Sunday, 15 May 2011

VF-2 Electronic Viewfinder (Olympus cameras)


Extremely useful accessory 4*
A small and well-crafted piece of kit, whose external simplicity belies its functionality and sharp, bright image. It plugs into the hot shoe and accessory slots at the top of the camera and is powered from the camera. Pressing a single button toggles between viewfinder and camera back screen (monitor). It does not interfere with using the built in flash. I am using the VF-2 on an Olympus XZ-1 camera  but it can be used on other Olympus cameras, so if you own more than one camera, a single viewfinder could be used on each compatible unit. The only reason for dropping a star here is the price - in my opinion the quality is 5*.
 
The VF-2 is perfect for use in bright sunlight, where the monitor on the camera itself is difficult to use for setting up and reviewing shots without dodging into a shady spot to do so.

The viewfinder is a very useful addition for anyone, like me, who is longsighted and for those used to an SLR type viewfinder. The great thing about a digital camera with a display screen is being able to review (playback) pictures as you go. If you are longsighted, you end up holding the camera at arms length to be able to focus your eyes on the screen on the back of the camera, or resort to your reading glasses. The electronic viewfinder shows all the information you would otherwise see on the screen on the back of the camera. You can adjust the focus to your individual eyesight by simply rotating the rubber 'dioptre' ring.

Since having the viewfinder, I am using it as the preferred method for operating the camera. It is also useful for macro work and has the added feature that it can be tilted through up to 90 degrees.

Minor negative factors: firstly that it does add to the overall size of the camera and prevents the use of the hot shoe to mount and/or trigger an additional flash unit. The flash issue is probably not a problem, as the built-in flash can be used to wirelessly trigger up to three other flash units. When the review (playback) button is pressed, the camera reverts to monitor view, instead of the image remaining in the viewfinder.

In summary:
Cons - adds to the overall size of the camera, costs half as much as an XZ-1 camera (March 2011).
Pros - a real advantage in bright sunlight, can be transferred between cameras, great for macro shots, has a tiltable eyepiece, especially useful for long-sighted users, does not get in the way of the camera's built-in flash unit, comes with its own storage pouch.
Amazon UK VF-2 
Amazon US VF-2 

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