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02-22-2009, 12:13 PM   #1
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K200D viewfinder problem

I have a new K200D, and I find that when I try to use it outdoors the data display in the viewfinder becomes so weak that it is extremely difficult to see... sometimes, it is just impossible to see what the shutter speed etc. is through the viewfinder. The problem is independent of shooting mode, or shutter speed, or aperture. I have tried everything I know, including removing the eyecup, but the problem seems unsolvable. I am using an F3.5/18-250 zoom with it. I have no other DA lenses to compare with.

Today, I tested it again by shooting outside from inside the garage. When I am deep inside the garage, the data display is fine, but as I move toward the outside the display weakens to near invisibility the closer I get to being outdoors. It's almost as if the viewfinder gets flooded with too much light which interferes with the data display. The image in the viewfinder is sharp and clear indoors or out.

When I use the camera indoors, the data display is bright green as it should be. Because it works so well indoors, I reckon that I must be doing something wrong. Any help in troubleshooting this will be much appreciated.

02-22-2009, 06:10 PM   #2
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I don't think there is anything "wrong" - it's true that in really bright sunlight, most viewfinder displays are kind of hard to read. I can read it, but it's more work. I'll refer to LCD occasionally if I'm really struggling, but usually just moving my eye around the eyecup gets me what I want.
02-22-2009, 09:08 PM   #3
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Thanks for your encouraging reply, Marc. I tried shifting my eye around in the eyecup but it didn't work. The readouts remained extremely faint, whether I was shooting into the sun or away from it, and when the sun did come out from behind the clouds, the data display just went black wherever I pointed the camera.

As it is, the camera is only useful for an hour or so before sunset, which isn't really very useful at all. I will try to adapt for another day or two, but it doesn't look good so far.
02-22-2009, 09:21 PM   #4
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Good point but a common issue..

That's a common issue of modern DSLRs of recent years. My Canon suffers from the same too.

Older Nikon AFSLRs used blacklit monochrome LCD for the finder's data display and this is the best design I have ever seen. The brighter the environment, the clearer the data will be! When environment light level drops, the LED backlit will replace the ambient light and illuminate the display.

Now, almost all DSLRs are LED backlit the finder data all the time. Well, you know, the LED will by no means be able to "compete" with sunlight!

Pentax SLRs have never been good in viewing the finder data under strong sunlight. The best LED backlit finder data display belongs to the MZ-S. But imho the only "correct" design is the Program A/Super A which has the "Nikon" "correct" design I have described above.

QuoteOriginally posted by snofox Quote
I have a new K200D, and I find that when I try to use it outdoors the data display in the viewfinder becomes so weak that it is extremely difficult to see... sometimes, it is just impossible to see what the shutter speed etc. is through the viewfinder. The problem is independent of shooting mode, or shutter speed, or aperture. I have tried everything I know, including removing the eyecup, but the problem seems unsolvable. I am using an F3.5/18-250 zoom with it. I have no other DA lenses to compare with.

Today, I tested it again by shooting outside from inside the garage. When I am deep inside the garage, the data display is fine, but as I move toward the outside the display weakens to near invisibility the closer I get to being outdoors. It's almost as if the viewfinder gets flooded with too much light which interferes with the data display. The image in the viewfinder is sharp and clear indoors or out.

When I use the camera indoors, the data display is bright green as it should be. Because it works so well indoors, I reckon that I must be doing something wrong. Any help in troubleshooting this will be much appreciated.


02-23-2009, 06:42 AM   #5
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On the K200D (well at least on mine) the viewfinder data brightness modulates slightly e.g. it's slightly brighter in brighter environments. However this doesn't help at all in those very bright situations.
So far I had the impression that this phenomena happens because of too much light gets into the viewfinder between your eyes or head and the eyecup. (might be wrong).
I use both eyes for taking pictures-the reason is to use my forehead and nose as a shade to try to minimize these disturbing effects.

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02-23-2009, 01:16 PM   #6
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In bright light the MX's viewfinder was also difficult to read. Cannot comment on viewfinders of other makes except the Leicaflex SL. Never saw a viewfinder as bright in any other SLR including the Nikon F2AS.
02-23-2009, 01:37 PM   #7
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This sounds odd. In bright sun the viewfinder indicators does look very faint and harder to read, bu they always have remained bright enought, to be visible when i push my eye to the cup.

Of course it is impossible to read it when moving a little away from the cap on my k100d, but usually this is because some light is reflected off the viewfinder eye piece, and has never been because light inside the penta-mirror box is masking LEDs.

If those leds are modulated, maybe the control system is broken keeping them at dimmest all the time. Wasnt there some sort of setting enabling and disabling this automatic dimming?

Youre saying that it weakens when moving to brighter areas, but seems like its being flooded. To determine if it is a fault, you must find out if it actually gets darker (try putting lens cap in bright light.. other tests), changes intensity at all (dims in lower light) or is just being masked by enviroment light. Best option would be trying another k200d and maybe some other cameras so you can see what to expect in general.

Last edited by ytterbium; 02-23-2009 at 01:43 PM.
02-23-2009, 05:26 PM   #8
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Thanks for all your responses! I had the camera out today at the tail end of a blizzard. It was overcast, with snow. I could see the data display easily. It is only in ordinary sunlight, from mid morning to mid afternoon that the display becomes invisible. I know that I can work around this by using the LCD or the Info display to double check my settings while shooting, but I anticipate losing a lot of shots by adding this extra step.

I am taking the camera into the shop tomorrow to compare it with another K200 or K20. I am so glad that I bought from a local, long-established shop with a great reputation for service. Thanks again for all your help!

01-26-2010, 07:48 AM   #9
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I have the same problem in my K-X.

Snofox, Did you fix it? How was the comparison with other cameras in the shop?

Thanks in advance.
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