Digital Camera Viewfinders
Digital Camera LCD Screen

Conventional cameras use viewfinders which allow you to set up your shot and, in the case of Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras, focus your subject. Viewfinders can also be found on digital cameras, but in addition, nearly every digital camera is equipped with an LCD preview screen.

The preview screen on a digital camera can also be used to set up shots, so you may be wondering why both are required. Quite simply the LCD preview screen consumes battery power, so to extend your battery life it is preferable to use the viewfinder instead of the preview screen for composing shots. Another reason for using the viewfinder is that LCD screens can be hard to see in brilliant sunlight. There are many other uses for preview screens and they are essential for most digital photographers.

Digital Camera LCD Screen

The preview screen on any digital camera provides a number of useful functions aside for composing shots.

For instance, if you are running out of space on your memory card and wish to take a few additional photographs, previewing saved images allows you to select out pictures which can be deleted. Several cameras have a thumbnail function which allows you to view many shots at one time. This makes it simple to zero in on one specific photograph and delete it if it not required.

For those who print pictures directly from the camera, the preview screen allows you to choose which photograph should be printed. Some cameras even have elementary editing functions which allow you to crop images and adjust colour and brightness before printing them. All of these functions can be accessed with the LCD preview screen.

Digital Camera Viewfinders

If your digital camera has a conventional type viewfinder, it should be used for most of your picture taking. As we mentioned above, using the viewfinder instead of the LCD preview screen will save on battery power. By using the viewfinder when taking a photograph, the camera tends to be held a lot more steadier than when using the LCD display.. Photographers who wear glasses can get a camera with a diopter adjustment -- this adjusts the lens of the viewfinder so that you don't have to wear glasses when shooting pictures.

There are some instances where it is advisable to use the preview screen instead of the viewfinder

The viewfinder on the digital camera is slightly offset from the lens. In most situations this is not a problem, but for closeup shots there can be a discernible difference between what the lens sees and what the viewfinder sees. The preview screen allows you to precisely compose closeup shots because it shows exactly what the lens sees.

When taking photographs of objects close to the ground, it is better to use the preview screen instead of the viewfinder as this will save you from having to get into an awkward position in order to set up the shot.

Through the Lens Viewfinder

Some of the more high end digital cameras have a viewfinder which is connected to the lens with a prism. This allows you to see precisely what the lens sees. A variation on this type of viewfinder is the electronic viewfinder (EVF) . This is a miniature LCD display which collects light from the lens area. As you are setting up a shot you can also see all of the camera's menus. This lets you switch camera settings as you are viewing a scene for immediate feedback.