Modern Classic SLR Series :
Canon EOS-1N Series AF SLR camera
Viewfinder and various other Issues that relate

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Viewfinder System in Canon EOS-1N

Single lens reflex photography provides a direct view optical system, regardless of change in types of lenses, focal length and viewing aids. During the old days of mechanical and early generation of electronic cameras, viewfinder was used to be the sole medium in enabling photographers to have all the information relays to him readily to make a decision for shooting; the second phase in electronic application with incorporation of LCD displays during the early '80 has made a world of difference in affecting everyone how to use a camera. Despite the advantage of having a top LCD panel for visual guide, the internal viewing system through the finder remains the most important feature in any SLR camera, even by today. So, there are plenty of technological improvements being made to this section. Generally, a top quality viewfinder system consists of in able to deliver accurate, natural viewing, magnification ratio, picture coverage and seconded by clarity, eye relief plus other supplementary functions such as dioptric adjustment capability, interchangeability of focusing Screen types etc. As far as most modern electronic SLR camera is concerned, virtually all have through finder information display as well as assisted by a top panel LCD for off-finder verification of various operational sequences.

Optical Path to various functions i.e. metering, viewing etc.

Basic princle of TTL viewing in photography

Basic illustration of optical path in the EOS-1(n) models

path_red.gif primary optical path through lens to finder path_green.gif reflected to AF BASIS path_blue.gif reflected off the film to TTL flash meter path_red.gif splitted path to metering cells (evaluative etc.) path_yellow.gif SI for masking 5 AF focusing points & others.


With Canon EOS-1 of 1989, Canon has, for the first time, overcome a technical huddle by providing breakthrough in enabling a full 100% picture coverage in the viewfinder for their SLR camera. The feature is, still remained as a proprietary feature only reserved for their top of the line series models. The basic optical viewfinder system was almost the same with the EOS-1N but there are a few improvements being added to this upgrade. But the optical system used for the viewfinder information display is essentially the same as the previous EOS-1.

(1) Construction

As shown in the illustration at the top of this page, the viewfinder's basic optical system consists of a 45
° full-surface half-mirror (with reflectance: 63%, transmittance: 37%), focusing screen with integrated fresnel lens (laser-matte screen, interchangeable from the mount), Sl (superimpose) screen for displaying the five focusing points, picture area mask, condenser lens, pentaprism, and eyepiece lens with built-in diopter adjustment mechanism. For superimposing the focusing points in the viewfinder area, light emitted from five LEDs passes through the Sl prism, pentaprism and condenser lens to the SI screen, where it is reflected from the Sl screen's AF frames into the viewfinder optical system. Note:- The Pellicle Mirror Equipped Canon EOS-1N RS which has a fixed reflex mirror has a different reflectance & transmittance ratio at 35% and 65% instead. One of the main difference between the new and old EOS-1 in the viewfinder system is, the EOS-1N's viewfinder further increases the functionality of the professional EOS-1 finder with a built-in eyepiece shutter and a direct-viewing focusing point display that superimposes the focusing points directly on the viewfinder screen, resulting in a highly-functional, easy viewing finder.

Additional info on Sl screen The EOS-1N's AF frame superimposition system differs from the EOS 5 and EOS 10 in that the AF frame marks are fabricated on the Sl screen rather than the focusing screen. This makes it possible to lead the light from the superimposed display LEDs directly to the AF frames without passing it first through the main mirror, which allows the focusing points to be displayed even during continuous shooting in Al servo AF predictive focusing mode. Note: Unlike the EOS 5/A2/A2E and EOS 10/10S, which have the focusing points etched on the focusing screen, the E0S-1N has the focusing points etched on the Sl (Superimpose) screen located between the focusing screen and pentaprism. Above the pentaprism is an LED which lights up the focusing points on the viewfinder screen. This enables the focusing points to light up on the viewfinder screen even when any of the other interchangeable focusing screens (same as for the EOS-1) is installed. The focusing point also lights during predictive autofocus in the continuous shooting mode.

The S1 screen is made of acrylic resin and is coated with an anti-reflection coating to prevent ghosting.


(2) 100% Viewfinder Coverage

The viewfinder of all the film-based EOS-1 series models cover virtually 100 percent of the scene. The viewfinder magnification is 0.72X with a 50mm lens set at infinity. The eyepoint is long at 20 mm. The viewfinder has superimposed focusing points, dioptric adjustment, and an eyepiece shutter. The pentaprism is fixed. The Laser-matte focusing screen with a fine spot metering circle is standard equipment. The viewfinder magnification ratio was about the same with the previous EOS-1 but according to Canon, it is marginally increased by 0.01X but most Canon photographers acknowledge the difference is visible, that is funny, if not amazing ... Well, one of the reason for this is to ensure the entire full information display can be view comfortably, at the expense of a smaller image inside the finder. Next, it is a mid between High-eyepoint kind of design concept for eyeglass users or when situations required to view slightly from a distance away from the eyepiece (such as wearing a protective helmet, shooting in a water housing etc.). Further, as Canon has opted for a fixed, non-interchangeable prism, the old days of a Sport Finder kind of system viewfinder accessory is not available now, so, the compromise is generally seen as a welcoming decision. The long delay in realization of a 100 viewfinder reproduction via the EOS-1 Series models has truly made the EOS cameras to fully supplementing their extensive lens type and varieties of EF optical system as a whole, not to mention eliminating slight guesswork during shooting for photographers.

Displayed on the viewfinder screen are the five focusing points and fine spot metering circle. When the focusing point is set for automatic selection, the focusing point which achieves focus flashes red. And when the focusing point is manually selected, the selected focusing point flashes red.

(2) Full information Viewfinder

Viewfinder mainly concerns exposure and focusing. Outside the viewfinder information is the same as in the EOS-1 except that exposure level indicator can also indicate the stops in half steps (with Custom Function CF-6 set to 2). Displayed below the viewfinder screen are the shutter speed, aperture, AE lock, in-focus indicator, and other information. On the right of the screen is the exposure level indicator, exposure level scale, and remaining frame counter (for the last 9 frames). These are also the same as in the EOS-1 except now the exposure compensation indicator also functions as an indicator for the newly-added flash exposure compensation feature.

Relative: -The Top Panel LCD Display

Even if the camera has improved considerably in features, functions etc. the viewfinder information in the Canon EOS-1N is the same with EOS-1. It is not as complicated as you see from this full information illustration as only the relative actuation of shooting are provided inside the finder. If you are new to Canon cameras, this is a good starter for understanding its various displays where functions are related.

example_viewinfo.gif
The viewfinder display keeps updating and changes according to choices of metering, exposure modes and even election of the AF points. So, it is advisable to learn and familiarize how it presents inside the finder as well as off finder supplementary info as a guide to avoid human mistakes. Basically, as I said earlier, NOT all the display data show at the top will be shown during at any one time during a shooting session and I think Canon designers have worked out a very practical, simple info guide panel for photographers. Well, it takes a great deal of experience and knowledge as being a camera manufacturer to interrelate what and how to design a top class SLR camera. Canon has been a kingpin in electronic SLR that can track back to the early '70 and 30+ years of involvement and become world largest player in this market is not entirely accidental. So, what you see can be very simple matter but behind what you saw, its is decades of accumulated experience and more importantly, knowing what to incorporated inside to assist the working photographers.

Canon EOS-1N LCD diaplay information explained.
Except for one major left out of a coloured active AF Points selection - MOST of the information shown inside the view field are also being shown on the external LCD Display panel at the top right section The LCD, is not coloured form & shows only plain digital characters and symbols.

All of the peripheral information is highly readable, shown by LCDs and backlit in green by LEDs. The exposure setting information is illuminated when the shutter button is pressed halfway or when a camera setting (shutter speed, etc.) is set. All the data displays turns off after 6 seconds aimed to conserve battery power. Below are some other interrelating secondary functions found in the viewfinder system of EOS-1N.

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Focusing points The five focusing points are superimposed (lights up in red) on the screen. With the camera set to the One-shot AF mode and the focusing point set for automatic selection, pressing the shutter button halfway activates the autofocus. When the camera-selected focusing point achieves focus, it flashes in red and the green in-focus indicator lights up. If the focusing point has been selected manually, the user-selected focusing point will flash in red.
Fine spot metering circle The center of the viewfinder screen has a circle (about 2.3% of the picture area) defining the area for fine spot metering.
Laser matte screen Standard focusing screen Ec-CII with a fine spot metering circle has a Laser matte surface. Focusing screens for the EOS-1 and EOS-1N are interchangeable.
Exposure level scale On the right are the exposure level scale and exposure level indicator, which look the same as in the EOS-1. Unlike the EOS-1, the EOS-1N can set the exposure level to both 112 and 1/3 stops. The exposure level indicator indicates 112 stops with two arrows and just one for 1/3 stops.
Exposure compensation/
Flash exposure compensation indicator The information below the viewfinder screen is as in the EOS-1, except that the exposure compensation indicator is also a flash exposure compensation indicator (for Canon Speedlites.). The flash exposure compensation amount is displayed on the LCD panel.

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Background and Various Issues | The Basic Features & various Setup
Manual & Auto Focusing | Metering Systems | Exposure Control | Viewfinder Optical
System
Flash Photography (with Speedlite 540EZ extension & Selective info on Canon TTL Flash Models:-160E | 200E | 300EZ | 300TL | 420EZ | 430 EZ | 480EG | MacroLites | Other non-TTL Canon flash model

Reliability Issues:- Body Chassis | Shutter Unit | Electronic Circuitry | Film Transport & film handling Secondary Functions:- Custom Function Part One | Part Two | System Accessories:- Film Back Options - instruction for Command Back E1 | Macro/Close Up Part one | Part two and Part III Flash for Macro-Photography | Power Sources -BP-E1 | PDB-E1 | Focusing Screens | Remote Control with Wireless Remote Set LC-3 | System compatibility

Variants of Canon EOS-1N:- Canon EOS-1N RS | Canon/Kodak Digital DCS-1, 3 -5 & 520/560 Series | Full Technical Specification | Main Reference Map / Nomenclature | Resource Centre:- Comparative Charts between EOS-1 & EOS-1N / or with its active Competition(s) (Nikon); Quick Operational Reference Card (278k Gif File); Listings of 7-segment digital numbers/letters appeared on LCD display panel/viewfinders (HTML page); External Link:-Instruction Manual (3.3MB PDF file applicable for both Canon EOS-1N (RS). | Using EOS system for your photography | Bots & Nuts of EOS System - by Philip Chong |

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Volunteered Maintainer(s) for the Canon EOS-1N Series Message Board: Philip Chong, Editor, Digital Camera Magazine; Vincent Thian, Photo Editor, Malaysian Bureau, Associated Press "AP", CYleow, Ex-photo Editor of local daily, The Star; Gary Rowan Higgins, Australia and other nice folks on the web.

Special Credit:- :Mr. Richard Yeow & Mr. Simon Wong from camera division of Canon Malaysia Logo Marketing Malaysia, for their continual effort in supporting development of this EOS/EF website. Others: All the nice people on earth who have contributed their photos and pictures of personal works or product shots for the creation of this site. Certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures published by Nikon and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their own work for public publishing in this website, where majority of the extracted information are used basing on educational merits. The creator of this site will not be responsible for any discrepancies that may arise from any possible dispute except rectifying them after verification from respective source. Neither Nikon or its associates has granted any permission(s) in using their public information nor has any interest in the creation of this site. "Canon", "EOS", "EF" "RT", "EOS-1n RS", "Booster ", "Macrolite", "fluorite", "Image Stabilizer" & other applicable technical/business terms are registered trade name(s) of Canon Inc., Japan. Site made with an Apple G5 IMac.