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Author Topic: Just had a cool idea for mirrorless viewfinders (at least I think so!)  (Read 545 times)


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Anyone ever heard of the Voigtlander Kontur external viewfinder? It’s a one of a kind film era hot shoe mounted viewfinder that... you can’t see through! Inside is a set of backlit white framelines on a black field and optics to bring the framelines into focus. The trick is that you keep BOTH eyes open and the framelines are magically overlaid on top of reality. It’s sort of like shooting with a bionic eye, haha.

Anyway, this got me thinking... my biggest gripe with mirrorless cameras (I shoot Sony) is that the EVF can sometimes feel disconnecting from reality and distracting compared to an optical viewfinder. Sometimes I just want to be focused on my subject and not my photo, if that makes sense. So, what if mirrorless cameras were to incorporate a Kontur style viewfinder into the EVF? There could be a central white dot (as the Kontur finders also have) indicating the position of center af point and framelines that correspond to the focal length of the lens you’re using and change in size/position depending on the focal distance and focus breathing characteristics of the lens (or could just have dotted lines or corner marks indicating close focus parallax correction for manual lenses).

I have two Kontur finders, one for ~40mm lenses (originally made for a normal lens on a 6x9 camera), and one for 35mm. I sometimes use them with my Sony cameras and in practical use they actually work really well. You would think that parallax would be an issue due to the framelines being stationary, but actually the convergence of your eyes mostly naturally compensates, at least in the horizontal direction. The vertical offset with the finder on top of the camera’s viewfinder hump can be high at close range, but wouldn’t be nearly so problematic if incorporated into the EFV itself. It’s such a revelatory experience to shoot with your framelines just overlaid on your natural view of the world! 

A mirrorless camera could easily overcome the parallax issues. The Fuji X-Pro and X100 series cameras already do this with their hybrid EVF. The camera could put focal distance scale at the bottom of the frame so that you get at least a rough idea of whether the AF hit your subject or not (like a Contax G2 if you’ve ever had the pleasure of shooting with one of those). Of course the frame would not be 100% accurate all the time (and might not work well at all for some people who’s eyes don’t work together well), but the EVF would always be available at the touch of a button.

I mean, just think about how amazing it would be for your mirrorless camera to have a 1:1 life size rangefinder style “viewfinder” for every lens focal length (well, up to the limit of the viewfinder magnification/field of view) that works perfectly in even the darkest conditions.

What do you think??

« Last Edit: February 01, 2020, 01:15:28 pm by NateWeatherly »

Rob C

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Re: Just had a cool idea for mirrorless viewfinders (at least I think so!)
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2020, 03:40:39 pm »

Is that my old Vito B?

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