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Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder

B&H # PADMWVF1 Mfr # DMW-VF1
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Product Highlights
  • For Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7, DMC-LX5, and DMC-LX3 Digital Cameras

The Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder allows users of the Lumix DMC-LX7, LX5, and LX3 cameras to save battery power and have an option for framing images without using the LCD display, which can be difficult to use under certain lighting conditions. It also features bright-lines for the wide-angle setting of the camera, which is equivalent to a 24mm view on 35mm format. This will help you to avoid vignetting mistakes.

The DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder attaches to the camera via the hot shoe.

Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder
  • 1-Year Limited Warranty
  • REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

    by PowerReviews
    PanasonicDMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder
     
    4.1

    (based on 31 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (11)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (16)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (2)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (1)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (1)

    90%

    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

    Pros

    • Lightweight (24)
    • Easy to use (22)
    • Durable (21)
    • Reliable (19)

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Landscape photography (19)
      • Travel (18)
      • Everyday (12)
      • Home (3)
      • Portraits (3)
        • Reviewer Profile:
        • Enthusiast (14), Semi-professional (8), Professional (6)
        • Was this a gift?:
        • No (22)

      Most Liked Positive Review

       

      Perfect accessory for the LX3

      First, you understand (or should) what this external optical viewfinder (EOV) does NOT do. It does not give you a live view of what the camera's sensor is seeing. It doesn't...Read complete review

      First, you understand (or should) what this external optical viewfinder (EOV) does NOT do. It does not give you a live view of what the camera's sensor is seeing. It doesn't zoom when the camera's lens zooms. It doesn't even change aspect ratios with the camera. The guidelines visible in the EOV are fixed at 3:2.

      NEVERTHELESS, if you understand and accept those facts, you may find, as I have, that this is the perfect accessory for what I think is just about the perfect compact camera, the LX3. Viewing through the EOV, it's easier to hold the camera steady. In addition, I've always felt that using a viewfinder allows me to feel more in touch with what I'm shooting; I find it easier to see my shots. Using the EOV simply bypasses the problem of seeing the LED in bright sunlight—because you're NOT looking at the LED. With the EOV installed, you can in fact simply turn the LED off and save a fair amount of battery power. (This was my original reason for buying the EOV.)

      I might add that the EOV looks fairly cool.

      Using the EOV, I find it slightly difficult to frame shots precisely. This is to be expected. I simply make sure I have a tiny bit of cropping room on the edges, and it's never been a problem. Shoot in 3:2 aspect ratio and everything is easier.

      Oh, this EOV doesn't interfere with the flash, unlike some of the third-party products.

      An outstanding add-on for this outstanding camera.

      VS

      Most Liked Negative Review

       

      What you can not read about this item

      -is that the viewfinder field view is ONLY (and ONLY!!!) 82%. That is info from the package insert, and I would never buy it if I knew it. And that...Read complete review

      -is that the viewfinder field view is ONLY (and ONLY!!!) 82%. That is info from the package insert, and I would never buy it if I knew it. And that also means that you do not have any idea what exactly you are going to have in your picture until you see it on LCD of the camera itself or on the monitor. Anyway, you will have 18% more than you see via this optical viewfinder. Yes, it is a wonderful piece of glass giving you a bright and clear view of reality. But what's the point in spending [$] and not being able to see exact frame of your future picture? I do not see any, so I have returned it and thank you again, B&H, for your generous Return Policy!

      Reviewed by 31 customers

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      5.0

      Great for Leica M

      By Andrew

      from Bakersfield, CA

      About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

      Pros

      • Bright Accurate Frame
      • Durable
      • Lightweight
      • Reliable

      Cons

      • Some Distortion

      Best Uses

      • Landscape Photography
      • Low light

      Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

      I bought a 24mm lens for my Leica M Monochrom which does not have 24mm frame lines. Leica's viewfinder is approximately $ and Zeiss' 25mm viewfinder (close enough) is around $. Having already spent $ on my lens, I just didn't want to spend that much on a viewfinder.This Panasonic viewfinder was made for their LX series point-and-shoot cameras for use at their maximum wide setting, which coincidently is 24mm, just like my Leica 24mm f/3.8 Elmar-M ASPH lens. I decided to try it.Well, the Leica viewfinder is definitely nicer, but not $ nicer. This is a terrific little viewfinder, with a metal barrel, decent eye point and bright frame lines that are clear and (except up close) accurate. HIGHLY recommended.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      Share this review

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Magnification vs Percentage of Picture

      By spoozer

      from Charleston SC

      Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

      I almost didn't buy this for my Lumix after reading the review by MIPN05. Now that I have one I found that the 82% or .82 that MIPN05 is referring to is the magnification. Wide angle finders (especially the better ones)have a magnification of less than 1.0 helping put a more accurate representation of the actual angle of view. Less than 1.0 is acually a reduction in magnification. The viewfinder is just following the characteristic of the 24mm equivalent lens in that it stuffs more of the angle of view in to your image vs a 50mm (which by the way is thought ot be roughly 1.0 magnification.
      The bright line framing seems to be accurate. When you keep both eyes open, the things in the finder seem to be a little smaller that the naked eye. Around 80% the size of things in the naked eye.
      This really has nothing to do with how much of your picture area you can see through the viewfinder. Its all there at 82% magnification.
      I only took away a star for not having this in silver.

      Share this review

       
      5.0

      Perfect product, fast delivery

      By Justin

      from Quebec City

      About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Fast Delivery
      • Quality Of The Optic

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Everyday use

        Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

        This optical viewfinder, made by Panasonic for the Lumix LX7 camera, fits perfectly with my Leica D-Lux 6! Optic is perfectly clear and, well the thing improves the look of the camera. Ordered on thursday, received the following tuesday. Wow!

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

        Share this review

         
        4.0

        does the job

        By Mac

        from Detroit

        About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Durable
        • Easy To Use
        • Lightweight
        • Reliable

        Cons

        • None

        Best Uses

        • Everyday use
        • Traveling

        Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

        straight forward tool for fast street shooting
        helps keep battery drain down,
        also
        makes the camera look like a 1930s Lieca

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

        Share this review

        (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        3.0

        Overpriced

        By ML

        from Houston, TX

        About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

          Cons

            Best Uses

              Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

              A cute little device but I was disappointed that for the price it only showed the 24mm wide angle view, no guidelines for telephoto, etc. I thought about returning it but decided to keep it because it can be faster than the LCD screen when following action for example. But it doesn't interact with the camera at all, re focusing or zooming.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              Share this review

              (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              Very nice OVF for RICOH GR.

              By Scott

              from Honolulu, HI

              About Me Professional

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Durable
              • Easy To Use
              • Lightweight

              Cons

              • Little Eye Relief
              • No Diopter Adj
              • No Rubber Eye Cup

              Best Uses

              • 28mm
              • Night
              • Ricoh Gr

              Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

              I actually bought this to use on my RICOH GR at night. I also have the Panasonic LX7. The field of view works well for both cameras BUT the framing/crop marks are far more accurate with the RICOH GR: the actual crop markings frame nearly equivalent to the RICOH's 28mm lens. For the LX7 @ 24mm you need to frame your composition outside of the crop marks - not ideal but that is SOP for an OVF on a camera with a zoom lens. This OVF is quite small but it does ruin the pocketability of both the GR and the LX7. The rear element (where you view) is tiny and so is the eye relief. I wear glasses most of the time. The small eye relief is not a problem with the GR, i can just catch the full view within the crop marks with my glasses on; it does not work very well with the LX7 @ 24mm though. There is no diopter adjustment but otherwise it is very well put together and feels well made.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              Share this review

              (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              3.0

              Great optics

              By RayLay

              from San Diego, CA

              About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Durable
              • Lightweight

              Cons

              • Difficult To Use

              Best Uses

              • Everyday use

              Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

              Takes some getting used to. Like the design.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              Share this review

              (11 of 17 customers found this review helpful)

               
              1.0

              What you can not read about this item

              By MIPN05

              from New York

              About Me Photo Enthusiast

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                    Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

                    -is that the viewfinder field view is ONLY (and ONLY!!!) 82%. That is info from the package insert, and I would never buy it if I knew it. And that also means that you do not have any idea what exactly you are going to have in your picture until you see it on LCD of the camera itself or on the monitor. Anyway, you will have 18% more than you see via this optical viewfinder. Yes, it is a wonderful piece of glass giving you a bright and clear view of reality. But what's the point in spending [$] and not being able to see exact frame of your future picture? I do not see any, so I have returned it and thank you again, B&H, for your generous Return Policy!

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

                    Share this review

                    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    4.0

                    An accessory worth having

                    By Chuck

                    from Evansville, IN

                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Indoors/Low Light
                        • Landscape/Scenery

                        Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

                        I put off buying this for a long time. I wasn't sure how much I'd use it. I looked at several used 'turret' style Russian viewfinders but none offered exactly 24mm. Since my LX-3 has limited telephoto capabilities and the shutter lag that all cameras of its type have (rendering it not too good for portraits), I decided to keep the camera for the excellent wide angle results from its Leica lens. (Couldn't buy a good fast 24mm wide angle for my Nikon D90 for what the LX 3 and viewfinder cost now). This viewfinder compliments the lens at 24mm very nicely.

                        The price went up $10.00 shortly before I finally decided to buy it. Still considerably lower than when it first came out. Not a bad buy. It looks good on the camera. I'd buy it again.

                        Share this review

                        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        4.0

                        Magnificent product, but too expensive

                        By Felix Bravo

                        from San Juan, Puerto Rico

                        About Me Professional

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Durable
                        • Easy To Use
                        • Lightweight
                        • Reliable

                        Cons

                        • Expensive

                        Best Uses

                        • Everyday use
                        • Landscape Photography
                        • Traveling

                        Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

                        Incredibly useful for framing as long as you don't have to zoom. Saves battery. Works well. Not worth the price, however. It's almost half what the camera itself costs. Loses a star for price.

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

                        Share this review

                         
                        4.0

                        beautiful!

                        By Phil

                        from Montreal, Canada

                        About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Easy To Use
                        • Fantastic optics

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Landscape Photography
                          • Traveling

                          Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

                          It has fixed optics and does not have parallax adjustment, but it's tiny, bright and really cool. I prefer looking through a viewfinder on my D-SLR, but must admit using the beeautiful screen on the LX-5 more than the viewfinder. Yet, I am really happy with it.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

                          Share this review

                          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          Performs as Expected

                          By Eldave

                          from Clearwater, Fla.

                          About Me Semi-Professional

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Durable
                          • Easy To Use
                          • Lightweight
                          • Reliable

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Landscape Photography

                            Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

                            Very useful in bright sunlight where the LCD screen is difficult to see. Also saves battery power power since the LCD can be shut off (except for exposure information and photo reviews). Excellent workmanship and optics. Of course, it can be used on the Leica D-Lux 4 as well as the Panasonic.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

                            Share this review

                             
                            4.0

                            Very clear and bright viewfinder

                            By Verbi

                            from Toronto, ON

                            About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

                            Verified Reviewer

                            Pros

                            • Bright
                            • Durable
                            • Lightweight

                            Cons

                            • Steep learning curve

                            Best Uses

                            • Everyday use
                            • Landscape Photography
                            • Traveling

                            Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

                            Surprisingly bright and usable, sits tight in the hotshoe (at least for now). I have found it excellent for wide-angle shooting, but framing for zoomed shots would take a bit of practice.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

                            Share this review

                             
                            4.0

                            Classy Optical Viewfinder

                            By Bill V.

                            from Bronxville, NY

                            About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Durable
                            • Easy To Use
                            • Lightweight
                            • Reliable

                            Cons

                            • For 24mm shots only

                            Best Uses

                            • Home
                            • Landscape Photography

                            Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

                            Useful for low light, wide angle shots on the run.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

                            Share this review

                            (2 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            2.0

                            Basic Viewfinder overpriced

                            By NA

                            from Napa Valley

                            About Me Semi-Professional

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Lightweight

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Outdoors

                              Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

                              Very basic viewfinder for wide angle only. Has no adjustments and I think it's overpriced! Comes in a cheap cloth bag that offers very little protection.

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

                              Share this review

                              (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                               
                              4.0

                              Nice, Functional and discret

                              By zeit

                              from st. louis, mo

                              About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Discret
                              • Easy To Use

                              Cons

                              • No zoom

                              Best Uses

                              • Travel

                              Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

                              I bought this because I like a viewfinder and not hold up the camera to my face-I think it very obvious and you look like an idiot. Also, in dark places, like churches, the light from the screen is very distracting. I take photos in a lot of religious buildings, and discretion is a must.

                              I like the fact that the viewfinder allows you to frame a photo very quickly, and take the shot.

                              I don't like that it doesn't zoom when you zoom.

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

                              Share this review

                              (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                               
                              5.0

                              At last I can see!

                              By Maudie

                              from Sydney Australia

                              About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Durable
                              • Easy To Use
                              • Lightweight
                              • Quality of lens
                              • Reliable
                              • Solves glare on screen

                              Cons

                              • Only for wide angle use

                              Best Uses

                              • Cityscapes
                              • Everyday use
                              • Landscape Photography
                              • Traveling
                              • Wide angle

                              Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

                              I was using a small Ricoh for extensive overseas travel but the big problem was always the screen - I couldn't see a thing in sunlight. Along came my new Panasonic Lumix and a friend recommended picking up the external optical viewfinder as well. Wow! Suddenly I can actually see what I'm photographing - no more chopped off detail at the top, no more ruined photos. The view finder only works on wide angle but for landscapes and scenery it's no real drawback. The quality of the lens in it is fantastic, providing absolute clarity. I heartily recommend this view finder to ensure there are no missing bits in your shots

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

                              Share this review

                               
                              5.0

                              This is an excellent product

                              By Old Salt

                              from Florida

                              About Me Semi-Professional

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Durable
                              • Easy To Use
                              • Lightweight
                              • Reliable

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                • Everyday use
                                • Home
                                • Landscape Photography
                                • Macro Photography
                                • Traveling

                                Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

                                I use it all the time,crystal clear image I wish it had more superimposed frames for selected focal lengths.Great product,excellent workmanship.

                                • Was this a gift?:
                                • No

                                Share this review

                                 
                                4.0

                                Excellent optics though pricey

                                By Tony

                                from St. Augustine, Florida

                                About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                • Easy To Use
                                • Lightweight

                                Cons

                                • Bulky

                                Best Uses

                                • Landscape Photography
                                • Traveling

                                Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

                                High quality tho pricey product. The optics are great, I use it on field expeditions to extend battery life by leaving the screen off. It does not tie into the zoom at all, so you must be careful about properly framing the subject if zoomed in. I wish this had included integrated flip-up lens covers so that the fine optics were better protected.

                                • Was this a gift?:
                                • No

                                Share this review

                                 
                                5.0

                                very happy

                                By RE

                                from Washington, dc

                                About Me Professional

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                • Durable
                                • Easy To Use
                                • Lightweight
                                • Reliable

                                Cons

                                  Best Uses

                                  • Everyday use
                                  • Traveling

                                  Comments about Panasonic DMW-VF1 External Optical View Finder:

                                  Great item. quality made, giving you a better feel when shooting a slow shutter speeds.

                                  • Was this a gift?:
                                  • No

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