Olympus E-P2 17mm f/2.8 - Screens in Sunlight - Viewfinders.

Olympus E-P1 17mm f/2.8 pancake lens

Olympus E-P1 17mm f/2.8 pancake lens


A selection of images taken with my "new" Olympus E-P1 and 17mm f/2.8. These were all taken in very bright sunlight and highlight the fact of how problematic it is to shoot with a camera with no built in viewfinder.

In a recent interview with Imaging Resource Darin Pepple from Panasonic USA said this:-
"Not necessarily that it has to .........even have a viewfinder. Although, there is a small portion of it, maybe 15-20% of the market that still wants to have a viewfinder. It might be a generational thing. The older generation may prefer to have a traditional eye-cup viewfinder. We find that the G2 suits that need, as well as the GH2. But the compact, ease-of-use, sort of hold-the-camera-away-from-your-face type of picture taking environment where the GF2 really excels, is where the younger generation is comfortable, because, remember, they are coming from compact cameras. They're not experienced with an SLR, so to have to hold it up to your face to take a picture through a viewfinder isn't a learned experience yet for them" 

So its a generational thing is it? All the cool young hip dudes don't do viewfinders and all the boring old f****s do. So this "ease-of-use" involves not being able to see what you're taking or view the picture easily, in bright sunny conditions. Nothing to do with the fact that making a camera without a viewfinder is cheaper then. Or the fact that a viewfinder becomes an accessory to sell. 

I'd forgotten just how bad the E-P1 screen was in sunlight. If cameras without built in eye cup viewfinders are going to be the "norm" then manufacturers have to make sure they are usable. I get asked to recommend cameras quite often, and the one thing people say more than any other is "Do you know of one with a viewfinder, because I can't see the screen in bright sunlight" My guess is that casual users of cameras take a lot of pictures on holiday, outdoors, and yes in bright sunlight. My guess is that they might also like to be able to see what they are taking. 

Also relating to the last part of Mr. Pepples statement. His assumption that the "younger generation" is "comfortable" holding the camera in front of them and not using a viewfinder. Does he not think it might be because if they use compact cameras, they don't actually have a choice? There are very few compacts that have a useable viewfinder. The notion that someone makes a decision to work one way, assumes that options are available. In the case he's making there are no options, so to say that they are making cameras in the way that they are because people are "comfortable" is self-justifying nonsense. Have they actually asked people what they want, or given them a choice. Or are they just arrogantly attempting to justify their own decision.

Olympus E-P1 17mm f/2.8 pancake lens

When I was able to get some vague idea of what I was shooting, I used the 17mm f/2.8 lens. I had the optical viewfinder attached, but since its not possible with that to see what I'm focusing on, its not that useful. The 17mm is not the worlds greatest lens, and one that doesn't stand comparison with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7. However its not as bad as some make out. It has quite a bit of distortion, but its reasonably sharp, and there's no denying it looks great on the camera.

Olympus E-P1 17mm f/2.8 pancake lens

Olympus E-P1 17mm f/2.8 pancake lens

 Olympus E-P1 17mm f/2.8 pancake lens

Olympus E-P1 17mm f/2.8 pancake lens
 Olympus E-P1 17mm f/2.8 pancake lens