Optical vs Electronic Viewfinders


This article is an extract from our Online Photography Course Get More from Your Camera

Remember – all cameras are fundamentally the same. They are just boxes, with holes in them and something to capture the light.

The single main difference between DSLR cameras and Compact System, Bridge Cameras, Compact cameras & smartphones, is how the viewfinder works.

With DSLR’s the light travels through the lens and is directed to the optical viewfinder.

With all other camera types, the light reaches the sensor and the images in the viewfinder are electronically generated from what the sensor sees, which means that it can be very slightly delayed, although this has become less of an issue as the camera technology has become much faster.

The difference between DSLR (left) and Compact System Cameras

Because Compact System Cameras do not have a bulky Pentaprism, it enables them to have much smaller and lighter camera bodies and more compact lenses.

Nikon DSLR
Fujifilm CSC (Mirrorless)

Cameras shown above are:

left – Nikon D3500 with 18-55mm lens (view on WEX Photo / Video)

right – Fujifilm XT-3 with 18-55mm XF lens (view on WEX Photo / Video)

It also enables the cameras to shoot many more pictures per second as it doesn’t have to wait for the mirror to flip up between exposures and are great video cameras.

Any Questions or Comments?

Only available to Photo Club 247 Members

Not a Photo Club 247 Member yet?

Really?? Well, here's what you're missing out on...

  • ALL members get access to the Webinar Replay Library
  • Members get their own profile to post updates, photos, connect with other members, share ideas & Inspiration
  • All premium Content - ad-free!
  • Enter our Monthly Photo Contests
  • Photo Club 247 PLUS Members can enrol on any course for FREE

Posted by Paul Crawford

Paul has been a full-time professional photographer since 1990. He is married to Patricia and the proud Dad to 2 fantastic sons. He photographs around 30 Weddings each year in Northern Ireland and is an experienced Photography Tutor running Photography Courses and Workshops. He is the founder of photoclub247.com