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Small camera with good EVF ?

John Williamson , May 17, 2013; 11:49 p.m.

I am looking into getting a carry around, pants pocket, glove box camera to just have around, when I am not toting a DSLR. I would MUCH prefer a real optical viewfinder, for using when it is bright or the sun is behind me. The type of screen on my cell phone is useless in those conditions. Since the choices of cameras with optical viewfinders is dwindling, I need to get a list of cameras that have a good enough viewfinder to use in all conditions. For this type of use, a fixed lens camera would be best. Not fixed focal length though. I would like the normal exposure methods, not just some program mode. A bit of bulk is OK, as I don't like the really small ones, because they are harder to keep stable. I have looked at the Canon G12 or the newer G15 because it has a nice fast lens, but I was wondering how some of the newer technology cameras were stacking up.

If you have some recommendations, feel free to toss them my way.


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Patrick S , May 17, 2013; 11:58 p.m.

I have the G12 and also Fujifilm's X20. They are a tossup in image quality, with maybe a small edge to the Fuji. Neither one is really a pocket camera, although with big pockets, or short distances, they can be pocketed. The X20 in particular has a lens that sticks out. I carry either one in a belt pouch.

David W. Griffin , May 18, 2013; 01:30 p.m.

I like the Sony NEX-7 because of the quality of the EVF, the focus peaking and viewfinder magnification, and the adapters for nearly any kind of lens. With a small Leica M lens on it (even the Voigtlander ones), it's very small.

C Watson , May 18, 2013; 04:55 p.m.

The Fuji X20 isn't exactly bulky, nor is the pricier X100/X100s. The Fuji X-E1 has an APS-C sensor and high resolution EVF that many truly love.

There's always the Nikon 1 cameras and lenses that seem to be perpetually on sale now.

John Williamson , May 18, 2013; 06:37 p.m.

The NEX cameras are not very compact, once you put a lens on them, not to mention easy on the budget. I was hoping to stay a bit less costly for a " just have it around " camera. The Nikon 1 is interesting, but also not low cost, unless you find them in the refurbished section, such as at Cameta Camera, which I have been thinking about. How is the back screen for use in bright conditions on the Nikon 1 series ? The V version has a viewfinder , I believe, but the J series does not.

John Williamson , May 19, 2013; 12:31 a.m.

After reading up a bit, I may have to remove the EVF from my list, as those cameras seem to push the price point up a bit. The Micro 4/3 cameras are too bulky with the lens system. So, I'm looking at the 1/1.7 sensor size "compact " cameras.

I browsed everyone, I think. Oly, Ricoh, Pentax, Panasonic, Sony, Canon, Nikon. Did I miss anyone ?
I think the best deal I've seen is the B&H price on the White version of the Lumix LX7. You have to put it in your cart to see it that low, I think.

To be honest, my main goals are now, plenty of controls, and not auto everything, and a screen that can be used outdoors, even with the sun behind you shining on the camera.

How does that change your suggestions ?

Frank Skomial , May 19, 2013; 01:15 a.m.

Rather than searching for small camera with good EVF,
search for small good camera with EVF.
This way you will have more success to find them.

John Williamson , May 19, 2013; 04:52 p.m.

True. But I was hoping to not do the same footwork that others have already done, and get specific recommendations by people who have been there and done that.

CC Chang , May 20, 2013; 11:28 a.m.

After reading up a bit, I may have to remove the EVF from my list, as those cameras seem to push the price point up a bit. The Micro 4/3 cameras are too bulky with the lens system

You should really look into an E-PL5 or E-M2 plus either the 20/1.7 or 14/2.5 lens. The rear screen on these cameras is well coated so the screen can be used under broad day light, beach, desert, etc, for framing. With my aging eyes, I actually much prefer to look at a big screen instead of peeking into a small VF, whether optical or electronic. You can also get an used VF and leave it in the car, just in case. I am in my 50s, wearing glasses (both near and far-sighted), but I never find the need for one.

John Williamson , May 20, 2013; 10:21 p.m.


Who makes the E-M2 ? I found the first one under Olympus. Google has struck out on the second one.

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