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Old Geezers Need an EVF: the Rear LCD and Presbyopia are a Bad Combination For Aging Eyes

Plus: Why an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) is Not Optional, and Not Sufficient Either.

So you’re pushing 50 (as I am) or maybe 60 or more?

The problem is that inexorable presbyopia makes it increasingly a pain in the eye to use a rear LCD on so many digital cameras. While I can definitely fault most camera vendors here (well, all of them), Apple (now a de-facto camera vendor) definitely does not “get” this with the iPhone (any model), which is apparently designed by 20-year-olds for 20-year-olds with 20/20 vision (gotta love that 6-point microscopic text).

Well, I have 20/20 vision more or less, but with presbyopia it has gotten to the point that my iPhone is an unusable device for viewing anything but the basic stuff. So much so that I would actually consider a larger Android phone (OMG). The geniuses at Apple remain clueless about this show-stopper issue. Which is ironic, since Apple was at the forefront of accessibility technologies years ago. Time to unf*** it Apple, chill-out on the hyperbole and make it usable (viewable).

On cameras, it’s not so bad—that blurry or almost sharp picture on the rear LCD looks about right, so press the button. Seriously, you cannot understand this if you are under 45 or so, but it’s a real issue in dim light* if you’re 45+. Getting old really sucks. I won’t go into explicit details, but certain other things like fresh snow and a need to urinate—well, getting old takes all the fun out of it. But at least it’s just a snow thing. And an eye thing. Well, I have some years to go before I can bitch and moan about more than that, I hope.

OK, settle down, back on topic—a camera without an EVF built-in or at least optional gets a strike against it. Which means as good as they are, the Ricoh GR and the Sigma DP Merrill series are fundamentally flawed in their usability for older users**. Why don’t companies understand this basic need? The video signal is already there driving the rear LCD, so why don’t all cameras at least have an EVF option?

* No problem in bright light (so far): the pupil contracts, which is a smaller aperture, greatly increasing depth of field for human vision just as in a camera.

** Within two years, I qualify for the senior games, but thank dog I am not yet a grandfather.

An EVF — solves the presbyopia issue by and large, as well as glare issues

Herb C writes:

Holy crapola Lloyd: you think you're getting old? Try 77 with AMD, but I still like the NEX-7, could not agree more that EVF is good, the EVF that Sony offers for their lower level deals would be a nice fit for NEX-7, but it is not compatible with NEX-7.

You are beginning to convince me about the interchangeable camera idea.
If these small cameras keep getting better, Nikon may be in for a shock.

DIGLLOYD: Nikon (and Canon and Leica) area already in shock and adjusting plans; see Nikon’s Camera Sales for Q1, 2013 and Camera Production Figures (CIPA).

The digital camera market is undergoing a wrenching and profound restructuring. Camera phones will eat the low end entirely very soon. Sony seems best positioned to take up large chunks of market share from Nikon and Canon.

Steven K writes:

Ahh yes, getting old does suck, I'm hitting 50+ in November, and all my cameras have an EVF now even with there limitations except of course my Ricoh GR which I only use with my RC drone.

iPhone, forget about it, I can't read the screen anymore unless I have my 1.75x readers on. Like you mention we are not the target market anymore for Apple.

DIGLLOYD: If young people are mainly shooting camera phones, and middle aged and older photographers have the desire and the money, what the heck are camera vendors thinking to omit an EVF option?


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