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How important is a colour viewfinder?

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Editing Forum' started by Mikeyboy, Sep 16, 2004.

  1. Mikeyboy

    Mikeyboy
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    Hi, I'm a newbie about to purchase my 1st camcorder and after extensive research for what I want, I've kind of settled for the Sony DCR-HC18 but it has a b/w viewfinder. Other brands with similar spec have colour. How important is it?

    Also one of the features I like about the Sony is an automatic lens cover, removing the need for a separate lens cap. Is there any other brand that has this feature?

    I would be grateful if anyone can help.
     
  2. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    A b&w viewfinder is good enough most of the time. Depending on what camcorder features you have a colour viewfinder can be very handy. For example, when useing manual focus the colour vf does make getting a sharp focus that bit easier. Setting white balance is also much easier with colour, and the screen is no good if in bright sunlight etc.
    If however you only intend to use the camcorder with full automatic features then I see no reason to pay more money for a colour vf as all you are basically doing with it is framing the shot.

    Mark.
     
  3. Kevo

    Kevo
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    Mark

    Have the colour viewfinders improved?

    I ask because I borrowed a mate's DV camcorder recently (Old Pan model, about 3 years old) and found the colour viewfinder practically unusable.
    It was a kind of matrixed screen, like a cheap Casio LCD pocket TV.
    Focusing was practically impossible with it. The screen size was very small too.

    This concerns me as i've always preferred manual focus and had no problems with the old B&W ones from years ago.

    I too am in the market for a new camcorder and actually had a B&W viewfinder on my 'wants list'!

    I'm currently looking at the Canon & Panasonic 'prosumer' end of the market.
     
  4. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    I can't really compare the B&W vf to colour directly as I have only ever had a colour vf on a DV cam and that is on my fairly old Sony TRV-900, and never had a problem useing it to focus. Obviously this cam is a prosumer model and the more basic consumer models may not be as good. Also many have said that many of the newer Sony cams are of a lesser quality than the older models, so maybe the colour vf is not as good as on mine. The only B&W vf I have used was on my old Video8 cam and that was a real pain to use as the quality was low.

    Mark.
     
  5. Roy Mallard

    Roy Mallard
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    Colour EVFs are a waste of time.

    B&W give an increased idea of contrast - useful for manual exposure and focusing (sorry Mark, disagree with you on that one).

    Unfortunately most cams now come with them at the consumer level.
     
  6. Kevo

    Kevo
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    And indeed 'Prosumer' level.

    It's a toss between the Canon MVx3i or Pan GS4000 at the moment.

    Either way they all look like 'dumbed down toys' compared to the consumer camcorders I used to use...Mind you that was 8 years ago!
     
  7. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    That's no problem - each to their own I guess.

    The reason I suppose that I find the colour vf easier is because I am partially sighted and my perception of contrast is a lot lower than somebody with near 20/20 vision. I find colour definition a lot easier to see.

    Mark.
     
  8. SystemBlack

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    If you want b/w viewfinder, then that seems to be what most pro's use, but then again, they do have large colour monitors to set up colour. white balance, contrast with them. I have an XL1s which has a colour finder but you can buy a b/w one at extra cost. I suppose it depends on the size of the picture tube used and what pixel pitch is available. I think most small colour finders have quite tiny tubes which are then greatly magnified by the lens assembly attached, that is why they seem to be unuseable. Have you considered getting a citizen LCD monitor to use with a b/w findered camera. They can be bought for quite a small price and have their own power source so the camera battery life doesn't suffer.
     
  9. LicensedTaximan

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    Some years ago I had the opportunity to look through a BBC colour television camera and the viewfinder was b&w so I suppose if its good enough for them blah blah blah. The only thing is this was some time ago and the situation may have changed now. My own camcorder, a svhs type has a b&w viewfinder and iv'e never had any problems, maybe it's something to do with the gray scale giving an indication of light and dark, and therefore giving one a better colour picture? On the other hand I may well be talking out of my bottom, I thankyou. :thumbsup:
     
  10. Roy Mallard

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    on professional cameras the operator only has the option of using the EVF (ok the JVC D500 has an colour LCD too, but thats the exception) black & white viewfinders are much easier on the eye for prolonged use.

    Things like 'peaking' control really assist manual focusing (again pro cameras only MF) and wouldn't work with a colour EVF.

    It's true that in some cases pro's have monitors off camera, this is for the Dop or Directors benefit, the camera op should always be behind the EVF.

    Whilst its true that colour evfs/lcds give a visual guide to white ballance you are still at the mercy of your colour settings on the LCD, pro cameras will tell you the recorded colour temperature and identify the cc filter you are using, competant users will know whether the recorded colour temp is correct or out.

    However, I think all this is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, it's not a pro forum and the original post was not at a pro level (no offence), I'd prefer a b&w viewfinder, but thats just me.
     

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