Small camera with good EVF ?

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by johnw63, May 17, 2013.

  1. I am looking into getting a carry around, pants pocket, glove box camera to just have around, when I am not toting a DSLR. I would MUCH prefer a real optical viewfinder, for using when it is bright or the sun is behind me. The type of screen on my cell phone is useless in those conditions. Since the choices of cameras with optical viewfinders is dwindling, I need to get a list of cameras that have a good enough viewfinder to use in all conditions. For this type of use, a fixed lens camera would be best. Not fixed focal length though. I would like the normal exposure methods, not just some program mode. A bit of bulk is OK, as I don't like the really small ones, because they are harder to keep stable. I have looked at the Canon G12 or the newer G15 because it has a nice fast lens, but I was wondering how some of the newer technology cameras were stacking up.
    If you have some recommendations, feel free to toss them my way.
     
  2. I have the G12 and also Fujifilm's X20. They are a tossup in image quality, with maybe a small edge to the Fuji. Neither one is really a pocket camera, although with big pockets, or short distances, they can be pocketed. The X20 in particular has a lens that sticks out. I carry either one in a belt pouch.
     
  3. I like the Sony NEX-7 because of the quality of the EVF, the focus peaking and viewfinder magnification, and the adapters for nearly any kind of lens. With a small Leica M lens on it (even the Voigtlander ones), it's very small.
     
  4. The Fuji X20 isn't exactly bulky, nor is the pricier X100/X100s. The Fuji X-E1 has an APS-C sensor and high resolution EVF that many truly love.
    There's always the Nikon 1 cameras and lenses that seem to be perpetually on sale now.
     
  5. The NEX cameras are not very compact, once you put a lens on them, not to mention easy on the budget. I was hoping to stay a bit less costly for a " just have it around " camera. The Nikon 1 is interesting, but also not low cost, unless you find them in the refurbished section, such as at Cameta Camera, which I have been thinking about. How is the back screen for use in bright conditions on the Nikon 1 series ? The V version has a viewfinder , I believe, but the J series does not.
     
  6. After reading up a bit, I may have to remove the EVF from my list, as those cameras seem to push the price point up a bit. The Micro 4/3 cameras are too bulky with the lens system. So, I'm looking at the 1/1.7 sensor size "compact " cameras.
    I browsed everyone, I think. Oly, Ricoh, Pentax, Panasonic, Sony, Canon, Nikon. Did I miss anyone ?
    I think the best deal I've seen is the B&H price on the White version of the Lumix LX7. You have to put it in your cart to see it that low, I think.
    To be honest, my main goals are now, plenty of controls, and not auto everything, and a screen that can be used outdoors, even with the sun behind you shining on the camera.
    How does that change your suggestions ?
     
  7. Rather than searching for small camera with good EVF,
    search for small good camera with EVF.
    This way you will have more success to find them.
     
  8. True. But I was hoping to not do the same footwork that others have already done, and get specific recommendations by people who have been there and done that.
     
  9. After reading up a bit, I may have to remove the EVF from my list, as those cameras seem to push the price point up a bit. The Micro 4/3 cameras are too bulky with the lens system​
    You should really look into an E-PL5 or E-M2 plus either the 20/1.7 or 14/2.5 lens. The rear screen on these cameras is well coated so the screen can be used under broad day light, beach, desert, etc, for framing. With my aging eyes, I actually much prefer to look at a big screen instead of peeking into a small VF, whether optical or electronic. You can also get an used VF and leave it in the car, just in case. I am in my 50s, wearing glasses (both near and far-sighted), but I never find the need for one.
     
  10. CC,
    Who makes the E-M2 ? I found the first one under Olympus. Google has struck out on the second one.
     
  11. As much as I would like the bigger micro 4/3rds sensor and the added ability to slap on my Nikon lenses, the price and size just push it out of my range. I am leaning towards the Oly XZ-1, which can be had for $299. There was a deal going for a short time at a good store for the white Panasonic LX-7 for about the same amount, but that deal is gone. Both have fast zoom lenses and good external controls. I have no idea how the rear screens are. Any one with experience with either of these ?
     
  12. Sorry, it is E-PM2. Here is a review:
    http://www.dpreview.com/news/2013/05/21/olympus-e-pm2-review-just-posted
     
  13. > plenty of controls, and not auto everything, and a screen that can be used outdoors
    I rather like the Fujifilm X20 but have only played with it briefly at the store. It certainly has access to controls, and feels reassuringly well constructed. The OVF very clearly shows less than the actual photo area (supposedly 85%) but with that constraint seems pretty decent. The new in-VF information display (vs the X10) is nice, at least in the controlled lighting conditions of a camera store.

    > added ability to slap on my Nikon lenses
    Cameta Camera apparently has refurbed Nikon V1's with the surprisingly good 10-30mm kit lenses for $299. That's hard to beat. The V1 has a nice feel in the hand (not flimsy) and the EVF is very satisfactory. Image quality is better than you'd expect from the sub-m43 sensor, and you have the option of using your Nikon lenses with the FT-1 adapter. Though there's that 2.7x crop factor, plus only AF-S type lenses have AF functionality. The V1 is actually no smaller than the Panasonic GF2 (the only m43 camera I own / can directly compare with), but frankly any smaller and I would find it hard to hold/use. Plus the native Nikon One lenses are pretty small, I think smaller than more-or-less equivalent m43 lenses. The 10-30 and 30-110 are good and the VR seems quite effective.

    I've been using the V1 a lot more than I expected I would. The solid pluses include: fast, accurate AF; pretty good image quality; EVF (versus rear screen only); good battery life; and with the refurbs, cheap enough to have two bodies which I use one with the 10-30 and the other with FT-1 plus 70-200/2.8 VR. Sure it's not the "real thing" but having a 500+ FL equivalent (yeah, yeah DOF not same ...) with f/2.8 brightness and VR that you can fit in a briefcase is nothing to sneer at. The AF using the FT-1 is limited to center-only, however, and less reliable than with, say the D300. But useable.
    Minuses include having to dive into menus more than I'd like (but operationally less of a hassle than I'd expected), mandatory image review after taking a shot (a 1/2 press of the shutter button gets rid of it, but it can be confusing if taking a series of action shots), and the verdamnt rear dial that goes into weird modes seemingly randomly (a bit of gaffer tape fixes that). At sub-300 USD it's worth experimenting with.
    The photo is a grab shot of a dying katydid I found on the sidewalk of my low-end motel north of New Orleans a few months ago. The insect was a little under 2 inches body length in real life. Shot handheld in regular JPEG with the 10-30 near the long end of the zoom, f/8 1/25th second. It's no great shakes as art, but not bad for a kit zoom not billed as a macro, IMO.
    00bfs8-538823584.jpg
     
  14. I am enjoying using an X-E1 with the Fuji M adapter and, normally, my Summicron 35 Asph. The camera is light but very solidly built, has an APS-C sensor and a proper shutter dial and can be used fully manual or Aperture priority. The EVF is very good and the magnified view for accurate focus comes up with one button press and reverts to the full view for taking the shot. In bright light the magnifier mode is often not needed for focusing. The Fn button can be set to bring up the ISO for changing with a couple of button presses so that it is rarely necessary to go into menus. I am happier with it than with my Nex 7 notwithstanding its tri-nav wheels etc. Philip
     

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