Viewfinder cameras – the latest

January 28, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

A couple of interesting cameras to add to the Viewfinder Roundup.

New Nikon

First – a little belatedly, I'm afraid– there's the Nikon Coolpix P7800. I am quite intrigued by this because it in most respects it is identical to the previous Coolpix P7700, to which I wrote an Expanded Guide. The one real difference – and it is of course a big one –is that they have added an electronic viewfinder, and removed the Quick Control dial to make space for it.

I thought the Coolpix P7700 was a decent performer, although – like most compacts and many other cameras – its autofocus is way too slow for serious action shots. I haven't had my hands on a P7800 yet (and there probably won't be a separate Expanded Guide) so I don't know first-hand  how good that EVF is, but it's a very welcome addition to the woefully small number of compacts with a viewfinder of any kind. Lots of pundits are saying that the compact camera sector is being seriously challenged by smartphones, so it seems to me that bringing back viewfinders is one way that camera makers could make their compacts stand out as superior for picture-taking.

New Fuji

This is even more interesting. Fujifilm have just launched their XT-1. It's a nice-looking SLR-style camera with an APS-C sensor. There's a hint of retro in the styling – it is reminiscent of Fujica 35mm SLRs of yore – but it's carried off intelligently rather than slavishly, and avoids the split personality of the Nikon Df (FM2 at the front, D800 at the back). The EVF is reportedly the best yet, with a huge image size and super-fast refresh rate. And the Fuji X-series cameras are already well regarded for their fine image quality.

Sounds like a tempting camera., but if the rationale is to get something lighter than a DSLR, it is worth noting that the XT-1 comes up 10 grams heavier than a Nikon D3300. And in my quest for just such a light and portable system, I'd inclined strongly towards one of the Fuji X series before veering off because the gains in weight and bulk would be minimal – the lenses are excellent performers but not exactly small or light. But that's another story, and I'll return to it soon. 

Meanwhile, here's the table of viewfinder cameras with the Nikon and Fuji models added.

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