The Sony A7r II has the highest magnification, but the Leica Q is said to be the best mirrorless camera with the highest resolution EVF.
Today, nearly every mid-range to high-end mirrorless camera comes with a built-in electronic viewfinder. The EVFs display a lot of useful information such as focus peaking, live histograms, information overlays, magnification and exposure preview.
Even though there can be some disadvantages of mirrorless cameras, the electronic viewfinder and the image quality it provides is making mirrorless cameras more popular than the DSLRs in the photography community.
There are 3 main technologies used for electronic viewfinders:
- LCD – LCD is short for “Liquid Crystal Display”. It is the display technology used to create the scenes embedded in the back of all cameras. In a digital camera, LCD is used for reviewing photos, displaying menu options and serves as a live viewfinder.
- OLED – OLED or “Organic light-emitting diodes” displays are brighter, more efficient, and thinner with better refresh rates and contrast than any other display technology.
- LCOS – LCOS stands for “Liquid crystal on silicon”. In this, the light from any light source reflects off of the microdisplay and is eventually projected through a lens.
Before choosing which mirrorless camera with the best EVFs to purchase, let’s look at the concept of viewfinders a little bit closer.
In this article, we have explained the types of viewfinders, along with their advantages and disadvantages and listed a few mirrorless cameras with the best EVF on the market. You can decide which of them fits your photography genre as well as your budget.
There are two types of electronic viewfinders:
- Optical viewfinders use mirrors and prisms to represent the view of a scene. The image in the optical viewfinder relies on the actual light passing through a camera rather than a digital representation.
- The optical viewfinder offers better clarity, a better ability to resolve scenes with extreme differences in brightness and an instantaneous view of the action lacking the delay found in some EVF systems.
- Optical viewfinders suffer from no shutter lag. They show you exactly what the lens is seeing as it sees it. They are also “on” all the time. You can look through an optical viewfinder even if the camera is powered down.
- Optical viewfinders have zero energy consumption as they are electronics-free. Hence, they don’t drain batteries.
- Electronic viewfinders use a tiny electronic display much like the larger LCD screen on the back of all the cameras.
- There is no optical viewfinder in mirrorless cameras. The imaging sensor is exposed to light all the time. This gives you a digital preview of your image either on the rear LCD screen or an electronic viewfinder.
- With an electronic viewfinder, you get to see exactly what the camera sensor sees and your view of the scene is never blocked even when taking a photo.
- The electronic viewfinder comes in handy when calculating the proper aperture for landscape photography when it comes to focusing distance display. It’s not an important feature for all photographers though, only for landscape photographers.
- The EVF gives you a live display of how the photo will be rendered. Since you can see right in the EVF how the brights and darks are captured, you can plan your other camera settings accordingly.
- The image in the viewfinder is recorded on the imaging sensor, hence the camera can use that data to show a histogram of the brightness levels in the photo. This is very important to help properly expose the photo in a difficult lighting position.
- Some electronic viewfinders also highlight the areas in focus, also known as the “peaking” autofocus, simulate motion blur and boost brightness when shooting very dark scenes.
- After you take the photo, you can see the preview right in the viewfinder without needing to take your face away from the viewfinder and look at the LCD screen and then go back to the viewfinder for another shot.
- Electronic viewfinders do experience a slight lag. But on the best EVFs, it is negligible and won’t make any difference to your shooting. But if you purchase an old mirrorless camera, you might get stuck with an EVF that lags.
- Electronic viewfinders go black when the camera is powered down and they take a few moments ( one or two seconds ) to start up once the camera is switched on.
- One disadvantage that electronic viewfinders have is that they suck a lot of power and this decreases the battery life of the camera.
- Looking into the EVF can sometimes take a second for your eyes to adjust to, if it is bright outside, especially if the camera has just been switched on.
Photographers of all levels benefit from using a more compact mirrorless camera with an electronic viewfinder, leaf shutter, in-built image stabilization and complete autofocus, all the features which can make photography easier and more fun.
Let’s have a look at the mirrorless cameras with the best EVFs.
This camera has the highest viewfinder magnification of 0.78x. Although it is not much different than the 0.77x magnification.
This camera also lets you choose between live view and auto-brightness depending on the light in your scene.
This camera has an OLED viewfinder with 100% coverage and 2,360,000 pixels. It is a professional camera body with a CMOS sensor, high magnification and many other features and is all weather-resistant.
It is fast, accurate and responsive with all the goodies. It has a high resolution, a fast frame rate that remains constant in all conditions and a very short display lag.
The Leica Q has the most wonderful EVF to use. It is clear, bright and responsive with 100% coverage. It is the best EVF for manual focusing, as the high resolution makes the peaking very visible. It also shows amazing results without any manual focusing assists at all.
However, there is a slight lag issue in dark conditions.
The Panasonic Lumix GX8 boasts a magnification of 0.77x. The electronic viewfinder projects clear and bright images with 100% coverage. It has a high refresh rate and makes very little noise.
What makes this camera’s viewfinder unique is the tilting mechanism. You can tilt it up to 90 degrees for weird angled shots in difficult light conditions.
This camera lacks the OLED panel of other models since it is two years old, but handles various light conditions very well. It has a very slight lag of 0.16 seconds and is very responsive.
This camera also allows you to adjust the brightness of the EVF according to the light in your scene to give you an optimal preview.
The Nikon Z FC possesses an old-school charm. The EVF in this camera is a 0.39-inch type OLED display with 2.36M dots of resolution. It has a 1.02x magnification which results in a big display with 100% coverage.
The EVF in the Canon EOS is bright and clear with an OLED display of 2.36M dots of resolution. The touchscreen is very handy to place your AF while you are looking through the viewfinder.
Fuji XT10 has a fantastic viewfinder. It has 2.36M dots of resolution with 0.62x magnification. With its extremely high-resolution electronic viewfinder, great image quality, weather-sealed body and engaging control system this camera is a wonderful addition to your photography kit.
The Sony A6000 features a built-in EVF and tilting LCD screen. It produces accurate colours and is very easy to make out even the tiniest of details. The camera EVF provides 100% coverage with a magnification of 1.07x.
You can tilt the LCD screen up to 90 degrees up and 45 degrees down, making it easy to take shots from awkward or difficult angles. It also provides peaking for critical focus and zebra stripes for over-exposed areas.
The electronic viewfinder is an innovation in digital photography which was discouraged by most photographers in the beginning. Now, most photographers prefer working with a camera with an EVF.
There are benefits and drawbacks to using an electronic viewfinder on your camera, but the extra amount of data that the EVF provides is hard to replace. It can take a little time to get adjusted to the various features of the EVF, but it is worth the try.
If you are positive about changing your camera system from a DSLR to a mirrorless camera, then EVF is an important feature that you need to look at before purchasing. The change from a DSLR to a mirrorless camera might seem daunting at first, but once you get used to it, it will be hard to let go!