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12-19-2020, 10:16 PM   #1
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Brightest viewfinder in APS-C

Due to aging eyes, focusing and looking through viewfinder is not at its best. Recently I tested and bought Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III kit, consumer entry level DSLR camera. The viewfinder was outstanding, very very clear and bright. Now whenever I reach for camera to take pic, I pick Olympus. I also like Olympus image stabilization better but thats a discussion for some other time


I currently have KX, K50 and two K5.


Question 1: Considering my Pentax bodies are older, Pentax bodies are SLRs where as Olympus is mirrorless. I like to understand/know that the dull viewfinders of Pentax bodies are because of older prisms? age? or its not as bright as Olympus because of mirrorless vs SLR?
Question 2: Which Pentax SLR APS-C has brightest viewfinder?


Last edited by fazalabbas; 12-19-2020 at 10:19 PM. Reason: more context
12-19-2020, 10:23 PM - 1 Like   #2
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According to Ricoh, the best viewfinder ever is going to be in the K-3 Mark III.
12-20-2020, 12:03 AM - 3 Likes   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by fazalabbas Quote
Recently I tested and bought Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III kit, consumer entry level DSLR camera. The viewfinder was outstanding, very very clear and bright.

Question 1: Considering my Pentax bodies are older, Pentax bodies are SLRs where as Olympus is mirrorless. I like to understand/know that the dull viewfinders of Pentax bodies are because of older prisms? age? or its not as bright as Olympus because of mirrorless vs SLR?
Question 2: Which Pentax SLR APS-C has brightest viewfinder?
Not to nitpick... but the Olympus isnít a Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR), itís an Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Csmera (MILC) or any of the other names here (Mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera - Wikipedia). It is pretty clear you know the basic difference so forgive me if this seems pointless, but someone without that info might get confused.

Q1: Yes. Because the Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) is basically a computer monitor in miniature, the brightness - to a degree - can be compensated to be brighter than a modern focusing screen in a true DSLR. The EVF is at the same time unable to provide the level of clarity and dynamic range an optical finder provides in some conditions. That boosted brightness also means that highlights will be compressed in the finder etc. some motion artifacts could be present as well.

Q2: the upcoming k-3 iii is going to have a superb viewing experience. The k1 has a fantastic screen as well as a good viewfinder.
12-20-2020, 01:29 AM - 5 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by fazalabbas Quote
Question 1: Considering my Pentax bodies are older, Pentax bodies are SLRs where as Olympus is mirrorless. I like to understand/know that the dull viewfinders of Pentax bodies are because of older prisms? age? or its not as bright as Olympus because of mirrorless vs SLR?
Which is brighter, has better contrast, and is more vivid, your television screen or your backyard through the window.


Steve

12-20-2020, 01:34 AM - 1 Like   #5
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The obvious difference is that the slr viewfinder is optical, you see whatís there. Some people prefer to see what the result is gonna be. The EVF is their way. It is a matter of preference. . Itís a screen and obviously I donít say making good EVFs is easy, of course.
12-20-2020, 01:53 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by fazalabbas Quote
Brightest viewfinder in APS-C
The NEXT one!
12-20-2020, 01:59 AM   #7
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Understood. EVF is all electronics and software so you can enhance it. No matter how good K1 is or how good will be new k3, it will not be as bright as olympus because by design any SLR viewfinder will not manipulate the view.

Thank you all
12-20-2020, 02:38 AM - 3 Likes   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by fazalabbas Quote
I like to understand/know that the dull viewfinders of Pentax bodies are because of older prisms? age? or its not as bright as Olympus because of mirrorless vs SLR?
When assessing an optical viewfinder - such as those on SLR and DSLR cameras - "brightness" should be judged in relation to the actual scene. A dull optical viewfinder is one that loses a significant degree of light transmitted by the lens - whilst a bright viewfinder reproduces very nearly what the lens is capturing. If the scene you're viewing is dull, then of course what you see will look dull too.

The light from your scene passes through the lens' optical elements and diaphragm to reach the reflex mirror. A very small amount of light passes through the reflex mirror to the autofocus system mirror, but the majority of it is reflected up through the focusing screen, pentaprism (or pentamirror in older / less premium cameras) and viewfinder optical elements to reach your eye. The challenge for DSLR manufacturers is to ensure that the reflex mirror, focusing screen, prism and viewfinder optics are as efficient as possible at passing light through to your eye. Pentax has an excellent reputation in this regard, and is set to build on that further with the new K-3III, due to increased magnification, brightness and clarity in the viewfinder compared to its already excellent predecessors.

With mirrorless cameras, after light passes through the lens, it's captured by the imaging sensor (which takes time), converted into digital (which also takes time) then processed (this takes time too ), then displayed on a small screen (which, you guessed it, takes time ), before passing through magnifying viewfinder optical elements and to your eye. The quality of this digitised view is influenced by the imaging sensor, signal and image processing, viewfinder display and viewfinder optics, as well as the time taken by all the hardware and software processing in the path, which limits the rate at which individual frames are displayed. What you see is effectively a live movie of many frames per second, unlike the view in an optical viewfinder, which is continuous.

As @stevebrot succinctly illustrated, the comparison of optical versus electronic viewfinders can be likened to what you see through your window versus what you see on your unnaturally-bright (and not necessarily colour-accurate) TV screen. Both have advantages and disadvantages...

QuoteOriginally posted by fazalabbas Quote
Understood. EVF is all electronics and software so you can enhance it. No matter how good K1 is or how good will be new k3, it will not be as bright as olympus because by design any SLR viewfinder will not manipulate the view.
I was writing the above when you replied to everyone, but hope the overview might still be useful


Last edited by BigMackCam; 12-20-2020 at 05:09 AM.
12-20-2020, 04:57 AM - 3 Likes   #9
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To simplify, the Olympus' viewfinder is brighter because it's shining a lamp straight in your eyes.
12-20-2020, 08:40 AM   #10
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1. It's because it's an EVF (Electronic ViewFinder) and you find something similar on the vast majority of mirrorless cameras.

2. Probably the K-3 though the K-3 mark III which is due out in a few months apparently has a new viewfinder that's as good as that on the K-1 FF DSLR.

I'm not sure any APS-C DSLR will be as bright and clear as a good EVF. If you get on well with an EVF then I'd recommend sticking to it.
12-20-2020, 11:51 AM   #11
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Got it.

I was saving money for a new camera so I thought I rather consult. Pentax view is not dull but what I meant was that its dull in dull (low light) situations and thats where i struggled the most.

Thank you all
12-20-2020, 06:56 PM - 5 Likes   #12
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Welcome to the forum! Yes, the EVF can provide better viewing brightness in lower light conditions than an OVF. This can be useful. However, as you know, it is not an accurate representation. It really does not show what you are likely to get from your shot- it is an artificial enhancement. So just be careful in your metering based on that. You will learn the difference when downloading the results and viewing on your monitor, and even a greater difference when making a print. Experience teaches, so you can take that enhancement into account.

But the same is true when using a DSLR's rear screen for viewing, especially when using LV for your shots instead of the OVF. The newer Pentax camera models provide a significantly better LV experience than do older models, which might be a good alternative to use in your case when dealing with reduced lighting situations.

You mention your eyesight as you get older. Perhaps you are developing cataracts. Only by consulting an ophthalmologist, not an optician, will you know for sure. I go to one who does surgery, but does not push it until intervention is the best option. He has been my eye doctor for over 25 years, and is a highly-regarded surgeon. I finally had mine removed 7 years ago for my right eye, the worst one while the right eye was still vision-correctable with glasses. Then three years later for the right eye. The most stunning revelation for me when the first eye was done, was the considerable improvement in brightness of the viewed scene compared to the right eye, which was not yet done. So there's no telling how many years I had gone, having reduced brightness of my viewing due to advancing cataracts, even though my visual acuity was still being corrected by wearing glasses. I had been wearing glasses because of myopia (near-sightedness) since my teen years.

Another important revelation (in my case) was that since now my left eye was corrected, via the lens implant, for distant-viewing so I no longer needed much in the way of glasses, except for corrective bifocals for seeing up close and reading. (I began requiring bifocals when I was about 52 years old.) But if not needing the glasses for all-around vision including distance, I could still see fine up close without glasses, not even needing the bifocals- but that ability disappeared with the new lens implant correcting for distance. I had considered the more expensive multi-focal lens implant, but upon asking my doctor abut any possible downside, he said ghosting of lights at nighttime could be a factor in some cases, so I chose to resign myself to needing bifocals whenever having to see up close. However, since the right eye was not yet done, I could still see up close using no glasses with it! I found that between the differences each eye now provided, I was able to see both far distance and up close with no glasses! I could go swimming at the beach and see the location of my things while still in the water, yet I could also pick something up and examine it up close! I could drive without glasses, though I had a new pair ordered with my updated prescription. The only issue was the middle-range vision, which neither eye was well-suited for. Using the computer was problematic. This had been an age-old issue for me anyway, but now was worse.

But a light bulb went on in my head, as I now had new functional capability. 3 years later, when it was time to address the cataract in my right eye, I requested a special consultation to talk about a different approach for it. I knew my mother had decided to remain nearsighted when she had her cataracts removed and lenses implanted, because she wanted to still be able to read without glasses. This was successful, and she was satisfied, being already used to wearing glasses for seeing distance. We had our consolation in his office, where I explained my idea- to have my right eye remain near-sighted, so each eye would fill in the weakness of the other. He said in my case this is a plausible solution, but he also said the cataract causes myopia to be more severe, that now I had to hold reading material much closer up than I used to. That he wanted less descrepency between the two eyes. Therefore, he looked in his computer to find my old records of prescriptions going back some 15-20 years- before cataracts were part of my condition. He said he would designate an implant lens that would correct to being along the lines of a much older prescription. Once he had that information, he calculated the exact focus point in inches as it would be when implanted, probably the DOF as well. When my vision cleared the day after the operation, I went to my post-op appointment, which began with a quick vision exam by his technical assistant. Wow! Could I see- like I had not since I was a kid! I read the print card, then the wall charts, like nothing! Using both eyes, of course. When the doc came in, I was raving. I was looking around the room reading everything, wall charts and signs, print up close to me, and.... even at mid-distance, the words on his equipment! He just sat with a big smile, saying this is very impressive, even better than he himself expected.

I came back after several weeks, allowing my eyes to settle in, to get testing for my new glasses prescription, which of course is quite different for each eye. The bifocals are hardly anything for the right and quite strong for the left. But now at the computer I am perfectly fine using no glasses at all. The middle range is fine- for the first time since having a computer! My viewing through the OVF is better than it has ever been, with or without glasses! And I use none, via the right eye, and little if any departure from default OVF diopter correction.

it is interesting that even though my eyes are so different in one being good for closer, and the other for farther distance, there is no awareness of this difference, that each eye is doing something different. The brain is what puts together the image. If the detail is present, regardless of which eye presents that detail, it will fill in that detail across the whole visual field, as long as both eyes are being used, and with full stereo vision!. My glasses are now of a weak prescription. Even weaker for the right eye, which only needs some correction for distance, while the left eye needs it for farther and closer mid-range, and the stronger bifocal for up close. So when wearing glasses, these to fine tune the eyes together, it is somewhat better all-around, but not always, as my ditching them at the computer reveals.

My doctor said not everyone with myopia is a candidate for this approach for cataract removal corrective implants. In my case, myopia was not very great in severity, being that I had been quite able to read without glasses, so I am fortunate. I thought I would put my experience out there as a possibility to discuss with your doctor, if applicable, as well as for anyone else interested.

Last edited by mikesbike; 12-20-2020 at 07:48 PM.
12-20-2020, 07:02 PM - 1 Like   #13
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I have a K70 and never thought the viewfinder to be dark or lacking in some way.
12-20-2020, 07:33 PM - 1 Like   #14
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You can get a bright electronic viewfinder but for me an optical finder is way better for seeing how the image is going to look.
12-20-2020, 08:34 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
You mention your eyesight as you get older. Perhaps you are developing cataracts. Only by consulting an ophthalmologist, not an optician, will you know for sure.

I thought I would put my experience out there as a possibility to discuss with your doctor, if applicable, as well as for anyone else interested.
Very interesting story. Thank you.
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