Making a Hybrid Viewfinder · volzo

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2023-01-26 04:30:07

If you have ever used an even moderately fancy analog or digital camera (or a telescope, or a gun sight, …) you are probably familiar with viewfinders. There are different levels of sophistication in relation to the function and engineering complexity of viewfinders, starting with sports viewfinders, more elaborate constructions offering a demagnification (a wider field of view than the human eye), adding indicator lines for framing and even offering overlays for proper focussing (rangefinders). Once you put a digital sensor in a camera, a lot of viewfinders get pretty boring really fast. Why use a viewfinder if you’ve got a display with a live sensor readout? Well, there are still a few advantages (other than pure nostalgia), so viewfinders made their comeback as EVFs or Electronic Viewfinders (a tiny display with some optics to give you the impression of a really large display in front of your eye).

And that’s kind of a good tradeoff. Especially if you’ve got an interchangeable lens camera your EVF is the only sensible option. But Fujifilm did something weird a few years ago. They released the X100, a camera with a fixed lens and something they called a “hybrid viewfinder”. Basically a combination of an optical viewfinder with a digital overlay. Fancy? Fancy! Can we build something similar? Like built our own viewfinder and make it a hybrid one? Sure. Let’s start with the basics:

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