Is Olympus' EV-2 Viewfinder the Missing Link?

When the Olympus EV-2 electronic viewfinder was first announced (along with the Olympus E-P2 Pen Digital camera) I had a feeling they were onto something. After finally getting one to play with I know they’re onto something, and it’s something that I hope other manufacturers start picking up on. With the exception of DSLRs and bridge-style cameras, viewfinders are quickly vanishing as cameras become tinier as LCDs grow conversely larger. And with dot-counts passing the 1-million mark, the resolving power of LCDs is finally making LCD viewing viable and trustworthy for the most discriminating needs, i.e., you can actually focus a lens manually based on the image on the screen and get sharp pictures.

The premise of theEV-2 viewfinder is such a no-brainer I'm surprised it's taken this long for a product this good (and needed) to come to market, because regardless of how far LCD technology has come, trying to compose a picture while fighting screen-glare on a bright, sunny day is neither fun nor easy.

Designed to function with the Olympus E-P2 and E-PL1, the VF-2 is small, weighs next to nothing,and displays 100% of the image area. Using the EV-2 is equally simple - you merely slip it onto the camera's accessory shoe and you're good-to-go. The EV-2 powers off the camera, which eliminates the need for additional cables, wires, or other connectors, and the only button is the one that enables you to toggle between the EV-2 and the camera's LCD, both of which offer a 100% field-of-view.

If the image you see through the EV-2 seems sharper than the image you see on the camera's LCD, that's because it contains 1,440,000-dots of resolversus 230,000-dots for the camera's LCD. Is there a big difference in clarity? You betcha'... big time. The EV-2's 60 fps frame rate also guarantees flicker and ghost-free imagery, and unlike the fixed position of the camera's LCD, the EV-2 tilts upward of 90-degrees to facilitate image composition from extreme angles.

Once mounted on the camera you can also adjust the image brightness (+/- 7-stops) as well as color temperture of the viewfinder image.

The Olympus EV-2 viewfinder costs about the same price as a mid-range point-and-shoot camera, but it greatly expands the usability of Olympus EP-2 and E-PL1 cameras.

Now if they would only come out with similar viewing options for other finderless digicams, there'd be a whole lot of happy shooters out there.