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Thread: External viewfinder usage on Ricoh GR Digital

  1. #1
    EvdM
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    External viewfinder usage on Ricoh GR Digital

    Asked this on the rangefinderforum too (link). Curious to learn the opinions here.

    I have recently entered the digital arena and purchased a GRDII. I come from a RF background (mainly M6 and Voigtlander) and find myself at the foot of what appears to be a steep learning curve. While being accustomed to the traditional camera controls to such an extend that I can focus on the subject, composition and light, I now need to think about settings, menu's and the like. However, I will get the hang of that eventually through practice.

    One thing that interests me is the way people use the external viewfinder on the GRD (or any digital P&S for that matter). This seems to emulate the handling of the traditional RF camera to some extent. If one would switch off the screen, set to manual focus and metering, this would be much the case. However, I can see the point of using the viewfinder for the composition, and the electronic display for setting and controlling other parameters. I am just very interested to learn what works best for others.

    I have not purchased the standard Ricoh viewfinder with the camera, but use a Voigtlander 25mm one which I already owned. Rather bulky and slightly wider, but quite nice and bright too.

    Thanks up front for all comments!

  2. #2
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    Re: External viewfinder usage on Ricoh GR Digital

    Hi EvdM, and welcome. I have the Voigtlander mini 28/35, but to be honest I haven't used it much. It just doesn't seem to be all that accurate to me and it makes the camera less pocketable. It's good for general framing, in 3:2 format, but I guess for me it's not my cup-o-tea. Never liked externals on my M6 either. I haven't tried the Ricoh finder, which is made for the native 4/3 format. I've gotten used to just framing with the LCD.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Will's Avatar
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    Re: External viewfinder usage on Ricoh GR Digital

    I hadn't used an EVF on my GRD2 much until a few days ago so i can't claim to an in depth opinion. Having said that I forgot to take it with me today on a trip to Brighton and i really missed it. From what limited experience I have had i find that with the viewfinder I feel I'm in the world of the image I'm trying to capture rather than looking at it one removed. These days I can no longer focus properly on the LCD closer than about 40cm which doesn't help.
    My method as it is so far is to, set up the appropriate focus range, take an exposure reading of the subject and set that to AEL, then fire away. I check the screen now and then to see if any exposure compensation is needed ( though when I get home I often find that the camera got it right and I, being miss led by the screen in bright light, have tended to over compensate). Before each set of exposures I re-set the AEL to the current subject.
    It's been working really well so far.

  4. #4
    DominicPerry
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    Re: External viewfinder usage on Ricoh GR Digital

    I really like being able to turn the display off and use the GRD2 with the GV-2 like it's a film compact. No fuss, you get a nice clear view with good frame lines, you see the image, half press the shutter, you get a little green light and finish the job with a full press. I set the flash to go on if I pop it up, so I can choose that mechanically too. No chimping. Just like the old days!

    I use the LCD too, especially in manual mode, but it's nice to have a choice.

    Dominic

  5. #5
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: External viewfinder usage on Ricoh GR Digital

    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    I hadn't used an EVF on my GRD2 much until a few days ago so i can't claim to an in depth opinion. Having said that I forgot to take it with me today on a trip to Brighton and i really missed it. From what limited experience I have had i find that with the viewfinder I feel I'm in the world of the image I'm trying to capture rather than looking at it one removed. These days I can no longer focus properly on the LCD closer than about 40cm which doesn't help.
    My method as it is so far is to, set up the appropriate focus range, take an exposure reading of the subject and set that to AEL, then fire away. I check the screen now and then to see if any exposure compensation is needed ( though when I get home I often find that the camera got it right and I, being miss led by the screen in bright light, have tended to over compensate). Before each set of exposures I re-set the AEL to the current subject.
    It's been working really well so far.
    Did you mean to write EVF?

    Cheers,

    Sean

  6. #6
    cabo
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    Re: External viewfinder usage on Ricoh GR Digital

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean_Reid View Post
    Did you mean to write EVF?

    Cheers,

    Sean
    Hi Sean,

    I guess you can regard EVF as the abbreviation for either "electronic viewfinder" or "external viewfinder"...

    Carsten

  7. #7
    helgipelgi
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    Re: External viewfinder usage on Ricoh GR Digital

    I'm looking for a 3:2 finder for my GRD2 that arrives next week, and have been looking at the Voigtlander 28mm and the 28/35 mini. Thinking of going with the mini, for pocketability.

    Expensive little buggers though!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Will's Avatar
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    Re: External viewfinder usage on Ricoh GR Digital

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean_Reid View Post
    Did you mean to write EVF?

    Cheers,

    Sean

    Yes Sean I did, as a shortening of EvdM's reference to 'External viewfinder'. I did wonder if it might cause confusion and should use OVF (Optical viewfinder)

    Sorry if I have misled people into thinking there is an electronic viewfinder option on the GRD2.

  9. #9
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: External viewfinder usage on Ricoh GR Digital

    Quote Originally Posted by cabo View Post
    Hi Sean,

    I guess you can regard EVF as the abbreviation for either "electronic viewfinder" or "external viewfinder"...

    Carsten
    Hi Carsten,

    Are you the Carsten I know from LUF? Conventionally, the glass one is called an external OVF (just to save confusion).

    Cheers,

    Sean

  10. #10
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: External viewfinder usage on Ricoh GR Digital

    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    Yes Sean I did, as a shortening of EvdM's reference to 'External viewfinder'. I did wonder if it might cause confusion and should use OVF (Optical viewfinder)

    Sorry if I have misled people into thinking there is an electronic viewfinder option on the GRD2.
    All these abbreviations get tricky.

    Cheers,

    Sean

  11. #11
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    Focusing with OVF ??

    I seem to have missed an important point with these amazing Ricoh cameras and that is how does one focus while using the OVF? I can understand that the EVF on the GX100 will give you the focusing required but cannot figure the OVF optics out. Thanks !

  12. #12
    Super Duper
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    Re: Focusing with OVF ??

    Quote Originally Posted by bbodine9 View Post
    I seem to have missed an important point with these amazing Ricoh cameras and that is how does one focus while using the OVF? I can understand that the EVF on the GX100 will give you the focusing required but cannot figure the OVF optics out. Thanks !
    I use either Snap Focus, infinity or simply spot focus, depending on subject. You can see the focus comfirmation light via periphial vision while using the OVF.

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    Re: External viewfinder usage on Ricoh GR Digital

    So one centers on the subject to be in focus in the OVF and using spot focus it will line up accordingly?

  14. #14
    Super Duper
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    Re: External viewfinder usage on Ricoh GR Digital

    Quote Originally Posted by bbodine9 View Post
    So one centers on the subject to be in focus in the OVF and using spot focus it will line up accordingly?
    Pretty much, it is likely close enough, unless your main subject is way off center and much closer than the rest of the scene.
    When I am using my OVF it is due to extremely bright light, so tend to have tons of DOF and can get away with spot focus.
    It shoots much fast that way too.
    Of course since you are sung the GRD II you can do manual focus using the focus scale.
    MUCH easier that way

  15. #15
    Senior Member ShiroKuro's Avatar
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    Re: External viewfinder usage on Ricoh GR Digital

    I use the Gv-2 much like I use the finder on my M6 ..... bringing the camera to my eye... with both eyes open so I can see what is going on outside the frame lines .. compose and shoot . I really do not look at it as an external view finder .. The camera being so small the GV-2 just seems like the view finder of the camera ..... not some added accessory ..... The LCD has its place and is also very useful... but I could not imagine using the GRD 2 without the OVF ..

  16. #16
    VladimirV
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    Re: External viewfinder usage on Ricoh GR Digital

    I do not like OVFs and this is the main reason (aside from the bulk) I could never warm up to dSLRs. A LCD is so much more precise when comosing a shot and I like having realtime information of the WB and other settings I choose.
    That said I bought the GV-1 OVF recently as it was heavily discounted here and use it mainly as a "scouting" tool to compose a shot before taking the camra out or on the camera to see if the shot would work better with the 21mm or 28mm lens. While I used it sometimes to take pictures I find myself turing the LCD on and retaking the picture. It is actually easier and more precise for me to just don't look at the camera at all and just point it in the direction and take the shot. I am pretty good at doing this and the composition is usually the same as with the OVF while the LCD is always best.
    I never had any problems to see the LCD no matter how bright the light was as one can always see the edges of the image.

  17. #17
    Senior Member ShiroKuro's Avatar
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    Re: External viewfinder usage on Ricoh GR Digital

    Also I wanted to add, if you wear polarized sunglasses you can not see the LCD screen while holding the camera in a vertical position ... I discovered this yesterday while shooting at the beach ..... the screen becomes completely blacked out ... it drove me crazy lol ; ) I kept forgetting and would think my camera was off when it was on ...I would push the on button which would turn it off .....

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    Re: External viewfinder usage on Ricoh GR Digital

    Quote Originally Posted by ShiroKuro View Post
    Also I wanted to add, if you wear polarized sunglasses you can not see the LCD screen while holding the camera in a vertical position ... I discovered this yesterday while shooting at the beach ..... the screen becomes completely blacked out ... it drove me crazy lol ; ) I kept forgetting and would think my camera was off when it was on ...I would push the on button which would turn it off .....
    Just received my GV-2. I'm staggered by how tiny it is.
    (The photos of it give no idea of its actual size, so I was expecting something similar in overall bulk to the GV-1,but it seems only half the size). More to the point, it is as bright and easy to use as its big brother. So I'm a happy Ricoh snapper, especially as, shooting mostly in bright conditions, I find the LCD -- ANY digicam LCD - virtually useless most of the time.

  19. #19
    Delve
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    Re: External viewfinder usage on Ricoh GR Digital

    Quote Originally Posted by ShiroKuro View Post
    Also I wanted to add, if you wear polarized sunglasses you can not see the LCD screen while holding the camera in a vertical position ... I discovered this yesterday while shooting at the beach ..... the screen becomes completely blacked out ... it drove me crazy lol ; ) I kept forgetting and would think my camera was off when it was on ...I would push the on button which would turn it off .....

    I have the same problem without polarized sunglasses How is it that in Landscape format the LCD is fine but in Portrait you can't see what is on it?

    I feel I am driven to buy the external viewfinder to overcome this - perhaps it is a marketing ploy from Ricoh...

    Other than that I really like the camera and have been using it for a few weeks now.

  20. #20
    Michael Rivers
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    Re: External viewfinder usage on Ricoh GR Digital

    I enjoy External viewfinders for being very bright, but find the GV-2 lack of parallax correction to be a real problem. I tend to work very close to my subject matter with the 28mm EOV of the Ricoh, and the upper and lower brightlines are very far off and tough for me to use. I have years of Leica rangefinder experience which has taught me the inaccuracies of rangefinders, but this has been different. I hope with more practice, I can get used to the external viewfinder, because the camera is very, very quick to use when set up correctly.

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