The Majority Of EVFs Come In One Of Two Specifications

Let’s start with cameras with optical viewfinders. The photographer see the actual scene the camera is pointed at because the light enters the lens and up to the viewfinder and into eye of the photographer.

The vast majority of cameras with optical viewfinders that look right out through the lens are Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras.

SLRs are called ‘reflex’ cameras because:

a) light enters the lens

b) a prism and a mirror send the light up into the viewfinder, and

c) the mirror has to flip up out of the way for a fraction of a second when you take a shot to let light onto the sensor. And then the mirror flips back again.

One way to think of what looking through the viewfinder of an SLR means is to imagine you are looking through a periscope in a submarine. It’s just that the periscope is only a half an inch tall and upside down – with your eye at the viewfinder, which is higher than the lens.

Mirrorless cameras do away with the prism housing, the mirror box, and the mechanism that flips the mirror up and then down again.

With no prism and no mirror, there is nothing to slap up into the housing and bump back down again. So mirrorless cameras are quieter, with less vibration.

With mirrorless cameras the light enters the lens and a tiny digital representation of the scene is shown in the Electronic Viewfinder (EVF).

One of the advantages of an EVF is that you see exactly how the shot is going to come out. If the picture is too dark, change the shutter speed or the aperture and brighten the image in the EVF – and the photo you get when you take the shot will be just as it looked in the EVF.

Some people don’t like electronic viewfinders because they are yet one more barrier between you and the scene.

You win some you lose some.

Not All EVFs Are The Same

In my search for my next camera, I have been weighing up EVFs and comparing them across different brands and different sensor sizes.

Here’s the thing – I have discovered though is that there is a great similarity in EVF specifications across different camera brands.

Generally speaking the EVFs in smaller sensor cameras are smaller than the EVFs in bigger sensor cameras.

But, also – more expensive cameras in a range of models have bigger EVFs.

More specifically, the majority of EVFs come in two sizes, shown by the relationship between these two rectangles. The red edged rectangle represents the size of a typical viewfinder on an APS-C sensor or a low end full frame camera.

The black edged rectangle represents the size of the viewfinder typically found on a full frame sensor or a high end camera with an APS-C sensor..

Look at the EVF specifications on different brands and you will see that all of them more or less fall into one of two specifications.

EVF Specifications

Nikon Z6II (full frame sensor)
1.27-cm/0.5-in. approx. 3690k-dot (Quad VGA) OLED electronic viewfinder with color balance and auto and 11-level manual brightness controls

Canon R6 (full frame sensor)
1.27-cm/0.5-in OLED color EVF, 3.69 Million dots

Fujifilm X-T5 (APS-C frame sensor)
1.27-cm/0.5-in OLED Color Viewfinder, Approx. 3.69 million dots
The Fuji X-T5 is a top of the line APS-C camera – so it has a bigger EVF

Nikon Z50 (APS-C frame sensor)
0.99-cm/0.39-in. approx. 2360k-dot (XGA) OLED electronic viewfinder with color balance and auto and 7-level manual brightness controls

Fujifilm X-S20 (APS-C frame sensor)
0.99-cm/0.39-in with 2.36 million dots of resolution and a 0.62x magnification,

Canon R8 (full frame sensor)
0.99-cm/0.39-in) OLED color EVF, 2.36 Million dots
The Canon R8 is a low end full frame camera, so it has a small EVF.

Other Factors

One thing I haven’t talked about is the refresh rate of the EVF. Because the scene is a digital representation, it has to refresh as the camera moves or things in the scene move. Of course optical viewfinders do the same, but at the speed of light so we don’t detect any lag.

That is not so with EVFs. Poorer quality EVFs can’t keep up as the scene changes. They are described as laggy – meaning that the EVF is playing catch-up all the time as the scene changes.

Another factor that applies to EVFs and OVFs is the layout of the viewfinder. Some have information (shutter speed, aperture, ISO and other info) in the EVF. Some have the info at the top and bottom of the EVF. I find that a pain (that’s the Nikon Zf). Some have super clear letters and numbers at the bottom of the EVF (Canon R6 for example)

Catherine Jones, Bridge Street, Cambridge

Of course, it is the opportunity to photograph someone absorbed in what he is doing that gives me the desire to photograph. But the colours – the green of the gate, the blue of the jeans, the blue-green of the shop, and even the top and jeans of the woman walking towards me – helped bring it together. The name-board above the shop and the top and bottom bards of the gate lead away to the left, out of the shot. The man is leaning into that and that helps put dynamism into the shot because the sloping angles are set against the square verticals and horizontals.

Ricoh GR III at 400 ISO at f/ 2.8 and 1/125 second.

Tips For Storing Unexposed Film

Five rolls of film arrived in the mail from Analogue Wonderland this morning, which prompted me to write this. So here goes with the tips.

Keep unexposed film in the canister and keep it cool and dry. Humidity is a bigger problem is some locations than others, obviously. Film may need minimal protection in a well ventilated house in the United Kingdom but a lot more protection in a humid climate, so read the following accordingly.

Keeping film cool doesn’t have to mean keeping it in a freezer of refrigerator. It will help, but only if you can be sure the containers are airtight. Otherwise the film won’t keep dry, and it’s as important to keep film dry as it is to keep it cool.

Cool means 10-20°C (50-70°F) and keep the film as near a constant temperature as possible because temperature variations degrade film because of expansion and contraction.

Store canisters upright to minimise contact between the layers on the roll. In other words don’t store on their side or the layers will be resting on one another under their own weight and can stick together or chemical can migrate through contact.

Put a desiccant bag with the film canisters to absorb any moisture. Desiccant bags come packaged with lots of products we get in the post and they can be dried out under gentle heat and reused over and over. Remember the chemical in the desiccant bag is poisonous so dry over a heater and not in an oven or microwave.

Keep film away from magnetic fields – not usually a problem in a house, but it is a problem going through airport security. The problem is worse when going more than once through airport security and it is worse with a high ISO film such as 3200 ISO. So maybe plan ahead to buy film at your destination to minimise the number of times the film passes through the scanner. You can ask airport security to examine by hand, but they may not agree.

Storing Exposed Undeveloped Film

If you are not going to develop your film right away, then all the tips here apply to exposed film also.

Some photographers amass a lot of undeveloped film. Gary Winogrand would keep his exposed rolls for a couple of years sometimes before he developed them. That wasn’t because he was lazy. it was because he wanted to remove himself from the scene he exposed. He wanted to see the photo as though he was looking are someone else’s photographs. Anyone who photographs knows what this means, that we see things in the scene of our own photographs and give them qualities an unbiased eye doesn’t see.

When reviewing a street photo from a contestant, Martin Parr said ‘But it is not a photograph’. I forget the photo, but let’s say it is a person walking along or standing still. Is there is a story in there – an expression, a stance, something that says there is a recognition of the human condition in there? When you think about it, it’s relationships with others and the way they handle that, that make humans interesting. If that’s not there then as Parr says, it is not a photograph – it is just a random snap the photographer could have taken with his or her eyes shut.

The reason I am mentioning all this is that at his death Winogrand’s refrigerator contained more than 2,500 exposed but undeveloped rolls he’d shot. There was a big hoo-ha after his death about whether his later films were any good but the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. thought so. They had a retrospective of Winogrand’s work including from some of the 2500 rolls of film Winogrand never developed.