What Is The Camera Viewfinder? And How Does It Work? All You Need To Know About Camera’s Viewfinder

How does a camera viewfinder improve picture quality? Let’s find out! A detailed guide to camera Viewfinder.

Have you ever imagined what it felt like if you had to paint or click a photograph with your eyes closed? As the name suggests, a viewfinder is the eyes of your camera, and they provide a window that allows you to look through it and compose the photograph you wish to capture. 

It is so named because it helps you find the view that you intend to photograph and gives you a clear idea of what would appear in the photograph.

Although the accuracy of the Viewfinder has improved with the passing time and evolving technology initially, the Viewfinder could only give a vague idea about what you are trying to capture. The actual photograph could not capture half of what was seen in the Viewfinder because of the fault in angle. 

But with time, photography has improved, and so has the Viewfinder mechanism. Before we get into the details of how a viewfinder works, let us first walk you through the types of viewfinders.


Types of viewfinders

Ideally, there are two types of viewfinders. An Optical Viewfinder is commonly known as OVF, and Electronic Viewfinder is commonly called EVF. 

1. Optical Viewfinder (OVF)

A Series of mirrors are prisms together form the Optical Viewfinder. It’s like looking at the world through a mirror. You get to see what the lens allows you to see. There may be a discrepancy between the actual image and the one shown on the prisms because of the mirror quality. 

Another reason the image reflected on the Viewfinder is not precisely the image on the photograph is that you cannot see the effects in the Viewfinder. As soon as you add products to the picture, the image changes, and it cannot be previewed in the Viewfinder.

2. Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)

To be precise, unlike an OVF, an Electronic viewfinder or EVF as we know it displays the live version of the photograph that the camera is going to capture. If you change the settings or add effects to the picture, the image on the Viewfinder changes accordingly. This feature of the EVF makes photography a piece of cake for people who have recently stepped into photography.

You might be thinking that an electronic viewfinder is better than an optical viewfinder, and both have their advantages and disadvantages. Before we get into the details, let us first give you a fair understanding of how a viewfinder works. 

How does an Optical Viewfinder work?

When light enters the sensor through the lens, it strikes a mirror in front of it. The light bounces up towards a pentaprism due to the mirror’s tilt. It’s aimed at the eyepiece, in this case, to show the scene in front of the lens. It is more like how we see things naturally. But the difficulty is the image that we see in a viewfinder through an OVF is not always the exact image we photograph.

This discrepancy in what we see in the Viewfinder and what we capture in the final photograph occurs because we get a blank view on the Viewfinder when using an optical viewfinder. 

After all, the mirror goes up when the lens captures the image. Another reason is that we can neither see the effects applied to the photograph nor can we see the final picture before catching it. Therefore, we can say that there is a lot of guesswork involved along with precession and experience when using an optical viewfinder.

Because you can’t observe the effect of the settings in optical viewfinders, the image may differ from the view. In other words, if you alter the aperture or shutter speed on your camera, it will not be reflected in the Viewfinder.

However, they display the settings information and focus points, so you don’t have to look away from the Viewfinder when focusing and shooting.

Pros & Cons Of OVF

Listed below are a few advantages and disadvantages of using an optical viewfinder.

Advantages of an OVF↗

It’s a true-to-life depiction of the scene.

You are one of those who like using your imagination while photographing images. Then the optical Viewfinder will help you get a live picture of the stage. You get to see the natural version of the image on the Viewfinder without the interference of filters.

They do not consume any of your battery’s power.

Another plus point of using an optical viewfinder is that they do not drain your camera’s battery. Therefore, you can carry these cameras along with you, and the camera won’t charge out in the middle of the journey because you have been using the Viewfinder. 

Disadvantages of an OVF ↗

The mirror rises when you take the image, and the Viewfinder becomes blank.

You take a blank shot because the mirror goes up, and you don’t know how the image has been captured.

You don’t receive a preview of the finished photograph before taking it.

If you are adding effects to the photograph, you won’t be able to preview it unless it is clicked. 

How does an Electronic Viewfinder work?

In the case of an electronic viewfinder, when light enters the sensor, it registers and analyses the scene before sending it to the electronic Viewfinder’s tiny display. You can see the exposure settings live because it’s an electronic depiction.

 When we are using an EVF, we see electronically created images before us that also portray the effects of the settings applied to the photograph allowing us to see what we are precisely capturing. The idea is precisely the same as the image on the Viewfinder, so there is no place for guess works. This is exactly why people who are not so used to handling cameras prefer using an electronic viewfinder instead of an OVF. 

Pros & Cons of Electric Viewfinder


You’ve got everything you need to focus, frame, and expose your photo. A live histogram is available in some cameras.

You don’t need to be a professional to handle an EVF, and you get everything you need to click a good photograph at your fingertips. Most importantly, the controls are so easy that you don’t need a lot of training to handle an electronic viewfinder. 

The Viewfinder displays any changes you make in real-time.

The best thing about using an electronic viewfinder is that you get to see the image in the Viewfinder after adding the effects on it. If you are using an EVF for the first time, you can use the hit and trial method when focusing on an image to see which effect matches the vision and then click the photograph. There are no surprises and no guesswork when using an EVF. 

Disadvantages ↗

The battery life of these viewfinders is depleted.

Because everything in the EVF is electronically generated, the viewfinders require power to operate and consume a percentage of battery from the camera. This leads to charging out if the Viewfinder is used massively. 

A refresh rate exists, which might result in a time lag.

The electronic Viewfinder often tends to refresh because the camera slows down a little bit, and there is a lag time. However, this issue can be controlled if the camera is maintained regularly. 

Final Takeaway: What is the camera Viewfinder!

If you ask us, can we do without a viewfinder, and if not, which is better, an EVF or an OVF? We would tell you that it solely depends on what kind of photography you intend to do, even though we’ve grown accustomed to capturing pictures with merely an LCD screen because of our smartphone cameras. On the other hand, a viewfinder will assist you to enhance your framing and composition in most scenarios. Therefore, it is essential if you wish to take genuinely good photographs. 

However, if you are someone who has just entered the world of photography, an electronic viewfinder is best for you because it saves you from doing all the guesswork and shows you precisely what you are going to capture. 

You can freely experiment with the camera’s features and see what effects can be applied to the photograph before taking the final shot. And, if you are a pro photographer, then an OVF is better for you. It lets you use your imagination to process the photograph, and you get to see exactly what appears on the lens without any external interference from the settings. 

Mostly, a professional photographer prefers DSLRs because of their Optical Viewfinder. This means you see exactly what your lens sees, and the exposure settings do not affect it. The primary objective of any photographer to look through the Viewfinder is to obtain a better picture of what they’re photographing. 

2 thoughts on “What is the Camera Viewfinder? And How Does It Work?”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

हिंदी में पढ़ें !