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'[EE] The mother of all future Digital SLRs makes i'
2006\01\26@191841 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
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"Mirrors up"
REAL engineering!
After recently acquiring a DSLR after several years extensive
experience with a top prosumer camera I had "paper designed" a hybrid
DSLR and EVF camera which would implement a true digital SLR while
retaining all the best features of modern pro-sumer EVF (electronic
viewfinder) based cameras. The lack of EVF facilities and all its
advantages on pure DSLRs renders them dinosaurs just waiting the day
when someone would wake up and implement 'my design', or any of the
obvious variants. Somebody just did!

Ladies and gentlemen, the Olympus Evolt E-330 (shame about the name).

>From the web's premier camera review site

       http://www.dpreview.com/articles/olympuse330/

>From a competent wannabe.

   > http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_reviews/e330.html

___________


At last. They're well on the way although, at a quick glance, they've
missed a few key things.
eg If my 7Hi could autofocus "mirror up" why can't they?

Also, the shutter response time in EVF mode is REALLY stupid and their
rationale for it seems brain dead too. Why do you have to turn back
into an SLR to take a photo when the sensor is live already?

Excellent start. Others will now rapidly follow.

But, one day, not too long from now (I had said 3 years) all proper
cameras will do it my way :-)

The day of the pure DSLR has now passed. The age of men has begun
[:-)]. Buy Olympus shares quickly!




       RM



Mirrors still up.

2006\01\26@192915 by Bob Blick

face picon face
> Somebody just did!
>
> Ladies and gentlemen, the Olympus Evolt E-330 (shame about the name).

I guess it depends on your definition of "just" - a friend of mine bought
one of those almost a year ago. Yes, it's a pretty nice camera, but not
new anymore, and far from perfect.

-Bob


2006\01\27@015144 by Russell McMahon

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>> Somebody just did!
>> Ladies and gentlemen, the Olympus Evolt E-330 (shame about the
>> name).

> I guess it depends on your definition of "just" - a friend of mine
> bought
> one of those almost a year ago. Yes, it's a pretty nice camera, but
> not
> new anymore, and far from perfect.

That would have been the E-300.
The E-330 is still pre-release and definitely breaks new ground in
having EVF and optical modes.
Others will now follow.
Once they do it will break down the mistrust of EVFs by the pros and
after a while ALL DSLRs will do this. And after another while there
will be no more SLRs as the EVF technology gets good enough and the
superstitions fade. This marks not only the start of the "real" camera
but the start of the death of the DSLR.

Forecast / prophecy:   (note it on your calendar ;-) ).

- 3 years from now all major DSLR camera makers will have EVFs in
their DSLRs.

- 10 years from now all but some specialist top end cameras will not
be true optical SLRs.


       RM

2006\01\27@033624 by William Chops Westfield

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On Jan 26, 2006, at 10:38 PM, Russell McMahon wrote:

>>> adies and gentlemen, the Olympus Evolt E-330

Ah.  Fond memories of the OM-1 here.  Recent ones, too; I polished
off an OM-1 a couple of weekends ago to take pictures at my daughter's
first gymnastics meet.  They came out nice; I'd forgotten how well
film in a real camera works (the OM-1 outfit was designed to take
pictures of gymnastics, and was last heavily used back when I was
photographing MY teammates.  Sigh.)

I was a little disappointed that Olympus defined a new lens mount
for their digital SLRs, though I guess my old lenses are seriously
obsolete and weren't really THAT much of an investment in the first
place (the nice one being the Soligor 135mm F2)  Olympus has an
adaptor, but it doesn't look like it works so well (they "recommend"
not using lenses 'wide open', which would be most of the point in
the first place...)

BillW

2006\01\27@041257 by Shawn Wilton

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>
> Forecast / prophecy:   (note it on your calendar ;-) ).
>
> - 3 years from now all major DSLR camera makers will have EVFs in
> their DSLRs.


There's an inherent fault in your logic Russ.  You're neglecting the fact
Nikon releases new products about once a decade...

- 10 years from now all but some specialist top end cameras will not
> be true optical SLRs.



FWIW, I love my D70, and you can pry it out of my cold dead hands if you
think I'll ever purchase an Olympus.  The reality is, once you have an SLR,
you really don't need a live LCD.  I would never use mine even if it was
live.  I can get a better picture through the viewfinder as I don't need to
fight the sun/glare.  I'm sure over time though, most people will go for an
arrangement like this.  Though I think it really only has utility with the
PaS crowd.

At least it's not a Canon...
--


Shawn Wilton (b9 Systems)
http://black9.com

2006\01\27@043803 by Alan B. Pearce

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>At least it's not a Canon...

But I like my EOS ...

2006\01\27@063313 by Russell McMahon

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>> Forecast / prophecy:   (note it on your calendar ;-) ).
>>
>> - 3 years from now all major DSLR camera makers will have EVFs in
>> their DSLRs.

> There's an inherent fault in your logic Russ.  You're neglecting the
> fact
> Nikon releases new products about once a decade...

Prophecy need take no note of present practices.
Nikon will conform or die.
As Minolta just did :-(.

> - 10 years from now all but some specialist top end cameras will not
>> be true optical SLRs.

> FWIW, I love my D70, and you can pry it out of my cold dead hands if
> you
> think I'll ever purchase an Olympus.  The reality is, once you have
> an SLR,
> you really don't need a live LCD.

I own a DSLR.

> I would never use mine even if it was
> live.  I can get a better picture through the viewfinder as I don't
> need to
> fight the sun/glare.  I'm sure over time though, most people will go
> for an
> arrangement like this.  Though I think it really only has utility
> with the
> PaS crowd.

You have missed the point.
It's not the crummy thing on the BACK that will be live - I don't care
if it's live or dead. I only use the back LCD on my 7D because it
hasn't got an EVF. And to show people shots I have taken.

It's the VIEWFINDER that will be electronic and live - the place
that's currently optically coupled to the lens most but not all of the
time.

To think that this only applies to the 'Point & Shoot" class suggests
lack of experience with a good EVF (electronic viewfinder) camera. I
presently own a Minolta 7D Digital SLR. But prior to that I took over
200,000 photos with a 5 megapixel "prosumer" EVF based Minolta 7Hi.
The 7D SLR has 3 fundamental areas of superiority to the 7Hi.
- Larger sensor (so less noise and / or more sensitivity allowing
either higher ISO settings or less noise.
- Interchangeable lenses.
- Antishake in the body (unlike any other brand of DSLR)

Apart from these features the 7Hi is superior to the 7D and to all
digital SLRs that I am aware of (Up to and including the flagship
canon EOS1Dxxxx) as a photo-taking system. Others may have faster
frame rates (7Hi ~= 3fps), larger buffers (7Hi=128 MB), faster
processors or fancier software, but as a concept the EVF camera
utterly trounces the DSLR concept.

- Live histogram (vvvvv valuable for a serious photographer)

- See what you are about to REALLY get on 'film' in the viewfinder
before you take the shot AND while you are taking the shot (unlike
DSLR which only shows it on a (sun affected) screen in the back of the
camera AFTER it's taken the shot.

- See true depth of field in the viewfinder before the shot.

- Zoom focus so well that the optical viewfinder is but a pale shadow
in its focusing ability. And the subsequent A1 & A2 models were even
better.

- Any filters, contrast settings, sharpness settings etc are visible
BEFORE you take the shot.

- "Bright up" (don't you just love that term) allows you to view dark
scenes at a level that suits your eye. The live histogram allows you
to see what's really happening when the display is made
unrepresentatively bright.

And more.
Flapping glass mirrors are an arcane and ancient joke. They are almost
past their use by date. Up until now only the top prosumers (like my
7Hi) had good enough EVFs OR managed them well enough to justify their
use instead of an optical path viewfinder. The 7His EVF was
pathetically low resolution (under 100 kpixels!) BUT intelligent use
of that made it competitive for system use. The A2 had a VGA display
in its EVF!. Once that goes to 1024 x 768 an optical path will be of
very little value IF the EVF is intelligently done.

The reason I said that essentially all DSLRs would be like the Olympus
within 3 years was that you can't wean the top end optical boys off
their toys instantly. BUT once the EVF is an option and they see how
good it is the days of true SLR are doomed. As I prophesied :-). But,
don't take my word for it - write it on your calendar and tell me I
was wrong in due course :-).

In the interim, borrow a Minolta A2 (NOT an A200) and marvel at its
EVF.

Postscript: A few months ago I had an opportunity to take wedding
photos alongside a team of professional photographers. They used
modern DSLRs and I used my 7Hi. I didn't envy them the cumbersome
nature of the systems they used - even though each was worth over
$20K. Their photos were good. But they had to work harder than I did
to take them.



       RM


2006\01\27@065057 by Alan B. Pearce
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>Flapping glass mirrors are an arcane and ancient
>joke. They are almost past their use by date.

The Canon Pellix did away with a flapping mirror way back in the 1960's ...
Seemed to be an idea that just didn't catch on then because it took some
light away from the film. That is one area where the digital camera can be
an advantage - you view the electronic signal, so the exposure device still
gets maximum light.

2006\01\27@073451 by olin piclist

face picon face
Russell McMahon wrote:
> After recently acquiring a DSLR after several years extensive
> experience with a top prosumer camera I had "paper designed" a hybrid
> DSLR and EVF camera which would implement a true digital SLR while
> retaining all the best features of modern pro-sumer EVF (electronic
> viewfinder) based cameras. The lack of EVF facilities and all its
> advantages on pure DSLRs renders them dinosaurs just waiting the day
> when someone would wake up and implement 'my design', or any of the
> obvious variants. Somebody just did!

I have long wondered why someone couldn't offer a digital film back to
existing SLR film cameras.  I have a Nikon F3-T, which was popular with
professionals and high end amateurs in its day.  There must be a lot of F3s
out there.  Why not something that is mechanically like a film cartrige that
extends a sensor out to the film plane?  Or if more space is needed for
mechanical reasons, a replacement to the swinging door back that has the
digital sensor built in.  In theory this should cost a lot less than a full
digital camera, and it would preserve the existing investment in
accessories.

I'm guessing the reason why not is that digital sensors aren't tractable at
24x36mm for a reasonable price.  I think sensors equivalent to the
resolution of my scanner (5-8Mpix) are considerably smaller than that.

In the mean time I'll continue to walk around with plain old film in my
camera.  I have the film processed then I scan it and everything is digital
from there on.  Going digital today at the equivalent resolution would still
cost many rolls of film and their processing.

2006\01\27@074013 by William Chops Westfield

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On Jan 27, 2006, at 3:31 AM, Russell McMahon wrote:

> It's the VIEWFINDER that will be electronic and live ...

Huh.  I have a Konica Minolta A2, which has a "high resolution"
EVF, and one of the things I noticed with my recent experience
with the old film SLR was how much more pleasant the optical VF
on the SLR was to use and focus (manually.)  Maybe I should just
rely on the AF, and maybe my eyes are just old, but I seem to have
a fair amount of difficulty focusing using the EVF, even though
this camera supposedly has a highres screen there to make it better.
(worse, I have trouble telling whether the AF has "latched on" to
the proper place when using AF...

BillW

2006\01\27@091014 by M. Adam Davis

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On 1/27/06, Olin Lathrop <spam_OUTolin_piclistTakeThisOuTspamembedinc.com> wrote:
> I have long wondered why someone couldn't offer a digital film back to
> existing SLR film cameras.  I have a Nikon F3-T, which was popular with
> professionals and high end amateurs in its day.  There must be a lot of F3s
> out there.  Why not something that is mechanically like a film cartrige that
> extends a sensor out to the film plane?  Or if more space is needed for
> mechanical reasons, a replacement to the swinging door back that has the
> digital sensor built in.  In theory this should cost a lot less than a full
> digital camera, and it would preserve the existing investment in
> accessories.
>
> I'm guessing the reason why not is that digital sensors aren't tractable at
> 24x36mm for a reasonable price.  I think sensors equivalent to the
> resolution of my scanner (5-8Mpix) are considerably smaller than that.

There's a company that hyped a product for exactly that in the late
90s, but it was not successful.  I'm guessing the reasons are the same
as you've described.  It looked like a 35mm film canister with a thin
cable to a 35mm size sensor.  It was self powered, and so most of the
space in the film canistor was power - leaving little room for memory.
I suspect also that noise is an issue since it can't always tell when
the shutter is released and must be scanning the sensor continuously.

I believe another company makes digital backs for large format cameras
($20k to $200k) as well.

But the underlying issue is that it's going to cost the same as a new
camera, and since the process is different, then by building the
camera around the sensor (instead of the sensor around the camera) you
can take advantage of the features of the sensor, and compensate for
its weaknesses.

-Adam

2006\01\27@140953 by Shawn Wilton

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On 1/27/06, Olin Lathrop <.....olin_piclistKILLspamspam@spam@embedinc.com> wrote:
>
> Russell McMahon wrote:
>
> I have long wondered why someone couldn't offer a digital film back to
> existing SLR film cameras.  I have a Nikon F3-T, which was popular with
> professionals and high end amateurs in its day.
>

Someone actually does, but it's not for Nikon of course.  It's Hasselblad
<http://www.hasselblad.com/products/level2.asp?secId=1132>

-

2006\01\27@141251 by Shawn Wilton

picon face
On 1/27/06, Russell McMahon <apptechspamKILLspamparadise.net.nz> wrote:
>
>
> > I would never use mine even if it was
> > live.  I can get a better picture through the viewfinder as I don't
> > need to
> > fight the sun/glare.  I'm sure over time though, most people will go
> > for an
> > arrangement like this.  Though I think it really only has utility
> > with the
> > PaS crowd.
>
> You have missed the point.


Indeed I did.

It's not the crummy thing on the BACK that will be live - I don't care
> if it's live or dead. I only use the back LCD on my 7D because it
> hasn't got an EVF. And to show people shots I have taken.
>
> It's the VIEWFINDER that will be electronic and live - the place
> that's currently optically coupled to the lens most but not all of the
> time.


Not sure I like that.  Not sure at all.  I like optics.  They're *always*
smoother than a screen.  Would really have to try one of these cameras to
really verfity that though.

--


Shawn Wilton (b9 Systems)
http://black9.com

2006\01\27@170935 by Peter

picon face
Pick a digital back ? (and keep your wallet handy)

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?A=search&ci=2788&Q=&O=NavBar

Digital backs do not slip into the film compartment, they replace the camera's
back cover. Maximum resolution seems to be ~22MP (from Creo/Leaf and others).

Peter



2006\01\27@183336 by Robert Rolf

picon face
Shawn Wilton wrote:
{Quote hidden}

The ONLY advantage I can see to having an electronic viewfinder is
if it can be more sensitive than an optical one. I do a lot of
astrophotography, so I appreciate cameras like the Nikon coolpix
series that 'gain up' by integrating and letting me see stuff fainter
than my unaided eye can.

EVFs might also have advantage for manual focus if it provides a 'zoomed
and edge enhanced' insert box during focus ops (Pentax?).

And I suppose one could argue that having exposure info or other data
in the EVF may be helpful, but I find that I usually have such display
options turned off since the EVF resolution (so far) is NEVER as good
as optical.

Just my few billion electrons worth.

Robert

2006\01\27@193312 by Russell McMahon

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> Huh.  I have a Konica Minolta A2, which has a "high resolution"
> EVF, and one of the things I noticed with my recent experience
> with the old film SLR was how much more pleasant the optical VF
> on the SLR was to use and focus (manually.)

Do you use the zoom ode when manual focusing?
That's what I most miss on my 7D DSLR.
My 7Hi has a rather low res EVF but being able to zoom it to focus
makes it far better effectively.
The A2 has a better EVF and 2 stage zoom for focusing so should be
even better than my 7Hi was.
I can more easily get sharp pictures with the EVF 7Hi than the 7D.
Same old eyes in each case ;-)

       RM


2006\01\28@071852 by Russell McMahon

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> The ONLY advantage I can see to having an electronic viewfinder is
> if it can be more sensitive than an optical one. I do a lot of
> astrophotography, so I appreciate cameras like the Nikon coolpix
> series that 'gain up' by integrating and letting me see stuff
> fainter
> than my unaided eye can.

I don't know if you write that before reading my partial list of
advantages.
In summary - the EVF lets you see the image as it actually will be
captured and live information on which image capturing decisions can
be made. The DSLR does none of the first and scant little of the
second.

I'm going to talk about data capture here. Engineers will have no
problem. Photographers will catch on fast. One of the key factors in a
good photo is exposure. This is especially critical with digital
cameras which (so far) have substantially less dynamic range than
film. If the data values are scaled to be too large (over exposed) or
too small (underexposed) data is lost at the top or bottom of the
brightness range. It is more important that all data fit within the
range of the converter than that the image is properly exposed for
viewing AS TAKEN. Quite often an image that best fits the data within
the range of the A2D converter looks too bright or too dim to the eye
as taken. BUT it can be scaled up or down as required afterwards. An
image where data is lost may look good but information is gone for
ever. All of which you knew. BUT with an EVF and a live histogram you
can tell where the data lies BEFORE the photos is taken and adjust the
camera settings using whatever means are available, to best fit the
data within the ADCs dynamic range. My 7D DSLR has a superb post-shot
dynamic histogram PLUS blinking high and low lights which allow you to
see not only how the data lies within the dynamic range window byt
also which areas of the photo are affected. For example, if taking a
photo of someone in light coloured clothing against a light background
with the eprson's face in shadow (something one would avoid if one
could) one usually wants to obtain all face detail and as much
clothing detail as possible. The background detail is usually less
important. With the 7D, once I have taken a photo I can see at a
glance whether any of the face detail is flashing (too dark) or  any
of the clothing is flashing (too light). If necessary I can then
adjust the compensation setting and try again. BUT, brilliant as the
flashing high/low lights feature is (and it's superb) I have to take a
photo and then lower the camera to look at the rear screen to see it.
With my 7Hi EVF I could see the histogram in the viewfinder BEFORE I
took the shot, I could adjust the settings as desired and then after
the shot I could see the result in the viewfinder, also with histogram
of the result. The 7Hi did not have flasjing highlights but it could
have had. I am now still looking through the viewfinder, never having
stopped doing so, and am able to take additional photos as required
without pause. If the [hoto was not quite framed as intended, or
someone smiled/frowned/whatever at just the wrong time, of if I want
another try I am INSTANTLY ready to do this. With the DSLR you must
either trust that all was well OR remove from eye, look at LCD
(glasses may be needed), then go back to the veiwfinder. With an EVF
the view is ALSO on the rear screen (if you want it to be) whereas
with the DSLR it is there only after the shot.

Utterly no contest in utility value.
The DSLR is a pig comparativelty from a systems point of view.
The ONLY advantage it has is the superior view given by the optical
path, if this view is in fact superior.
While my 7Hi had an EVF which was far far far less capable than my 7Ds
(under 100 Kpixel) I would swap the DSLRs optical view for the 7Hi's
EVF if I could retain the SLRs good features. I value the SLRs
sensitivity / low noise (born from having a sensor 6 or so times
larger than the 7HIs), more knobs to control crucial things, better
post shot software, and interchangeable lenses (very nice - I have
effective 27-52mm, 52-155mm, 115-450mm :-) and 42-300mm not yet
arrived. I bought all but the first 2nd-hand. The 7Hi had a fixed
28-200 which was excellent but had to fill all niches. Note that
*NONE* of the DSLRs superior features that I listed have anything to
do with being an SLR. The one thing the SLR provides is the optical
view. While this is very nice and very useful, it is a very very very
poor bargain in exchange with the overall systems gains made by having
an EVF. As EVFs get better and the software for using them
intelligently gets better they will edge the SLRs aside.

BUT, in the interim, cameras which are true SLRs, but which have EVFs
as well, will provide the seductive influence needed to get "real"
photographers to glance up from their screens and post priori images,
and begine to see what EVFs can do for them. And this will lead in
time to the death of the SLR. Which is why I said that the E-330 was
the mother of all future DSLRs :-).

> EVFs might also have advantage for manual focus if it provides a
> 'zoomed
> and edge enhanced' insert box during focus ops (Pentax?).

7Hi had a ?3X zoom (9 x areally) which was very very good.
The later A1/A2/A200 had a better EVF AND 2 stage zoom to ?7X or 9X
which would be magic.
William has an A2 and expresses dissatisfaction with the manual
focusing. It may be that he has not discovered the focus zoom in
mode - it's easily enough overlooked on the 7Hi.

> And I suppose one could argue that having exposure info or other
> data
> in the EVF may be helpful, but I find that I usually have such
> display
> options turned off since the EVF resolution (so far) is NEVER as
> good
> as optical.

As above.
And, I find that, having the histogram on top of the image doesn't
tend to detract from the image. YMMV.
The point is, even when the EVF is far worse than optical, the gains
and props available make it more *USEFUL* if the aim is to take the
best photos possible. If you want a telescope to view a whole scene
then looking through a DSLR will give a better or much better result
than using an EVF at 1:1 view. BUT if you want to examine part of the
scene with a telescope then a good quality EVF with zoom of 3X and 9X
will beat the optical view. An EVF with a 640 x 480 display = 0.307 MP
(megapixel), when provided with a 9X zoom linearly = 81 x areally,
will give the equivalent of a 0.307 * 81 = 25 MP display over the
selected area (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). Granted, the area is indeed small,
and odds are, if telescoping is what you want, then it will be too
small to be really useful. BUT if focusing is what you want then using
a 25 MP focusing screen with total size of about 150mm diagonal (of
which you see 1/81st at any time) will be far far superior to using an
optical screen which is perhaps 15mm diagonal.

> Just my few billion electrons worth.

Try one in anger, you'll like it.

The great thing is that "The king is dead, long live the king".
In their dying gasp Minolta passed the baton for its lenses to Sony.
Sony will now make cameras with Minolta mount lenses.
Sony will make cameras with better and better and better and ... EVFs.
They MAY make DSLR + EVF cameras but are unlikely to make pure DSLRS.
So, in  a few years time, the lenses that I acquire for my 7D will fit
on Sony's flagship EVF camera when it gets good enough to be worth
trading up to and when the price falls enough to make it worth buying
:-).

Note that the Minolta lenses are so far either for full frame 35mm use
or APC sensors which are 2/3 35mm size areally. It is possible but not
too likely that Sony will use the same wide aperture lens mount for
the current crop of sensors in use in prosumer cameras at about 1/12
35 mm area. Which means that the new Sony-Minolta cameras will very
likely be APC sized (2/3 35mm) or better.  Looking good.



       Russell McMahon

2006\01\28@084231 by Rolf

face picon face
Russell McMahon wrote:
>> The ONLY advantage I can see to having an electronic viewfinder is
>> if it can be more sensitive than an optical one. I do a lot of
>> astrophotography, so I appreciate cameras like the Nikon coolpix
>> series that 'gain up' by integrating and letting me see stuff
>> fainter
>> than my unaided eye can.
>>    
>
>  
[lots of free advertising snipped]

Just kidding, but you do expound very eloquently on the virtues of EVFs.
On the other hand, there are significant issues which you are missing. I
am a "serious amateur" photographer, and have recently gone completely
digital. I traded in all my minolta Film gear for Nikon D70s with
lenses. (I heard through the grapevine about 8 months ago that
Konica-Minolta was shutting down in Canada, and thus I predicted the
demise of the franchise. The only reason I took so long to go digital
was because I had so much invested in minolta and their DSLR compatible
with my lenses took so long to arrive - years behind the competition).

Anyways, I can tell you a lot of things about photography.... some of
which are accurate ;-)

The most important parts of any camera (P&S, SLR, EVF, Pinhole, etc) are
the parts that impact the light. It is no surprise that good lenses cost
much more than good bodies. The biggest drawback for EVF's are that they
reduce the light hitting the primary sensor. This is an issue that will
take a lot of convincing for me to believe is OK.

While everything you said is probably true, I would like to point out
some of the things that are not so obvious, but very useful with
traditional, and digital SLR's. While EVF's make some things easy, most
of what you described is available through SLR's even though you may not
know it.

With SLR's...
1. Photos should be optionally taken with both eyes open. You should get
to see the action while the shutter fires. You do not miss anything, and
you also get a better perspective of the action outside the lens. Try it
sometime, it does not take that long to get accustomed to the one eye
seeing a different image than the other eye. With a little practice you
can focus your mind on your choice of the camera, or other image. I
actually tend to close my left eye if I really need to concentrate on
the viewfinder, or when using a flash, but otherwise both eyes are open.
This is very useful for capturing action shots because you get a head's
up of when something is comming in to frame. Also very useful for panning.
2. Never use the LCD on your DSLR to post-view each of your images. You
should get experienced enough with your own camera that you can take
pictures and be comfortable that the lighting is good across the image.
There is no need to have a histogram other than when you are learning
how your camera's light meter works, and the few times when it goes
wrong. Your photographs should be instinctive to a degree, and the time
spent viewing a picture after taking it would be better served by taking
5 other pictures of the same subject with slightly different exposures
so that you can bracket any mistakes (this is digital, and pictures are
free....). Additionally, in low light situations you will not loose your
night-vision by having to squint at a bright LCD display. There are
times, for still-life photos, where viewing a histogram *may* be useful,
but this can be easily done with the DLSR as well.
3. Anything which changes the nature of the light will mean that the
photo you take will not be representative of the scene as you remember
it. Or, rather, if you are like me, you want your photos to be
reprasentative of the memories you have of the scene when you took the
photo. If you remeber that the sky was a certain blue, and the image
came out with the wrong shade, then it is annoying. With Digital images
you can easily adjust the colours to match your memory of the scene. No
camera will capture the light perfectly, and post-processing to adjust
for this is often necessary. With an SLR, the memory you have of the
scene will have accurate colour balance, but with an EVF, you will have
the electronic interpretation of it. Thus, you will be limited in your
ability to re-adjust the color properties after the fact. Your memory
will be of the scene having a given light quality, but everyone else
will remeber the scene slightly differently.
4. Did I mention that LCDs (and EVF's) wreck your night-vision in
dim-lighting situations? An un-documented feature of SLR's is that you
can choose to close your one eye, and when the flash fires the mirror
locks up, so the photographer does not get blinded by the bright flash.
This is actually very useful. With an EVF though, you will get
blinded.... right? You will need to trust your camera to capture a good
image though... although the same is true of the EVF....

There are other things with DSLRs that make a big difference (to me),
such as the comfortable feel it has because everything works "just the
same" as my old camera. In other words, it just feels right. Call me
old-fashioned....

Anyway, most of what you suggested with the EVF is available on my
camera... or is easily substituted for with some tricks, experience,
practice, and instinct. At some point, it sounds a bit weird, but you
simply have to trust your camera.... it becomes an extension of you...

Rolf

2006\01\28@161100 by Robert Rolf

picon face
Rolf wrote:


>>>The ONLY advantage I can see to having an electronic viewfinder is
>>>if it can be more sensitive than an optical one. I do a lot of
>>>astrophotography, so I appreciate cameras like the Nikon coolpix
>>>series that 'gain up' by integrating and letting me see stuff
>>>fainter than my unaided eye can.

> much more than good bodies. The biggest drawback for EVF's are that they
> reduce the light hitting the primary sensor. This is an issue that will
> take a lot of convincing for me to believe is OK.

HUH??
What you see in the EVF is ONLY the result of light hitting the primary
sensor. ALL of it. The sensor is typically run in 'binning' mode,
where several pixels are summed together (V & H) before being read out.
This increases the sensitivity and speed of readout for a give A/D speed.

> With SLR's...
> 1. Photos should be optionally taken with both eyes open. You should get
> to see the action while the shutter fires. You do not miss anything, and
> you also get a better perspective of the action outside the lens.

I totally agree. I do it all the time.

> This is very useful for capturing action shots because you get a head's
> up of when something is comming in to frame. Also very useful for panning.

And this also shows up the processing delay in some cameras, which
can give a very disconcerting lag between reality and what the EVF shows.

> 2. Never use the LCD on your DSLR to post-view each of your images. You
> should get experienced enough with your own camera that you can take
> pictures and be comfortable that the lighting is good across the image.

But DO use the histogram function or turn 'over/under highlight'
feature on your camera so that you'll immediately see if you blew
the exposure. E-sensors do not have the dynamic range of film, so
you can't 'pull it out of the mud' in post processing.

> There is no need to have a histogram other than when you are learning
> how your camera's light meter works, and the few times when it goes
> wrong.

I disagree. You need to know if something is wrong BEFORE you leave the
scene.

> Your photographs should be instinctive to a degree, and the time
> spent viewing a picture after taking it would be better served by taking
> 5 other pictures of the same subject with slightly different exposures
> so that you can bracket any mistakes (this is digital, and pictures are
> free....).

True. And many cameras have an 'auto bracket' capability. USE IT!
And carry a few spare extra memory cards to accommodate that behaviour.
And I bought a battery powered portable CD burner so I can write a full
card to CD-R in the field. Made life much easier when on holiday since
I didn't need to lug a laptop with me.

> Additionally, in low light situations you will not loose your
> night-vision by having to squint at a bright LCD display.

So turn it way down, or throw an ND filter (piece of gray film) over it.

> 4. Did I mention that LCDs (and EVF's) wreck your night-vision in
> dim-lighting situations? An un-documented feature of SLR's is that you
> can choose to close your one eye, and when the flash fires the mirror
> locks up, so the photographer does not get blinded by the bright flash.
> This is actually very useful. With an EVF though, you will get
> blinded.... right?

NOPE! The EVF does NOT show the flash, because at that precise moment
the sensor is configured in 'photo' mode, maximum resolution.

> You will need to trust your camera to capture a good
> image though... although the same is true of the EVF....

Up to a point. That is why one can 'review' an image, in camera.

 > There are other things with DSLRs that make a big difference (to me),
> such as the comfortable feel it has because everything works "just the
> same" as my old camera. In other words, it just feels right. Call me
> old-fashioned....

I like the small size and decent feature set I can get in something
like the Pentax Optio 750Z (7MP 5x zoom). I also have a Nikon 8800,
and Lumix FX30 but I find I shoot MUCH more with the optio because
I have with me at all times in a belt pouch, and can whip it out in
4 seconds and snap a passing shot that I would have missed if
I had to dig out the 8800.
I am sure that 'real' DSLRs are much faster, but they ARE more bulky.

> Anyway, most of what you suggested with the EVF is available on my
> camera... or is easily substituted for with some tricks, experience,
> practice, and instinct. At some point, it sounds a bit weird, but you
> simply have to trust your camera.... it becomes an extension of you...

I agree.
And I wasn't actually promoting EVFs. I prefer optical VF simply because
of the resolution and contrast issue. I was only pointing out the possible
advantages of EVFs.

Robert

2006\01\28@183607 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
Fighting words ... :-)

> On the other hand, there are significant issues which you are
> missing.

Maybe.

> I

too

> am a "serious amateur" photographer, and have recently gone
> completely
> digital.

I have a small collection of film SLRs, and several more have not
surb=vived me, but I have been using mainly digital for years now,
accepting the inferior technical results wrt film in exchange for the
benefits. eg my 7Hi is notionally inferior to film in all respects BUT
the results I get are generally excelled only by serious film
photographers, and not always then.

Even my 7D and your D70 are inferior to a top film camera in raw photo
taking capability.

> Anyways, I can tell you a lot of things about photography.... some
> of
> which are accurate ;-)

Sounds like me :-).
As a data point (a long point), I've taken over 200,000 digital
'photos' in the last 3 years. Volume does not necessarily correlate
with excellence, but you do learn a bit along the way. About 2 months
after buying the camera in mid 2003 we went on a 25 country 63 day
world trip. I took 44,000 photos (60 + GB) - average of 1 per waking
minute. It did very well and I learned a lot about it very rapidly.

> The most important parts of any camera (P&S, SLR, EVF, Pinhole, etc)
> are
> the parts that impact the light. It is no surprise that good lenses
> cost
> much more than good bodies. The biggest drawback for EVF's are that
> they
> reduce the light hitting the primary sensor. This is an issue that
> will
> take a lot of convincing for me to believe is OK.

That supposes a light splitting technology. The Olympus E-330, and the
camera I "designed ", and probably most forthcoming real ones will be
either/or - you get OVF or EVF and not both at any one time. The E-330
does this. And a purely digital camera (eg 7Hi) has nothing in the way
as there IS no mirror etc. So we don't need to convince you.

> While everything you said is probably true, I would like to point
> out
> some of the things that are not so obvious, but very useful with
> traditional, and digital SLR's. While EVF's make some things easy,
> most
> of what you described is available through SLR's even though you may
> not
> know it.

'Fraid not - work arounds are - actual features aren't :-(.

> With SLR's...
> 1. Photos should be optionally taken with both eyes open. You should
> get
> to see the action while the shutter fires. You do not miss anything,
> and
> you also get a better perspective of the action outside the lens.

A luxury from which I am forever barred from the majority of. My left
eye has excellent peripheral vision but blurred central vision. I can
get general impressions but no detail. I can eg read foot high
lettering at 30 feet (probably). I DO use the left eye external to the
viewfinder where it helps to do so - and I agree that it does help.
But nowhere as much as with 2 good eyes.

> Try it sometime, it does not take that long to get accustomed to the
> one eye
> seeing a different image than the other eye.

:-(.

> This is very useful for capturing action shots because you get a
> head's
> up of when something is comming in to frame. Also very useful for
> panning.

Those are my main uses - to get data outside what the camera can see
at the moment. Works well enough for me.

> 2. Never use the LCD on your DSLR to post-view each of your images.
> You
> should get experienced enough with your own camera that you can take
> pictures and be comfortable that the lighting is good across the
> image.

I was extremely comfortable with the 7Hi - after a while it became an
extension of my right arm and both frontal lobes.
I expect to grow to a similar familiarity with the 7D - but what you
are suggesting is to become used to the cameras limitations. ie "real
men don't NEED live histograms". When you have extra capability you
can become used to that as well and further improve the result.

> There is no need to have a histogram other than when you are
> learning
> how your camera's light meter works, and the few times when it goes
> wrong.

Real men ... :-)

> Your photographs should be instinctive to a degree, and the time
> spent viewing a picture after taking it would be better served by
> taking
> 5 other pictures of the same subject with slightly different
> exposures
> so that you can bracket any mistakes (this is digital, and pictures
> are
> free....).

As I said - the camera grows out of the end of my arm (or did) and we
have mind meld. And I do indeed take brackete shots where appropriate.
BUT with an EVF you can see immediately both whether the shot
(histogram AND display) andwhether it HAS worked (histogram and
display). With the DSLT you get none of this. I may well still take N
shots - but I can see what the camera is thinking at all stages. As
well as rather than instead of mind melding with it.

And pictures are, alas, not fully free.
When needing to shoot many many pictures (wedding, event, holiday
even) a Flash Card can only hold so much and you can transfer data
only so fast AND you need to carry N batteries which take a finite
time to charge. On world trip I had ~~30 AA cells and several
chargers - could charge in car and at nights. I now have about 4 GB of
flash capacity (1 x 1GB, various 512 MB) and can see more having to
happen. The 7D uses a custom Lithium battery that takes 3 hours to
charge. I have 2 and can see more happening. Before my coming wedding
sessions I will probably make an external 6v supply fed from a "hip
pack" which accepts AA NimHs and SLAs. If I take 3 photos for every
one I might need to the cost in Flash and battery and carrying around
increases. For an extended trip this may also impact HDD and DVD
backup storage aspects. I TRY to always have 2 copies of each photo
before I delete it from the flash card. I delete almost nothing ever
from disk fwiw :-).

> Additionally, in low light situations you will not loose your
> night-vision by having to squint at a bright LCD display.

7Hi EVF is as bright or dim wrt reality as you wish. You can bright it
up but don't have to. With an optical display one has to squint at the
dim view. 7Hi had a marvellous mode where when very dark it went into
a B&W mode with higher sensitivity. With an OVF you'd be wondering
whether you'd taken off the lens cap :-).


> There are
> times, for still-life photos, where viewing a histogram *may* be
> useful,
> but this can be easily done with the DLSR as well.

Not as easily and far less quickly - and only by taking a shot and
looking at it. ie the LCD on the 7D at least only shows histogram post
priori.


> 3. Anything which changes the nature of the light will mean that the
> photo you take will not be representative of the scene as you
> remember
> it. ...  for this is often necessary. With an SLR, the memory you
> have of the
> scene will have accurate colour balance, but with an EVF, you will
> have
> the electronic interpretation of it.

This is only true, if at all, if you do things the same way in each
case - and there is no reason to do so. With the EVf camera, if you
want a memory then just look at the scene - you can uses the other eye
if you have two fgood ones :-).

> With an EVF though, you will get
> blinded.... right? You will need to trust your camera to capture a
> good
> image though... although the same is true of the EVF....

You can close both eyes about as easily - and I do not recall being
nigt blinded via the EVF. As the camera has control of what you see it
is able to limit flash over-brightness as / if it wishes.


> There are other things with DSLRs that make a big difference (to
> me),
> such as the comfortable feel it has because everything works "just
> the
> same" as my old camera. In other words, it just feels right. Call me
> old-fashioned....

Quite unrelated to the system - a matter of manufacturers choice. My
7Hi wasextremely SLR like - but smaller than most. But, you should
sell your wannabe D70 and buy a KM 7D while you still can - far the
most film SLR like camera in its class. More knobs buttons bells and
whistles externally than any other digital. During operation one only
uses external controls - menus etc are only needed for setup etc. ALL
major functions and more are externally controlled. An engineer's
camera ;-).

> Anyway, most of what you suggested with the EVF is available on my
> camera...

Absolutely not, alas,

> or is easily substituted for with some tricks, experience,
> practice, and instinct.

As may be. But the same could be said by a real pro with a Box
Brownie - not that we'd believe him, but it may be true.

> At some point, it sounds a bit weird, but you
> simply have to trust your camera.... it becomes an extension of
> you...

See above.
I expect to achieve mind-meld with my 7D in the next few months and
hope to achieve a passing imitation before the wedding I am
photographer for in about 3 weeks time. (450 guests - gulp).
I'm happy to learn to trust the camera, but I'd rather trust a camera
that was a more capable photo taking system than a lesser one. If I
could implement mirror lockup and view an EVF in the viewfinder OR use
it as an SLR OR swap to & fro as desired the camera would be in no way
whatsoever diminished and in many ways enhanced.

As I said when I lifted the 7D from it's box, fitted the $NZ800 18-35
lens and waved the duo above my head - "At last! my arm is whole
again" - and not a razor in sight. (Google knows).

FWIW: I have the 7D because my 7Hi died after about 2.5 years due to a
manufacturing defect in the Sony sensor. Minolta did me a very very
very good replacement deal - I'm grateful to them and sad that I won't
be able to say nice things about them for the rest of my life. In
fact - as they are about to vanish it can't hurt to say what the deal
was - I was not going to as I'm sure they would not appreciate such
extreme positive publicity - they gave me a 7D and 18-35mm lens in
straight exchange for my 2.5 year old 7Hi. Better value trade-ups are
hard to come by :-).


       RM

2006\01\28@222209 by Rolf

face picon face
So much literature, but I need to snip.


Russell McMahon wrote:
> Fighting words ... :-)
>
>  

Well, seems I missed some of the details in the pictures of the E330...
or rather, I put too much weight in to the pictures of the original
post. There is an optical split to a secondary sensor, but I now see
that there are two modes for using the E330. The original review does
not make it easy to understand all the benefits, but not all the EVF
"features" are available in both modes. I would need to play with the
camera to get a better idea of how it works. What's that about a 1
second delay in the one mode...?

As for being partially sighted, well, that would be challenging. Sort of
takes ones thunder ;-) Still, it does not appear to hinder your fighting
spirit, so I will not let you use it as an excuse!

And for the 7D.... well, I used a Dimage 5 (maxxum 5ish) for the longest
time... and I really wanted to get the 7D because I had lenses, flash,
etc. that would have been compatible (and I liked the stuff). I heard
that Minolta in Canada was shutting down, and that was the biggest
factor in not purchasing it. I really think the anti-shake system is
"cool". I decided to go with Nikon based on friends recommendations. I
also figure that the camera body has become relatively cheep in
comparison to the lenses, and that going with the D70s is good enough
for a couple of years, but the lenses I expect to use for 10 years
minimum. So, my money goes to the lens. Later, when I have a good lens
set, I can get a matching body... if I need it. Anyway, the lenses I
have are as good on a 12MP camera as they are on a 6.1MP. In 2 years my
body will be old tech (the camera body, not *my* body), but the lenses
will be good still.

I see that Henrys.com has already stopped supplying 7D, and that Amazon
has them relatively cheap.

As for me, well, I have been digital for 5 months, and shot 6K5
pictures. Whats that... nearly 2 every hour. I'm OK with that. I have
boxes of 35mm negatives though.

Anyways, seems we are not disagreeing much, just a peeing contest. Also
seems you win, so I will defer to the amateur with 1.5 eyes, has played
with the E330,  and has a big wedding to capture...

Actually, if you send me an E330 I am sure I can give it a good review.

Rolf

P.S. Hi BBob!

2006\01\30@074443 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
> Anyways, seems we are not disagreeing much, just a peeing contest.
> Also
> seems you win, so I will defer to the amateur with 1.5 eyes, has
> played
> with the E330,  and has a big wedding to capture...

Sorry if I came across over enthusiastic.
I was hoping to convey the very real advantages of the EVF which I
know is typically much derided by SLR true-believers. One needs to be
something of an evangelist in such cases and it's easy to overdo it
:-).

And to set things straight, I didn't mean to imply I'd actually laid
hands on an E-330 - I haven't - don't know what I said that conveyed
that, but wasn't intended. All I know is from the superb DPREVIEW and
Stevesdigicams pre-release reviews.

And I'm certainly not wanting to suggest that the E-330 is perfect.
It's just that I see it as the 'breach in the dam' that others must
and will follow. Once someone makes an EVF plus optical DSLR the
advantages will be seen (pun intended) and others will join.

The E-330 does at least one thing really really really badly, and you
can expect to see the competition remedy this really promptly. In EVF
mode there is a totally bizarre 1 second shutter delay while it,
apparently, drops out of EVF mode, closes the shutter and restarts its
brain in picture taking mode. My dear departed 7Hi quite happily went
fro very quick EVF update mode to photo taking mode with a shutter lag
that was so small as to be essentially unnoticeable. While one learns
to "lead" a camera to compensate for shutter delay I believe that any
there was was minimal. Certainly under 0.1s and I think well under
that. If an EVF/LCD hybrid can't match that then it's in trouble.

Summary of what I was trying to say

- SLRs and DSLRs have the advantage of providing an optical path to
the viewfinder. Many people value this for various reasons including
smooth response (obviously) and high resolution.

- A camera with an EVF (electronic view finder) allows many advantages
that are *impossible* to obtain with a pure SLR/DSLR. This is not just
a matter of "different" - because an EVF can deal with the data prior
to the photo being taken the user can be shown information which the
DSLR cannot access until after the photo is taken. Users may not use
the live histogram, real view of what will be captured, zoom
focus,true DOF at all times (if desired) , .... BUT the capabilities
are there if desired to be used.

- A SLR may provide alternatives to compensate for the facilities that
are provided by the EVF camera but these equally able to be added to
the EVF camera. The SLR forever lacks certain abilities. Whether these
are felt to be important is up to each user.

- EVFs typically lack visual resolution compared to optical view, and
response times can be poor. But the best EVFs are becoming extremely
good and EVF delays can be as good as eg LCD monitor screens -
essentially "realtime". An EVF camera can use many software "tricks"
such as bright up, zoom focus etc to compensate for less than optical
quality performance.

- A camera with an EVF and true DSLR capability will bridge the gap
between the two modes.  The E-330 does this.

- The E-330 is a first attempt and is crippled by a stunningly bad
shutter response time in EVF mode due (apparently) to inexplicably bad
design decisions. No doubt these are a product of practical realities
and cost.

- Despite the above, IMHO, the E-330 is the start of a landslide that
will see ALL DSLRs incorporate an EVF mode.

- As EVFs improve the capabilities of the optical path will be
equalled and then exceeded until ultimately the SLR fades into
history.

- There will always be a place for SLRs as long as there are old men
(or very old boys) in the world :-)
(I still have my SRT303B).



           RM

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