/ Technology

Sony’s latest camera – are viewfinders making a comeback?

We’ve been campaigning hard to alert manufacturers to the demand for a compact camera with a viewfinder, and it seems Sony’s finally come up with an answer… provided you’ve got deep wallets.

Our campaign to bring back the digital camera viewfinder has found overwhelming support here on Which? Conversation – it seems plenty of you aren’t alone in struggling to use a LCD screen in bright sunlight, or without having to use glasses.

We’ve heard responses from many of the major manufacturers, ranging from vague acknowledgment of the issue, to the much more satisfying news that Canon would be releasing a new cheap pocket camera with a viewfinder.

However, the hunt for the perfect camera with a viewfinder just took an interesting turn with some exciting news from Sony.

New Sony NEX-7 boasts OLED viewfinder

Sony has just announced the new NEX-7 micro-system camera, which boasts a never-before seen OLED viewfinder, among lots of other impressive specs.

During the course of this campaign, I’ve often mentioned my hope that some enterprising manufacturer will come up with a viewfinder using OLED technology, and it Sony’s first out of the gate.

OLED (organic light emitting diode) technology allows for screens that are slimmer, sharper and brighter than traditional LCD screens, so it seems a natural partner for fitting an electronic viewfinder into a relatively slim camera body.

The great news about electronic viewfinders is that they can exactly depict the shot you’ll be getting through the lens, regardless of the zoom range. The same can’t be said of optical viewfinders (except on DSLRs), which suffer from parallax error – the viewfinder shows a different angle of view to what you’re getting through the lens – and small optical viewfinders are hopeless with larger zoom ranges.

…and the downside?

Sadly, this new technology won’t be coming cheap. The NEX-7 is a 24 megapixel system camera boasting a huge image sensor and an interchangeable lens approach. We’d expect this model to cost over £600 when it launches in November.

However, progress always has to start somewhere, and technology has a habit of debuting on the pricier models before filtering down into the more affordable end of the market.

The most exciting news here is that Sony has proven it can be done – you can indeed fit a high quality electronic viewfinder into a slim camera body. So come on, Sony, and come on Sony’s rivals – let’s see plenty more of this to come! And bring the price down while you’re at it…