You answered in your hundreds when we asked whether you missed viewfinders. We took this avalanche of support directly to the big camera manufacturers – today Sony, Pansonic and Fujifilm respond.
Here at Which? we’ve been campaigning to bring viewfinders back to compact digital cameras over the last few months.
This was based on both an overwhelming enthusiasm from our members and, of course, support here on Which? Conversation.
We’ve already heard from Olympus and Canon, with the latter deciding to launch a new compact camera with a viewfinder. Can Sony, Fujifilm and Panasonic match that?
Sony’s preparing to test the market
Sony showed great interest in our campaign and guaranteed to share this information with its product development team in Tokyo. However, it did warn us that it was too late to influence its latest lines which are set to release this year.
It told us, ‘we are continually developing our LCD technology with greater levels of anti-reflective coatings to combat the sunlight issues in our TruBlack screens.’
Sony also stated that it does have an optical viewfinder accessory available for its NEX camera system. Then again, this isn’t a cheap option – the cameras alone are upwards of £340 even before you add on the extra viewfinder.
Sony finished by saying that it was ‘preparing a global feasibility study to gauge the need for [a viewfinder camera] for a much wider audience,’ so hopefully there’s more to be seen from the Japanese giant.
Panasonic may develop new viewfinder models
Panasonic also said that it had shared our campaign with an appreciative research team in Japan. However, the current crop of Lumix cameras offer no cheap options if you’re after a camera with a viewfinder.
We were advised that the FZ100, FZ45 and G-series cameras featured built-in electronic viewfinders, and an optional electronic viewfinder accessory could be used with the LX5 and certain G-series models. Still, not only are these expensive options, they are complicated cameras that may not suit point-and-shoot users.
More encouragingly we were told that Panasonic ‘are concentrating on continuously developing the quality and functionality of our electronic viewfinders and LCDs,’ so hopefully we’ll start seeing these in cheaper, more user-friendly models in the future.
Panasonic also claimed that its automatic brightness adjustment screens can increase LCD brightness by up to 40% in strong sunlight conditions. However, this is still little help to those who need glasses to use the screens or find them an unnatural way to compose a shot.
Fujifilm sees place for viewfinders
We were eager to hear back from Fujifilm, as its recently-unveiled X100 model floored the camera press with a unique hybrid viewfinder, which acts as an optical or electronic viewfinder.
Fujifilm told us that it ‘believes that both electronic and optical viewfinders have their place in digital photography’, and our hope is that it will stand firm to this ethos, even with cheaper point-and-shoot models.
Encouragingly, we were advised that ‘Fujifilm will continue to research and develop both electronic and hybrid viewfinders in future, evaluating each application by cost, design practicality and consumer preferences’.
However, we still want to remind camera manufacturers, like Fujifilm, that there’s demand for compact cameras with viewfinders, at least as an option amongst all the LCD-only models.
What do you think of these responses?
If you want to read more about what Sony, Fujifilm and Panasonic had to say about our viewfinder campaign, you can check out their full responses here. And remember to mull over Canon and Olympus’s statements before you vote on which response is best.
Have any of these manufacturers managed to give a satisfactory response? Do you think that improving LCD screen technology is good enough or should they concentrate on bringing viewfinders back to compact digital cameras?
Our viewfinder campaign: which camera manufacturers' response was best?
Canon's (57%, 264 Votes)
Fujifilm's (20%, 93 Votes)
Panasonic's (11%, 52 Votes)
Sony's (7%, 33 Votes)
Olympus's (4%, 20 Votes)
Total Voters: 462