BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Diana Carlson

New to SLR - Viewfinder LCD ?

Hi, I went and bought my first SLR camera today. The Olympus EVOLT E500. I've already taken some great pictures... but I've had to use the viewfinder as opposed to using the LCD screen when taking the pictures. Is that something that you have to do with SLRs? I've read and read, and I haven't seen anything (menus or buttons) that allow me to change that. Can you help?

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6/7/2006 10:35:14 PM

Bob Fately   Diana, your guess that this has something to do with the design of SLRs is correct: When the mirror is "down", the light coming through the lens is reflected into the viewing prism and eventually through the eyepiece - thus the through-the-lens viewing capability. The CCD chip (or film) doesn't "see" anything until you snap the shutter, which brings about a cascade of mechanical events that flips the mirror out of the way and then releases the shutter.
That said, as it happens, Olympus' newest DSLR (I think the E330), does have the ability to give live through-the-lens viewing, thanks to a secondary mirror system that can send the incoming light through to the CCD. But to my knowledge, your model (and all other current DSLRs) do not have this capability.

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6/8/2006 5:55:17 AM

Kim S. Hite
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/23/2003
  Using the viewfinder would be the preferred way to take pictures. If you are holding the camera out to look through the viewfinder you are more likely to have camera shake and not have tack sharp photos.

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6/13/2006 6:21:36 PM

Kevin Mc.  
I just found a terrific (looking...mine is on order) device from Argraph Corp. called the Zigview, and it accomplishes what you're after, although I can't guarantee compatibility with your particular camera. It attaches to your viewfinder and gives a 2" LCD view of what is showing in the viewfinder. It also rotates 360 degrees, giving you the ability to hold the camera at ground level or above your head and still see what's in the viewfinder. Check them out at their website ( and see if this will suit your needs. I hope this helps you out!

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6/13/2006 7:03:28 PM

Kevin Mc.   Diana,
Try out the Argraph's a 2" LCD screen that goes on your viewfinder to show you what is showing in the viewfinder. It rotates 360 degrees, allowing you to shoot either over your head or at your feet, all while being able to see what's in the viewfinder. I hope it's a great product, as I ordered mine last night after reading about it in Shutterbug Magazine. You can see it at Good luck!

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6/13/2006 7:07:28 PM

Roy Blinston
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2005
  I used to have a Fuji 7000 which had an EVF (electronic view finder). I now have a Canon 20D (normal SLR viewfinder). The Canon feels better (more like a traditional Pentax camera I used for years) but sometimes I miss the EVF as one could see exactly what you were getting (on the small electronic viewfinder). It would be interesting have a camera that offered both!

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6/14/2006 7:32:46 AM

Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  i read somewhere that... I think Olympus is coming out with a live LCD screen DSLR.
I know I read it in a mag somwhere...

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6/14/2006 10:13:44 AM

Diana Carlson   Thanks for the great info everyone. After using the camera a few days I was able to answer my own question. One of the reason I enjoyed using the LCD as a view finder is that it allowed me to get shots beyond my "eye" level. Being able to extend my arms above the crowd etc... But I'm quickly becoming accustomed to using the viewfinder again.

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6/14/2006 1:51:45 PM

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