It is an expensive 1oz at $350
but still a lot less then an ounce of gold, and you can actually do
something with it. This little thing is not only a good viewfinder,
it's great; especially for
manual focus users. With a manual focus lens and focus peaking on, I
prefer the NEX-5N
and EVF to the Nikon D700
viewfinder and DK-17M. That's not to say it's better in all situations,
but when focus is critical with a shallow depth of field, the focus
peaking and or focus magnification are fantastic to have. I'd gladly
take this viewfinder over any DX slr. The rear LCD only design was a
major problem for me on the NEX-5, because when shooting in high
contrast light it was near impossible to see. Problem solved with the
EVF. For the most part. The eye cup of the viewfinder is the worst I've
used, it doesn't block light well. I often find myself using my hand
for extra shade.
It's simple to attach, mounting in a similar fashion as the
flash but much easier to turn the screw to tighten it down. Externally
there is not much to look at. On one side we have a button for
switching from the rear LCD to the EVF, but the FDA-EVS1 has a light
sensor that can
automatically do the same.
On the other side of the EVF is a nice simple diopter
adjustment. I have pretty bad eyesight, and just like on my D700, if I
adjust it all the way to one end of the spectrum it's just right. This
is a nice touch on something so small.
After just a few minutes
shooting with the EVF I noticed that that its tilting ability is quite
handy. Much more so than I would have expected. In the image below I
focused on the spider web on the bicycle spoke. This wouldn't have been
an easy task with many other cameras, my eyesight isn't that good.
Sony NEX-5N, Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 ED-IF
Once again the quality of the EVF
is truly outstanding. When coupled with some of my older Nikkor glass
and using the manual focus assist I can literally see the difference in
quality as the lens is stopped down. This also shows up
with focus peaking. With low contrast lenses, focus peaking is not
always visible. The
Nikkor 28mm f/2 doesn't set off focus peaking at f/2, but it's
notorious for low contrast wide open. Stopped down
a little and focus peaking works well, so this is obviously a
shortcoming of the lens not the viewfinder.
The live histogram displays in the EVF making exposure
easy to set, and other options can be toggled on and off just like the
rear LCD screen.
Once the EVS is attached I
find that I
don't use the rear LCD, unless I need to spend extensive time in the
menu system. The rear LCD resolution is good, but the FDA-EV1S is
notably better. I'd say this is the best money you can spend on your
NEX-5N. It's half the cost, but it makes it twice the camera. The
serious downside to the EVF is that it takes up the only acessory port
on the NEX-5N. This is more of an issue with the NEX-5N than the EVF,
and it limits what you can do, no EVF and flash use at the same time,
and more importantly, no use of the EVF with the external microphone.
Easy Manual Focus
Can't use external microphone or flash at the same time
Eye piece terrible at
blocking light from the side
The short story is that after six months, when I pick up my Nikon D700
I miss the FDAEV1S. It's that good. The downside is that it is about as
durable as its weight would indicate. In my field of use for the camera
(expedition kayaking) the viewfinder lasted under a year in one piece.
It still works, minus the light sensor. Shame on Sony, a duct-tape
fashioned eye piece actually blocks light better than the supplied
Despite how it looks, it's still