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WHY can't I get a point-and-shoot with a VIEWFINDER?

by dennphill / March 30, 2010 6:16 AM PDT

Just did a good review of my usual shopping sites - Amazon, NewEgg, CNET, etc. and EVEN went today to a Penn Camera luck on finding a new camera to replace my aging (but still functioning) Canon A540. I like AA batteries, and SD cards are a fine format for me. I'd like to upgrade from 6 Megapixels to something greater (12 seems overkill but...whatever) and zoom from 4X optical to 5 or 6 or more (again 12X seems overkill and certainly increases bulk). The the only compact thing that's close is Canon's now-obsoleted has the same zoom but a bit more megaPs, so if it gets down in price from the current $129, say closer to $100, I may just get one. But that's not much upgrade. The G11 is overkill and huge (and huge $$s!). The SX120 is nice - close to what I want, but no "hole to look through" - I insist on a viewfinder! I'd go into the $200s but where's the viewfinder? Everyone is laughing at me and telling me to get with the program and just accept the 3" (or larger) LCDs (and touch screens)...but in daylight, in the sun, you still can't see what the **** you're getting in the picture. I want to have the silly viewfinder...and I insist on having one. I am sending this in - tilting against windmills as I often do these days - after just writing essentially this message to CanonUSA (as if they care). It was instructive at the Penn Camera store today. I watched a guy buy a $225 SX120 (though it's $199 at NewEgg and Amazon) all they while bemoaning not having a viewfinder, and the three salesmen (one probably the manager) agreeing with him, saying all customers (not buying SLRS and big cameras) ask for one...they told him they had a meeting with Nikon who didn't care about such input..and they said Canon has the same attitude. Fuji, Olympus & Casio seems to follow the same trend. Their suggestion to me: "We don't have anymore A1100ISs, so just go to Amazon or NewEgg and order one while you can." Anyone want to chime in? Any suggestions? As always appreciate the user reviews here and CNET's reviews.

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CanonUSA Customer Service replied to me...
by dennphill / March 30, 2010 6:54 AM PDT follows: Thank you for writing to us. We value you as a Canon customer and appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

With the newer LCD displays they do alot better in brighter lighting conditions then the older PowerShot cameras. Most newer cameras do not have viewfinder for this reason, and the fact that most consumers want a larger LCD screen. In making the LCDs larger and keeping the cameras relatively small as reduced the real estate on the camera for a viable viewfinder. We have about two or three consumer cameras that still have a viewfinder:

SD1200 IS
A1100 IS
G11 (which has many of the same features as an SLR camera, which is the reason it is at a higher price point)

It is not that we do not care, we do, and most consumers want a larger LCD screen. They want more megapixels, more optical zoom, etc. This is the reason the industry, not only us are going this way. We do apologize for an inconvenience this may cause. (END OF THEIR RESPONSE)

As I noted the A1100IS is only a slight upgrade - newer machine, similar formfactor/size, but double the MPs. The SD1200IS is also similar, but has less optical zoom. The G11 has been looked at...but it's pushing $450 and it's about double the weight and longer compact. So that's their view...apparently I'm out of step with the market. Think so?

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Canon Customer Service
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / March 30, 2010 12:56 PM PDT

Their Customer Service paints a bleak future for the serious small camera enthusiast needing lower cost equipment.

The fact that they say that people want more megapixels, shows that marketing is still deciding future cameras.
Very much like American truck manufacturers continuing to increase the horsepower in the trucks.
How many people need 400 horsepower engines in their pickup truck?
How many people need 14 megapixels in a small camera?


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How many people need 14 megapixels in a small camera?
by fihart / March 31, 2010 9:59 PM PDT
In reply to: Canon Customer Service

Not Canon that's for sure -- they just dropped the pixel count on the latest G series camera compared to its predecessor on grounds of noise.

The G series models still have a viewfinder -- but the price !

Look for a discontinued or secondhand Canon would be my advice as until recently they had several models with viewfinders.

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Canon - with a viewfinder - dennphill's original issue
by dennphill / April 1, 2010 1:30 AM PDT

Well...I get a little sympathy, but no overwhelming degree of support for point-and-shoot digitals retaining a viewfinder at the expense of rear LCD real estate. Thanks all for the replies. I think I will just buy an A1100 to replace my A540. (Assuming I can get something other than the pink!) I would have liked to have been able to get 5X or 6X optical zoom. (I actually considered just giving up the viewfinder, in which case I might have considered other than Canon - something like Fuji's EXRs (Z700EXR or F70EXR or F200EXR) which seem pretty fast.) It's just too much geeks always seem to know what I want more than I do. I do want the viewfinder and I have been living with the 4X zoom until now and I do like the AA batteries so the A1100 will have to do. Happy

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Canon - with a viewfinder - dennphill's original issue
by LarryKor / April 2, 2010 12:17 PM PDT

Don't hang you hat on Cannon, there are many other big names out there who DO offer EVF on some of their cameras.

I've had a Olympus C-700 Ultra Zoom for well over 5 years now. It has an Electronic ViewFinder and a small LCD screen on the back (both in COLOR). It only is a 2.1MP image but I always have enjoyed the 10X Optical Zoom quality without having to go to the Digital Zoom mode. If I zoom in, I see the picture zoom in on the viewfinder too. Obviously the pixel technology has changed and the prices have dropped significantly for Point and Shoot cameras.

Look into Olympus SP-590UZ. It has an EVF and a 2.7" LCD screen. The suggested retail is $450 but for that money you get 12 MP, 26X Optical (Wide Angle 26mm to Tele 676mm) and 5x Digital zoom plus much more. This is not a camera you can put in your shirt pocket, but it is high quality never the less.

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Isn't battery life another factor?
by normfromga / April 3, 2010 12:11 PM PDT

It may ahave been my imagination, but it seemed that I could get more shots per charge if I left my LCD off, and relied on my viewfinder.

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Viewfinder on Camera
by davidn48 / April 19, 2010 1:08 AM PDT

I had a Canon Supershot A420, and it did everything I wanted from a camera. It had a VIEWFINDER and 5 megapixels, which I found more than enough for my uses. The main thing was that I wanted a camera which would take a picture of the thing I was looking at -- not having to look at that thing and then look to see if it was in the viewfinder (a waste of time). Unfortunateley I lost the A420 and now have a A480, but I find myself taking far fewer pictures than before. Just bring back the A420 and I'll be happy. Why should pro-photographers want a viewfinder, and the everyday snapshot photographer not want one?

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Consider the three factors: size, features, price
by grtgrfx / April 2, 2010 12:28 PM PDT

Your question really is, "why can't I find a cheap camera that's small and has a lot of features." Camera makers have decided that they should offer a limited feature set in your price range. The important things in a <$150 camera: small size and big rear screen, both important for the target market of school kids without a lot of space or cash but a need to impress their friends with the pics they take.

If you want a semi pro feature like a viewfinder, it looks like you'll have to spend more money to get out of the cheapie student market. You'll also have to accept a bigger camera frame because most camera makers are not going back to small LCD screens now that big ones are popular, and you need another 3/4" of vertical space to get the viewfinder window added to whatever frame is necessary for the back screen.

I'm pretty sure that in the $250-300 market there are plenty of excellent cameras from Canon, Nilkon, Sony, etc. that include a zooming viewfinder and high megapixel count. Good luck!

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Viewfinders on digital cameras
by bubzz / April 12, 2010 9:09 PM PDT

"If you want a semi pro feature like a viewfinder..."

Semi pro? Are you kidding?
Was the Box Brownie a semi pro camera?
Was the Agfa Sillette a semi pro camera?
Was the Vito B a semi pro camera?

And to return to digital cameras
Was the Coolpix 950 a semi pro camera?
Was the Pentax Optio a semi pro camera?
plus a few thousand others.

Come back to Earth - all is forgiven!

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To be fair
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / April 12, 2010 9:32 PM PDT

The film cameras had to have viewfinders and LCD screens were pretty bad on the older digital cameras, such as the ones you used as examples. Today is different than the film or poor LCD screen digital age. You should have given some examples from today and not 5-50 years ago, thus it makes your rebuke of the previous poster silly.

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WHYcan't I get a point-and-shoot digital camera with VIewfin
by David Petrie / April 2, 2010 7:33 PM PDT

Hi You can i have a Casio Exlim EX-Z30 they probably do i higher spec now buy it has loth lcd screen and a viewfinder


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by oldroadkill / April 2, 2010 11:57 PM PDT

Viewfinders serve a necessary purpose. How else can you see focus, depth-of-field,and exposure results? If you want a point-and-shoot, get a box-brownie from the antique shop. (I always find it amusing to see people holding a camera in mid-air. My first thought is "$10"?)

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by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / April 3, 2010 11:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Viewfinders.

You can't see depth of field unless you have a DSLR with depth of field preview, which there are many that don't and no compact camera has. Also, no viewfinder will show you exposure. You only know the exposure is right until you can review the previous shot. Focus lock shows up on most LCD screens too. There are advantages to a viewfinder but I don't see those as much of a reason.

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WHY can't I get a point-and-shoot with a VIEWFINDER?
by skigirlchar / April 3, 2010 3:26 AM PDT

My Sony Cybershot, while not a true point-and-shoot, both a smaller LCD screen & a viewfinder. It also can be left in the "auto" setting to be used as a point-and-shoot.

I WAS a "CANNON GIRL" but have learned to live outside the label. Grin

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Try FUJI cameras
by cemac1 / April 5, 2010 2:08 AM PDT

Their finepix2000 model is available in the UK for around

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Why can't I get :-)
by dennphill / April 5, 2010 8:44 AM PDT

Thanks, all, for the comments and suggestions. cmac1 (from the UK, bless our big brother's hearts!) suggest some fujis...fine cameras - the finepix 2000 and the s5800 - just too big to fit in my pockets, though the pockets would certainly be emptier if I paid the +/- $350 these models cost in the ole USofA. Nice cameras though. Thanx. skigirl - who's claiming to be a former "CANNON girl" suggest the Sony Cybershot, but which one? (Don't like the thought of gravitation from SD memory cards to the proprietary Sony memory, and the only Cybershots I see - older ones! - seem to only have 3X optical zoom. (Remember: My current Canon A540 (with 6.0 megapixels) has 4X optical zoom.) My criteria was that I wanted more optical zoom 5-6X...but 8X would be nice, but I DIDN'T want to forgo an optical viewfinder. A "preference" is AA batteries - thoug expensive, I find that new lithiums work GREAT! - and I seem to have lots of SD cards kicking around. I am not a Canon diehard...but I do want to be able to just put it in a front pocket sometimes...and I'd like to see a price - though I'll pay upward of $200 if I have to - something south of $200...say $160 or so. So far, I still think that though its not much of an upgrade (just newer), the Canon A1100 - only a 4X zoom - is a good candidate. ...And still shopping. (Is Canon, Fuji, etc. listening?)

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Small point and shoot with viewfinder, 6x zoom
by kmyler / April 5, 2010 10:45 AM PDT

I'm not sure you can buy them new anymore, but I've been using a Canon PowerShot A710 for going on a couple of years. Has a traditional viewfinder above the 2.5" LCD, 6X optical zoom plus 4X digital zoom, and it uses 2 AA batteries. It's only 7.1 mega pixels, but that's plenty for my modest enlargements. Takes real nice photos except in low light, which is a weak point for most point and shoot digitals and it uses SD memory cards -- the new Ultra cards perform real well. A Belkin pop-up shade is maybe $10 and helps the LCD screen out in the sunlight.
-- bareheadjack

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by Dan Filice / April 5, 2010 10:45 AM PDT

I just purchased the A1100IS to replace my A590IS (I dropped it) and although the A1100 has a viewfinder, I don't believe you can see all of the settings inside the viewfinder. You need to look at the LCD to see the mode, exposure, flash settings, focus lock, etc. Also, the viewfinders I've had on my point-and-shoot digital cameras do not show you the exact composition that what you will be shooting, especially when you are shooting Macro. You need to look a the LCD to see the exact composition, framing, etc. The viewfinders work nice when I want to turn off the LCD to conserve battery life, but in reality I need to use and view the LCD. I purchased another Canon because of the ability to use AA batteries. I've been caught with dead lithium batteries on camping trips and I'm too cheap to spend another $40 for another battery.

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Why can't I get a P&S camera with a viewfinder?
by omardurant / April 12, 2010 7:07 AM PDT

I live in the sunny SW USA. Even the newest cameras I have tested outdoors on a sunny day have LCD screens that are almost totally unreadable/unseeable. So in effect you are shooting blind. In order to have a P&S with a viewfinder I have purchased used Canons like the A650 and SD950 after checking them out thoroughly to make sure they are working. I guess I will be using them for a number of years without being able to upgrade to a pocketable P&S with newere features just so I can see what I am shooting in the viewfinder.

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Checi out the Nikon Coolpix "P" line
by traverse84 / April 5, 2010 11:19 PM PDT

I have a Nikon Coolpix P50 and it has a viewfinder. I also have a Canon SX120 IS, which doesn't. So far the photo quality is very similar if not undistinguishable. The P50 is out of production so it might be difficult to "test drive" one. It doesn't have the long zoom the Canon has but is quite adequate for everything else. Maybe successors to the P50 have a viewfinder. I haven't looked.

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by porsche10x / April 11, 2010 8:14 AM PDT

My wife has a Canon SD1100is which I think is similar to the 'A but in the Elph body. She loves it and it's supposed to be a great camera. Interestingly, when we bought it, it was much preferred by many reviewers over Canon's more recent Elphs with more megapixels. It was less than $150 street. Not sure, but I think all the Elphs still have optical viewfinders.

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Baby Boomer seeks P&S with viewfinder
by 3LS3 / April 12, 2010 10:51 PM PDT

It is wonderful that the LCD screens work better in bright sunshine, but that doesn't help any of us who wear reading glasses and can't see the blankety blank sceen anyway if we don't have our glasses. By the time I find my glasses and put them on, the photo opportunity is long gone. Please bring back the viewfinder -- or lose the 'over 30' demographic.

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Maybe change the camera type you seek
by Dan Filice / April 16, 2010 10:30 AM PDT

There are digital cameras that have wonderful viewfinders. They're called Digital SLR's, and work just like the old 35mm cameras. They also have rear LCD screens, but they do have a full-function viewfinder. The small digital cameras, like the one I have, are meant for easy point-and-shoot photos, and for the majority of people, the rear LCD screen works for this. My small digital Canon A1100 IS has a viewfinder, and trust me, it sucks, and it does not replace a real SLR viewfinder. My son has an Olympic ditigal SLR (similar to Canon's), and the viewfinder is great.

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Digital Camera with Viewfinder
by AlenMay / June 29, 2010 3:05 PM PDT

It seems that the new small digital cameras don't have viewfinders. Well, I can't operate one without it and it seems I am not alone. Maybe if people stopped buying the ones without viewfinders and complained more, the camera manufacturers would get the message. I for one am going back to my old 35mm camera - I'd rather take good pictures than have pictures with peoples limbs cut off because I can't make them out on the LCD screen.

I purchased a digital camera a while ago but returned it after returning from a trip to Spain. It was very frustrating trying to take pictures but being unable to see anything on the LCD screen.

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Accessory Viewfinders
by bubzz / June 29, 2010 7:31 PM PDT

Choose a digital camera that has an accessory shoe or hot-shoe and use an accessory viewfinder - e.g. one from Cosina Voigtlander like this:
(Might be a touch on the expensive side though!)

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I also want a view finder and optical zoom
by dsthiel / October 25, 2010 10:51 AM PDT

I'm searching for a point and shoot with a viewfinder and optical zoom - to replace my broken HP Photosmart R707 (the LCD screen cracked on a backpacking trip so the camera is now unusable).

I don't know about the new and improved LCD screens referenced in the Canon response, but I can say with confidence that my new iPhone screen certainly doesn't cut it in the sunlight.

There's another reason people want/need a view finder: Many aging people require reading glasses to read a handheld LCD screen. A view finder eliminates the need to don reading spectacles just to take a photo (my far vision is fine).

Finally, I believe another advantage of the viewfinder is that the feature enables better pictures. With my iPhone, I have to hold the camera at arms length (so I can see what's in the frame without my reading glasses). That shooting posture is prone to camera jitter. With a viewfinder and the ability to steady the camera close to my face, it's much easier to hold the camera still.

This is just another request to the point and shoot product managers and the CNET folks to help us lobby.

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by PistonCupChampion / October 25, 2010 11:27 AM PDT

IMO, if one manufacturer took a chance and put viewfinders on all their compacts, they would have a unique marketing point. I'm certain this would boost that company's sales.

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electronic view finders.
by lindachihuahua / October 27, 2010 4:16 AM PDT

Yea, don't you just hate not being able to see the screen when it is bright outside.
I am a photographer and I use a DSL and a high end point and shoot. There are several point and shoots that have EVF. Fuji Fine Pix HS10--Highly rated--$425 and up.
Panasonic Fz35--great review--$300 and up. Panasonic Lumix FZ100--$400 and up.
Nikon CoolPix P100 (26zoom) $300.
Nikon CoolPix P100 $275.00

There that ought to get you started.....

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You're not alone
by tedwindsor / December 28, 2010 11:27 PM PST

I feel your pain. I'm not in the 30+ demographic and I also see the benefits of a point and shoot with a digital viewfinder.

I've been shopping for one to take on backcountry camping trips with me (i find my digital slr way too bulky for days out tripping). I've been trying to find something I can fit in my pocket with a digital viewfinder. They don't exist unless you're willing to buy second-hand, which I am not. I've accepted the fact that i'm going to have to give up on my drawer of rechargable AA's. But I cannot accept defeat on no viewfinder.

A viewfinder is beneficial for many reasons:

- less battery drain
- great for sunny days!
- better stability

Bottom line: I need a camera that has a viewfinder that can fit in my pocket... seems to me like a reasonable request that 5 years ago would have described any point and shoot that was on the shelves...

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No Viewfinder
by paladin1845 / September 6, 2012 12:39 AM PDT

I am still looking for a compact camera with a viewfinder.. no matter what they say it is not easy to take good photos in bright sunlight with the LCD screen Please manufacturers take note

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