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Nikon P7000 vx LX5 Optical vs electronic viewfinder

Warren Williams , Oct 30, 2010; 10:30 a.m.

I used the Panasonic Lx1 & Lx3 and was considering going to the LX5 but with Nikon's announcement of the P7000 I am reconsidering. I love the LX series but have always missed an optical viewfinder (one tat would cover wide and telephoto). I was going to commit to the electronic viewfinder of the LX5 but with the introduction of the P7000 I am wondering if I woudl be happier giving up the LX advantages (24mm f2 lens among others) to enjoy the limited optical finder of the Nikon over the electronic finder of the new LX5. Does anyone have opinions of these two viewfinders?

Responses

Edward Ingold , Oct 30, 2010; 11:28 a.m.

For some, an electronic viewfinder may be sufficient. For others, an optical viewfinder is the best choice. With an EVF, you have a smaller, lighter, quieter camera, but suffer from low viewing resolution and a significant time lag. You usually lose the advantage of predictive focusing (q.v., phase difference focusing), found in most DSLRs.

Not all DSLRs are the same with regard to the quality of their finder. Prisms are brighter than mirrors (and heavier). Some have more eye relief than others. Some show more or less of the final image. 100% finders are usually found only in the top models, and may be overrated (IMO).

Brian Goodman , Oct 30, 2010; 01:45 p.m.

I have the EVF with my LX5. It's the one that was designed for the GF1. The LVF-1 I believe it is called. I've also used the OVF with my G10, which I've heard is similar to the Nikons.

I am very pleased with the EVF with the LX5. All of the shooting information is displayed in the finder. Just like on the LCD screen. I wear glasses and the eye relief is excellent. It's very comfortable. The resolution is a little lower with the EVF, but it's still very easy to compose and see what you are doing. The information is very clear. I just shoot manual with my LX5, and I can easily see my highlight and shadow tones for precise exposure control through the finder. The LX5 already has an excellent IS system, but with the finder with that extra point of bracing, It's even more efficient. The OVF on my G10 can't even compare. The finder is certainly worth the price you pay for it IMHO.

Eric Arnold , Oct 30, 2010; 04:00 p.m.

i wouldnt put a lot of stock in the OVF on the p7000--it's just too small. personally, i would choose the p7000 over the LX5 for other reasons, but if that's the only thing keeping you from an LX5, then go for it. get the finder and you're set.

Simon Hickie - Melbourne, Derbyshire, UK , Oct 31, 2010; 10:43 a.m.

Hi. I cannot speak for the LX5, but I have the Panasonic G1 with an EVF, a Canon Powershot A570IS with peephole optical viewfinder and a Nikon D300 with 'proper' viewfinder. Of these I find the Canon least satisfactory due to lack of accuracy, composition lines and viewfinder information (e.g. exposure settings). The EVF is not as bright as the D300, but it does 'gain up' in low light (but movement then becomes jerky). I can also see full information about the exposure and the composition grid. The D300 is the best of the three.

On the G1 I tend to use the EVF rather than the LCD screen unless shooting street & documentary images. I would find a fixed 90mm equivalent maximum telephoto too limiting for my needs, but yours may be different. Before buying the G1, I considered the Canon G11/12 and the P7000, but wanted more flexibility.

For a fast fixed lens compact, the LX5 seems to take a lot of beating - provided the long end is long enough.

Dean G , Nov 01, 2010; 11:37 a.m.

On compacts I like to have the ovf window as an alternative to the LCD. If the ovf on the P7000 is like the Canon G series, just hope that unlike the G7 which I briefly had, that the view is at least centered and corresponds somewhat with the LCD and the recorded image even if it doesn't show more than 80%. I don't expect much from these little finders but that was fairly intolerable for me. I do think OVFs are worth having on a compact and for that reason I'm still using some small cameras made before the manufacturers decided what the public didn't need.
I also had a Ricoh GX200 with its EVF hot shoe mounted finder. Worked much better than the little ovf's for framing and the view is larger, but not greatly detailed. I don't know about the EVF for the LX5, but I assume they're similar cameras. I eventually sold the GX200 for a Panasonic G1 because I found putting the EVF on and off troublesome and with it on it would get caught on things. With the Lumix G1, there's not, IMO, much to complain about with the G1 finder with its extremely high resolution and very fast refresh rate (it does slow down in dim light but it hasn't been a problem for my type of photography). I realized after trying external EVF and external OVF cameras that one ends up losing the compactness they may have thought they were getting as soon as the external finder is mounted. Keeping track of the finders and taking them on and off can be fiddly and just another bother when you might rather be concentrating on your pending photo. So I decided to get the G1 with a superior (to the add-ons for the GF1 and Oly micro43 cameras) EVFwhich is an EVF from panasonic's professional video cameras. It's a great camera to work with, albeit larger than the LX5 or P7000. But in practical use those aren't really pocket cameras either.
For my compact camera I use a Ricoh GX8 (older discontinued model, but an excellent little camera) which has the usual little built-in OVF and is fairly pocketable if a bit bulky.
If it were me and I wanted a compact, between the LX5 with evf, and the P7000, I would go with the P7000 because the OVF is integrated and I believe one main purpose of a compact is to have as much as possible in one handy package. That's essentially the same choice I made between the Ricoh GX200 w/EVF and the GX8 with little window. Much happier with the GX8.
Just some of my findings after going round and round with these choices, and just my opinion of course.

Scott Kennelly , Nov 07, 2010; 12:11 a.m.

I don't see a viewfinder on the LX5.
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If you want to have the optical (rangefinder) viewfinder, the Nikon looks like a good choice. From the looks of it, the main advantage of the Nikon is that viewfinder and the fact that the lens zooms in about twice as far, but it has the disadvantage of being unable to zoom out so far, something I would find a major disadvantage, especially when trying to shoot interiors. I also really like the fact that the Leica lens on the LX5 opens up to f2.0, while the Nikon only opens up to f2.8 (a major advantage for night shooting). I also like the fact that the LX5 goes up to a higher ISO than the Nikon. If you're happy with the LX3 then you should go for the LX5, unless you just want to try the Nikon and send it back, if you don't like that viewfinder that much. That's definitely an option, right? They're both about the same price at B&H.
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