Nikon: “We cannot beat the optical viewfinder”.

Inspiration, Nikon, Q&A, Teaching point

Recently, dpreview interviewed three top-level Nikon executives, and one of them said:

“In terms of hardware, it is likely that mirrorless will catch up with DSLR.  But one thing that is a challenge is the time lag of electronic viewfinders. Even though we have a great mirrorless [solution], we cannot beat the optical viewfinder.”

—Nikon (March, 2019).

It’s refreshing to see someone from a major camera manufacturer speak the truth.

On the other hand, many camera reviewers have erroneously made claims over the last few years that EVFs are now just as good (or almost as good) as optical viewfinders.

Although there’s no doubt that EVFs will continue to improve, I’m sticking with OVF-equipped cameras (for now) so that I can continue to see the world clearly and in real-time.


13 thoughts on “Nikon: “We cannot beat the optical viewfinder”.

  1. I’m going to disagree. I like both, but EVFs make more sense. You get focus magnification, exposure preview, you see what the lens sees (even DSLRs don’t do that), you get b&w preview, you get uninterrupted viewing (on selected cameras like the A9), etc.

    You cannot, however, replace the RF with a digital equivalent. The RF will last forever, but the DSLR will die. History comes full circle…

    1. Thank you Teresa. I know that if I was only shooting static subjects, then an EVF would probably be good enough. But I still wouldn’t like watching the world through a “little TV” (as Dave says below).

      1. It is little TV – indeed. I have been shooting Olympus OMD for 4 years, mostly using LCD. When trying OVF, it feels strange.

  2. I used Sony gear for a few years in between Canon to Nikon. After shooting several all day weddings, I was definitely noticing eye fatigue and a slight headache while watching the ‘little TV’ all day. I couldn’t be happier with an OVF.

    1. I have not. And unfortunately I wouldn’t be able to try it right now, due to some unforeseen expenses (you may have noticed that I haven’t been engaging in my usual upgrade-itis over the past year). Unless I sold my M10, but I’m not prepared to do that.

  3. Once I was doing a shoot and I used two cameras, one with EVF and a new one with OVF. When I switch from EVF to OVF, my brain almost jammed :). It was such a different experience that made me think that one of the important aspects of the OVF is that it forces you to pre-visualise the image and that leads to a different approach, which may lead to a deeper involvement with the image making. So, basically apart from the benefit of the real time feedback, I think it is also a matter of extra brain activation and engagement.

    1. That completely makes sense to me. When I had EVF cameras. I felt like I was watching the scene unfold. Instead of engaging with what is going on. It was more of a static experience. It feels like it separates you from your subject. And it made my eye hurt after awhile behind the camera…

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s