Sony FDA-SV1 Optical Viewfinder for NEX-3 and NEX-5


Most camera accessories do just that—they accessorize the camera. But some accessories define their intended products. Sony's FDA-SV1 Optical Viewfinder, designed for use with a Sony Alpha NEX-3 or NEX-5 and a Sony 16mm/f2.8 pancake lens, is such a product.

Both of Sony's NEX Alpha-series cameras—the Sony Alpha NEX-3 & NEX-5 - are terrific sub-compact mirrorless digicams that, despite their diminutive size, contain correspondingly larger APS-C format CMOS sensors. And to complement these nifty subcompacts, Sony offers them with a narrow-profile 16mm/f2.8 "pancake" lens, which covers the equivalent field of view (approximately 84°) of a street-savvy 24mm lens on a full-frame 35mm DSLR. 

The problem is that despite its svelte size and resolving power, when shooting with either of Sony's NEX-series cameras you are hostage to the camera's LCD, which like its point-and-shoot siblings is the camera's sole means of composing, viewing and editing pictures, which under bright lighting conditions often proves to be difficult.

Sony's FDA-SV1 optical viewfinder mounted on a
Sony NEX-Series Digicam and a 16mm/2.8 pancake
makes an ideal street-shooting machine.

Sony's FDA-SV1 Optical Viewfinder resolves the problem in the form of a shoe-mounted, glass optical finder that matches the field of view (approximately 84°) of an NEX 16mm/f2.8 lens, which is considered by many  to be the best-suited lens for Sony NEX-series Alpha cameras. With the FDA-SV1 Optical finder in place the camera's autofocus and TTL exposure systems monitor the technical side of the equation while you concentrate on framing and capturing pictures without having to block light stray sunlight while squinting at a 3" LCD from arm's length. And for many, the Sony FDA-SV1 Optical finder is what makes an NEX-series camera the camera it was meant to be.

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For some reason I was expecting an electronic viewfinder from Sony. This is no fault of B&H's but $200 for what is essentially a piece of glass within a piece of plastic is a little too much. I use the NEX-3 to shoot on the street and I find that holding the camera close to you with the LCD flipped leaves people confused as to what exactly you are taking a photo of which is good for candid street shots. I don't think the OVF will add anything to shooting on the street.

I have the LA-EA1 mount adapter to use my NEX for the occasional portrait session with a longer lens, but Sony I think needs to resolve some things. Like the lack of an EVF and no autofocus through the mount adapter.

Darick wrote:

For some reason I was expecting an electronic viewfinder from Sony. This is no fault of B&H's but $200 for what is essentially a piece of glass within a piece of plastic

This is the going rate for a decent external finder. Ricoh's and Voigtlander's optical finders are similarly made and priced. Interestingly though, it's the same list price as EVFs from Panasonic and Olympus....

Surely Sony is planning to use the electronics in its proprietary NEX port for more than the flash unit, however. It's in Sony's best interests to come out with an EVF sooner than later, and priced affordably.

Sony's still promising, but not yet delivering an EVF, but until that time, everybody's gonna have to be happy  shooting Leica-style with the 16mm lens.

(It still beats staring at an LCD @ noon!)

 Why would you want a EVF over an OVF?  

The fact Sony offered an OVF is brilliant.  What would have put it over the top would have been providing basic exposure information in the OVF, (f-stop, shutter speed, ISO, and "stabilzation meter".  An EVF that can provide the resolution than an OVF can provide would prove to costly for one to purchase as an option at this price point.  

Now if this was a "full frame" type.. maybe that would be something to think about...

 I own and use the NEX 3 with all e series lenses




So what I am reading is that this optical view finder only works with a field of fixed view designed for the 16mm. Is this correct?

The difficult comes in using the 200 under sun light chasing a moving target at 5 times of more optical.

Looks like there is no solution to this problem.

I don't think that these e-series lenses are compatible with any other camera body as yet other than the NEX series.

A bit disappointed.


is this a boxed item? I have just ordered and may have made a mistake since nomention of the charger, memorystick nor flash accessory is mentioned as on the site. I suppose I will find out Monday...

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Sony FDA-SV1 Optical Viewfinder for NEX-3.

I have a sony nex 3n and i need aViewfinder for my camera with your permission i like to know:

1.This viefinder will work with my camera?

2.Where i put in my camera and if is ok where can i buy?

Thank you indeed for your answer

The Sony FDA-SV1 is compatible with the Sony NEX-3N.  It would attach via the camera’s accessory shoe.  Unfortunately, though, the FDA-SV1 has been discontinued by Sony and we have since sold out of all stock.  You would need to find a used one.  Otherwise, you can also use the Sony FDA-EV1S Electric Viewfinder with the Sony NEX-3N, which is still available.  It too would attach via the camera’s accessory shoe.

Can someone please helpme.   I have a Sony NEX 5T camera with a 16 - 50 mm lens on it. Does this viewfinder work on this camera?


The Sony FDA-SV1 is compatible with the Sony NEX-5T.  It would attach via the camera’s accessory shoe.  Do keep in mind, that it will only approximate the angle of view of a 16mm lens, so would only give you a sense or your composition at the wide end of your lens.