/ Technology

Our digital camera viewfinder campaign continues…

The viewfinder leaflet we sent to manufacturers

When we first asked whether you wanted viewfinders back on digital cameras, we didn’t expect such a resounding response. So we’ve built a ‘viewfinder campaign’ and taken your comments to the manufacturers.

When our camera expert Rich Parris wrote about his longing for the return of the good ‘old-fashioned’ viewfinder back in August, at best he presumed a trickling of support.

But instead of silent nods and quiet ambivalence, his Conversation received a flood of encouragement – we’ve had over 200 comments so far!

To this day Rich’s ‘bring back the viewfinder‘ Convo has provoked more public support than any other issue we’ve written about. And I don’t know of any other that has so many ‘thumbs up’ and not one ‘thumb down’.

Bring back the viewfinder

Manufactures have seemingly discarded the viewfinder in favour of outdoing each other with ever more compact digital cameras. It’s now so hard to track down a compact camera with a viewfinder, that you’re basically limited to buying a chunky and expensive SLR. And you quite decisively want them back:

‘I have never owned and will never buy any camera for personal use that does not have a viewfinder… period!’ asserts Sue Jenner. Peter Jones agrees, ‘I’ve been holding off buying a new compact camera for nearly two years because I can’t find a suitable one with a viewfinder’.

And Roger B rounds it off quite nicely, ‘The viewfinder is the first thing I try when buying a camera. No viewfinder, no sale.’

At the same time, Rich was surveying Which? members. Of the 1,667 asked 70% said they struggled to use an LCD camera screen in bright daylight, and of those who didn’t own a camera with a viewfinder, 60% said they’d find it much easier to take photos if they did.

Support our viewfinder campaign

So armed with these survey results and your hundreds of Which? Convo comments, we’ve taken this issue to the manufacturers. A gleaming pamphlet stuffed with some of your comments (pictured below) was created and sent to all the major camera manufactures – including Panasonic, Sony, Canon, Fuji, Olympus, Casio and Nikon.

Your comments on our viewfinder pamphletOne page of our viewfinder pamphlet with comments from BBSlowcoach, Tom Pyne and Liz C.

We’re currently awaiting a response from each of the camera makers (and prodding along the way) so fingers crossed the humble viewfinder will make a significant return.

We’ll bring you their responses in the near future, but if you support our viewfinder campaign, sound off below and help us badger manufacturers to bring them back.

Update 29 March 2011: Five of the big camera manufacturers have now responded to our campaign to bring back viewfinders to compact digital cameras! You can hear from Canon and Olympus in this Conversation, with Sony, Panasonic and Fujifilm having their say here. Are you happy with their responses?

Comments
Guest

Only just realized the implications of looking for a new camera (out of necessity, not choice, lost old one) …no view finder….impossible when you are as short sighted as I am. I wear contact lenses & have to have reading glasses for close up. Will be impossible to use an LCD to take pics so will have to look for an old camera. Probably second hand will be the only way to find one now so it’s the manufacturers’ loss!

Guest

Good news everyone! Another manufacturer has answered our campaign by announcing a compact camera with a viewfinder! It’s a bit more of a high-end one, but it’s an exciting camera – from Sony, the NEX-7 has an integrated OLED electronic viewfinder.

Here’s Richard Parris’s view on it: ‘This camera is a game-changer. We’ve been waiting to see which manufacturer could fit an electronicc viewfinder into a camera body this small, and Sony has cracked it. This high-spec model won’t come cheap, but given time technology like this tends to filter down into more affordable cameras. It’ll be one of the first products I track down at the IFA technology show in Berlin next week, so keep an eye out for a hands on video coming soon’.

http://blogs.which.co.uk/technology/cameras-camcorders/sony-announces-nex-7-and-nex-5n-compact-system-cameras/

Guest

Good news! Sony’s latest compact camera isn’t only slim, it includes a viewfinder. It’s pricey, but as Rich Parris explains in his latest Conversation, it’s a game changer – this electronic OLED viewfinder could help manufacturers bring viewfinder tech to today’s slim compact cameras. Share your thoughts about this latest camera here: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/digital-camera-viewfinder-sony-nex7-oled/

Let’s hope it happens soon, and is more affordable!

Guest

I have normal mid distance sight but require spectacles for reading. I can therefore use a viewfinder without glasses, but need to scrabble about for reading specs, if the camera doesn’t have a viewfinder. My camera is waterproof (Canon Powershot D10), but taking underwater shots, when snorkelling is almost impossible, because holding the camera at arms length destabilises you in the water, and makes it difficult to keep the object in view. Also having to hold the camera away from the body, makes it hard to take blur free pictures in strong winds or when you are on a moving object (like a boat). With a viewfinder, you can brace your body against an object and the camera against your face, making small adjustments to keep the subject still and in the centre of the viewfinder.

Guest

Part of the issue seems to be their belief that a bigger and brighter screen is what everybody wants. Is it? I don’t. I’d happily have a smaller, darker screen if I can have a viewfinder. All you need the screen for is to check if the shot’s basically OK to decide whether you need to shoot it again.

I think there’s too much emphasis on the inability to use the screen in bright light or with a need for varifocals, although both are problems. I just don’t want/need that much screen. I’d rather have battery life if it comes to it.

Ali

Guest
Tom Parry says:
4 December 2011

I find that using a camera without a viewfinder in strong sunlight is virtually impossible and it really is a case of “POINT AND HOPE”. Can I also suggest that the campaign to bring back viewfinders be extended to camcorders. I still use my sturdy SONY -TRV33E Mini DV Digital Handycam because it has a viewfinder. I am very reluctant to invest in a more modern camcorder because of this issue. I find using a viewfinder gives you far more control over what you record, particularly in strong sunlight.

Guest
DavidDAD says:
3 December 2013

I completely agree, it is nice to have a larger, brighter LCD to review and evaluate your shots. I think of it as a nice perk. But, for most of us who chose to use an EVF to frame and shoot our photos, (when available), we would sacrifice some of the size and brightness of the screens so we can have a viewfinder. I know the younger generations seem to have adapted to shooting pictures at arms length. Of course they have the close-focus ability that comes with young eyesight that allows them to actually see the screen at close distance without optical assistance. However, I also know many younger photogs who would still rather see their shots through a veiwfinder held steady on eye-level rather than at arm’s length. So, for me, if all it takes to bring back the viewfinder is a smaller LCD, I’m fine with not having a TV screen on the back of my camera.

Guest
Mike Barrett says:
4 December 2011

I need a shirt-pocket size camera with viewfinder and anti-shake. Just like the Canon Ixus models that were around a few years ago. I have an Ixus which pre-dates antishake, a geat little camera in good light. I had a lovely composition on a dull windy day in the Cotswolds, but the picture was spoilt by the shake.

Guest
Malcolm R says:
5 December 2011

Hi there, I totally agree in having a viewfinder on camera and especially a camcorder too. Its really difficult to see the full shot on sunny / bright days. I have sent emails to manufactures several years ago regarding the lack of viewfinders as well as microphone inputs on camcorders and they never really listened. Only the more expensive cameras and camcorders only seem to have viewfinders or mics on there spec. So thank you so much for pushing this lack of viewfinder spec with the manufactures,