Viewfinder size.

Modern digital SLR cameras are most often used for focusing optical viewfinder... Amateur photographers simply call him 'peephole'. Abbreviated Оoptical ВidoИskater called JVI. JVI they differ from each other by their optical crystal, coating and frame enlargement, focusing displays, enlightenment and the used LCD, LED displays. In this article I want to describe exactly the size JVI.

About the features of the optical viewfinder

About the features of the optical viewfinder

You can view here about how the work is arranged JVI on a modern SLR camera. When shooting on different cameras, I very often find that different cameras have different JVIIt’s nice to work with some cameras because of the good JVI, other's JVI small and 'dark'. Usually in the characteristics of cameras, the description of the JVI is two parameters:

frame coverage - frame coverage, frame coverage (viewfinder coverage). For example, for the camera Nikon D5200 indicated that Frame coverage = Approx. 95% horizontal and 95% vertical

Frame magnification - frame enlargement (viewfinder enlargement). For example, for the camera Nikon D600 indicated that Viewfinder Magnification = Approx. 0.7x (50 mm f / 1.4 lens at infinity, -1.0 m-1)

Both of these options are very important. The coverage of the frame is set as a percentage, and shows how much space vertically and horizontally from a real image can be seen through such an JVI. For example, if it is indicated that the JVI has 95% vertical horizontal, then this means that in the JVI only 95% of the central image of what will be in the picture can be seen. After the picture is taken, an extra image will be added to it at the edges, which was not visible in such a JVI. Sometimes it annoys me that on some cameras parts of what I did not plan to include fall into the frame. Most often, this is the front lens of the lens of my videographer, part of the person in the frame, any other extraneous details. Such a picture then has to be cropped.

An example of what does not fit into the frame

A rough example of what does not fall into the frame.

In fact, if the JVI displays only 95% of the image vertically and only 95% horizontally, then by the area itself, the JVI displays only 90% of what will be in the picture. It turns out that with such an JVI, 10% of the image is simply not visible. Manufacturers specifically indicate percentages in the width and height of the frame, since a figure of 90% in area could alert many when buying such a camera. Few people pay attention to frame coverage. Good cameras should have 100% coverage of the frame field, in such cameras everything you see in the JVI will be in the image and nothing extra will definitely get there.

If, on your camera, the JVI does not have 100% frame coverage, then Live View mode, which gives 100% field of view coverage, can always come to the rescue. Also, modern cameras with an electronic viewfinder almost always give 100% coverage. You can also just get used to it and count in advance the possibility that something extra can get into the frame.

Another important indicator of JVI is its direct magnitude.

OVI value of different cameras

The size of the OVI of different cameras. Photo taken from DPreview

The value usually corresponds to the Frame Magnification parameter. The more JVI, the more convenient it is to work with it. The real difference in the magnification of different JVIs can be felt when comparing cropped and full-frame cameras. Full-frame cameras usually have a much larger viewfinder with an increase of 0,7-0,8x, but cropped cameras come with an increase of 0,8-0,95X. The picture above shows how real the viewfinder is for different cameras.

Personal experience:

Usually 'bad' JVIs have old cropped DSLRs. In such chambers, for example, in Canon 350D, Nikon D40, OVI is very small, through it it is not always so easy to make out what is in the frame. Good JVI is especially important when working with 'dark lenses' and with manual focusing. You just get used to 95% trimming over time.


Typically, photographers work with a SLR camera looking at the space with one eye through the JVI, this is a good, time-tested method of sighting. When choosing a camera for yourself, it is very important to have a good JVI, which will help in the work and will not make the photographer squint with all his might to see the details of the picture.

Click on the buttons social networks ↓ - it is important for me. Thanks for attention. Arkady Shapoval.

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Comments: 65, on the topic: Viewfinder size.

  • Vanay

    I have a D80 and it annoys me a lot, I want 100% of the frame)
    Thank you for the article! Sorry, d4 less for d1x

    • Alexey

      I also have a d80, but I want a nikon d3, and the viewfinder 95-100 is a trifle

  • Denis

    I don’t understand why they don’t do 100% coverage at all. Is it really so expensive to make the focusing screen 10% larger?

    • Ilyukha

      Not a screen, but a pentaprism is technically difficult to do.

  • Paul

    Hello Arkady!
    Does the full-frame carcass and the cropped one have differences in the viewfinder dimension ?, that is, a viewfinder with an increase of 0.95 per crop from more than 0.7 per FF? Or do you need to multiply the size of the viewfinder with the carcass by a factor for the given value?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      This value is relative, clearly tracking the relationship with crop is not so easy.

      • Roman D

        Everything is clearly defined. For example, we have a nikon crop (d300) with an increase in JVI of 0.94. JVI dimensions are smaller than full frame sizes in
        CROP / FRAME_MAGN = 1.5 / 0.94 = 1.60 times
        For d700 - 1 / 0.72 = 1.39 times

        Thus, the OVI of the d700 is greater than that of the d300, by 1.15 times in linear dimensions. And 1.32 times - in area.

        It would be nice to point out in the article that FRAME MAGNIFICATION is the ratio of the (linear?) Dimensions of the OVI to the similar dimensions of the matrix of the considered FA. If this is the area ratio, then the calculations must be recalculated by extracting the root from FRAME_MAGN.

    • Denis KZ

      For those to whom JVI seems dark and small, ebay has come up with all sorts of “enlargers” for “eyes” and attachments for live view, this partly saves the situation.

      • NikitosZs

        The stronger the OVI is, the darker it will be.

  • Ivan

    Nothing can be done with the coating, you have to put up with it. But with the increase, you can add a magnifying lens to the eyepiece.

    I like to shoot with manual optics. therefore, for the convenience of sighting, I bought a magnifying eyepiece on the D3100; this is a lens that wears on an eyecup. Received an increase of 1,22x it became more convenient to work. Satisfied.

    • anonym

      And share where you bought the eyepiece

      • Sergei

        on ebee. or Amazon. For example, on Nikon D5100 Tenpa 1.36x works fine. The price is about 40-50 dollars.

  • Paul

    Arkady, and what is the reason for this state of affairs, not 100% JVI in the crop. Are there real technical limitations that affect the price or purely marketing, ala the possibility of updating in subsequent models?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Crops also have cameras with 100% JVI, for example d7100, etc.

      • Paul

        Yes, there is such a beast, but this is not quite the answer to the question. Let's say in the d5200 there is a penta mirror with 95% coverage. And in the D90 pentaprism with 96%. Again, the restriction is purely technical: an OVI with 100% coverage will significantly affect the price and size of the device, or is it such an indicator of an amateur DSLR, such as the lack of a focus motor or the absence of FP mode, and so on ... And in the future, you should wait for nikon d5X00 with an OVI coverage of 100% at the same price as other cameras of this class?

        • Denis

          Well, the lack of a focusing motor is easy to explain, no matter how much it costs money, I can't explain the lack of coverage. Plus a couple of percent to the size of the glass (and rather primitive) device should not affect the price ...

          • Lycarion

            Not so simple. It is necessary to increase the pentaprism, which has not only an area, but also a volume. You need to increase the focusing screen, but it needs a place. Then increase the mirror, respectively, the shaft of the mirror also needs to be increased. The result is such an amateur D40, only the size of a D7100. But what about compactness?

          • Denis

            "We need to increase the pentaprism, which has not only area, but also volume." - I agree, but in the case of a pentamirror, only the size increases, which means that the weight hardly suffers. The "top" of the camera will increase by the same couple of percent.
            "The focusing screen needs to be enlarged, but it needs space." - there is already a black frame around the focusing screen. Again, remember the frame size in APS-C - it's about 24x16 mm. 5% of this size is as much as 1,2 mm, i.e. we are talking about sizes on the order of a milliliter.
            Regarding the mirror, its size may increase slightly (up to 2 mm), again, looking at the large (compared to other cropped cameras) mirror in Nikon D1X, I came to the conclusion that this is not the case (there is also not 100% coverage viewfinder).

            Okay, on a full frame there is still a problem, but on a crop the price of the issue is a couple of millimeters, and not some super-precise aspherical lens, but flat glass surfaces.

  • Ravil

    the Pentax somehow turns out)

  • gene

    as for me the minus of the smaller viewfinder coverage is not that unnecessary, but that the whole picture is not visible. although this is not such a strong problem. I have a Nikon D5100 and the viewfinder is not annoying, despite the fact that I look at it with glasses, which further reduces the visible image.

  • AM

    The main reason why in amateur DSLRs the frame coverage is less than 100% in the viewfinder is that instead of a pentaprism, a penta mirror is used, the design of which, due to technical (optical) limitations, does not allow 100% of the frame to be covered. This time. Secondly, the pentaprism itself is a very complex optical device that requires precision processing and installation methods, which is not justified in the amateur segment. Moreover, as mentioned above, such a solution in amateur cameras will not be very compact and lightweight. Naturally, this will not have the best effect on the price. Those for whom 100% coverage is important, but does not want to spend on FF or on the upper level of crop cameras, can be advised to look at the numerous mirrorless cameras or Sony SLT cameras, which have additional advantages (as well as disadvantages).

    • Denis

      And what is the fundamental difference between a pentazerkal that does not allow full coverage? After all, it is arranged similarly to a prism, with the only difference being that, unlike a prism, a light hollow (and therefore cheap) design is obtained.
      Again, if we talk about dimensions, we are talking about an increase of as much as 5%, and this is on the crop, where the frame size is already relatively small, and these 5% will not greatly increase the camera ...

      • AM

        A larger number of transitions to heterogeneous media causes a large diffraction. See above why they don’t put on most crop cameras.

        • AM

          Blame - DISPERSION

        • Denis

          “More transitions to dissimilar environments” - what does the number of transitions have to do with frame coverage? Indeed, with an increase in coverage from 95 to 100%, the optical scheme does not change, the dimensions of the components (mirrors and focusing screen) change.

  • Oleg Muravitsky

    If something extra got into the frame, drop it for a couple of seconds. Worse, if it's the other way around - I framed 100% OVI exactly as it should, and then my hand trembled, the wind blew, someone moved - and it was cut off. And the anticrop has not yet been invented :( So this 95%, on the contrary, can be viewed as a safety net, a guarantee that what you see will definitely fall into the frame.

    • Something

      I agree with Oleg. Despite the fact that it is necessary to try to build the composition in the frame right away, and not thinking that “then I will cut it off properly,” this 95% can be considered as a kind of safety net in case something is accidentally cut off somewhere :)

    • AM

      Don't exaggerate - no problem.

    • Denis

      I also agree. I was let down by the incomplete coverage only once - when I photographed an object that did not fit in the viewfinder, and I took a picture of it in parts. Later, looking at the pictures on the computer (on a sunny day you won't see much on the camera display), I realized that the object would fit right next to it :)
      And yes, all sorts of pillars and other joys are not so difficult to cut out (and you can wiggle the camera a bit before pressing the button, if time allows).

    • Valentin Kalenichenko

      I completely agree with Oleg. At one time, there were many complaints about 60% of the frame in the sight of the Zenith film (from the first to the 122nd). However, in reportage photography, this is really not a disadvantage, but an advantage. They also scolded the pure matte field without Doden wedges and microsters, which darken and turn into an “eyesore” when the tutor diaphragms the lens. And after decades of research, it turned out that it is most convenient to compose a shot on a pure matte field.

  • garden parsley

    In d7000, 100% of the frame is covered, everything is packed properly, right ?!

  • Pasha

    A good JVI on the Kiev-17 camera, albeit not with a 100% coating, but large, with a micro-raster and Doden wedges, it is a pleasure to bring sharpness, not like on my D5000.

  • Dmitriy

    I recently changed the d5100 to d7000 the difference on the occasion of the JVI is very palpable ||| crystal purity and 100% coverage !!!

  • Basil

    Very funny when people say VIDEO FINDER))))

    • celery greenhouse

      the pentaprism or pentazercal video finder will be so in science.

      what's so funny high resolution photo display, for example, the tube screen of the camera itself.

      learn mat.chast amateur!

      • Arkady Shapoval

        “Looking for VIDEO” is a new topic at all photo forums of the country :)

      • Anatoly

        And all the time I thought that it was called the VIEWFINDER. Strange :)

        • Vadim

          And there is. What are we looking for through the peephole? ”“ VIEW, not VIDEO. Hence, the VIEWFINDER was already 40 years old in my memory since I first picked up the camera :) So CELERY PARNIKOVA, apparently, retrained the materiel :)

  • igorsam

    Підскажіть де buy an eyepiece for a vidoshukach

    • Sergei

      on ebee. or Amazon. For example, on Nikon D5100 Tenpa 1.36x works fine. The price is about 40-50 dollars.

    • Vadim

      Trust me, it's not worth it. I tried it on myself on my D5100. The magnification is scanty, the exact same Tenpa 1,36X, the viewfinder does not become brighter, but pulls 500 hryvnia from the pocket. Well, it's not worth that much money - 70-100 hryvnia maximum that would be advisable.

  • Sergei

    who says it’s getting brighter ??? Tenpa gives increase rather than lightening :)
    whether it is worth it or not - it depends on how important it is to get an enlargement of a small picture in the JVI.
    1.36x is quite noticeable. worth it or not - depends on your vision and wallet.

    • Vadim

      I did not say that you claimed that Tenpa brightens the JVI. I just shared my observations, as I tried on on my D5100. Yes, this nozzle enlarges the picture in the JVI, but certainly not so much as to pay 500 UAH for it. With that money, I bought Helios-81N the same day (even a little cheaper). I agree with this investment (although, they say, you can find it cheaper).

  • Valentin Kalenichenko

    “Then you have to crop such a picture ...” I don't see any trouble in that. Rather, on the contrary, this is an advantage, not a disadvantage of the sight: if in a hurry you unsuccessfully framed the picture (cut off your legs, arms, or - God forbid! - your head), and the moment has already been missed, the part of the frame invisible in the sight gives you a chance to correct it.

  • igorsam.

    Sergiy, Vadim Dyakuyu
    In the D5100, plus a bunch of manual optics. Maybe you can remember the matte shklo + Tenpa.
    True poshki shkla poki without result on 5100

    • Vadim

      Yak on me, more beautifully in such a vipad focus on the screen. Tenpa has little additional helpом. Protest, you might as well, you will get more and more from Tenpa. Kepsko sellers rarely allow you to put on the nozzle, motivating them, but if they are unpacked they do not want to cup them. I vmoviv the seller, primіryа and not buying. I won, and win ...?

      • Sergei

        Vadim, you say terrible things. :)
        How do you imagine focusing on the screen on a manual lens on Nikon D5100? you need to - go to LiveView, crop the picture, zoom in all the way, focus on the unstable picture - and at max magnification, the picture jumps on your hands even with the slightest stir, then return to normal mode, make sure that the frame has moved and start all over again :)))
        total - you need a tripod. with all that it implies.

        • Vadim

          I get it. Not always, but in most cases. In conditions with poor light, a tripod is still desirable. The green little girl in the JVI often lies on the same Helios 81N with an open diaphragm, and it’s hard to make mistakes on Live View, but the responsiveness suffers.

          • Sergei

            for the manual you need to highlight the boundaries of objects in focus and wedges. what is in the new fuj and is expected in X-E2 in the fall. IMHO.

    • Sergei

      for manual optics Nikon D5100 without modifications is not the best option. Tenpa won't help here.
      focusing with magnification - too. for the manual, it is necessary to highlight the boundaries of objects in focus and wedges. what is in the new fuja and is expected in X-E2 in the fall.

      if you replace the focusing screen in the D5100 with this
      there may be other problems, such as exposure.

  • Virtue

    Good day, everyone, I found where you can download Evgeny Kartashov's video course "My first DSLR" can be useful to someone (Evgeny do not be offended, nothing personal :))

  • Alsuftev Ivan

    Hello. Can you please tell me what programs can be used to conveniently crop pictures? I know how to do it in Adobe Photoshop. But, as far as I know, you need to crop each photo separately, which is not very convenient. Maybe there are some programs or applications where you can select several photos at once, set a value, for example, “crop to 95%” and all selected photos are cropped automatically?

    • Dmitriy


      • Valentin Kalenichenko

        In addition to Adobe Photoshop, on which almost all polls are “blinkered”, and its analogue GIMP, there is a great variety of photo editors, the “gentlemen's sets” of which must include cropping. Personally, the need for batch cropping is deeply perplexing to me, because the composition of each frame is purely individual! It is very convenient to crop in Picasa and XnView (both editors allow batch processing, like the built-in photo editors of Windows 7 and 8).

  • Jury

    having read all the opinions of desire, but the main thing I have not read anywhere, which for us is X…. engineers made. And my opinion about the view-la is this. The view finder exists only on the canon 5 film, here it is, take off for days without a break, your eyes will not get tired and redden, overextend. “Dear engineers! It turns out that people have BIG EYES, AS AND WHEN THE FILM PHOTO WAS WAS he wrote a letter to the pentax, explained, since the Japanese explain to us the Russians, now the pentax has a 98x camera with a 100 percent, and not like a 71x or 70x 75x, we will evade, the current can fit the eyes

  • Victor

    Good day to all. Perhaps my question will seem far-fetched, but still. I have the first SLR in less than a year. I am a bespectacled man (+2,5), I endorse in 90% of cases through the JVI. Taking pictures on the street on a bright sunny day, I look at the JVI through sunglasses, which I also have with diopters. At the same time, I see the information in the JVI (scale, etc.) well. The question is, is it okay to take off wearing sunglasses? That is, otherwise I would have to constantly change my glasses: go in the sun, and at the time of shooting, cling to the usual ones, which is terribly inconvenient. Please share my experience with someone who has a similar problem.

    • Vladislav

      Basically, if the glasses have no polarization effect, then you only “lose” the brightness of the OVI, and also get a little side illumination, the eye farther from the OVI => OVI takes up less field of view. There are no other problems.

      As a "bespectacled" person, I would advise you to find / make an eyepiece with diopter adjustment. And when shooting, raise / remove glasses.
      In "pluses" you have: the eye is closer to the eyepiece, respectively - there is no side illumination and OVI takes up more space in the field of view.
      In the film era, he made an eyepiece with correction from cracked glass of glasses and used Zenith.

      Now on the street I walk (and photograph) in contact lenses. At home - mostly in glasses, with the effect of “chameleon” (darken in bright light), sometimes I take pictures - accordingly, also in glasses, there are no special problems, except for the above nuances.

  • Vladislav

    PS Perhaps the “built-in” eyepiece correction is enough?

  • Victor

    Vladislav, thanks for the useful tips))

  • Maksim

    I wonder what makes the manufacturer difficult to initially produce a 100% viewfinder?

  • Dmitriy

    Hello! There were small scratches on the eyepiece of the viewfinder after going into the forest. I rubbed it with a little toothpaste and the scratches were gone. But then I wondered if there was any coating on it or the eyepieces did not cover anything. Still wondering is it normal that the image when focusing on the sharpness is clear only in the center of the viewfinder, if you look a little at an angle or lower / higher / to the right / left of the center it becomes a little blurry. Camera - Nikon d5300. Thanks in advance for your answers!

    • Nikita

      There is a green coating of enlightenment.

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