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EOS R7 EVF Concerns about Effect on Vision

lovetoshoot2023
Contributor

Hi,

I'm currently shooting with a DSLR. One of my concerns about entering the mirrorless world is the effect that the EVF has on my vision. Can anyone share their experiences with making the transition? Do you know of any studies that have been done on the subject?  I'd like to move into the mirrorless world but have reservations. I'm currently considering the purchase of an R7.

 

 

2 ACCEPTED SOLUTIONS

There's a huge difference between looking through optics vs at a screen.  Some individuals can be very sensitive to certain refresh rates and may have additional challenges.

Rick's mention of the higher refresh rate (120 Hz) should eliminate or at least vastly reduce any sensitivity.

Don't know of any formal studies offhand myself though regarding EVFs.

--
Ricky

Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers

View solution in original post

And some of us would be looking at an EVF almost constantly for several hours shooting sports.  It does make a difference for those of us shooting sports with both eyes open.  Apple discussed this type of issue a bit during their VR goggle intro where mixed reality plus virtual can lead to nausea and other undesired effects.

I have a small mirrorless for travel but I am not ready to make the switch for sports photography.  Nothing Canon has out at this point even slightly tempts me to stray from my ultra reliable 1DX III bodies for sports photography.

Photography is not a one size fits all pursuit; what is the perfect setup for my use is far from optimal for others.

Rodger

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

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16 REPLIES 16

Tronhard
Elite
Elite

Unless someone here is an ophthalmologist, or optical scientist, I suspect you will get personal experiences.  I would suggest contacting an optical professional body to see if they can provide any such publications. In the meantime, by doing a short search, I came up with this academic paper: 
Retinal Viewfinder: Preliminary Study of Retinal Projection-Based Electric Viewfinder for Camera Dev...

You will likely have to pay the fee to get the study, but if you are concerned about your eyesight, it's a good investment.  Given the degree that these technologies are applied, if there was a significant issue, there would be several studies specifically focused on reported risks or drawbacks.  Sometimes no news is good news...

So, with that effort aside, your question is, to me quite a broad one.  My first response would be do you have reason to believe that your eyesight is vulnerable in some way to using an electronic projection screen from a camera?  Given that if you use a smartphone, tablet, laptop, monitor or LCD TV, you are looking at one, albeit with varying distances from the screen, but likely for extended periods.  There are concerns that viewing smartphones and tablets for extended periods is having impacts on the physiology of younger people who have done so most of their adult lives. There is an academic article on this one:(PDF) Effects of Electronic Devices on Vision in Students Age Group 18-25 (researchgate.net).  It should be noted that this is focused on a generation that has grown up staring at these devices for extended periods, so they have an adapted physiology to this.  It is far less likely to be an issue for older people whose physiology is established and unlikely to be impacted to anything like that same degree.

So, are  you concerned about the technology in general, or do you have a specific risk factor to consider?  Is your concern that you may experience motion sickness due to moving the camera quickly while looking through the EVF? I note that while you have said you are considering getting the R7 you have not indicated the type of photography you engage in and that can have a significant impact on how much you depend on a viewfinder.  For example, shooting landscape, where the camera is likely to be static vs. shooting wildlife or sports where one is often tracking moving targets.  The more specific you can be the better response you will get. 
That said, people experience different levels of motion sickness whether looking through an EVF, OVF, VR display or out of a car window, so likely your reaction will be specific to you.  Since that is a phenomenon you would experience quite quickly, I would suggest visiting your local camera store, or a photographic society to ask to check out the experience using a modern EVF for yourself.

From my own experience - FWIW: I an 70, have got an astigmatism in both eyes, they have been operated on and had optical insertions for cataracts, and been lasered over the years. Having worked heavily in IT, I spent most of my adult life looking at computer screens and displays of one kind or another.  As regards photography, I have been shooting through a viewfinder (optical since about 1980, and electronic since about 2013).  I always use the viewfinder, but I don't stare through it for many minutes at at time - in my own experience, which is mostly shooting wildlife and scenic, it's not practical for stills photography.  I think you would find that many stills photographers look up and over the camera frequently to get a wider view, then through the viewfinder when they have isolated a target.  This close and far switching is arguably more restful to the eyes than staring for hours at a computer screen or cell phone at the same distance - it is certainly in line with best Health and Safety practices for using display screens in business - something with which I had some experience when working in IT.

I have shot with the relatively primitive EVF units of Canon PowerShots, the M5, and now the much more sophisticated R5, 6 and 6MkII, so I think I can say I have had a lot of time looking through one.  These latter allow a screen refresh rate at a higher value, giving a much closer approximation of what one would experience with an OVF.  At no time have I experienced any eyestrain or discomfort from doing so.

Given that videographers tend to use the LCD at the back of the camera and use the camera at arms' length and/or with a gimbal, and likely a monitor screen, in which case you are using the LCD, I would suggest that the risk there is likely no worse than viewing a tablet or screen and watching a movie.  Again, movies tend to be shot in clips and then people view other things while they set up the next shot.
So, I would suggest that to a degree at least, much more will be learnt from experiencing the use of the R7 for yourself rather than asking for feedback from others - for each of us there are significant variables in personal physiology, subject type, technique and camera models.  


cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

Trevor,

Thank you for the extensive, thoughtful response.

I have been waiting for some time for a do-it-all camera in the price range of a photo enthusiast. The R7 seems like it would be perfect to capture stills of flying and perching birds as well as wide angle landscape compositions.  In analyzing my shooting I would use a combination of the EVF for birds and butterflies and the like and the LCD for landscape work.

I have no particular eyesight handicaps however I can't help wondering about the effects of this technology.

I appreciate the many personal responses to my question.

Denny

Hi Denny:
I can understand your desire to protect your vision, considering it is our most dominant sense and for photographers it is absolutely critical.  As I said, I think that trying it for yourself is the best plan.   
I did some digging and found an article from the NZ consumer institute (that is restricted to members, so I can't share it - sorry) the gist of which is that they tested EVFs from Canon, Nikon and Sony for their flagship and consumer cameras for eye strain after a similar inquiry by a member.   
While they said that the cheaper cameras lacked some of the finesse and resolution of the better units, they found no actual harm to health.  Their methodology was by using volunteers whose eyesight was tested and monitored by folks from the University of Auckland, and by also using technology to measure diffraction and interference as the cameras were moved, zoomed and rotated. 
The upshot was that they said they found no issues, but recommended (as they always do) taking one's eye away from the viewfinder and focusing on distant objects, which is generally good advice for any viewing of a digital device.


cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

Trevor,

Thanks again for the information. I think you're probably right that the best idea might be to try something in the mirrorless category to see the result. I have come to the conclusion that if I want the latest innovation I'll have to to try an EVF.

To paraphrase Shakespeare: There is nothing in this world so bad but thinking makes it so...
Or if you like another cliché: The proof of the pudding is in the eating! 🙂 


cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

Further to to your post, and this time specifically aimed at your intended use: "to capture stills of flying and perching birds as well as wide angle landscape compositions".

Since the R7 is an APS-C 'crop' sensor camera, it does not display the same field of view as the full-frame sensor bodies.  I enclose a link to an article I wrote on the implications of sensor size:
Focal Length, Field of View, Shutter Speed, Sensor Size &Equivalence 
The upshot of this that sensor size has both benefits and drawbacks.  At the wide angle end, for landscapes or shots in restricted spaces, the resultant Field of View (FoV) will be restricted and you will not get the full benefit of the optics of a wide-angle lens. However, on the telephoto end the FoV is restricted, creating an 'image boost' effect like using a longer focal length lens.  So there is not one perfect solution that fits all cases.

Logic suggests that one would go with the configuration that works for the most cases.  However, there is one more factor to consider that may be of assistance.  That is the MP resolution you need for what you produce.  Makers tout large MP sensor capacities, but if one is producing for social media, websites or digital display (which are becoming the dominant media) then a large MP sensor is not necessary as the images will be downsized in any case.  For example, the image size limit for this site is 5MP, which requires some serious downsizing of image before publication.

I had the benefit of being able to have both FF and crop sensor cameras through my career and still do, but I decided to make a choice when I went to the R-series Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera (MILC) system. I went full frame.  I did so when deciding on the Canon EOS R6, even though it is only a 20MP FF sensor.  To me, the benefits are that it has a definitely superior dynamic range over the 45MP R5 and a significant improvement over the R7. For example, tests and my own experience indicate that while the R7 exhibits noise above 3200 ISO, the R6 can be essentially noise free up to 10,500 ISO!  That means I can shoot in quite low light and get higher shutter speeds by raising the ISO.  The R6 has the ability to shoot in crop modes of 1.3 and 1.6 crop if one wants to compose in cropped mode.  The resultant MP capacity for 1.6 crop mode (the same as the R7 sensor) is about 8MP, but that is still absolutely fine for digital display and images up to 11"x14" prints.  I used to shoot much larger prints and even billboards using the 6.6MP Canon D60 from 2002!
There is now the R6MkII, which has a new sensor of 24MP, giving a crop sensor value of about 10MP, and that has pushed the cost of the R6 down quite a bit.  So, I would suggest investigating the suitability of the R6 for your needs.  In fact, one can even buy the 45MP R5 refurbished by Canon for just under $3,000.  This is a seriously high performing camera - FF, weather sealed lots of extra features.  Refurb units come with a guarantee:
Shop Canon Refurbished EOS R5 Body | Canon U.S.A., Inc.  While more expensive, you will get many years of service out of such a unit.


cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

Further to my own post.  Here are a couple of images taken with the R6 of birds:
Canon EOS R6, Sigma 150-600 C @ 550mm, f/6.3, 1/150sec, ISO-200Canon EOS R6, Sigma 150-600 C @ 550mm, f/6.3, 1/150sec, ISO-200

Canon EOS R6MkII, RF 100-500@106mm, f/5.6, 1/200sec, ISO-100Canon EOS R6MkII, RF 100-500@106mm, f/5.6, 1/200sec, ISO-100
And at the wide-angle end:
Auckland Wintergarden: Canon EOS R6, RF 14-35mm@14mm, f/7.1, 1/400sec, ISO-100Auckland Wintergarden: Canon EOS R6, RF 14-35mm@14mm, f/7.1, 1/400sec, ISO-100


cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
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