... as opposed to using the LCD? This is with reference to a NEX-5R. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Does the EVF help me hold the camera steadier? Does it help me compose better shots?

I'm also concerned about the nuisance of carrying another attachment, fitting it before a shot, and detaching it when I'm done, taking care not to lose it, etc. If the EVF is going to give me only a marginal advantage over the LCD, then it's probably not worth it.

I shoot low-light and the typical vacation photos -- landscapes and other outdoor / nature stuff, city scenes, etc. I rarely shoot sports, people, kids, pets, wildlife, etc. Thanks.


All of the mentioned advantages and disadvantages of an accessory EVF are true, except that I also tend to leave my accessory viewfinder attached to my Ricoh GR at all times, so there's no real risk of losing it. But as much as I like having mine attached, I only use it for about 5% of my photos.

I would not buy an EVF for the NEX-5R. Part of this is simple obstinacy; the 5R+EVF costs more than a NEX-6, which has a built-in EVF that avoids the negatives of adding an accessory viewfinder. Clearly the size/cost/something about the NEX-5R appealed to you, so stick with it for its strengths.

While this might not help those of us who need reading glasses, it's quite easy to hold and frame accurately with an LCD: keep your elbows tucked in at your sides and grip the camera with both hands. This is far more solid than the arms-length approach, giving me sharp results in lower-light conditions.

For low-light and typical vacation photos what I do suggest is taking some of the $200+ that you save by not buying an EVF and get a decent pocket tripod. All of the ones that Joby makes are good, but I'm particularly enamoured with their "micro" series. (I own three of them.) These have a very low profile and stay attached to the camera all the time; the few times I take mine off I usually regret it. There's a lot to be said for being able to put the camera on a conveniently-placed object, compose the shot properly (on the LCD, EVFs are unhelpful here) and use the camera's base iso sensitivity.

  • Given the $300 price of the EVF, which is more than half of what I paid for the camera itself, I'm inclined to agree with you that I'm better off waiting a couple of years and buying an NEX with a built-in EVF, like the NEX-6. paragraph break I already have a Gorillapod, and given that I specialize in (if that's the correct term) low-light work, I need a tripod of some kind, anyway, and I won't be able to take long exposures handheld, with an EVF. So it does seem that EVF gives me a small advantage at a high price, and that I'm better off saving towards a better body. – Kartick Vaddadi Dec 15 '13 at 3:54

Yes, yes and yes. An EVF is extremely advantageous over the LCD and I would just keep it on most of the time. No need to take it off, even in the camera bag, assuming it fits.

The advantages you list are all correct:

  • Holding the camera steady is easier because you have it closer to your body and there is an additional point of contact.
  • Framing is also easier because the EVF covers a greater field-of-view of your eye. It helps make shots more level too because there is one less level of indirection when you look at your subject.
  • It also helps you see the scene better in bright light because your head usually shadows it and therefore is less likely to reflex ambient light.
  • If you are doing a type of shooting that requires discretion it is also better. You wont have your arms out which calls more attention and people wont be able to see what you are shooting.
  • Thanks, Itai. However, I realized after posting this that the EVF costs $300, which is more than half of what I paid for the body itself, so I'm probably better off saving for a new body, as mpr says. – Kartick Vaddadi Dec 15 '13 at 3:56

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