Today’s Question: One of the reasons I’ve been avoiding the switch to a mirrorless camera is that I prefer an optical viewfinder rather than electronic. Have the quality of electronic viewfinders improved to the point that this should no longer be a concern?
Tim’s Quick Answer: Overall I would say that the electronic viewfinder (EVF) in many of the latest cameras does provide high enough resolution that it is no longer critical to favor an optical viewfinder. That said, it is a good idea to see the EVF for yourself before making a buying decision.
More Detail: In the early days of mirrorless cameras, the quality of the electronic viewfinder (EVF) was generally rather poor, primarily because the resolution of the display was quite small. As you can imagine the viewfinder in a camera is considerably smaller than the typical LCD display on the back of a camera. When you consider that the same image might be displayed on either an LCD or an EVF, you can appreciate that resolution is a key concern with the small display of an EVF.
As display technology has improved over the years, we have gotten to the point that many of the EVF displays in the latest digital cameras offer very good quality.
Of course, looking at an EVF is not the same as looking directly through the lens with an optical viewfinder. There are differences in terms of the viewing experience. However, an EVF also offers some advantages in terms of being able to present more information on the display compared to what can be done with an optical viewfinder.
Using an EVF can take some getting used to. More importantly, there is still some degree of variation in overall display quality for electronic viewfinders, so I highly recommend testing out a camera before you make a purchase decision.