Electronic Viewfinders have slowly been replacing traditional viewfinders for the past few years, but last year's NAB saw an explosion in cameras with all-digital viewfinders - as well as standalone EVF products. Sony has been in the lead for the quality of the EVF on their cameras, specifically the NEX-7, A77, and A65. Panasonic is just behind with their GH2. But all of the EVFs on these cameras pale in comparison to MicroOLED's technology.
Here are a few key specifications from their press release:
- 1,280 x 1,024 resolution
- Low power draw of 0.2 watts
- 0.61 inch diagonal screen size
- Contrast ratio of 100,000:1 (whether this is dynamic or static - not sure)
Now, of course, you might be saying that RED and Arri and these other high-end camera manufacturers have fantastic EVFs, but while those might be good, they sure aren't affordable. That's the hope with products like MicroOLED's screen - that they will eventually be mass-produced and find their way into all of our photographic devices.
But based on it's resolution of 1,280 x 1,024, it's quite a bit sharper than Sony's 1,024 x 768 screen found in its digital cameras. It's clear that EVFs are the future, but companies like Nikon and Canon are still holding on for dear life with their optical viewfinders. Why is that? Tradition is probably the biggest reason. The quality of EVFs have finally started surpassing the equivalent optical viewfinder - and for us video people - the mirrors get in the way on our DSLRs!
I don't deny that there are valid reasons for cameras like the Arri Alexa Studio and Sony's F65/RS to have the option of a physical shutter or optical viewfinder (fixing rolling shutter problems mainly), but sensors are getting faster, and plenty of digital motion pictures have been shotwithout a mechanical shutter and viewfinder.
This technology is making shooting easier and more accurate - so let's hope Nikon and Canon get the memo when they release their next generation of cameras 3-4 years from now. EVFs aren't going anywhere, and for video, they are a necessity. Hopefully, companies like MicroOLED will make the big guys reconsider why they are still putting mirrors in their cameras.