LCDs, Optical Viewfinders and EVFs

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There are three avenues for composing and reviewing photographs using point-and-shoot digicams: liquid crystal displays (LCDs), optical viewfinders and electronic viewfinders (EVFs).

  • LCDs are the most common viewing systems, and for many point-and-shoot digicams, they’re the only viewing and editing option.
     
  • Optical Viewfinders that enable you to “see” what the lens sees from eye level (like a “real” camera), without having to hold the camera at arm’s length while squinting at the LCD, are becoming less common as cameras become increasingly smaller and LCD technologies improve. While viewfinders are advantageous under bright lighting conditions, they are increasingly becoming less common, mostly because they are costlier to produce and bulkier than LCD-only point-and-shoot digicams.
     
  • Electronic Viewfinders (EVFs) are found on larger “super zoom” or “bridge-style” digicams. Outwardly, they resemble the optical prism finders used on full-size DSLRs but they are, in fact, small LCDs housed behind an ocular. The viewing quality of EVFs varies from camera to camera and manufacturer to manufacturer. With the exception of EVFs containing in excess of a million pixels (most only have 230k to 460k), they don’t approach the clarity of optical finders. Nevertheless, they are noticeably better than LCDs when shooting at longer telephoto distances and under bright, sunny skies.