(redirected from optical viewfinder)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


a device on a camera, consisting of a lens system and sometimes a ground-glass screen, enabling the user to see what will be included in his photograph



an optical device on still and movie cameras that is used for determining the borders (frame) of the image of an object that is being photographed. A viewfinder is de-signed for a camera lens with a fixed focal length. Cameras with interchangeable lenses having different focal lengths require the use of separate viewfinder attachments for each lens or of universal viewfinders, which consist of a set of miniature lenses with different focal lengths, mounted on a rotating disk. Types of viewfinders include the frame (iconometers), telescopic, and reflecting. Professional movie cameras often have mirror viewfinders with a mat collective lens and a sight.

Parallax, which is the difference between the borders of the image as observed in the viewfinder and as actually re-corded on the film, occurs when the optical axis of the viewfinder does not coincide with the optical axis of the camera lens. Parallax is especially great when photographing at small distances. A series of rectangular frames that permit corrections when photographing at various distances are mounted in the field of view of some viewfinders to eliminate parallax. Parallax is absent in single-lens reflex cameras and in movie cameras with a mirror shutter. In some cameras (for example, the FED and Zorkii) the viewfinder is coupled in a single unit with an optical range finder.


An auxiliary optical or electronic device attached to a television camera so the operator can see the scene as the camera sees it.
A device which provides the user of a camera with the view of the subject that is focused by the lens.


The preview window on a camera that is used to frame, focus and take the picture. On analog cameras, the viewfinder is an eye-sized window that must be pressed against the face. Point-and-shoot digital cameras use small LCD screens.

Professional photographers generally prefer a viewfinder because it lets them hold the camera steady against their face and focus on framing the picture without distraction. In addition, the LCD screen can be hard to see in bright sunlight.

Digital SLRs and Prosumer Cameras
Using optical lenses or a tiny microdisplay, digital SLR (DSLR) cameras employ an eye-sized viewfinder for taking pictures and an LCD screen to display the results. A "live preview" or "live view" on a DSLR means the LCD screen can also be used as the viewfinder. See DSLR.

Prosumer cameras have fixed lenses like point-and-shoot cameras, but they also have manual focus, aperture and shutter speed settings like DSLRs. Such cameras generally offer both viewfinder and LCD screen for taking the picture. See prosumer and parallax error.

Viewfinder and LCD
This prosumer camera has both viewfinder and live preview screen. The viewfinder has two advantages. Since it is held against the face, it helps steady the camera, and it uses less battery than the LCD screen.
References in periodicals archive ?
On looking through the optical viewfinder at the widest end, you do tend to see a slight portion of the lens barrel, which gets corrected as you zoom in.
Its four display modes A[degrees] Full, Normal, Dual and Portrait A[degrees] offer a shooting experience impossible with an optical viewfinder.
Additionally, this new sensor now has the ability to detect human faces with startling accuracy, even when shooting through the optical viewfinder.
The new hybrid viewfinder combines the window-type "bright frame" optical viewfinder found in rangefinder-type film cameras such as the classic 135-size or medium-format cameras, and the electronic viewfinder system incorporated in most compact or mirrorless digital cameras.
5-inch screen, optical viewfinder, Dynamic Range Optimiser and Face Technology.
The focal range on the camera's lens is equivalent to 38-115 mm on a 35-mm camera, and there's an optical viewfinder for more WYSIWYG capturing and an SD card slot to record the photos.
The FS40, has a built in electronic flash, slide lever film advance, DX window and optical viewfinder, and at pounds 11.
Employing the supplier's 3X Fujinon lens, autofocus, an optical viewfinder and a 2-inch polysilicone 110,000-pixel LCD monitor, the camera is said to offer sharp picture quality.
The camera includes a built-in color LCD and flash, optical viewfinder and removable memory.
The high-speed CMOS sensor read-out and the EXR Processor's enhanced focusing system contribute to the high-speed AF performance, while the combination of the optical viewfinder and extremely low shutter lag time enhance the image capture experience.
It also provides other outstanding features rivaling those of high-end models, including: the PENTAX-developed AA (anti-aliasing) filter simulator first installed on the PENTAX K-3 (launched in November 2013); an optical viewfinder with a glass pentaprism to provide approximately 100% field of view; an in-body shake reduction mechanism; and a top sensitivity of ISO 51200.
It features an Advanced Optical Viewfinder with real time shooting data for improved usability and a bright view.