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Travel zoom with viewfinder


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Initial post: 31 May 2013 16:44:34 BDT
Only Me says:
I think I know the answer to this but will ask just in case - I'm looking for a compact 'travel zoom' camera, like say, the Canon SX240 but it must have a viewfinder. I know the Canon 'G' series have viewfinders but they're too big and, anyway, I want at least 12x optical zoom.
I'm pretty sure such a camera doesn't exist but I'm fed up with trying to view the screen on my camera (a Nikon S8200) in bright sun.
Thanks for any help you are able to give.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 May 2013 17:01:16 BDT
If there is one then I haven't heard of it. The best you could do is a bridge with an EVF or a compact system camera with EVF.

Posted on 31 May 2013 17:07:03 BDT
Only Me says:
Yes, I may have to consider something like that - I really wanted something 'pocket' size though.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 May 2013 17:11:32 BDT
You can join a very long queue. I don't know how people manage in bright sun. I do know a chap who has a shield around his rear screen. That should help.

Posted on 1 Jun 2013 20:58:18 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Jun 2013 20:59:45 BDT
G. E. Hearn says:
My Fujifilm X10 has an extremely bright and clear screen/ finder that I never have any problem using in bright sun. It is however not exactly pocket sized, and has only a very moderate zoom.
On the plus side, it has a decent optical viewfinder and takes cracking quality video clips with stereo sound. Ideal for travel.
That said, I've never found a need for a huge zoom. If I go out for a day away somewhere it's always the X10 that I take with me while my Nikon DSLR stays at home.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jun 2013 21:10:04 BDT
Only Me says:
Yes I've looked at the X10 and it seems a really nice camera, it's too big for me though & I do want the option of at least a 12x zoom.

Posted on 1 Jun 2013 21:31:37 BDT
G. E. Hearn says:
Hmm. The problem with huge zoom ranges and small sensors is one of picture quality. As Dr G says, for technical quality you would do better to go for a bridge camera and live with the additional size. I honestly can't think of one that fits your exact requirements I'm afraid.
You can find small ones with viewfinders, but they're only going to have tiny sensors, which means poor image quality at long zooms, especially in low light.
I went for the X10 as a general carry-around camera because if I need long zoom range and top quality I have my Nikon D90. But, like you, I don't want to carry that around everywhere as it's a bit of a monster with a long lens. But at motor races there's nothing else I have that can match it.
Good luck in your quest. :-)

Posted on 1 Jun 2013 21:47:35 BDT
There will never be a long reach zoom camera with an optical viewfinder because the construction of the zoom viewfinder would be difficult and costly and most of the public seem happy with a screen on the back whatever the lighting. Look how many people you see using live view on an SLR - even though the focusing is slow.

On the subject of seeing the screen in sunlight I did read this:
Another option is using a screen protector to protect your screen from sunlight. Many of these screen protectors are polarizing, which should make it much easier to see your screen under sunlight. These screen protectors are thin pieces of plastic, which are simply fixed onto the screen using adhesive. Sometimes this can affect the brightness, however, it shouldn't be noticeable.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jun 2013 21:47:58 BDT
Only Me says:
Yes, thank you - I'm a bit of a novice but I'm happy with the pictures I get from my Nikon S8200, but have trouble seeing the screen in bright sun, if it had a viewfinder I'd be happy.
I think I'll have to accept that my ideal camera doesn't exist.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jun 2013 23:03:30 BDT
Only Me says:
I know there are bridge cameras with a long zoom and viewfinder but guess a compact camera can't accommodate this - I don't know enough about how cameras are made.
I'm a bit old school really and can't get used to holding a camera out in front of me when it seems to make far more sense to use a viewfinder and keep the camera steady up against the face.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jun 2013 23:19:03 BDT
I'll second that

Posted on 2 Jun 2013 00:52:32 BDT
Zelazowa says:
Totally agree too...

Posted on 4 Jun 2013 09:46:26 BDT
Island Girl says:
Interesting reading about the polarising screen protector. I recently thought the lcd screen on my slr wasn't working - it turned out that with my polarising sunglasses on, it looked black! I guess the lcd was already polarised in my case for that to happen.

Posted on 5 Jun 2013 12:06:14 BDT
T.J.Byford says:
To assist in viewing the screen in daylight, I find a folding hood invaluable. They come in sizes specific for the screen and attach via an adhesive strip. When not in use, they fold flat against the screen and add little weight to the camera when fitted. Camera depth is increased by a few mm, so this would need to be taken into account if you carry your camera in a case or pouch. Try looking at Delkin brand. These not only come with the hood but have an acrylic screen protector built in.

Posted on 11 Jun 2013 03:16:01 BDT
katesmom99 says:
This is just what I've been looking for. In fact, I've spent the last 3 hours online searching. It doesn't have to be an optical viewfinder--electronic would be fine. But I can't find it either.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2013 08:30:41 BDT
Just look for pop up screen hood on ebay - if that is what you are referring to

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2013 12:58:29 BDT
katesmom99 says:
The main reason I want a viewfinder is to have a 3-point anchor to prevent camera shake, especially for shots using a long zoom. I find that I just don't hold the camera steady enough when I have to hold it away from my body to see the LCD screen. Thanks for the suggestion, though. I have a DSLR, but I wanted a camera that I could just slip in my pocket when it wasn't practical to lug it along. I guess for that purpose, I'll have to forgo the viewfinder. This discussion helped me understand that what I want doesn't exist. I can stop wasting my time searching. I appreciate that. Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2013 13:37:56 BDT
I couldn't agree with you more. The trouble with all the optical viewfinders I've seen - Canons A1100 and G12 and Fuji X10, is that they give only about 85% coverage. Thats's like seeing the view for a 35mm lens even though you have a 28mm lens. Next up would be EVFs - which at least show the whole frame. Those cameras tend to be either bulky or have small zoom ranges though. I don't know why it is beyond the wit of man, or woman, to fit a travel zoom with an EVF. Probably because non enthusiasts won't use the EVF. I remember nearly 10 years ago I went to a family party and lots of people had these new fangled digital cameras. In those days all digitals had an optical viewfinder and a tiny screen but to a man and woman they all used the tiny screen. I was baffled. Still am. Does using a viewfinder ruin your makeup or something? Men have no excuse - especially when they use the screen with a dSLR and eschew the phase detect focussing for the nasty slow contrast type.

Posted on 7 Jul 2013 20:49:26 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 Jul 2013 21:06:28 BDT
Williams says:
Even though I am a Fuji X20 owner, this is what suits you best in my opinion
The Canon G15. Surely this isn't too big? It seems be nearest to ticking all your boxes even if it isn't an exact match, especially in the zoom area.
http://reviews.cnet.co.uk/compact-digital-cameras/canon-powershot-g15-review-50009756/

Posted on 7 Jul 2013 23:06:42 BDT
If an EVF is acceptable then one of the Panasonic LF1 cameras could fit the bill
http://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2013/04/23/panasonic-launches-lf1-enthusiast-compact-with-evf-upgrades-g6-with-speed-a

Posted on 8 Jul 2013 09:10:03 BDT
Only Me says:
I have looked at the G15 before and although it's a very nice camera and the smallest 'G' so far , it's not what I would call compact and is bigger than I wanted.
The Lumix LF1 though is very interesting and is almost what I'm looking for - just not as much zoom as I'd like. I wonder if any other brands will follow Panasonic and bring out their own versions. I'll keep an eye on the Lumix and see if the price comes down at all as it's a bit more than I wanted to pay.

Posted on 8 Jul 2013 10:09:18 BDT
Williams says:
Just my observation but the Canon is only 1cm wider and deeper than the new Panasonic. The biggest difference it seems to me is in weight. The Canon is a hefty quality piece of kit, weighing in at 50% heavier. It oozes quality, but whether there is an advantage in reality is an unknown.

Should mention again that I have neither and never have owned a Canon, although this one and a Sony came close in my latest purchase. If it was my primary travel camera I would have certainly bought the Canon, but I haven't seen the latest Panasonic LF1.

Good luck with your prospective purchase.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Jul 2013 10:19:48 BDT
Only Me says:
I'm probably being a bit picky but the Canon seems the type of camera you use with a neck strap (although you don't have to), whereas the Lumix is the same size as the Nikon I have at the moment and is what I'd call a pocket camera - maybe I should get bigger pockets !

Posted on 8 Jul 2013 10:45:45 BDT
Last edited by the author on 8 Jul 2013 10:48:51 BDT
T.J.Byford says:
Only Me,

Small compact size + optical v/f + long zoom = Mission impossible. :-D. But you've no doubt already sussed that out from earlier posts in this discussion. Long zooms with electronic viewfinders are available, but not in a pocket friendly camera, you'll need to look to what are termed "bridge" cameras. Earlier, Dr. A referred to using a folding screen hood to shade the screen. This is the best you are going to do with viewing via the screen. They are not perfect, but I use one and it is an improvement, unless the sun is coming from over your shoulder and shining on the screen itself. They work on the same principle why we shade our eyes with a hand in trying to see things better in direct sunlight. All these hoods come in sizes to match the dimensions of the scree, so you need the correct one.

They are not that expensive and once attached to the screen, folded down, they only add a few mm to the depth of the camera. My particular favourite is that from Delkin, as it incorporates an acrylic screen protector as opposed to the thin film stick on types, so it offers physically greater impact protection.

Lower down the price scale you will find cameras that are more or less pocket friendly and come with decent zooms. Have a look at Panasonic's TZ range. The TZ40 seems to be available generally at around £240. Whilst I have a few Panasonic cameras, they are all priced in the enthusiast category, so whilst I could happily recommend any of these, none of which fit your criteria though, I can't really comment about the performance of their mid-price offerings, save to say they tend to get favourable reviews. I am sure there will be offerings from the likes of Sony, Canon et al, at around the same price and spec.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Jul 2013 10:58:45 BDT
Only Me says:
Yes, as you say, the camera I want doesn't exist but the Lumix LF1 comes pretty close. I just don't understand why they did away with viewfinders - I have an old Canon Ixus with viewfinder and it's great, but only has 3x zoom. I hope the Lumix LF1 is a sign of things to come & more new cameras will go back to having viewfinders.
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