Nikon: “We cannot beat the optical viewfinder”.

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.

—Peter.

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

  1. kdghantous says:

    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…

  2. This is so true, Peter! Nothing beats an OVF. If I ever buy a Fuji, it would be a Fuji xPro2…or Fuji xPro3…which is rumoured to be coming soon. Best, Teresa.

    • 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).

      • Pavel P. says:

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

  3. Dave Uhlig says:

    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.

  4. I agree totally with you Peter – long live the OVF, or real “live view” (or real life view 😉).

    ACG

  5. Peter,

    Have you ever shot the S006 with the split prism focusing screen and the 70mm?

    Knowing you, that’s the camera you should “upgrade” to.

    ACG

    • 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.

  6. PhotoMatrix says:

    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.

    • That’s a perspective I hadn’t heard before. Very interesting.

    • Dave Uhlig says:

      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…

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