Direct vision camera.
Simple cameras with separate viewfinder and taking lenses are called direct vision cameras. The viewfinder contains a couple of simple lenses - a reverse Galilean system - and shows you roughly the field of view of the taking lens. Point and shoot cameras almost all operate on this principle.
When you look through the viewfinder you do not look through the taking lens, like an SLR and so direct vision cameras are susceptible to parallax error. Nor is the image in the viewfinder projected onto a ground glass screen, like a reflex camera.
Most inexpensive direct vision cameras do not provide any form of focus aid - you cant tell by looking through the viewfinder if the image is in focus or not. However, rangefinder cameras offer direct vision viewfinders with the addition of a range-finding focus aid.
cf. rangefinder, reflex camera, single lens reflex (SLR), reverse Galilean, taking lens, twin-lens reflex (TLR).
Entry last updated 2002-04-04. Term 363 of 1487.
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