How Sony Could Improve Viewfinder Activation With One Simple Change

Pardon the Buzzfeed style headline, but I really do think that Sony could make a simple hardware and software change to the a7 series of cameras that would address a complaint I’ve heard from users of the system—the auto-activating electronic viewfinder (EVF).

Inside the eyepiece on the a7 cameras is a small sensor that tells the processor when the camera has been lifted to the eye, activating the EVF and deactivating the LCD screen. Or at least, that’s what it’s supposed to do. The sensor is so sensitive that often it can be triggered just by passing a hand a few inches in front of the viewfinder. This is particularly annoying to anyone that is reviewing images on the rear LCD screen or anyone trying to reach the Menu button—the LCD screen goes dark and the tiny EVF flickers to life. This issues also plagues waist-level photography for those shooting macros or landscapes as if the LCD screen were a big medium format focusing glass.

Sigma: The wait is over. Shop e-mount primes.

Sony should consider adding a magnetic switch to the LCD screen. When the LCD screen is slightly elevated, the EVF sensor could deactivate. Simply move the screen a bit and you can review or connect to the Menu without having to worry about deactivating the screen. This would be a particular boon for the waist-level photographers.

This should be combined with an adjustable level of sensitivity for the eye sensor. I think that Sony has opted to let the EVF activate with just a hint of an object in front of the EVF to accommodate photographers with glasses. Put an eyeball up against the sensor and it’s very dark under the rubber hood but press glasses up to the EVF and they let in light, so the sensor has to be more sensitive to accommodate this. An adjustable level of sensitivity would help modify how the camera triggers the EVF.

You’re welcome, Sony.

My daily shooter is Sony a9 with a vertical grip and various Sigma lenses attached like the 14mm 1.4 Art. Find more gear recommendations in our shop.