Also just finder. Typically, the little window at the back of a camera into which the photographer peers in order to preview the scene prior to taking the photograph.
On some cameras its the ground glass surface on the top or interior of the camera which displays a preview of the scene. Some cameras support waist-level viewfinders, which let the photographer peer down into the camera from above whilst holding the camera at waist level. You can also buy angle finders - angle reflectors which let you look into a camera viewfinder from above - and magnifying attachments. And some rare cameras, particularly top of the line professional cameras such as the Nikon F series, support interchangeable finders - the entire top of the pentaprism housing can be removed.
Digital cameras usually have an LCD panel on the camera back. These are used for displaying digital images in the camera or, in the case of non-SLR digital cameras, often used as realtime viewfinders. SLR digital cameras cannot use rear LCD panels as viewfinders because the image sensor is blocked by the reflex mirror.
cf. direct vision camera, ground glass, LCD, rangefinder, reverse Galilean, single lens reflex (SLR), twin-lens reflex (TLR).
Entry last updated 2002-04-17. Term 1284 of 1487.
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