EVF versus OVF

There are countless debates on the technological advantages of the electronic viewfinder over the optical, so I'm not here to extend such conversation. Who am I to talk about the intricacies of specs anyways?


But while I also find the EVF an inevitable evolution of camera tech, I think the OVF is still worthwhile in the current landscape of photography.


I've been switching back and forth from mirrorless cameras to DSLRs, and vice versa. All the times I've convinced myself that it was the speed of operation and reliability of a SLR that was forcing me to keep shooting one. But now I think I had it all wrong.


You see, it's just a different experience shooting through an EVF in comparison to an OVF. At least for me.




I find myself shooting differently when I use different styles of cameras, and I also find myself loving the "inconsistencies" from shooting a SLR (or RF). You see, without EVF's instant feedback with what-you-see-is-what-you-get, shooting through an OVF can result in inconsistent results, whether it may come in the form of exposure or white balance.


I understand this is a debatable topic. By speaking such heresy I might already be getting hate mails from the snobs who swear by the opinion that it's the DSLRs that can create consistent results.


However, by looking at why those people are saying this, you'll see that what they're saying are mostly related to quirks in current-day mirrorless cameras that can potentially be solved by software improvements.


Inconsistent auto white balance? Random AF points jumping around the screen? Painfully slow response-times? There are more, of course.


But just take a look at the recently released Sony α9. A camera which I believe tackled, if not solved, most of the complaints of DSLR shooters.




One of the slogans that Sony uses to brag about their camera is "The advent of the true age of digital". And this is exactly what I meant in the above: Sony is utilizing the technological advantages in the digital age to transform the photography-experience. These range from the no-blackout EVF, ultra high-speed shooting with 20 fps (silent, too!), to allowing the electronic shutter to have little to none distortion.


These might sound like a bunch of baloney to non-believers, but you cannot deny the fact that the digital age is helping mirrorless cameras to evolve into another stage into its life-span, course-correcting whatever the concerns are for DSLR shooters. The α9 is also a clear attempt from Sony to address physical concerns too! (Larger buttons, addition of a joystick, dual card slots etc.)




But dragging the conversation back to my main topic. Doesn't all of this seem TOO PERFECT to you?


At least for me, I understand and appreciate all the advantages of an EVF, but I really miss the surprises and woo-ing and wha-ing when I look at the LCD after I take shots through an OVF.




Those surprises I sometimes get from constently checking the back of the screen to confirm exposure and white balance accurary, or chimping, is what I think makes shooting a DSLR fun for me.


It's not because of thinking that "OVF reflects the real world while EVF is merely a little television" or whatever people are saying these days, but because I honestly think the element of surprise from shooting a DSLR reminds me of the excitement of watching film being developed, only at a wayyyyy more rapid pace.




Again, I'm not here to talk smack about either the EVF or the OVF, but I think there is something to take away from this difference in shooting experience.


People will say that I can just turn off instant feedback on the mirrorless cameras. Heck, even the Olympus cameras have an OVF-like setting for its cameras. But it's just different. That experience of looking through a mirror cannot be mimicked by an EVF, and that's how DSLRs will always remain relevent in my heart.