In photography, a viewfinder is what the photographer looks through to compose, and in many cases to focus, the picture. Most viewfinders are separate, and suffer parallax, while the single-lens reflex camera lets the viewfinder use the main optical system. Viewfinders are used in many cameras of different types: still and movie, film, analog and digital. A zoom camera usually zooms its finder in sync with its lens, one exception being rangefinder cameras.
Before the development of microelectronics and electronic display devices, viewfinders were optical.
Direct viewfinders are essentially miniature Galilean telescopes; the viewers eye was placed at the back, and the scene viewed through the viewfinder optics. A declining minority of point and shoot cameras use them. Parallax error results from the viewfinder being offset from the lens axis, to point above and usually to one side of the lens. The error varies with distance, being negligible for distant scenes, and very large for close…

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