Vari-angle (swivel) screen pros and cons

IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
edited August 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
Rather than take other threads off-track where this comes up, here's the place to discuss the merits (or lack thereof) of screens that are not fixed to the back of your camera.

First the upside: When the screen is open, but flush against the camera body, there is no difference from any other camera screen. When the screen is closed, it is also flush against the camera body, but the screen is protected against scratches and other damage. In this position, when you want to shoot only through the viewfinder you get zero annoying stray light from the screen and no nose prints :-) For these reasons alone, I see no reason why every Nikon shouldn't be so equipped.
When you swing the screen to the side, you get the ability to shoot low to the ground, or high above your head without twisting your neck into an unnatural position. For astrophotography on a tripod with the lens pointed up to the sky, the vari-angle is a must, and for macrophotography on a tripod pointing down it is very convenient. For almost any shooting situation where you use live view, the vari-angle is helpful.

The downside: Some folks feel that it is too flimsy for a pro camera, or that if you drop your camera the screen will pop off. In practice I don't see the screen as being any more of an issue than say a remote cable or gps connected to the camera. And that's only when extended. If it is flush, there really is no downside.

Looking for any comments or feedback on this line of thinking.

Comments

  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    What could I add more? I'm 100% agreeing. The only thing to add: it's practical for self-portraits or myself and me portraits. And, contrary to a dedicated optical angle VF, the angle is much more versatile.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited August 2013
    @Ironheart: All good points. However, the one areas that I find this feature to be a downside is in harsh weather conditions where weather sealing agains the elements could not be obtained to the same level as those that have a fixed LCD screen.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,042Member
    My only issue is with live view, whether with a tilty screen or not, it's not fast enough at autofocus to be of particular use unless you're absolutely stable or you're absolutely sure your subject isn't going to move, at least on my experience on a D7000. Handheld macro shots with live view would be useless unless you're on a tripod.

    I do agree that sometimes a higher vantage point is very useful and unique as well, especially with automotive photography when you're used to seeing photos at eye level. With automotive photography I always find it useful to crouch lower and having a tilty screen would be very useful.

    But since I don't do video it's not an end all or be all for me.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited August 2013
    I think the only reason tilting screens are not fitted to the Pro cameras is, they are not strong enough to with stand, the abuse some professional might give them
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • SkintBritSkintBrit Posts: 79Member
    I think Ironheart is generally correct in his summation, and on the whole they are far more beneficial than they are a liability........However Golf007sd's point is a very good one, as is sevencrossing's. I don't think either of these issues would be insurmountable if Nikon put their mind to it.
    D3s's D700 F100 / Trinity 2.8 Zooms & 1.4 Primes / 105 micro. SB900s with Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 / Mini TT1s. Camranger remote control system.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    Rough weather conditions would be shooting in pouring rain or snowstorm. I somehow doubt about the kind of images one would shoot in those conditions, so I guess it's more a transporting the camera with lens in those conditions? For me this argument is weaker than the time delay when using LV. I find the swivel is really useful for all tripod shots of unmoving subjects. On a mirrorless camera such as my old G11 it develops to a great help for shooting.

    But all that stuff about delay of LV shots generally goes for all kinds of DSLR when shooting LV except the Sony translucent mirror types. It's not a flaw of the swivel display.
  • adsads Posts: 93Member
    Definitely a fan of the swivel screen, always use it for landscapes and star trails (ie anything where the pathetic slowness of live view af doesn't matter!).

    Think golf is right - a swivel screen would be the weakest link on a D4 weather proofing wise, though mine has survived being frozen solid (it had about 1/8th of an inch of ice on it) with no dramas.

    I'd definitely miss it if I upgraded.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Having just used a CamRanger, essentially to have the viewing screen not at the camera level, and to see a larger view of the image, I certainly can see some advantage to a movable screen. And, my auto show images are generally overhead, from a monopod, as most of the images are from low angles and look all alike (IMO). So, the feature can be an advantage if one does not use a CamRanger.
    Msmoto, mod
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,042Member
    Definitely a fan of the swivel screen, always use it for landscapes and star trails (ie anything where the pathetic slowness of live view af doesn't matter!).

    Think golf is right - a swivel screen would be the weakest link on a D4 weather proofing wise, though mine has survived being frozen solid (it had about 1/8th of an inch of ice on it) with no dramas.

    I'd definitely miss it if I upgraded.
    I still think the lens mount is still the weakest link. Worst comes to worst the swivel screen gets ripped off, but for the most part the most important parts of the camera aren't inside the swivel screen. Your most expensive parts are still the sensor, the AF module and probably the processor.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    .... So, the feature can be an advantage if one does not use a CamRanger.
    I have CamRanger. But the swivel is better:
    No extra setup, cable, choosing WLAN of Cam Ranger, if there are other WLANs around
    No extra device (iPad / iPod)
    No extra batteries (although LV is emptying the camera's battery rapidly, but this is also the case with Cam Ranger)
    No need to fix the other device on my wrist when adjusting the cam on tripod
    No strange functions, as CamRanger doesn't like all kinds of settings, focus stacking is not possible in certain modes.

    I expected better versatility from CamRanger, some Nikons are nearly fully supported, others only so-so.

    It would be better, if one could remove the original screen to use it external or use an internal WLAN, like Canon showed how to do in the EOS70D. The extra device of CamRanger is far away from an elegant solution.
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