Danny Yee >> Photography

Comparative DSLR viewfinder sizes

One of the significant drawbacks of the Four Thirds system is that the smaller sensor (and imaging circle) contributes to a smaller viewfinder image. The E1's high magnification and 100% coverage just enable it to match lower-end APS-C sensor cameras.

Camerasensor size
(relative to 35mm)
magnificationcoverageviewfinder image size
(fraction of 35mm)
Olympus E-5001/20.90x95%0.43 x 0.48*16mm
Olympus 410/510
Panasonic L10
1/20.92x95%0.44 x 0.49*14mm/16mmLiveView; L10 1.2x eyecup
Olympus E-3301/20.93x95%0.44 x 0.50*18mm
Panasonic DMC-L11/20.93x95%0.44 x 0.50*18mm
Sony A3501/1.50.74x95%0.4721mm
Olympus E-6201/20.96x95%0.46 x 0.51*??
Canon 350D/400D1/1.60.80x95%0.4821mm
Nikon D50/D701/1.50.75x95%0.4818mm
Olympus E-3001/21.00x94%0.47 x 0.53*20mm
Olympus E-11/20.96x100%0.48 x 0.54*20mm
Nikon D40/D40X/D601/1.50.8x95%0.5118mm
Canon 450D1/1.60.87x95%0.51519mm
Canon 300D1/1.60.88x95%0.5220mm
Sony A1001/1.50.83x95%0.5220mm
Olympus E-301/21.02x98%0.50 x 0.56*20mm
Canon 20D/30D1/1.60.90x95%0.5320mm
KM 5D1/1.50.83x95%0.5320mm
Pentax K100D/K200D1/1.50.85x96%0.54??
Canon 1D1/1.30.72x100%0.5520mm
Canon 40D/50D1/1.60.95x95%0.5622mm
Nikon D2X1/1.50.86x100%0.5720mm
Sony A7001/1.50.9x95%0.5721mm
KM 7D1/1.50.90x95%0.5725mm
Nikon D801/1.50.94x95%0.5918mm
Nikon D901/1.50.94x96%0.6018mm
Nikon D2001/1.50.94x95%0.6019.5mm
Canon 1D mk III1/1.30.76x100%0.5820mmLiveView
Pentax K10D/K20D1/1.50.95x95%0.60??
Pentax *istD1/1.50.95x95%0.60??
Pentax *istDs1/1.50.95x95%0.60??
Pentax K71/1.50.92x100%0.61??
Olympus E31/21.15x100%0.58 x 0.65*20mmLiveView
Nikon D3001/1.50.94x100%0.6319.5mmLiveView
Canon 5D10.71x96%0.6820mm
Nikon D70010.72x95%0.6818mmLiveView
Canon 1Ds10.70x100%0.7020mm
Nikon D310.7x100%0.7019.5mmLiveView
Canon 1Ds Mk III10.76x100%0.7620mm

(*) The 4:3 aspect ratio of the Olympus cameras makes their viewfinder images bigger vertically. (Crop factors are calculated horizontally.)

There are considerable uncertainties in these calculations! The sensor size "crops" aren't exactly 1.3, 1.5, or 2.0, and in fact notionally identical sensor sizes vary between camera models. So I should really recalculate these using actual effective sensor sizes. It's also worrying that viewfinder coverages - with the exceptions of the 5D's 96% and the E-300's 94% - only ever seem to be 95% or 100%...

Olympus E-300 and E-500 users might like to try out the AS-ME-1 eyecup magnifier, which provides 1.2x magnification. And Nikon D100/D200 users have the option of a 1.17x DK-21M.

Photography << Danny Yee