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AP 27 Aug 2011 Letters

Discussion in 'AP Magazine Feedback & Suggestions' started by Roy5051, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    A Vital Part:

    Reference the letter from Mike Rignall of Gloucestershire, I totally agree with his sentiments about viewfinders on compact cameras.

    What I cannot agree with is Mat Gallagher's assertion that "sadly the mass market does not demand this feature". There are many letters and comments made, both on this Forum and in photography publications, bewailing the demise of the optical viewfinder on compacts. Where does Mat get his information from? And why are photography publications not lobbying manufacturers to put this vital part back on to compact cameras?

    I am lucky enough to own a Canon A1200, a reasonably priced 12 megapixel compact with an optical viewfinder. OK, it is not the best viewfinder in the world (a comment also made about the viewfinder on the G12), but in bright sunlight it is essential. Using it also helps the batteries last longer and helps guard against camera shake.

    Perhaps AP could organise one of their weekly polls to ascertain the readership's views on this matter.
  2. Fen

    Fen Well-Known Member

    "sadly the mass market does not demand this feature"

    I think he means 'Joe Public'. Which would mean that:

    "Perhaps AP could organise one of their weekly polls to ascertain the readership's views on this matter."

    Would probably show that people like viewfinders as readers of AP would probably vote differently to Joe Public.
  3. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    Ummm ... since readers of AP are probably more likely to buy and use a camera than members of the general public, perhaps our views matter.

    It's pretty safe to assume that those who design mass market compact cameras don't actually use them much. If they did, the cameras would surely be very different.
  4. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    But, judging by the pictures submitted for 'Reader Spotlight' and Damian's appraisal section, I'd suggest AP readers are generally inclined to buy 'serious' cameras such as DSLRs which come with good and accurate veiwfinders. I suspect that for most of us a compact camera is something we have for convenience and to carry when a big camera is not an option...

    When I'm out and about in our local towns there seems to be no end of people using digital compacts and the camera option on their phones - far more than was the case when film compacts were the order of the day. I believe that this is because modern digital compacts/camera phones are so much smaller than most 35mm, and even APS, compacts were that people are far more likely to carry, and therefore use, them than used to be the case. This would seem to suggest that the average user is happy with the way they're designed...

    As far as viewfinders are concerned those fitted to compacts were generally pretty dodgy, showed nothing like the full scene the film would see and needed the user to remember to compensate for the lens offset as you focussed on nearer subjects - a source probably of hundreds of pictures of Aunt Maud with her head cut off... For all it's other problems the live view screen of a modern compact does at least show you what the lens is actually seeing.

    Personally a compact with a decent optical finder would be something I'd use but my experience of the finders on film or digital compacts suggests that such a beast has rarely existed. It's part of the reason I bought an SLR in the first place...
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011
  5. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    It is lazy thinking to suggest that because the uninitiated general public buy some thing, it is what they really want, and so it is what should be made.

    They have very little choice in the matter and they are certainly not told of the Problems in not having an optical viewfinder. (Publicity steers them well away from that subject)

    It is also poor reasoning to suggest that because advanced users have excellent reflex viewfinders on their “ serious” cameras, they do not want the advantages of an optical one on their pocket camera.

    The only advantage arising from arms length cameras, has been the rapid advance of anti shake mechanisms. The fact that in good light you have no idea what you are shooting, and how many heads you are cutting off seems to have escaped the manufacturers and designers.

    The days of the mouse trap camera with no finder at all was very short lived, and analogue camera design was worked around the need for a reasonably accurate finder.

    Even those cameras such as the Canon G range, have anything like “accurate” finders, neither my G3 or G6, even point in the right direction, and my Minolta G600 has the same fault.
    How to cope with Parallax was well established in the 1960's

    Parallax depends on on the geometry of distance and this is accurately known on all auto focus cameras, Zoom lenses have no bearing on the matter.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011
  6. Fen

    Fen Well-Known Member

    Hence my post. 'Mass Market' = 'Joe Public' and not camera enthusiasts like ourselves.
  7. Mark

    Mark Well-Known Member

    I don't think it is at all safe to assume (in this context) that readers of AP are representative of the general public.

    I've learned to apply the "Rosemary Test".

    I'd agreed to accompany a friend to Jessops to help her buy a camera. We spent a longish time there while she went picked over compact after compact. We even talked (in non-technical terms) about the finer points of viewfinders, memory, lenses, image modes, etc etc.

    After rejecting - without comment - every suggestion that I'd made, I started to get a little frustrated and said, "I don't really understand what you're looking for in a camera..."

    "A pink one", she replied.
  8. Eye Robot

    Eye Robot Well-Known Member

    If you need reading glasses, you need a viewfinder because you can't focus on the flippin' screen anyway...

    ... It'll happen to you
  9. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    It did.

    The trouble is that the designers of these trendy toys are all in their twenties and thirties.
  10. LargeFormat

    LargeFormat Well-Known Member

    When someone tells me there's no demand for something i point out that I'm demamding it.
  11. MPB

    MPB Well-Known Member

    well said that man one of these days camera designers will sit up an listen then maybe not if it sells and makes a profit then all the better. If the G.C.B.P did a cost value reconciliation and stopped buying c**p substandard cameras with no view finder the designers, manufacturers, and retailers would stop churning them out.:mad:
  12. Jacqui Jay

    Jacqui Jay Grasshopper's Sage

    Oh yes!
    I once had a bright red one with a ferrari logo on it.
    Alas, avarice got the better of me and it went off to a satisfied eBay customer.
  13. mark_jacobs

    mark_jacobs Retired

    I cannot speak for Mat or (on this occasion) AP, nor do I know if the quote above is correct.

    If it is "sadly" would appear to be of importance, however I fail to see the issue :confused:

    An example… my daughter, requesting her first 'proper' camera. She wanted an 'old fashioned one'.

    Upon closer questioning it became clear that by this she meant that it should be black and have a viewfinder.

    Not pink. Not LCD only. Not a 'mass market' camera as owned by her peers.

    Moving on, one MESuper and one digital bridge evf later my daughter is no closer to desiring a 'mass market' pink LCD only compact. My wallet feels the pain ;)
  14. Mat_Gallagher

    Mat_Gallagher Well-Known Member

    The issue of optical viewfinders always causes a lively debate but my emphasis was definitely on 'sadly' and I don't believe Mass Market to include true camera enthusiasts such as followers of Amateur Photographer. As Photographers, we certainly see the benefit of a viewfinder and I’m sure if there were a poll here the result would be overwhelmingly in favour of one. However, camera manufacturers aren't in the business of leaving off features that customers demand, especially if it would give them a unique selling point that would sell more units.
    What will be interesting is whether the new high-resolution electronic viewfinders will make more of an appearance on compact cameras. The EVF that features on the new Sony NEX-7 adds little to the size of the unit and the quality is believed to be to a level where it is easy to forget you are not using an optical device.
  15. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    I find myself thinking and saying more and more these days "I wonder when we are going to wake up and realise that we have lost rather more than we have gained with digital?"

    Don't get me wrong, I think the digital thing is wonderful but it comes with penalties and millstones and hair-shirts and costs and a load of other downsides, some or many of which we are just discovering.
  16. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    But the downsides are almost all to do with increasing "sophistication" (read: gadgetisation) of the cameras, not with the sensor technology. I'd kill for an Olympus OM-1 with a 10MP full frame digital sensor, even at a fixed ISO rating of 100 ... and I think such a device is well within the capabilities of modern technology. It's just that the designers think we want auto everything & more modes than you could possibly use in 1000 lifetimes.
  17. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    I beg to differ here:

    NEX7 is 120x67x43mm which is 345,720 cubic millimetres

    NEX5 is 111x59x38mm which is 248,862 cubic millimetres

    Therefore the NEX7 is 38% bigger than the NEX5, if my maths are correct.

    I will admit, though, that the NEX7's larger size make the addition of a lens less unbalanced than the NEX5. It looks more like a camera with a lens rather than a lens with a camera!

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