Digital cameras

Why is it that with the advent of the digital camera with the LCD screen that everyone stopped using the viewfinder? Did you notice any of the professional photographers during the Olympics holding their camera out at arms length? (Yes, most of the new high end professional camers do have the LCD viewers.) Have you been to a wedding lately? Do those photographers hold the camera out at arms length? NO!

Now for the hundred thousand dollar question: Do you know why?

Holding the camera at arms length is probably the most unstable (read: results in blurred pictures) way a camera can be held. I’m sure that you can attempt to balance it on your toe or something for a less stable position, but for a practical shot with your shoes still on, arms length is the worst. My personal favorite is the “I’m so cool that I can do the one handed arms length shot”. If you’ve taken any photography course or read any book on the subject you know that it’s recommended that at least one arm is tucked tightly against the body for stability.

I will admit that for some shots (such as those close to the ground or very close to an object where the viewfinder parallax is greatest) that the LCD (especially if it is able to be turned separate from the camera) is invaluable. I will also admit that framing is somewhat easier with the LCD for some shots but in that case a tripod or monopod is recommeded. But for most shots, looking through the viewfinder with a stable platform (arms in and all of that) will result in the best picture.

If you’re going to inundate the world with your crazy vacation, family, event or whatever pictures, for the love of all that is good and pure, don’t hold the camera at arms length!

And yes, I’m considering making a Things that really tick me off category.



  1. I’m not sure your Olympics example is totally relevant, since you actually *cannot* use the LCD screen when taking pictures on a digital SLR–the mirror is flipped down and directing all light through the viewfinder.

  2. Really? This I did not know. I was watching a professional photographer take some sunset shots a while back and I noticed the LCD on the camera and what I thought was the image on the LCD after he took it. I did some interpolation and voila!
    Thanks for the info and your explanation makes sense. I was actually wondering how they would split the image with a loss of quality.
    I still assert that even if they did have the ability to use the LCD while holding the camera at arms length, they wouldn’t!

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