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05-14-2012, 10:27 AM   #1
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Tiny View Finders - Why?

I was playing around with my ME and ZX-5 this morning, and good lord, the viewfinder looks like the windshield of my Silverado compared to the size of the K-5 viewfinder. It's much less eye fatiguing using those cameras compared to the K-5
But it isnt a Pentax specific issue. I have noticed that samething with Nikon DX DSLRs. Tiny, wimpy viewfinders.

Is there something inherent in these crop sensor DSLRs that forces camera manufacturers to use smaller view finders? Is this just for differentiation from the FX camera line i.e. pay more money and you will get a bigger finder?

05-14-2012, 10:45 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Because the sensor is smaller, they just make the whole mirror box and focusing screen small as well. It's more cost-effective, as the bigger the mirror, the harder it is to make a high-framerate shutter.

The istD had a full-frame mirror box, but after that, Pentax reduced its size down to APS-c likely for the reasons above. I'm sure there's an ff on the horizon, though- and if you really want a big VF, try the 645d!
05-14-2012, 10:55 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Because the sensor is smaller, they just make the whole mirror box and focusing screen small as well. It's more cost-effective, as the bigger the mirror, the harder it is to make a high-framerate shutter.

The istD had a full-frame mirror box, but after that, Pentax reduced its size down to APS-c likely for the reasons above. I'm sure there's an ff on the horizon, though- and if you really want a big VF, try the 645d!

Which usage of "I'm sure" are you using?

The "I know this for a fact" I'm sure?

Or the "Surely they will" I'm sure?
05-14-2012, 10:59 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
and if you really want a big VF, try the 645d!
Thanks

And if your willing to "loan" me $10K, i will gladly use that 645d!

05-14-2012, 11:06 AM   #5
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Keep in mind that when comparing VF's you're dealing with the area of the window (that's a dimension squared) and the size of the "container" becomes larger quickly. Eg., going from 1x1 to 2x2 is not an area increase of 2 units, it's 4 units.

Among other issues, such as the APS-C factor and the need to reduce inertia of mirror parts that Adam mentioned, was the addition of the on-board flash components in the space of the mirror box and a trade-off in favor of AF.

I'd gladly give up the OBF to return to a better VF and a clear view of the aperture ring of older lenses. Wireless/remote triggering of OFF-board/auxiliary flash (via Bluetooth?) and other functions (tethering?) can't be too far in the future anyway.

H2
05-14-2012, 11:36 AM   #6
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The K-5 was my first dSLR and I the relatively tiny viewfinder has been quite disappointing, compared to my old film SLRs. I would love to have a FF camera more to get a proper sized VF more than I necessarily care about the exact sensor dimensions.

But for what it is worth, the K-5 is still much bigger than the miniscule VF in the (entry-level) Canikons. I cannot imagine trying to manually focus using one of those little plastic children's toys.
05-14-2012, 01:10 PM   #7
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Had the same experience recently... I have a K-r and bought an old Pentax film camera for the lens on the front. On a whim, I looked through the older camera's viewfinder, and HOLY COW!
05-14-2012, 01:18 PM   #8
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yes it's something we truly lost with the age of digital - not even the best FF can compare

05-14-2012, 02:42 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dylansalt Quote
yes it's something we truly lost with the age of digital - not even the best FF can compare
Is this true? Or did you just mean that most modern OVFs don't have focusing aids like split prisms and microprisms? I haven't tried a FF dSLR.

I once considered a Canon 5D MkII, and I would have expected this to have a similar OVF area as my old film cameras. I would have been pretty disappointed if it was smaller. If what you are saying is true, then the "upcoming" FF Pentax might not be such a big deal, to me.
05-14-2012, 02:48 PM   #10
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You want a tiny VF? Try a Fed or Argus RF. Sacre bleu!
05-15-2012, 04:12 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by dylansalt Quote
yes it's something we truly lost with the age of digital - not even the best FF can compare
Digital has nothing to do with it. Autofocus is the thing to blame

Last edited by Edvinas; 05-15-2012 at 04:27 PM.
05-15-2012, 04:27 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Because the sensor is smaller, they just make the whole mirror box and focusing screen small as well. It's more cost-effective, as the bigger the mirror, the harder it is to make a high-framerate shutter.

The istD had a full-frame mirror box, but after that, Pentax reduced its size down to APS-c likely for the reasons above. I'm sure there's an ff on the horizon, though- and if you really want a big VF, try the 645d!
IMHO this has nothing to do with the size of mirror and mirror box. Put as large mirror as you want, however you still need to show in viewfinder only the same area of image which will fall onto sensor. Therefore you can't put larger focussing screen either. You can increase the size of the image in viewfinder itself, however then viewfinder will become even darker...

I've never used *ist D, so I can't say anything from my experience, however dpreview says that *ist D has 0.95x magnification prism viewfinder with 95% frame coverage. I.e. it's the same size as viewfinder in *ist DS, K10D and K20D, all of which have APS-C sized mirror and mirror box.
05-15-2012, 05:09 PM   #13
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Well, making the VF image 2x larger makes it 1/4 as bright...
05-15-2012, 06:04 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by rhodopsin Quote
Well, making the VF image 2x larger makes it 1/4 as bright...
Finally someone who understands. The size is inversely proportional to the light
Or more correctly the square
05-15-2012, 06:38 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edvinas Quote
IMHO this has nothing to do with the size of mirror and mirror box. Put as large mirror as you want, however you still need to show in viewfinder only the same area of image which will fall onto sensor. Therefore you can't put larger focussing screen either. You can increase the size of the image in viewfinder itself, however then viewfinder will become even darker...

I've never used *ist D, so I can't say anything from my experience, however dpreview says that *ist D has 0.95x magnification prism viewfinder with 95% frame coverage. I.e. it's the same size as viewfinder in *ist DS, K10D and K20D, all of which have APS-C sized mirror and mirror box.
I agree. The focusing screen must be the same size as the sensor. To make an APS-C slr viewfinder look as large as that on a full-frame film slr would require a magnifyer in the prism, between the focusing screen and the eyepiece. This would probably make the prism bulge even larger than it is.
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