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This is what you look through to help point the camera in the right direction when taking a photo. SLR cameras have accurate through the lens viewing so what you see is what the lens sees. Compact, rangefinder and digital cameras have a separate viewfinder that is often less accurate at close range. Some cameras have an adjustment to change the eyepiece to suit your vision. Some have an accessory slot where a small correction lens can be attached.

Related Terms

Having an interchangeable viewfinder increases your scope to shoot from low down using a waist-level finder or to enable program exposure using an AE head. There are also options with magnifying hoods. Many medium format cameras have this feature, but only a couple of 35mm SLRs do.
All but cheap and cheerful digital cameras now have an LCD that's used as a viewfinder to compose pictures and to review previously taken and stored images. On digital cameras, many functions are selectable from menus displayed in the LCD.Playback options may include a choice of full screen, zoom magnify or thumbnail views. Some also have a slide show mode. Buying adviceIt's great to have an LCD as a viewfinder, but check that you can see it well in daylight. Some have a brightness control to help when in bright conditions the screen view is poor, alternatively you may be able to buy a hood to shield the screen from reflections. Also use the LCD sparingly as batteries can drain quickly with use.
A display for modes and features in the viewfinder or top-plate of many cameras. Most display the number of photos you have left along with the battery condition and exposure mode. More advanced cameras also have the metering mode, exposure mode and flash mode displayed.
The small window in the camera that you look through when taking a picture.
The variation in viewpoint of a camera's optical viewfinder and that of the taking lens. This increases as you go closer to the subject.
A multi sided glass prism housed in the roof of an single-lens reflex camera so that the image that's seen be the lens can be viewed through an optical viewfinder above the lens. The light enters through the lens is reflected up by a reflex mirror to the prism and across to the eye.
A camera with two lenses the upper one is the viewfinder lens that has a mirror reflex view and the bottom one is the taking lens.
As you look through the viewfinder of an SLR it should give you as near as possible what will appear in your image. Because of the design, position and size of mirror/pentaprism, etc., this is not always possible and you often see less than 100%. The higher this figure is, the more accurate the results will be. It's usually only professional cameras that give 100% accuracy.
Cameras with zoom lenses have either a rocker control, two buttons or a lever to adjust through the focal lengths of the lens. You can adjust this while looking through the viewfinder and then let go when the desired angle of view is reached.
Electronic Viewfinder - shows the view from the camera lens on a small electronic display.