Electronic viewfinders and me

©Neil Turner, February 2015. The cliff tops at Boscombe on a dull winter's day.

©Neil Turner, February 2015. The cliff tops at Boscombe on a dull winter’s day.

A few months ago a colleague whose work I know and love said that it took him a little while to get used to electronic viewfinders and now that he has been using them for a while he cannot remember why he had been so resistant to them in the first place. Resistant to electronic viewfinders? That summed up my attitude until a couple of weeks ago too. After carrying my beloved Fujifilm X20 around with me I decided that it was time to give an X100S a run out. The lack of a zoom lens and the small jump in size and weight is compensated for by a big increase in the higher ISO quality (which isn’t to be sniffed at during the winter time) and a few more megapixels (allowing a bit of judicious cropping here and there) and so for the last few weeks I have been shooting my personal work with the X100S. The idea hit me that now I had the option of using the electronic viewfinder (to be known as the EVF from here on in) instead of the optical viewfinder (known from here as the OVF) and that’s what I started to do.

For the first few days I was getting annoyed by the EVF to the extent that I had to have a few days off from it. During that time I shot some photographs that I really liked and I had to force myself back to using the EVF with something of a heavy heart. That was just over a week ago and I am now really pleased to announce that I have got the hang of shooting using an EVF. Welcome to the twenty-teens, welcome to the world of the EVF enthusiast and welcome to a wide world of possibilities I hear some of you saying. Not quite.

The current situation is that I am perfectly capable of shooting with an EVF and that I can see why some photographers have made the switch but not me. I still prefer the OVF to the extent that I don’t want to use the electronic version and to the extent that the kind of work that I have been doing with my Fujifilm cameras isn’t as fulfilling without the old-school optical set up. If I were tempted to buy a Fujifilm XE-2 or an XT-1 I’d have to forego one of the main pleasures that I derive from using kit that, despite some huge flaws, makes me want to go and just shoot pictures.

I’m not going to tell all of the EVF enthusiasts I know that they are wrong but I am now in a position where my choice to carry on using OVFs and DSLRs is made from knowledge and not from ignorance. There, I’ve said it.

6 comments

  1. Following on from a comment on Twitter – I am happy to admit that I haven’t tried many EVFs and if any manufacturer thinks that theirs is a lot better than anything I have tried from Fujifilm, I’d be happy to have a go and report back.

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  2. Well done Neil ,you have experimented with the choices and made a decision.To me the “,choices”,make it all exciting.OVF/EVF/Mirrorless/Dslr’s should all exist together ,each system has a place.For me if i was doing serious wildlife/sport (if i was any good lol) it would be Canon/Nikon dslr’s all the way,street photography may be better served by MFT,Sony etc or Fuji with the EVF or OVF.What works best for you.Enjoy.

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    1. I don’t think that it is about the practicalities of the EVF for the day job because I don’t doubt the advantages of being able to see in the dark better. For me it is about the joy of shooting the kinds of pictures that I want to shoot in the way that I want to shoot them. I know that if I had to use an EVF I wouldn’t get the same ‘hair shirt’ experience and therefore it wouldn’t be as fulfilling.

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