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Optical viewfinder vs. LCD

Discussion in 'Underwater Photography' started by danhngo9594, Nov 19, 2020.

  1. danhngo9594

    danhngo9594 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Minnesota, USA
    For UW photography, what would you recommend, using the optical viewfinder that comes with the housing or using LCD screen?
  2. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Largo, FL USA
    If it's a DSLR, then use the optical. If it's not, use a display.
    WS007 and danhngo9594 like this.
  3. Chris Ross

    Chris Ross Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sydney Australia
    Depends on a lot of factors - DSLR I wouldn't use live view as the AF is not as good. Mirrorless, I use the optical viewfinder as well, cuts out stray light and easier to see if the image is looking sharp - my closeup eyesight is not the best and the optical viewfinder requires infinity focus so image is much sharper.
    danhngo9594 likes this.
  4. danhngo9594

    danhngo9594 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Minnesota, USA
    Would you guys choose the upgrade for viewfinder magnifier? It is a bit over budget for me
  5. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    I bought one....45 deg, esp for macro. Love it.
    Johnoly likes this.
  6. bvanant

    bvanant Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives:
    Location: Los Angeles (more or less)
    Absolutely, the 45 finder (it takes a bit to learn to love it) will make life way more better especially for macro.
  7. WS007

    WS007 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Empersdorf (Austria)
    As mentioned previously: Optical if DSLR, backscreen for mirrorless...

    But even for mirorless a 45° optical viewfinder is very useful for macro, but I do not see how a 180° viewfinder is useful for mirrorless...

  8. deeper thoughts

    deeper thoughts Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    OTF likes this.
  9. dhaas

    dhaas Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Stow OH
    I think many SLR shooters (including mirrorless) don't even experiment with their LCD screen for shooting. Many mirrorless and SLR newer models focus as fast and consume LESS battery than the viewfinder.

    The last SLR I owned (a lowly Canon SL1) didn't have anywhere near current LCD fast focussing and was still pretty darn good. I used the LCD many times I couldn't frame with the viewfinder. I could get right on the sand and frame or hold the camera at arm's length and frame under ledges, etc.

    Another advantage is the LCD shows 100% of what's captured by the sensor.

    My point is don't discount LIVE View LCD framing until you try it! Read up on AF (autofocus) setting choices in your camera's manual and experiment. Most (all?) people own a smart phone they frame with a LCD screen so this technique isn't hard to copy.

    Using the LCD meant I never considered buying an add on 45 degree viewfinder. The LCD was usually brighter and more compact to dive with. Any add on viewfinder always made me nervous as a huge possible leak hole if smacked underwater :(

    Just one old guy's opinion :)

    David Haas
    Haas Photography Inc.

    IMG_1457.jpg IMG_3226.jpg IMG_3250.jpg IMG_1504.jpg IMG_8255.jpg
    The Chairman and deeper thoughts like this.
  10. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    I shot m43 mirrorless for several years just using the LCD on the back.

    Then I got a Sony FF mirrorless and shot it that way for a few months.

    Then I got a 45 degree VF for the Sony setup and I really like it. And, so far, I've only shot it for WA.

    I can see the info on the display better with the VF and its magnification versus how well I could see it on the LCD.

    Also, for WA of big fish (e.g. sharks), it's easier to use the 45 and get an upward shot angle. Especially if I'm on the bottom or near it.

    Also, if you have old man eyes, like I do, you can adjust the diopter on the camera's VF so that you can easily read the display when looking through the VF - when trying to read the info on the LCD might not be easy at all.

    It's not ALL roses, though. There are some times when I think "this would be easier if I was just using the LCD". But, it's an either-or choice. With the 45VF mounted, it blocks my view of a good chunk of the LCD. And, to make it all work, I have to set the camera menu to keep the electronic VF turned on, which turns off the LCD. So, to switch back and forth, I would have to change the camera setting each time.

    I have never really attempted to shoot macro. I'm surprised so many people are saying the VF is preferable for that. I would have thought using the LCD would work better because you could keep the camera at arm's length - so you physically don't have to get as close to the subject. So, less chance of scaring it off.

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