DSLR Photography Forum

Full Version: EVIL cameras - a reality
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
EVIL - Electronic Viewfinder, Interchangeable Lens - cameras have been discussed as possibilities for years. (In fact, I may remember someone who just bought an SLR saying that he'd never buy an SLR because he'd wait for EVF cameras.) Olympus and Panasonic have announced a new format called "Micro Four Thirds" that reduces the size of the camera by getting rid of the mirror box.

Announcement here: http://www.four-thirds.org/en/microft/

I have some very mixed thoughts about this for a couple of reasons, but it does have some interesting ideas in it. Full-time electronic viewfinder, near-APS-C sensor size, interchangeable lenses (existing 4/3 usable with an adapter, but smaller lenses are planned) and the ability to record video.

Is this an answer to the problems of image quality from a compact camera, or will people who want a P&S reject them for the same reasons that they don't buy SLRs?
Are you saying no (interchangeable) optical viewfinder? Pavel
When I got my first digicam (a 3 megapixel single focal length Casio), I didn;t like using the optical viewfinder and I didn't like holding the camera away from my face so I attached a magnifying loupe to the screen and used it like an electronic viewfinder. The only trouble was that the LCD didn't have enough pixels so the imge I saw through the loupe was not very good. I often thought why don't they just put more pixels in the LCD and attach a magnifyer to the back. That's what you are talking about here right, with the addition of interchangable lenses.
When I was at school (many moons ago) 4/3rds = 1. 1/3 so is the sensor on these cameras around 46 mm?
Or have I got the wrong idea.
that'll be really cool Big Grin a compact camera with interchangable lenses, and still compact!
You mean like M5? WinkTongue Pavel
The cameras in the Micro 4/3 family will have interchangeable lenses like an SLR, but without any mirror box, like a compact camera or Pavel's M5 Leica. There's a White Paper online that refers to the "Live View photography style" but I've yet to see anything that actually specifies what the finder must be. All we know is that it won't be an optical TTL one. An optical rangefinder/compact design is possible, but unlikely considering the vast zoom range (currently 7mm-500mm) that existing 4/3 lenses can use. An LCD or EVF is much more likely, at least for now.

NT, 4/3 is the name of the sensor size, but that doesn't directly translate into real measurements, or even inches. The sensor size is about 18mm X 13.5mm.

Existing 4/3 lenses are supported with an adapter that will make their flange-back distance work, but the promise is of new lenses that will be smaller and lighter. Those Micro lenses will not be interchangeable with the original OVF 4/3 format bodies. The new lenses will also have more data connections for better data exchange, with some elusive mention to video capabilities. These new cameras might be still/video hybrids, or may eventually turn into them.

In a rather ironic twist, the 4/3 bodies weren't the first digital SLRs from Olympus. That title belongs to the E-10 and E-20, which had optical TTL viewfinders but fixed lenses. We've come to a complete reversal.
Thanks for giving me a Leice Matthew. A generous act indeed. May I have a clutch of lenses with that please?

Does it mean that for each lens, you would need different viewfinder (if they went the route of optical, rather than electronic). Or would they draw boxes on a single viewfinder or would the viewfinder optics synchronize with the lens? I do not have any experience with rangefinders. How does Leice work?


BTW, if I am the "someone who just bought an SLR saying that he'd never buy an SLR because he'd wait for EVF cameras" I must mention that I really thought that there would be some radical departures from P&S & DSLR designs by now.
But there haven't been, until this.
Thanks Matthew for the info. A strange name to confuse us eh?
KeithAlanK Wrote:BTW, if I am the "someone who just bought an SLR saying that he'd never buy an SLR because he'd wait for EVF cameras" I must mention that I really thought that there would be some radical departures from P&S & DSLR designs by now.
Great point; I was really disappointed in my recent shopping experience, looking for a higher-end P&S or a very small DSLR. The P&S's are intentionally "dumbed down" and, for my needs, the small DSLRs are not small enough and in many ways crippled versions of their bigger siblings. Aside from the relatively low 3MPs, my ancient Canon G1 compares favorably with most current P&S offerings.

This new micro 4/3 system is intriguing. The key will be getting quality lenses at lower prices, unless this is intended to be in the Leica price range. And external flash system support ...

Personally I couldn't care less about the EVF; I'd much prefer a large, bright optical viewfinder 95% of the time.
I've had some experience with EVFs - first with a low end Fuji S5000, and also a Canon Pro1 when they were pushing that system.

Personally, I found them functionally acceptable - I would describe them as looking at a LCD screen through a telescope. However, I would prefer optical anyday, as you get better detail (instead of pixels) and also because of the lag in updating the EVF. If you wave your hand quickly in front of the lens, it literally lags in the viewfinder - makes a bit of a trippy experience. Big Grin

However, as adam pointed out - a compact camera with interchangeable lenses sounds quite interesting!
Pavel, my understanding is that Lecia uses a fixed optical finder with framing guides that show the field of view, so a longer lens just has a smaller little box to aim for. But that system uses prime lenses and has practically no telephoto reach. It's very different from the flexibility that m4/3 is supposed to be aiming for. (The one time I've used a Leica I was not impressed with the finder - about the same as a G9.)

Keith, yes, you're the one I was thinking of, and you're absolutely right about the lack of innovation in camera design. (I think I'm quoting you from about three years back.) It's really sad. Compact cameras have about the same design as blocks of soap, except that the lenses are so delicate and easily damaged as to be a fatal and persistent design flaw. I actually had my old APS Canon Elph out today, and was surprised to see that it's almost exactly the same size and shape as my digital P&S. The only 'innovation' is that it's thinner.

Jules, I completely agree. I was going to buy something to muffle the shutter sound of my camera, but the new format promises to be nearly silent. So I'm interested, but I was using the high-end Fuji S100FS today, and it wasn't something that would come close to replacing my E-3's viewfinder, or even the finder on something like the Canon XS. Unless there's been some significant breakthroughs in contrast-detection AF and electronic viewfinders, the first generation of m4/3 is going to be disappointing. They wouldn't have launched the new format without those breakthroughs, would they...?