What is so good about a B&W viewfinder? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Open DV Discussion
For topics which don't fit into any of the other categories.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old February 11th, 2004, 09:15 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Buffalo,NY
Posts: 167
What is so good about a B&W viewfinder?

I have noticed that the dvcams like the pd 150 and 170 have B&w viewfinders. I know they have higher resolution but I cant see why someone would want a black and white viewfinder. I shoot 90% of my footy with the viewfinder with my gl2 and if it wasn't color I don't think I could get my settings right to get the true color and other things. This might be a weird question but I am thinking about getting a pd170 this upcoming summer (just ot be sure i get a good serial #) and was wondering if the vf is a benefit or not.
Joel Ruggiero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2004, 09:26 PM   #2
Outer Circle
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Hope, BC
Posts: 7,527
B&W viewfinders are easier to focus with.
Frank Granovski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2004, 09:30 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Posts: 389
I, as well as many professionals, prefer the b&w viewfinder for two reasons, both specific to lighting. Color tends to trick your eye into seeing improper lighting. Yellow looks substantially brighter than dark blue even though their exposures may be equal. With a b&w viewfinder, the colors don't distract your eye for light balance.
A b&w viewfinder also allows for a more crisp focus. From what I understand this is also due to how our eyes see, and tend to not distinguish between, colors. So the b&w tone provides a more distinguishable difference between objects on screen.

Keep in mind this is just the way I see it, but there are probably a handful of others who will agree as well as disagree. You make a good point with using the color viewfinder to properly adjust color, which is a very big part of picture quality. Many times, professionals use an additional, calibrated video monitor to keep track of color. Using a monitor is way too expensive for me, so I would love to see a camcorder with color lcd and b&w viewfinder.
__________________
Nicholi Brossia
Nicholi Brossia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2004, 10:11 PM   #4
Retired DV Info Net Almunus
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,943
See my FU-1000 review for some additional remarks.
__________________
Lady X Films: A lady with a boring wardrobe...and a global mission.

Hey, you don't have enough stuff!
Buy with confidence from our sponsors. Hand-picked as the best in the business...Really!

See some of my work one frame at a time: www.KenTanaka.com
Ken Tanaka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2004, 10:11 PM   #5
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
B&W viewfinders are CRT's, while color viewfinders are LCD's. CRT's inherently have better resolution and contrast than LCD's, particularly in this application. If you were to turn the color off of your color LCD (making it black and white), it wouldn't improve either of these factors. It's the CRT that makes the difference.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2004, 10:16 PM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Saguenay, Québec, Canada
Posts: 1,051
Quote:
If you were to turn the color off of your color LCD (making it black and white), it wouldn't improve either of these factors. It's the CRT that makes the difference.
Based on this, is there exist color CRT viewfinder? Perhaps on higher end cameras?
__________________
Jean-Philippe Archibald
http://www.jparchibald.com - http://www.vimeo.com/jparchib
Jean-Philippe Archibald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2004, 10:19 PM   #7
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 1,929
A color CRT would defeat the purpose, since in a color CRT twice the number of phosphors are dedicated to rendering chrominance as luminance--a major sacrifice of sharpness.

If you're not using a manual-focus lens, a B&W viewfinder won't benefit you any.

I think Nicholi is making the argument that LCD viewfinders don't have the luminance dynamic range that a CRT has. I'm not sure how particularly important that is since the recorded luminance dynamic range of DV is not larger than that of an LCD display.
__________________
All the best,
Robert K S

Search DVinfo.net for quick answers | The best in the business: DVinfo.net sponsors
Robert Knecht Schmidt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2004, 11:06 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Posts: 389
I've heard that from a couple news videographers. I do prefer b&w for lighting, but sometimes I end up trying so hard to get it perfect, I imagine things. That's why I added that disclaimer at the bottom. Either way, I'll stick to it.
__________________
Nicholi Brossia
Nicholi Brossia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2004, 11:31 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Santa Rosa, California
Posts: 745
I just like to have the choice of being able to see my image in either color or b/w. For me, it has more to do with being able to see something a couple of different ways, that's useful.
__________________
Breakthrough In Grey Room

Shawn Mielke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 12th, 2004, 06:05 PM   #10
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Buffalo,NY
Posts: 167
thanks for the info guys
Joel Ruggiero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 12th, 2004, 08:20 PM   #11
Wrangler
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Vallejo, California
Posts: 4,049
The B&W viewfinder has around 800 or more lines of resolution and is fed from the front-end of the camera, not post the recording electronics (called E to E in Sony-Speak). It also has a Peaking circuit that really lets you know when the image is in focus. Even in poor conditions. Plus a brightness and frequently a contrast control.

Typically, the CRT in a pro finder is also much larger than that of a LCD display in an amateur or prosumer camera. A good pro viewfinder will have at least a 1 inch CRT and many have 1.5" or larger. This makes a great difference.

The B&W displays in the PD150/170 are LCD panels without the RGB filters. So they, in theory, have 3 X the resolution. Certainly they are easier to focus with (and more accurate) than attempting to focus with the LCD side panels.

Once you have tried a pro finder, it will be difficult to go back to the LCD variety.

Oh, and Zebra patterns are easier to use too. With a high-res finder, having both a 70 and 100 percent zebra displayed concurrently is very useable.
__________________
Mike Rehmus
Hey, I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel!
Mike Rehmus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 12th, 2004, 11:18 PM   #12
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,483
I've used both the VX2000 finder and the PD170.
Without comparing side-by-side, I didn't see much
advantage to the PD B&W. I don't know if anyone
else has noticed this, but it seems that the
increased magnification of the 170 finder
seems to bounce more light around inside
the finder, decreasing contrast.
A bigger advantage to the PD over the VX
is that the cam isn't constantly powering
down.
Dave Largent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 15th, 2004, 06:24 AM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Andalucia, Spain
Posts: 301
I have had MAJOR problems finding a red flower in a green field using a BW viewfinder. If I'm shooting color I need to see the image in color just as it will be recorded, otherwise I'm missing tons of important information needed to make important decisions. I guess it depends also how much time you have to set up your shot. If I have to get rolling fast, I want to see color.
__________________
Film & TV locations & production Spain
http://www.fotofilmvideo.com/
Dan Uneken is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 15th, 2004, 12:15 PM   #14
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
It's an excellent point, Dan. Many years ago I shot a gardening video in which I had to follow the host around with Steadicam as she pointed out various perennials, dromedaries and xylophones (then as now, I know nothing about varieties of flora!) My best guesses were listening to her color description, and as I would be zooming in to area she seemed to be pointing I would have to look up, locate the flower that I hoped was the right one by eye (so I could see the color), take a sort of of mental snapshot of the shape and textures of the surrounding area and then switch my gaze back to the monochrome monitor as the zoom continued and steer it to the matching area. My accuracy was acceptable, but not uncanny. Color viewing would certainly have helped in this instance.

However, all good TV-style shooters gain the ability to "find focus" as they are zooming in on a given shot, taking their cues from the high-res B&W viewfinder; as the shot begins to soften in the zoom, they will start focusing, watching to see if they go slightly too far the other way and adjusting accordingly. If done properly, the slight "buzzing" is imperceptible and the shot appears to maintain focus all the way through (this assumes that one was unable to do the standard zoom in/focus/zoom out before the shot started due to run and gun shooting conditions). I personally have found that color LCD's, whether flip out or viewfinder (even worse), do not deliver enough resolution for the above method; you don't get enough instant feedback about the subtlety of focus to make instaneous, minute adjustments.

The BEST of all situations is a good quality optical viewfinder such as does not exist in the DV world, sadly! Those who have grown up with 35mm SLR still cameras can attest to the delights of full color viewing coupled with the fine resolution afforded by a good ground glass. That's what you get with motion picture cameras, and fortunately the very latest crop of HD cameras (the Arri Metavision D-20 for one) retains this important feature.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 15th, 2004, 03:27 PM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Andalucia, Spain
Posts: 301
I'm a stills guy originally. Nothing beats the stereoscopic view of the naked ground glass on a Hasselblad or a Mamiya! You always have to shut one eye to come back down to the 2-dimensional world of photography.
Charles, do you think, when all film will have disappeared, they will make optical viewfinders on high-end digital cameras? Suppose so...
__________________
Film & TV locations & production Spain
http://www.fotofilmvideo.com/
Dan Uneken is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:17 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network