Why is 1X viewfinder magnification so rare?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by yakim_peled|1, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. Apart from the E3 (1.15X) the 7D is the only DSLR which have 1X viewfinder magnification. All others are less. To me this is very surprising. The good APS cameras are around 0.95X but the top of the line pro FF from Canon and Nikon max at 0.76X (1Ds Mk III) and most are around 0.70X (e.g. D3X). I don't think that money is the issue as these are (1) Very expensive cameras and (2) Designed to the pro market.
    Your thoughts are valued.
    Happy shooting,
  2. Yakim, it's my understanding (and someone is bound to correct me if I am wrong) that VF magnification is normally quoted on the basis that there is a 50mm lens on the camera, regardless of format. On a FF body, a magnification of around ×0.75 with a 50mm lens produces an image in the finder that subtends just about as large an angle at the eye as is comfortable. On a 1.6-factor body, because of the silly way that magnification is quoted, you would need a magnification of ×1.2 for the viewfinder image to subtend the same angle at the eye. For a 1.6-factor body it would be more sensible to quote the magnification with a 31.25mm lens to give a figure directly comparable with that for FF.
  3. "as large an angle at the eye as is comfortable"? I don't get it. Assuming all else is equal, who wouldn't want a larger viewfinder image? I know I certainly would.
    Happy shooting,
  4. as large an angle at the eye as is comfortable​
    I stand by that. To refresh my memory, I've just had a look through the finder of my 5DII, and I would not want it to be anything more than marginally bigger at most, because if it was I could look at only part of it at a time rather than taking in the overall composition. But there's certainly scope for 1.6-factor finders to catch up, even that on the 7D.
    What I would really like is for the VF data display to be easily readable in bright light, preferably with some user control over adjustment, as for the LCD.
  5. Robin said:
    "What I would really like is for the VF data display to be easily readable in bright light, preferably with some user control over adjustment, as for the LCD. "
    Oh my gosh! Canon still hasn't fixed this very basic issue? Simply incredible. My experience and continued viewfinder aggravation has been with the 5D and 50D... in turn the assumption: the 7D and all other latest-greatest gee-whiz cameras had fixed what is an obvious problem. Really makes one wonder, the disconnect between Canon engineers and Canon users.
  6. If the viewfinder is too large then you have to move your eye around because you can't see the whole image at one time. This is okay for landscapes but bad for sports. Have you ever sat in the front row in a movie theater? Similar thing, you have to turn your neck to see the whole image.
  7. I just can't believe you are comparing FF viewfinders to sitting in the front row in a movie theater.
    Happy shooting,
  8. Remember film? Many film SLR had 0.85X (e.g. AE-1 and OM-4) and the OM-1 had a whopping 0.92X. If it was done in SLR, why not DSLR?
    Happy shooting,
  9. zml


    Two thoughts:
    -Bigger is not always better. A 1x FF VF magnification, esp. without the proper eye relief, might be not to your liking...
    -How comparable are the the VF magnification numbers for other film/sensor formats with the number for 7D? How is viewfinder magnification determined on Canon 7D..? If with a 50 mm lens, then good luck (because of FOV...)
  10. I have to say, the VF on my 7D is a pleasure to look through. My old XTi it was akin to looking down a long dark tunnel. What a difference
    Thanks for the link Yakim, good read.
    Happy Holidays.
  11. From the Luminous Landscape link:
    Roughly speaking, there is a trade-off between magnification and coverage. The higher the coverage, the lower the magnification. Ironically, magnification for 100% finders has to be made lower so that viewfinder information displays can fit in the finder and be within the user's field of view. That's why all the top pro SLRs have 100% coverage but only so-so magnification.​
    I'm confused. I do understand the tradeoffs between magnification and coverage and brightness. But, in order to make it all fit in the viewfinder, wouldn't you just need a bigger prism? A 100% viewfinder for a FF cam would be big, heavy, and expensive. But this shouldn't be an obstacle for big pro studio cams?
    And yes, bigger is better.
  12. The image on the viewfinder screen is the same size as the image on the sensor. That's inherent in the SLR design.
    The apparent size through the viewfinder is governed by the magnification of the eyepiece optics. Thus, if you magnify the screen image it gets darker as the light is spread over a larger area.
    I'm disappointed to hear that the viewfinder information display is still not bright enough. I returned a 20D because of this and was hoping the 7D might be better.
  13. I just can't believe you are comparing FF viewfinders to sitting in the front row in a movie theater.​
    I didn't compare a FF viewfinder to the movie theater, I compared a (hypothetical) viewfinder that was too large to a movie theater. When I had a D2X I bought the 1.2X magnifier eyepiece and it made it just about perfect. I tried this on my D3 and because I wear glasses I was moving my eye around to see the full image and all of the viewfinder info. The D3 viewfinder is fine without the magnifier. The D3 plus magnifier would probably be fine without glasses except the built in diopter adjustment is not strong enough for me.
  14. The simple answer?
    There's no good reason at all that digital cameras should not have 100% viewfinders. The old excuse in the olden times was that you lost part of the edge of the picture to the slide mount, but clearly that no longer applies. I'm hoping that the 7D will draw attention to this and lead to viewfinder war in which everyone storms the full-view mountain.
    One of the really super things about the Nikon F is that it has 100% view.
  15. zml


    One of the really super things about the Nikon F is that it has 100% view.​
    Ever looked through the standard prism VF of that camera and through the HP (high eyepoint) version..? And if so, have you noticed any differences between these two..? The HP version was made for a reason... (I'm totally disregarding the fact that Nikon F was a top of the line body and that all civilized top of the line cameras, digital or otherwise, sport a 100% VF.)
  16. I've had film cameras with a "100%" viewfinder and others with less. I'm not sure I saw any difference that meant much. But what I would like is a big bright viewfinder. I don't get that in my Sony A350 but I do with the Canon 5D (relatively speaking). I do in my Contax RTS III. The "professional" cameras often have big glass pentaprisms for a big bright image where less expensive machines these days tend to use pentamirrors which are dimmer and create more a tunnel vision effect. Leica rangefinders are even brighter and easier to see for me but of course you're not looking through the lens. And of course adding to your experience is the lens. A lens like the 50/1.4 collects a lot more light than a 4.5-5.6 maximum aperture zoom and that makes the viewfinder brighter.
    So I guess what I'm saying is that I don't care about 100% so much as I care about the whole experience of looking through the viewfinder and seeing the image. I like a big bright image to look at.
  17. Bigger is not always better. A 1x FF VF magnification, esp. without the proper eye relief, might be not to your liking...​
    I have an old Pentax Mx film camera that has 97% coverage and 95% magnification. It cost me $100 second hand. I think its viewfinder is amazing and leaves the viewfinder in the Canon 5D for dead, let alone the APS-C crop cameras.
    Having looked through it, I can't imaginge that anyone in their right mind would prefer the viewfinder of the 5D. The Mx is a much smaller camera than the 5D too. I really don't know why Canon make their DSLR so dam big and heavy yet skimp on viewfinders.
  18. Folks! It's not just VF size and brightness. You focus on contrast. Even with my little E-410 VF I could get along just fine with a plain matte screen optimized for manual focus. This because I wind up using legacy OM mount Zuikos more than the digital AF lenses. Unfortunately the only after market screens for manual focus are of the split wedge type. Yuck! So I just make the best of the factory screen. It's really not too difficult to frame accurately even with the small screen.
    The reason that the screens appear so small on crop sensor cameras is because they ARE so small and you would have to have a small telescope built into the viewing system to make them appear larger. More complicated and expensive.
  19. Since building a FF prism with 100% coverage and 1X magnification seems too complicated/expensive all I can hope for is that in recent years (5? 10?) we will see such EVF's. By this time they'll probably have enough resolution so the human eye (and brain) would not be able to differentiate between them and optical VF's.
    Happy shooting,
  20. It seems to me that there's a design trade-off among three factors that need to be balanced: apparent image size, eye relief, and the size/weight of the pentaprism. Years ago, I replaced an Olympus OM2, which had a HUGE 0.92x image size (50mm lens at infinity) with a Nikon F3HP ("only" 0.75x image size) because I started wearing glasses and needed the eye relief of the HP finder in order to see the whole image at once. The F3HP had an enormous prism and a generous 25mm of eye relief--it was the most comfortable viewfinder I've ever used. The Olympus had a tiny prism and big image...but all at the cost of eye relief. Sadly, it became practically unusable for me. The other day I compared the Nikon F3HP viewfinder to that of the Canon 5DMk2. The Nikon was considerably nicer, but that didn't make the Canon (0.71x image size at 21mm eye relief) bad, but it was weak in comparison.
    I think Canon has struck a reasonable compromise. A bigger prism would be nice to look through, but would make the camera that much bulkier (and more expensive). Thanks to today's AF (and Live View) a Nikon F3HP-level viewfinder is much more a luxury than a necessity. The full-frame bodies are already heavy enough, thanks!
  21. In re Nikon F:
    Ever looked through the standard prism VF of that camera and through the HP (high eyepoint) version..?​
    There is no HP viewfinder made for the Nikon F . That particular accessory was introduced for the F3 in 1982, more than a few years later. I don't know and don't care if it fits on the older camera, it is not a VF for that camera.
    I'm also obviously not talking magnification of the VF in relation to the size seen by the other open eye, but having the viewfinder show 100% of the image that will go on the 24x36mm film area. Which is a different matter.

Share This Page