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MDX-40 viewfinder


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#1 blueline

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 10:44 AM

Hello,

Last minute question before I take the plunge with new MDX-40D/Canon 40D. Is the standard viewfinder adequate in terms of maginification underwater, or do people generally rely on the Live View for taking pictures? I ask this because I recently purchased a new mask and was told by an employee at the diveshop that no one relies on the viewfinder due to the distance between "eyes-viewfinder". Instead everyone(???) uses the live view for shooting.

Am I going to need a diopter that magnifies even more? I haven't seen any available for that housing, plus I was under the impression batteries don't last that long if you use the Live View?

Any ideas will be appreciated.

Thanks,
Blueline.
Will dive for Molluscs.

Sea & Sea MDX-40D, Canon 60mm, Kenko 1.4x TC, 28-135mm(topside), Sigma 18-50mm, Tokina 11-16mm, ULCS, Inon D-2000W, Fix 500DX light.

#2 TheRealDrew

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 11:04 AM

Instead everyone(???) uses the live view for shooting.


Around here the general tone is Live View is maybe nice but really not used. Most use the viewfinder and if there is an item like the Aquaview for maginfication, people love them. I shoot an Aquatica with standard viewfinder and after a couple of dives started getting the hang of lloking properly. Would still love the Aquaview :P

Hopefully someone can tune in on your rig. Steve (Williams) shoots that one...

#3 bmemike

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 11:25 AM

Remember that live view for dSLRs is a rather new feature- so the majority of dSLRs in the water today don't even _have_ a live view feature. So to say that "everyone" uses it is beyond silly.

Plus, there's certain tradeoffs in using it (particularly around AF) on some models.

I use the viewfinder on my 30D and I've never had a problem with it. When I house my 5D2, I'll continue using the viewfinder without hesitation.

#4 blueline

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 12:12 PM

That's what I thought too, however, my local dive shop's guru insisted the Live View is the way to go. I'd prefer the viewfinder since that is what I use topside. Plus Live View wastes battery power; I know that from experience.


The reason I asked him that question was because I was looking for a mask that provides good fit (no leaks-needed a mask that does't flood), so his advice was to rely on Live View because the viewfinder is way too small to look/see through the mask.(??) Supposedly, it wouldn't provide accurate focus. Anyhow...

Thanks for the info.
Blueline
Will dive for Molluscs.

Sea & Sea MDX-40D, Canon 60mm, Kenko 1.4x TC, 28-135mm(topside), Sigma 18-50mm, Tokina 11-16mm, ULCS, Inon D-2000W, Fix 500DX light.

#5 Steve Williams

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 12:13 PM

Like the guys say, the 40D viewfinder is more than adequate. Live view is a problem because of the way it's implemented. I'd like to play with one of the add on viewfinders and they would make life a little easier but I haven't felt the need to spend the money yet. You'll be fine, have fun!

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#6 bversteegh

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 10:09 PM

definitely get better focus with viewfinder than live view in my experience. Viewfinder on the 40D (which I shoot) is pretty good - not that hard to use it with a mask. Live view introduces shutter lag into the camera, and the autofocus implementation is whacky. If you are willing to live without autofocus (ie set the lens focus where you want it, and move the camera until you achieve focus, live view is OK). Inon makes a both an in-line and a 45 degree magnifying viewfinder that is compatible with the S&S housing - but they are pricey - around 900 us typically. I want one, but haven't taken the plunge (yet).
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#7 Mike L

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 10:25 PM

I would definitely recommend the viewfinder over liveview. As Bruce mentioned above, Inon makes two nice viewfinders that can be machined to fit the MDX housing. If you shoot a lot of macro, the 45 degree is very nice. Personally I find the 180 to be much more versatile and easier to shoot.
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#8 Otara

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 02:28 AM

There are multiple reasons why liveview on the 40D is not much use underwater.

Firstly unless your housing can access the 8way controller you cant move the focus point. Secondly to focus theres a _big_ delay, its only really useful to focus at a given distance then to move the camera in and out until you're right - autofocus basically isnt much use in liveview unless the target is very slow moving.

Its useful for static macro with a central focus point where you move the camera to get exact focus because you can use the screen zoom to magnify what you're seeing. But for anything moving, its very little use in my view because unless the screen is zoomed its very much a guess whether you'll be in focus or not. I can only assume that the vendor was thinking of other cameras like the E330 or SonyA700 DSLR's, where there is a special sensor for liveview that speeds things up dramatically, and autofocus becomes more viable.

Otara

#9 MikeO

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 01:42 PM

That's what I thought too, however, my local dive shop's guru insisted the Live View is the way to go. I'd prefer the viewfinder since that is what I use topside. Plus Live View wastes battery power; I know that from experience.


The reason I asked him that question was because I was looking for a mask that provides good fit (no leaks-needed a mask that does't flood), so his advice was to rely on Live View because the viewfinder is way too small to look/see through the mask.(??) Supposedly, it wouldn't provide accurate focus. Anyhow...

Thanks for the info.
Blueline


Uh, given this statement, I would seriously consider downgrading this person from "guru" to some lesser state of enlightenment :P . For the reasons stated, Live View, as implemented in most DSLRs is not very useful underwater. And, for anyone to say that it is impossible to see the viewfinder through a mask hasn't spent much time doing it. I will say that the mask you choose does affect that. I've found that lower volume masks with black skirts make it much easier to use the viewfinder (reduces eye-to viewfinder distance). Perhaps your guru knows that the mask you're using is high volume and may present problems? It is also true that the aftermarket (or not) 45-degree and straight (180-degree) viewfinders do help quite a bit. One thing I've found with my Seatool 45-degree viewfinder is that it provides reliable framing with eye-relief. With the standard eye-hole, I sometimes had issues framing reliably because I had to put my face right up against the housing and I ended up looking through the viewfinder at an angle so my images were off center sometimes. If you can get a low volume mask to work with your face, that will help you use the standard viewfinder a lot more easily. One of the add-on finders is very helpful if you can afford it.

Mike

Edited by MikeO, 03 March 2009 - 01:46 PM.

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