).


Edited by hybrid8 (06/10/2010 12:55)
_________________________
Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

Top
#338000 - 06/10/2010 13:09 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: wfaulk]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5402
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Originally Posted By: wfalk
Does anyone make a non-reflex camera that has a viewfinder-style electronic display? Seems like that would be the best of both worlds.
Panasonic DMC-FZ50

tanstaafl.


Attachments
DMC-FZ50.jpg


_________________________
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

Top
#338003 - 06/10/2010 14:02 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: tanstaafl.]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3728
A couple thoughts:

- When you get rid of the mirror, that means you're also getting rid of the mirror needing to flap up and down. That increases camera stability for longer exposures. (It's also one of the benefits touted by expensive rangefinder cameras from Leica and others.)

- I find I can stabilize my Panasonic LX5 (screen-only, no viewfinder) just fine with my elbows at my side, and looking down at the screen.

- Cameras with a flip-out-and-rotate screen are even better in this regard because you can now truly shoot from the hip, which is even more stable than in front of your face. This is the default shooting posture for somebody with many older medium-format cameras.

- For something like the LX5, that lacks a viewfinder, you can purchase a variety of third-party optical viewfinders that click into the flash hotshoe. Panasonic also offers an electronic viewfinder that clicks in, specific to the camera.

- Battery life on my Nikon D700 is superlative (thousands of pictures on a charge). Battery life on my Panasonic LX5 is still remarkably good (400+ pictures on one charge). So long as I've got the flash off, the screen doesn't seem to be an impossible sink for the battery.

Top
#338011 - 06/10/2010 16:01 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: tanstaafl.]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3159
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: tanstaafl.
How anybody can take a decent picture, awkwardly holding a camera at arms length, waving it around and watching the image slide sideways and up and down in the LCD screen is totally beyond me. Nobody who is serious about taking pictures would put up with that for an instant.

It depends on what you're trying to accomplish, doesn't it? I put up with it for many instances. Granted, I don't hold the camera at arms length as I can't see it as clearly, but is there really any significant difference between watching the image slide around in the LCD screen, and watching the image slide around in a viewfinder?

I use both a DSLR (which doesn't have a live-view LCD), and a compact camera that has only a rear LCD screen. I've used the DSLR in the wave-it-around at arm's length style (which has resulted in some fantastic images, despite not even being able to see an image on an LCD, never mind through the viewfinder), and I've used the compact camera on a tripod.

Having the LCD has been fantastic when I want to place the camera in a spot where I can't physically get my head behind the camera to look through a viewfinder (such as a worm's eye view of something).

Top
#338029 - 06/10/2010 22:12 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: canuckInOR]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14002
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: canuckInOR
is there really any significant difference between watching the image slide around in the LCD screen, and watching the image slide around in a viewfinder?

Yes, it's called motion burr. smile

Propping an SLR firmly against one's head, with one hand on the side/shutter, the other under the lens, and both elbows tucked in and pressed firmly against the chest.. gives fantastic stability. This allows slower shutter speeds and lower ISO settings, yielding better depth of field control and higher quality photos.

No real difference for tourist snaps, which make up the bulk of my "photography", but quite a significant difference on the snaps I want to blow up and print LARGE.

Mind you.. the proliferation of optical image stabilization is helping us tourists get a lot better quality images despite our poor camera holding technique. Combine the two, though, and the photos can really pop!

Cheers

Top
#338032 - 06/10/2010 22:38 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: mlord]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2413
Loc: Roma, Italy
Originally Posted By: mlord
Propping an SLR firmly against one's head,

... which, as a side note, may be unfortunately a problem if you wear glasses... (just thinking back to something previously mentioned in this thread).
_________________________
= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

Top
#338033 - 06/10/2010 22:52 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: canuckInOR]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5402
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Originally Posted By: canuckinOR
is there really any significant difference between watching the image slide around in the LCD screen, and watching the image slide around in a viewfinder?
Yes. It's called control.

Holding the camera right up against (literally touching) your head with both elbows tucked in makes the camera almost become part of your head. You move your head/camera as a unit, and what you see through the viewfinder is your whole world. Waving a screen around in front of your face just doesn't have the immediacy, the focus, of working through a viewfinder.

But then again, YMMV.

tanstaafl.
_________________________
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

Top
#338039 - 07/10/2010 05:01 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: tanstaafl.]
JBjorgen
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/01/2002
Posts: 3518
Loc: Columbus, OH
I have nothing to add to this thread other than that when I saw the title I thought, "I have that same dilemma when deciding whether or not to run the Jeep with doors today."
_________________________
~ John

Top
#338056 - 07/10/2010 16:33 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: tanstaafl.]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3159
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: tanstaafl.
Originally Posted By: canuckinOR
is there really any significant difference between watching the image slide around in the LCD screen, and watching the image slide around in a viewfinder?
Yes. It's called control.

Holding the camera right up against (literally touching) your head with both elbows tucked in makes the camera almost become part of your head. You move your head/camera as a unit, and what you see through the viewfinder is your whole world. Waving a screen around in front of your face just doesn't have the immediacy, the focus, of working through a viewfinder.

I agree completely with Mark's assessment regarding motion blur/image stabilization, but stability wasn't my real point -- I can use an unstable shooting method regardless of whether I'm looking through a viewfinder, or at an LCD screen. Why do you have to make the camera part of your head? I have no trouble at all focusing on the LCD, making it my whole world, when I compose my shot. Indeed, I can point you at a lot of medium-format cameras that use waist-level finders, which I think are a very strong analog parallel to the LCD screen. Surely no serious photographer would use such a system, if they couldn't focus? Right?

Top
#338057 - 07/10/2010 16:38 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: canuckInOR]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31256
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: canuckInOR
Why do you have to make the camera part of your head?


Because at that point, your head becomes the "third leg" of the tripod of stability points holding the camera steady.

Until I read this thread, I didn't understand why it was so important to have a viewfinder for truly professional high quality photography. Now I see why it's so important. When you're talking about detail levels in a photograph that will stand up to serious scrutiny, and you're in a situation where a physical tripod isn't an option, then it's your only choice for a truly stable shooting platform.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

Top
#338060 - 07/10/2010 18:10 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: tfabris]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3159
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: tfabris
Originally Posted By: canuckInOR
Why do you have to make the camera part of your head?


Because at that point, your head becomes the "third leg" of the tripod of stability points holding the camera steady.

Yes, that's a benefit. But making the camera part of your head isn't the only way to make a camera steady. I've used beanbags, rocks, walls, trees, tripods, camera bags, rolled up clothing, my head, my knees (while sitting), my kayak (although, since I was in a micro-eddy at the time, the kayak was moving quite a bit and it didn't really help much :)), along with a variety of other things.

Quote:
Until I read this thread, I didn't understand why it was so important to have a viewfinder for truly professional high quality photography. Now I see why it's so important. When you're talking about detail levels in a photograph that will stand up to serious scrutiny, and you're in a situation where a physical tripod isn't an option, then it's your only choice for a truly stable shooting platform.

It's not. Reducing undesired motion blur with a stable shooting platform, yes. The viewfinder as a method of composing your shot? Not so much. That it helps do the former in some instances is a positive side-effect.

The reason the viewfinder on an SLR is excellent for composing a shot is because it shows you exactly what you're going to capture on film. That's really important. In the past, non-SLR analog cameras (particularly at the consumer level) had their little viewfinder approximation -- essentially a hole in the camera body. Without a lot of practice so you knew how to compensate, there was always a little slop -- you could never compose exactly what you wanted. Now, with digital camera LCDs displaying exactly what the camera will capture, they've gotten rid of the hole-in-the-body viewfinder, because the point of a viewfinder is to... compose your shot, and it's a pointless, inaccurate redundancy. Having an SLR/mirror/prism is no longer a necessity to composing shots accurately -- what you see on the LCD is what your camera will capture.

So again, what's the difference between watching an image slide around in a viewfinder, and watching an image slide around on an LCD? Mirror vs mirrorless?

What happens if you have an LCD hood/loupe on your camera? My dad uses one to cut down the glare off the LCD in bright Texas sunlight, when he's out in the field. Still mirrorless...

Top
#338061 - 07/10/2010 18:23 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: canuckInOR]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
The image on the LCD is still an... image on an LCD. It doesn't look right, it doesn't feel right. It's not real. LCDs on cameras are all currently extremely low resolution, have poor colour reproduction and contrast. Oh, and they're slow. And it's the same LCD you're supposed to use for the menu system and to review shots.

I appreciate a good LCD and a swivel allows all manner of shooting when you can't put your head behind the camera body. But an LCD doesn't make up for an optical (TTL) viewfinder.

I haven't ever used an LCD yet where one could use manual focus with any appreciable success. I suppose that's changing though with the newer cameras.

The prism and mirror also mean you can use a dedicated auto focus system that doesn't need to use the image sensor. Which means faster and more accurate focusing.

Can a better LCD-only camera be made? Yes, sure. But I'm not aware of any that exist at this time able to compete with even a low-end DSLR.


Edited by hybrid8 (07/10/2010 18:26)
_________________________
Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

Top
#338062 - 07/10/2010 18:53 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: hybrid8]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3159
Loc: Portland, OR
That's a good answer. smile

Top
#338063 - 07/10/2010 19:51 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: hybrid8]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2413
Loc: Roma, Italy
Ok, as expected I get a very nice global picture here, from all comments so far smile The EmpegBBS never disappoints. smile

- "Braced" shooting position is a very relevant advantage of the vf (both optical and lcd) over lcd-screen.

- These are, however, the issues caused by the LCD technology per se, both on a display and in a vf:

Originally Posted By: hybrid8
LCDs on cameras are all currently extremely low resolution, have poor colour reproduction and contrast. Oh, and they're slow.
[...]
The prism and mirror also mean you can use a dedicated auto focus system that doesn't need to use the image sensor. Which means faster and more accurate focusing.



- And finally, in favor of an LCD display:

Quote:

I appreciate a good LCD and a swivel allows all manner of shooting when you can't put your head behind the camera body.


In fact, as to my little personal experience, so far, with my reflex, I think I would in the future upgrade it for only two reasons (leaving all the rest unchanged), one of which is a swivel LCD.

The other being a Full Frame sensor.

Both reasons are not at all primarily important for me at the moment, but, in pure theory, I would not mind adding those features to the ones I have.
_________________________
= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

Top
#338064 - 07/10/2010 20:13 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: Taym]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31256
Loc: Seattle, WA
_________________________
Tony Fabris

Top
#338067 - 07/10/2010 21:01 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: tfabris]
larry818
old hand

Registered: 01/10/2002
Posts: 991
Loc: Fullerton, Calif.
I use the lcd most of the time, but out in bright sun, I use the veiwfinder. A lot of the time this is a last second decision to get a shot and I don't have time to put a hood on or do some other lcd compensating thing...

Top
#338093 - 08/10/2010 19:37 Re: Mirror or Mirrorless, this is the problem [Re: canuckInOR]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
When using an viewscreen on a digital camera, trying to frame the image properly usually involves rotating the camera on an axis centered on the camera. When using a viewfinder, it usually involves rotating the camera on an axis centered on your head, which is very similar to simply looking around. You're reusing instinctual movement. If you watch most people trying to frame with a viewscreen, they're clearly expending effort trying to figure out the proper direction to move the camera. Practice would certainly help with that, but nothing will come more naturally than just using your existing skills.

Relatedly, LCDs viewscreens seem to almost always lag a fraction of a second behind the real action, which seems to result in a boat-rocking action when trying to frame. Of course, that would be true of an LCD viewfinder, too.
_________________________
Bitt Faulk

Top