Pentamirror vs Pentaprism

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Sydkid, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. Sydkid

    Sydkid TPF Noob!

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    What's the difference between the two? How would they ultimately effect the outcome of my image? Most dSLRs below the $900 range use mirrors, while most above $900 use prisms. If I found a camera of comparable specs, but one had a mirror, the other a prism, would it be worth it to get the prism?

    Thanks.
     
  2. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Same thing, one is a solid chuck of glass, the other are pieces of glass stuck together to form the same thing.
    Prism = solid chunk
    Advantage/Disadvantages:
    pentamirror = cheap to produce...slightly darker...better for auto focus...
    pentaprism = bulky heavy and more expensive...brighter..easier to manual focus
     
  3. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sounds like your are considering Pentax which has pentaprisms in their higher end camera bodies. If you are planning to shoot with manual focus lenses, you will want the pentaprism.

    Personally, I like the bright viewfinders using pentaprisms but thats mostly because of the manual film cameras of the past.
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Are you confusing your mirrors here? Autofocus has absolutely nothing to do with the pentamirror in the viewfinder. The autofocus runs through the reflex mirror (the one in the lens mount), and it will behave identically regardless if you have a pentamirror or a pentaprism in the viewfinder.
     
  5. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Erm, my bad I meant better for manual focus (cuz its brighter)
    Let me re-state

    Advantage/Disadvantages:
    pentamirror = cheap to produce...slightly darker...better for auto focus...(instead of manual focus/harder to manual focus)
    pentaprism = bulky heavy and more expensive...brighter..easier to manual focus (cuz its brighter)
     
  6. Hobbes

    Hobbes TPF Noob!

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    uh I thought Canon got pentaprisms in their higher end camera as well :greenpbl: I just love the viewfinder on my EOS 40D :) and I have heard its viewfinder is a lot better than any of the pentax cameras that was one of the reasons why I bought it instead of Pentax :D

    EDIT: not even going to argue with you on that one -.- but he never mentioned Pentax or any other brands. I read the thing about EOS 40Ds viewfinder in some forum and the fact that 40Ds viewfinder is a bit better than 30D/20D. whatever
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2008
  7. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    Sydkid Wrote:
    What's the difference between the two?


    One bends light into your eye and the other reflects it. The materials used for the mirroring make a big difference. And the materials add some properties to the overall image you view through your camera's VF. These properties are usually a bit of darkness and contrast but in some systems can also include hue or tinting. Pentaprisms last longer too and pentamirrors will fade and speck and pit over the years. A pentaprism generally speaking, is superior to a pentamirror.


    How would they ultimately effect the outcome of my image?

    They don't. It's only for your eye. You might be able to focus a little more precisely with a prism than a mirror - maybe. ;)


    Most dSLRs below the $900 range use mirrors, while most above $900 use prisms.

    Yeah, they're generally considered much better. Although when comparing two high quality parts of the different types "much" is a stretch.


    If I found a camera of comparable specs, but one had a mirror, the other a prism, would it be worth it to get the prism?

    Same price but one had a prism? Get the prism.

    Different prices? It depends on how much weight you place on your OFV (optical viewfinder). If you need or love nice bright and rich views as you look through your camera then it might be worth it. If you're shooting allot of astrophotography or other images with light points the prism will be much more desirable!

    For me I don't care. Sure it's more fun to look through a pentaprism but it's a CCD/NMOS/MOS electronic sensor that's recording the image not your eye. For this reason I actually like EVF (electronic viewfinders) much MUCH better! They can amplify the light in low light conditions, all menu settings can be performed without moving your eye, and if the imager is being used to generate the image you're seeing more exactly what the CCD/NMOS/MOS chip is seeing.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2008
  8. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thats not what I said. "Sounds like your are considering Pentax..." My post didn't even have the word "Canon" in it... I was taking a guess. Reason being is that Pentax has a larger than normal consumer base who wish to use manual K-mount lenses. If that is in fact the reasoning behind the OP, then I highly recommend getting the pentaprism. IMO, Canon EOS cameras are good but they feel like they were intended for Autofocus with Manual focus implemented as a side thought.... none of the lenses are damped correctly and the viewfinders not really geared towards it.

    I've seen viewfinders of DSLRs from various brands, most pale in comparison to film cameras of days past. The K10D (assuming K20D) had an ok viewfinder. I've worked with Canon's previous to yours and most were not that great.

    Canonites and Nikonians always trying to justify their purchase against other lesser popular brands... lol
     
  9. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    I agree on all points with usayit's post above. :thumbup:
     
  10. sburatorul

    sburatorul TPF Noob!

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    dunno what to say about the ofv of the d40, it appears to have noise (odd huh?) but that is not much of a disadvantage. as for the efv- i totally hate them. used one on the fuji i own and i hated every bit of it. the only advantage is that you can see view the pictures taken without the sun reflecting in the lcd.
     
  11. reg

    reg TPF Noob!

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    No there is not "noise" in a viewfinder.

    That would likely be dust.
     
  12. sburatorul

    sburatorul TPF Noob!

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    maybe its just the one i worked with but if you focus your eyes on the focusing squares instead of the image you can see grain in the viewfinder and it is not dust, i can assure you of that - dust doesn't set in patterns.
     

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