A digital camera’s optical viewfinder is bright and clear, uses no power, and lets you compose your image quickly. But not all optical viewfinders are created equal. You need to evaluate a few optical-viewfinder features:

1

Decide what magnification you want.

Some cameras have no magnification, giving you a tiny image floating off in the distance. Other cameras provide a big view that makes it easy to frame and compose your photo.

2

Make sure your viewfinder can zoom with your lens.

Ideally, the image should match the view of your LCD and lens, but some cameras keep a fixed view and use indicator marks to show the picture area.

3

Find an optical viewfinder with an accurate viewpoint.

The optical viewfinder might not show everything you’re framing, with some image area clipped off the top, bottom, or sides.

4

Consider an extended eyepoint.

The eyepoint is the distance your eye can be from the viewfinder’s window and still see the entire view.

5

Decide what readouts (if any) you want.

Some cameras show nothing but the unadorned image. Others have framing or parallax correction lines or indicator lights, like in this figure.