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The Fujifilm X-Pro 1 has a viewfinder which can switch between an electronic mode and an optical mode with an electronic overlay. One of the key features of this overlay is a "bright frame" — the optical finder shows a good deal more than the expected coverage area of the lens, and the bright line is supposed to show the actual frame.

But, in my experience, the frame line is drawn much too small — there's something between 5-10% off each side. Some of this is surely to cover for the parallax error (since it's not a through-the-lens finder in optical mode), but it seems like Fujifilm could have made the tolerances a little closer. As it is, I'm getting used to cropping in post — or switching to the EVF for critical composition, which is annoying, since the optical view is so much nicer for catching fleeting expressions.

I understand why lower-end DSLR viewfinders don't offer 100% coverage, as there are considerable and obvious savings in size, weight, and cost. But in this case the viewfinder shows a considerable margin outside the line: the overall finder is more than 100%. Since the bright frame is drawn electronically, why isn't it drawn to more accurately match the field of view of the mounted lens?

Fujifilm has clearly put a lot of work into the design and photography-focused user interface of this camera, of which the hybrid viewfinder is a centerpiece. So, surely the viewfinder frame lines work this way for some good reason. What is that reason?

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I Agree, the framing could be much more acurate. The leica-m viewfinder is nothing like it. I really wish fujifilm would fix this in the future. Maybe until xpro2? In my opinion this is one of the key behavior of good rangefinder. Just imagine if it was possible to compose acurate immages in ovf mode, eliminating black out, saving battery and direct, bright composing joy as with m-leicas. The next thing on my wish list would be better manual focusing and ofcourse the possibillity to to have the shutter go of instenaneously when trigger is pressed.(in manual focus mode). I am sure this is all p –  user10562 Jul 10 '12 at 7:45

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

You can move your head around, and the frame will line up differently depending on your exact point of view. And wearing glasses, the frame will seem even smaller than without - because your eye is further away. Cropping is far easier than synthesizing something you thought would end up in frame, but actually didn't.

The viewfinder on a rangefinder camera should not be considered a device for exact framing, but rather choosing the direction of shooting. The bright frame shows you what's certainly covered. The expensive Leica M9 exhibits similar behavior.

Another issue is that the focal length of a lens is only approximate, with 5% variation not too uncommon. To make matters worse, adjusting focusing distance affects focal length on most of photographic lenses.

It would be possible to craft a more exact viewfinder if the human photographers had a standardized viewfinder-to-eye mount and lenses would report their actual focal length all the time. As long as these issues remain, it's better to err on the safer side.

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I'm going to tentatively accept this as the best explanation. Basically, it's a fundamental difference between looking at an image projected on a ground glass and looking through a finder window. But, I did some quick experimentation, and eye distance doesn't seem to make a noticeable difference (even at fairly close focusing distances). Moving my eye significantly from the center of the frame does, but — to me at least — doing so seems unnatural and centering my eye normal. Seems like Fujifilm could at least offer an option to have the frame lines drawn larger. –  mattdm May 2 '12 at 19:46
    
I think this is just one of those tradeoffs that the target group knows about and accepts without really thinking about it. After all, the X-Pro1 is at heart a wannabe rangefinder á la the Leica M. And those cameras have done perfectly well with less-than-perfect frame line accuracy for more than half a century now. I shan't even go into the depths of suckiness of the finders of the pre-M "Barnack" Leicas :) –  Staale S May 3 '12 at 11:27
    
On the edit: here, the lenses and camera are brand-new this year and created for each other by Fujifilm. I'd be shocked if the focal length varies meaningfully per sample, so knowing the exact focal length should be no problem. –  mattdm May 4 '12 at 20:37

Imre said that "The viewfinder on a rangefinder camera should not be considered a device for exact framing, but rather choosing the direction of shooting.", I agree.

But I also think that the fact that the OVF introduces not only a simple shrinking but also distortion, entered in the choice of fuji.

Furthermore, these alterations depend of the focal length and the focus distance. You will find in Meet your X-Pro 1 Optical View Finder (OVF) a comprehensive comparison between how the OVF and the EVF views of "reality".

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