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viewfinder or lcd screen


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#1 Jim Nelson

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 07:32 PM

Hi, can someone please help me out?

If you don't have a monitor on set, and you want to see if the colors, brightness, contrast and exposure are correct, should you trust the viewfinder or the LCD screen?



Thanks for your help.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 07:56 PM

Neither unless you know how to properly calibrate them... same goes for a monitor. Use Zebras and Histogram functions to check for luminance; as for colors, you need a proper calibrated monitor and viewing environment to judge and/or experience. The Finder or an LCD on your camera ain't gonna really cut it, not will a great many of the LCDs on the market. You really want a nice CRT monitor or a high end professional LCD monitor which both cost a pretty penny and you need to make sure you set it to bars.
Your other option is a vectrascope, but those are normally more expensive to rent and harder to translate than a good field monitor.
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#3 Jim Nelson

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 05:15 AM

But what if you can't have a monitor. is the viewfinder or the lcd screen more accurate to check if colors and luminance are correct? I understand that using a monitor is the best way and that you have to calibrate it, but what if you have no way of getting a monitor? should you trust the viewfinder or the lcd screen.
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#4 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 05:17 AM

If you don't have a monitor on set, and you want to see if the colors, brightness, contrast and exposure are correct, should you trust the viewfinder or the LCD screen?

Depends, what camera system and viewfinder are we talking about?
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#5 Jim Nelson

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 07:11 AM

No camera system and viewfinder in particular. I just mean generally, which of the viewfinder or the lcd screen is more trustable? I think I heard a while back that you should trust the viewfinder, but I can't remember if that's exactly what that person said. So that why Im asking which one is more trustable for color, brightness, contrast and exposure.
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#6 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 07:19 AM

I wouldn't trust a prosumer camera V/F or LCD, although you can tell if the colour temperature is roughly right.

The luminance values on a correctly set up high end 2/3" camera's B & W CRT viewfinder are usually OK to can make judgements from and many people do when shooting without a monitor. (Although, there are places which can throw it, like night clubs.) However, you also have the zebras to double check.
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#7 Jim Nelson

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 10:38 AM

Thanks for your help.

- So what you mean is that if you don't have a monitor and you want to check if the luminance is correct, you should trust the viewfinder?


- You also can have the zebras appear on the lcd screen and on the viewfinder. Which one of these zebras is more trustable? or are they both the same?


Thanks again and sorry if I keep insisting on this, I just want these things to be really clear :)
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 11:53 AM

You should trust the Zebras and Historgram. They are the same and they are calibrated so they'll tell you what your luma is at. For your darks, if you have a B/W viewfinder, again properly set up, I'd trust that. Color is monitor only so far as I'm concerned, and even then only when calibrated. Now, given the choice between the V/f on my EX1 for example, and the LCD for color, I'll trust the LCD more because it's a better image than i'd get on a finder.
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#9 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 12:07 PM

- So what you mean is that if you don't have a monitor and you want to check if the luminance is correct, you should trust the viewfinder?


- You also can have the zebras appear on the lcd screen and on the viewfinder. Which one of these zebras is more trustable? or are they both the same?



I wouldn't trust the LCD viewfinder found on prosumer cameras on its own without using a zebra.

If you've got a high end broadcast camera eg Digibeta or HDCAM, the B & W cathode ray tube viewfinders, are pretty good and can be relied on most of the time if correctly set up. These are not the same as found on 1/3" cameras.

The zebras will appear at the same level on the LCD screen or the V/F - the zebra level is set up in the camera.
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#10 Chris Keth

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 03:44 PM

If you've got a high end broadcast camera eg Digibeta or HDCAM, the B & W cathode ray tube viewfinders, are pretty good and can be relied on most of the time if correctly set up. These are not the same as found on 1/3" cameras.


I agree with this and have to reiterate the part I bolded and underlined. I can't count the number of times I've gone to the trouble to set up the viewfinders on a set of cameras only to have the operators turn everything the whole way up and then bitch that the viewfinder doesn't match the monitor. It can be frustrating sometimes.
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#11 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 05:03 AM

No camera system and viewfinder in particular. I just mean generally, which of the viewfinder or the lcd screen is more trustable?

Can't really help you then, as there is no "generally." It depends entirely on which camera LCD and which viewfinder we are talking about. If you're totally stumped, go with the zebras like Adrian says - that's really the best way given your situation.
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#12 Scott Dolan

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 05:23 AM

Neither unless you know how to properly calibrate them... same goes for a monitor. Use Zebras and Histogram functions to check for luminance; as for colors, you need a proper calibrated monitor and viewing environment to judge and/or experience. The Finder or an LCD on your camera ain't gonna really cut it, not will a great many of the LCDs on the market. You really want a nice CRT monitor or a high end professional LCD monitor which both cost a pretty penny and you need to make sure you set it to bars.
Your other option is a vectrascope, but those are normally more expensive to rent and harder to translate than a good field monitor.




Why do you need such a monitor?
Maybe a waveform is helpful with HD, but really you should learn your sensor the same way you learn your stocks, and expose off a meter.
The Art of Cinematography shall not die!
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#13 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 05:34 AM

Why do you need such a monitor?
Maybe a waveform is helpful with HD, but really you should learn your sensor the same way you learn your stocks, and expose off a meter.
The Art of Cinematography shall not die!


Perhaps more possible with the RAW cameras, but with other cameras you can have so many different menu set ups and you can be changing cameras so often that you do need these extra bits of kit to check the highlight clipping etc.
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