Dumb question from a Nikon newbie: I have a new N80 and a FM2. To me, it seems like the N80 viewfinder image is slightly darker than the FM2. Obviously the viewfinder in the N80 is different being that it offers features like on-demand gridlines and focus indicators that turn red when on dark subjects. This leads me to a few questions: Is this what others see too, a slightly darker viewfinder image on the N80? How does Nikon viewfinder brightness compare to other Nikon bodies using the same lens? Should it be the same?
It's really hard to compare.. Because like you said, there's an electrochromatic device used to do the gridlines - and the finder is darker because of those. The AF bracket lights are actually projected from the top of the prism... Look up inside and you may be able to see the little LED's... I can on my F100.
Also, consider that manual cameras have a "ground-glass" just above the fresnel lens, which tends to blanch out slightly the lighting.
The F90x is nutorious for having one of the best eye-reliefs and brightest finders of the Nikon line. It also has an interesting "Feature" in that you can shift your eye slightly and the LCD below the finder will dissappear behind a divide...
I do notice a difference between the F100 and the F80 though, as the F100's finder is brighter... My F60's finder is also brighter than the F80's I've tried.
"I really don't think multi-coating the viewfinder has much to do with it.
Cheeri'o... Frankie... "
Well, I don't know about camera viewfinders but rifle scope manufacturers often taut mulit-coating as a way of increasing "light gathering" without increasing the size of the front of the scope. Now that may be a bunch of hoopla but even my Zeiss came with this claim.
Glass without multicoating can reflect 9-15% of the light that hits it, this reflected light is what causes flare and ghosting. Multicoating absorbs this reflected light, and actually allows a greater amount of light to pass through.
--Take only photographs, leave nothing but footprints--
It's relatively moot when you're dealing with a tiny plastic ocular. If the ocular is glass then yes, coating will help - the F5 and F100 finder oculars are coated. But with plastics, I've heard that the side-effects of colour-tinting in the coating do more damage than good...
Now, Lenses, that's a different story... Anyone using a non-coated lens these days is either nuts or a Sadist....
I think part of the problem also lies with the fact that the viewfinder optics in the F80/N80 are not multicoated like the more expensive models. Even my FG has a multicoated veiwfinder... I have also noticed that the new F65/N65's too are not coated.... hmmm.... cost cutting in that area?
They are only dumb questions if you are NOT a newbie---LOL.
Anyway, you piqued my curiosity. I have an FM2 and an N60. So I went in and put the 50mm f1.8 Nikkor on each. It's kinda hard to be objective, when you have to keep changing the lens back and forth, so I held each camera up to my eye, and glanced through the viewfinder, then over top, back and forth, to get an idea for each how much it darkens the view.
I discovered something I had not noticed till you brought this up. The actual viewfinder image, I believe, is so nearly the same brightness as to be indistinguishable. However, the N60 has a much higher eyepoint--that is to say, you can see the entire frame if you wear glasses, like I do. With your eye right up against the eyepiece, the image is smaller and surrounded by black.
With the FM2, the frame extends beyond the viewfinder, and you have to keep moving your eye around slightly to see everything, sort of like scrolling a window that's a little bigger than your monitor screen. This makes the FM2 viewfinder seem brighter, because of the "picture window" effect. I was always aware subliminally of a difference between the two, but I didn't know what it was till you brought it up.
Again, I have an N60, not an N80, but I imagine the N80's viewfinder is closer to the N60 than the FM2.
This little exercise suggests the reason I thought my photography improved when I got the N60: I had developed "tunnel vision" with the FM2 and was unconsciously ignoring the edges of the frame. With the N60, I was seeing the entire viewfinder image, and so was composing tighter.
I love it when a newbie asks a "dumb" question, because I learn something new myself. I hope my answer helps you as much as your question helped me. --scott
"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it." Pablo Picasso
Well, I checked the difference between my F5, and my just returned from Nikon repair, F100 and the F5 is noticeably brighter. Now, considering the difference in price between F5 and the F100, I believe the difference is due to the Xenon, High-Intensity Discharge, split dual-blue beam, viscous damped, quadruple rectified, delta turned viewfinder brightness enhancer included on the F5. }> Wow, it is early on Sunday Morning.
By the way, there is "no such thing as a dumb question, just a dumb answer," as you can see from my previous paragraph.
(Even I can occasionally interject humor.)
--Take only photographs, leave nothing but footprints--
Caffeine Rush. That and just realizing I have two weeks of vacation I have to take before the end of the year. Too bad I have two boys in expensive colleges (what college isn't expensive?), I could actually take a nice trip somewhere, like "Sweden." Well, I'm off to spend money on Christmas Gifts.
--Take only photographs, leave nothing but footprints--
Most likely. Then off to sky to Keystone. This time with the F5 and the AF-S's! No excuse for bad pictures. Have a great time JRP My profile Previous photography stuff, before Nikonians: A Brief Love Story
I doubt it. The pentaprism is part of the equation that dictates how high the eye-point is for the view-finder. The F80's finder is significantly lower than the F100's. Try looking through the viewfinder from about 6 inches away on the F80, you'll probably see nothing discernable. With the F100 or F5, you can actually hold the camera a few inches away from your eye and see the centre. I know that from 6 inches away I can see the entire circle and all 5 focus brackets.
The F80's prism may be more like the F60, which its related more closely to and did in fact have a penta-prism. The only way to know for sure is to open it up.
There are some differences between the F100 and F80 viewfinder. The F100 has an eyepoint of 21mm, 96% frame coverage and a magnification of 0.7. The F80 has an eyepoint of 17mm, 92% frame coverage and a magnification of 0.75. The F80 use a Clear matte screen II while the F100 use a B type Briteview clear Matte III screen.
By the looks of it the F80 has a smaller pentaprism than the F100. This is probably due to the needed space for a flash. The F100 also has what looks to be a more expensive (brighter?) focusing screen. This helps explain why the F100 has a brighter viewfinder than the F80, but what about the F60?
The F60 has a pentaprism with a mag of 0.69-0.74, 17mm eyepoint, 90% frame coverage and the same focusing screen as the F80. Not that much different from the F80. The only major difference between the F80 and other Nikon viewfinder is the LCD overlay screen used for the focusing brackets and on demand grid lines. Nikon even warns that when the camera batteries are removed, the viewfinder will be noticeably darker.
Minolta use a similar system in their 700si and 800si. In these cases it also results in a slightly darker viewfinder.
#26. "RE: Viewfinder Brightness" | In response to Reply # 24
Mon 04-Dec-00 01:27 AM
Sutherll, I would like to know exactly what: eyepoint is? high? low? - never really figured this out. frame coverage? percentage of what? is the film seeing more or less of the image than the viewfinder? I assume the film is seeing more... correct? Then the edges are naturally cropped when printed.
Frame coverage means the percentage of the area of the image, to be captured on film, as seen through the viewfinder. 100% would mean perfect WYSIWYG ("What you see is what you get"), like in the F4 and variations F4s and F4e, and the F5, the F3HP. It has nothing to do with printing. You will enlarge and/or crop whatever you want in the printing process, regardless of what you saw in the viewfinder. As for eyepoint, I'll better let someone else answer, I use the diopter correction dials so I don't have to wear my eyeglasses when shooting. Have a great time JRP My profile Previous photography stuff, before Nikonians: A Brief Love Story
Eyepoint is the distance you can hold your eye from the viewfinder while still seeing the whole frame in the viewfinder, in this case 17mm. This is of particular use for eyeglass wearers, as they cannot hold they’re eyes right up against the viewfinder while wearing their eyeglasses. This is of little use when you have a viewfinder with diopter adjustment, unless the diopter adjustment range is insufficient. A high eyepoint merely indicates that you do not need to hold your eye right up to the viewfinder to see the whole frame. A low eyepoint means that you must hold your eye close to the viewfinder to see the whole frame.
Due to the use of a high eyepoint viewfinder, the size of the viewfinder image is reduced. This is done to help maintain high frame coverage, in this case 92%. On the F80 magnification is 0.75, that means the image you see in the viewfinder is 25% smaller than the actual image.
Frame coverage is the percentage of the frame you see when you look through the viewfinder. In the case of the F80 you only see 92% of the true image that will be exposed on the film.
Thank you for your information. Now I know really the differences between the viewfinders based on facts and not in mere assumptions. It seems then what rules the viewfinder brightness is the focusing screen and not the pentaprism itself
(take e.g the F90 (data from Nikon Canada): Viewfinder Fixed eyelevel penta-prism high-eyepoint type; 0.78X magnification with 50mm lens set at infinity; approx. 92% frame coverage
Two types of prisms are used in viewfinders. One is the glass pentaprism and the other a mirror prism. The glass pentaprism is usually used in the more expensive higher end models, they do provide better light transmision and frame coverage but are heavier and more expensive than the mirror prism. The mirror prism is used in the lower end models. It is basically a mirror box constructed to transmit light along the same path as a pentaprism. They are less expensive and lighter than a normal glass pentaprism, but light transmision and frame coverage is lower than with a glass pentaprism. Where there is a small size difference between two pentaprisms, there would be a negligible difference in light transmission. There would however be a visible difference in frame coverage. The type of focusing screen used will make a difference in viewfinder brightness, but a balance must be found between viewfinder brightness and focusing ease. Multi-coating will cut down on stray light and aid in viewfinder image quality, but it is debatable how much difference it would make in viewfinder brightness.