Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

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In my opinion an articulated display (one that rotates to allow viewing at different angles) is a big advantage for a modern camera. But I see that most professional and/or more expensive cameras do not offer it.

An articulated display is a long-time standard feature for all video camcorders, yet most modern DSLRs with video capabilities offer no such feature.

What is the reason for not making the articulated display a 'standard" feature on any high-end camera?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Articulated displays are just another moving part that is not typically necessary on pro grade equipment. Adding a screen like that will likely increase the size of the camera, and also make the screen more vulnerable to damage and wear.

Some pro series cameras also now have options for external LCD screens that can be attached to the body. Many videographers use these.

The main advantage to me, is to use the camera from odd angles. If for example you were at a concert and wanted to capture an image of the band, but you were short - you can use the articulating screen to still see what you are capturing. The same goes for objects down low.

Finally, I personally rarely use my LCD screen for image capture, I am much more inclined to use the viewfinder if the camera has one.

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+1. Good points. I think weatherproofing is also an important feature of cameras intended for pro use, and weatherproofing an articulated display and making it as robust as the rest of the build is probably difficult. – James Youngman Mar 15 '12 at 22:46
My T3i has an articulated screen, and I just leave it off 99% of the time, and review at the end – whatsisname Mar 16 '12 at 14:18

There are 2 pros as far as I am concerned and they are far less beneficial that the one con. First the two pros:

  1. Ability to frame at odd angles, assuming you use Live-View.
  2. Ability to reverse the LCD so that it is protected against the camera.

Now, the one con which is the reason I avoid buying cameras with a rotating LCD:

  1. The hinge is a weak-point and certainly more fragile than a fixed LCD. A knock or fall could rip the LCD off and ruin the camera.
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I can only imagine how bad of a bill you would incur after sending a 60D to Canon for LCD hinge repairs. I would probably toss the camera and pick up a 7D :) – dpollitt Mar 16 '12 at 14:23

To me the biggest advantage of an articulated screen is for video. Using the viewfinder for even a minute will tire you out very quickly, DSLR ergonomics are not really made for video. While using a tripod is of course preferred in many cases it's still reasonably useful to hold the camera at waist height using your neck-strap and record video that way, the image would be stable and with a flip-out screen you can monitor the action. I'd also highlight that this isn't how you'd normally use the screen on a conventional camcorder.

IMO, if a camera offers good video capability (say 1080p@30fps) then you should be able to take advantage of that, without an articulated screen those features are going to waste.

On the other hand, I avoid using the screen as much as I can to conserve battery.

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