3 Reasons to Choose a Camera with an Optical Viewfinder

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Every two minutes, humans take as many photos as we did in the entire century prior to 1900. Digital photography allows us to take and share photos with increasing ease (about 20% of photos taken this year will be uploaded to Facebook). Overall, camera technology has improved drastically, making it possible to take high-quality photos with even point and shoot digital cameras. But there’s one feature you should hold out for that many of these cameras are missing: an optical viewfinder.

What You See is What You Get
You may know that professional-level digital cameras are called DSLRs. But what does this stand for? The “D” simply indicates that the camera is digital. “SLR” stands for single-lens reflex. This refers to the fact that the lens through which the camera takes the picture and the view you see when you look through the viewfinder are one and the same. A systems of mirrors and prisms ensures that the picture you see is exactly the same one “seen” by the lens. This allows for accurate framing and composition that would be otherwise impossible.

Blurring and Shaking
One of the greatest advantages of digital cameras with viewfinders—as opposed to those with only electronic screens used to frame photos—is that they allow for a much more comfortable shooting position. Holding a camera at arm’s length, as you instinctively do when framing a shot on a screen, is more likely to result in shaking, which in turn causes a blurred photo. Holding a camera up to your eye isn’t only better for framing, but also stability.

Don’t Want to Miss a Thing
Not all viewfinders are optical; some direct the same sort of display that you’d see on a screen into a viewfinder. But digital cameras with optical viewfinders offer an important feature electronic ones don’t: immediacy. Even high-quality electronic viewfinders lag somewhat. If you’re interested in sports photography, for example, this can be a big problem. The tiny amount of time may be the difference between the player stretched in midair reaching for the ball and a blurred pileup of six people. And in bright sunlight, an electronic screen may become impossible to see altogether, leaving you clicking away and hoping something will be passable. Picasa, iPhoto and similar programs can help you crop, adjust colors, remove red-eye and straighten your photos, but it’s better to improve your skills than to constantly rely on editing programs.

When buying a digital camera, browse camera stores to get an idea of which ones offer high-end features like optical viewfinders. You don’t need to dismiss online camera stores, either, as long as you look up plenty of reviews so you’re not shopping blind. If you don’t like any of the digital cameras with optical viewfinders—or if one without is all that’s in your price range—you can consider a model that allows you to add one via the hot shoe, the mounting on top of many mid- to high-range digital cameras. Just be sure that you’re not spending so much extra on the add-on equipment that you could have purchased a DSLR in the first place and saved yourself some hassle. Read this for more: www.42photo.com

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