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10-09-2009, 08:53 AM   #1
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viewfinder doesn't match image - confused

Hi everyone, I'm a newcomer to the world of DSLRs. I purchased a K200D a few months back and have been absolutely thrilled with it. I'm a complete amateur and so far, I've been using it for vacation photos, snapshots, etc. I've also been using the Autofocus a lot--I like to think of it as my training wheels while I learn my camera. So far, I only have the 18-55 kit lens.

Anyhow, I've recently noticed something that leaves me confused. I frame a shot through the viewfinder and snap the shutter. But the resulting image is off by a bit. It's shifted up, and by a significant degree--maybe 20% of the area? It's not a shaky hand on my part; I've used a tripod and set it on the tabletop to take test shots. My whole understanding of SLR is that when it comes to framing, "what you see is what you get." But this is the same experience as a point & shoot, where the image in the viewfinder does not perfectly match the image capture.

To my knowledge, the camera and lens have not been bumped, dropped, or otherwise abused so as to lead to physical damage. Does anyone have any advice?

10-09-2009, 11:39 AM   #2
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20% of the area? That shouldn't really be possible. Either you are confused about something, or something is horribly wrong. but since we can't see what's in your viewfinde,r it's going to be hard for anything here to say what might be going on. If you bought the camera locally, try taking it back to see if the store people can see what you're seeing. Or even, just find any reasonably experienced photographer to takle a look.

Oh wait, one possibility - do you perhaps have your LCD to start up showing a "zoomed in" part of the image? Can you zoom out using the dial near the shutter and see the rest of the image?

It's certainly true the viewfinder doens't show you the whole image in most DSLR's, K200D included - it shows something like 95% of it, though. The actual image shot should show a tiny bit more on all four sides. Nothing like 20%.
10-09-2009, 11:53 AM   #3
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If it's 20% of the area, then your camera shouldn't be working at all.
It isn't unusual in relatively inexpensive cameras to have some viewfinder inaccuracy. Getting a 100% viewfinder and having it accurate to what is captured on film/sensor is incredibly time consuming and expensive, as every piece of the viewfinder system has to be shimmed in by hand and then checked and reshimmed as necessary.
It's one of the things that has made the K-7 a fairly expensive camera for it's performance class.
10-09-2009, 12:03 PM   #4
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The viewfinder coverage for most DSLRs, and all Pentax ones except the K7, do not have 100% frame coverage. They will show only part of the frame. Furthermore, there may be some slight adjustments to the frame due to the shake reduction feature which may adjust the sensor and give you a slightly different image than expected.

10-09-2009, 12:06 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by krypticide Quote
The viewfinder coverage for most DSLRs, and all Pentax ones except the K7, do not have 100% frame coverage. They will show only part of the frame. Furthermore, there may be some slight adjustments to the frame due to the shake reduction feature which may adjust the sensor and give you a slightly different image than expected.
Yes, but not 20%.

If the lens was damaged, you'd see still see it through the viewfinder. You see the 95% of the image that comes in from the lens - unless the mirror or mount is messed up.
10-09-2009, 01:13 PM   #6
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perhaps something wrong with the positiong of the mirror?
10-09-2009, 09:10 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by MollyM Quote
Hi everyone, I'm a newcomer to the world of DSLRs. I purchased a K200D a few months back and have been absolutely thrilled with it. I'm a complete amateur and so far, I've been using it for vacation photos, snapshots, etc. I've also been using the Autofocus a lot--I like to think of it as my training wheels while I learn my camera. So far, I only have the 18-55 kit lens.

Anyhow, I've recently noticed something that leaves me confused. I frame a shot through the viewfinder and snap the shutter. But the resulting image is off by a bit. It's shifted up, and by a significant degree--maybe 20% of the area? It's not a shaky hand on my part; I've used a tripod and set it on the tabletop to take test shots. My whole understanding of SLR is that when it comes to framing, "what you see is what you get." But this is the same experience as a point & shoot, where the image in the viewfinder does not perfectly match the image capture.

To my knowledge, the camera and lens have not been bumped, dropped, or otherwise abused so as to lead to physical damage. Does anyone have any advice?
are you peeking into the viewfinder from a distance when framing the shot?
10-10-2009, 05:51 AM   #8
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Is it only me who reads the problem as "the viewfinder is shifted a distance about equal to 20% of the height/width of the viewfinder", or isn't it possible to have the sensor/viewfinder that much shifted?

10-10-2009, 08:33 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by KjetilH Quote
Is it only me who reads the problem as "the viewfinder is shifted a distance about equal to 20% of the height/width of the viewfinder", or isn't it possible to have the sensor/viewfinder that much shifted?
It's possible, but the camera probably wouldn't be working at all, and would definitely be showing signs of violent abuse.
To get that kind of inaccuracy, the mirror mount would have to be physically bent, the prism would have to be broken free of it's mount and the sensor mount would have to be broken free as well, and all of it in opposite directions to each other.
10-11-2009, 12:01 PM   #10
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Hi everyone, and thanks for your feedback. I'm sorry if I'm not stating my problem clearly. Let me try to give an example:

Suppose I take a picture of a house from across the street. I look through the viewfinder and frame the image so that the top of the roof line is at the top edge of the viewfinder and the foundation is just grazing the bottom edge of the viewfinder.

When I snap the shutter, the resulting image gives me lots of blue sky above the peak of the house, and the bottom of the image is cut off, maybe in the middle of the windows of this hypothetical house. I said 20% above, but that's just a rough estimate.

This is only happening one direction (so, "top" and "bottom" of a horizontal/landscape photo). The sides of the image are square with what I framed in the viewfinder.

I'm going to borrow a friend's lens and see what happens then, so that perhaps I can isolate the problem as lens vs. camera. Any additional advice would be much appreciated by this newbie.
10-11-2009, 12:23 PM   #11
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I am no expert, but could it be that the mirror does not return to its proper position? This could perhaps shift the image in the way you are seeing.

Best regards,
Haakan
10-11-2009, 03:12 PM   #12
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Actually, I think you explained the problem well the first tiem; we're acting confused because we've never heard of anything like that and have trouble imaging how a camera so badly adjusted could work at all. What's normally is to see a few pixels worth of extra stuff on all sides, not tons more above but havign the bottom cut off. That just shouldn't be happening. Either the sensor, the focus screen, or the mirror are way out of position. Should be pretty apparent just by looking inside witht he lens off, if you have another properly working camera to comapre with. but in any case, sounds like that one needs to be returned. Was it ever working correctly?
10-12-2009, 12:54 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Haakan Quote
I am no expert, but could it be that the mirror does not return to its proper position? This could perhaps shift the image in the way you are seeing.

Best regards,
Haakan
That sounds like the most plausible answer. Considering the fact that there is no misalignment on the sides of the frame, it sounds even more so. Could be as simple as a small particle from production that has jammed in the mirror mechanism.

If this is the case, I wouldn't be so sure that you will see it, even compared to a working camera. the angle of the mirror doesn't need to be that far off to shift the image.

I would vote in for a trip to the store, or the camera repair shop.
10-12-2009, 07:10 AM   #14
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Its because your viewfinder is NOT a 100% view of what the sensor captures. Depending on your body and unless you are shooting with a K-7, you are only seeing 95-96% of the sensor image through the viewfinder. There is nothing wrong with your camera.

Jason
10-12-2009, 07:30 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by kjellhar Quote
That sounds like the most plausible answer. Considering the fact that there is no misalignment on the sides of the frame, it sounds even more so. Could be as simple as a small particle from production that has jammed in the mirror mechanism.

If this is the case, I wouldn't be so sure that you will see it, even compared to a working camera. the angle of the mirror doesn't need to be that far off to shift the image.

I would vote in for a trip to the store, or the camera repair shop.
This would be noticeable because the viewfinder image would not be in focus top to bottom.
A trip to the camera store is definitely in order though.
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