Posted by: photographytuition | November 22, 2011

Compact cameras with viewfinders

Out of hundreds of compact cameras I reckon there are only 5 with optical viewfinders – a couple of Canons and Fuji’s and a Nikon.

I know this because a friend of mine from photography college wants a compact camera to take to Vietnam when he goes backpacking and asked for my advice. He used to be a press photographer but changed careers many years ago. He’s got a Panasonic Lumix now but it drives him nuts not being able to see the screen when it’s sunny.

He, and I, find it hard to understand why people put up with cameras that are pretty much useless when it’s sunny. We’ve even looked into designing better screens using a polarising type grid  but didn’t get anywhere.

Out of the 5 that I could find – there may be more – 4 were over £300. The one that is cheaper is the Canon Sureshot A1200 at around £75. From all the reviews I’ve seen of it it’s a pretty good camera and the one I recommended bearing in mind that if you’re backpacking on your own you don’t want to be carrying expensive gear.

Probably the best compact with a viewfinder is the Canon G12 at £355.  I haven’t seen any reviews of the new Nikon P7100 yet but early reports don’t sound promising – current price £337. FEB 2012 UPDATE. Reviews are looking better for the P7100 and people generally seem very pleased with it. Current price £350.

The Fujifilm X10 (£485, 4x zoom lens) and X100 (£830!, fixed focal length lens) are great looking cameras in a retro way but overpriced compared to the Canon G12.

FEB 2012 UPDATE; New Canon G1 X. This is a serious looking camera – no reviews as yet. £800.

I’ll let you know in a later blog which one he gets and what he thinks of it.

Nikon D80 with 16-85mm lens at 65mm. ISO 200, 1/125 sec f5.6.

Photo above is of a barn reflecting in the Monmouthshire to Brecon Canal, taken October 2010.

Nikon D80 with 16-85mm lens at 28mm. ISO 250, 1/125 sec f5.6. Exposure -1/2 stop.

Photo above taken from very near to the previous one. It shows the entire surface of the canal covered in leaves. The autumn colours don’t seem to have been quite so good this year.

Nikon D7000 with 16-85mm at 85mm. ISO 400, 1/180 sec f6.7. Exposure - 1 stop.

This photo was taken on the canalside last week. The main purpose of the trip was to photograph dippers on the nearby River Usk but I won’t show you those pictures because they’re useless!

If  you would like to try out Nikon cameras and lenses for free why not join one of my Photography Tuition sessions? Available any day of the week, any month of the year.

To find out more see or email me



  1. Really like this group of photos. As for compacts with viewfinders I must agree. I can’t stand a camera without a viewfinder, except maybe my pinhole. If it’s sunny you can’t see a thing on the screens. I’m still using a Canon G10, but would like to upgrade but to what?

    • My friend bought a really nice looking Canon G11 from Ebay. I had a short play around with it – everything was great apart from the viewfinder. Would it really make it that much bigger and heavier to have a decent viewfinder?

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