We’ve all seen that mirror inside a DSLR camera that lifts up every time you take a photo. Its main function is to reflect light from the lens onto the optical viewfinder so that you can frame your shot.
With mirrorless cameras becoming more and more popular, they are often being compared to DSLR cameras by those who are thinking of making the switch to a mirrorless camera.
However, many people are asking if a mirrorless camera has a pentaprism. If not, what does it use instead?
Join me as I take a look.
Does A Mirrorless Camera Have A Pentaprism? No, a mirrorless camera does not have a pentaprism because it uses an electronic viewfinder instead of an optical viewfinder. An optical viewfinder requires a pentaprism to reflect light from the lens onto the viewfinder itself, and because a mirrorless camera does not have an optical viewfinder, a pentaprism is not needed.
What Is A Viewfinder?
A viewfinder is an optical device on your camera that is used to help photographers compose their photographs before taking a photo. You get two types of viewfinders namely, optical viewfinders and electronic viewfinders. Optical viewfinders are located near the top at the back of your camera, and electronic viewfinders are found on newer DSLR cameras at the back of the camera.
A pentaprism viewfinder is a type of optical viewfinder that uses mirrors and prisms to redirect light from the lens through an opening in the camera body so you can see what your image will look like before taking it.
It was invented by Henri Chrétien in 1902 but did not become popular until later when manufacturers began adding them to their cameras. The first Pentaprism Viewfinder, designed by Henri Chrétien
The pentamirror viewfinder is a type of optical viewfinder that uses mirrors and prisms to redirect light from the lens through an opening in the camera body so you can see what your image will look like before taking it.
This device has been around since 1966 when Olympus first introduced it but its popularity only started to grow in recent years due to advancements in technology which made these more affordable for other manufacturers.
What Is An Optical Viewfinder?
An optical viewfinder is the original style of viewing system that is still used in many cameras. It uses a series of mirrors and prisms to redirect light from the lens through a hole in the camera body and into your eye so you can see what your photo will look like before taking it.
This type of viewfinder has been around since 1839 when Joseph Nicéphore Niépce invented it but its popularity declined as electronic ones became more popular due to their ability to display information on an LCD screen.
What Is An Electronic Viewfinder?
Certain DSLR cameras, and all mirrorless cameras, make use of an electronic viewfinder which is essentially an LCD screen at the back of the camera that lets you see how the photo will look before you take it.
Now, you might be thinking: Some DSLR cameras have electronic viewfinders, so why are a pentaprism and an optical viewfinder needed at all?
Well, electronic viewfinders on certain DSLR cameras are not that accurate. In fact, many DSLR users prefer to use the optical viewfinder instead because it gives a more accurate representation of what the photo will look like.
With mirrorless cameras, however, a more advanced electronic viewfinder is being used and this eliminates the need for an optical viewfinder and a pentaprism. This is the biggest drawcard of a mirrorless camera.
Without a pentaprism, a mirrorless camera has a smaller form factor and few mechanical parts that can wear out. This makes them easier to travel with when compared to DSLR cameras, and they generally last longer as well.
As you can see, a mirrorless camera does not have a pentaprism. A pentaprism is often called a pentamirror, and the function of this mirror is to reflect light from the lens onto the optical viewfinder.
But since a mirrorless camera uses an electronic viewfinder instead of an optical viewfinder, a pentaprism is not needed.
This has lead to mirrorless cameras becoming very popular among professional photographers. They are smaller than DSLR cameras which makes them easier to handle and to travel with.
They also make use of superior electronic viewfinders, and this is great because you can see an accurate representation of a shot on a big LCD screen before taking the photo.