words and image source/photographer : Eksovichea Tito Hak

I was looking forward to using a regular mirror viewfinder again having been stuck with using crappy low resolution LCD screens on various point and shoots for some time, and I guess in situations where the LCD screen or an electronic viewfinder could potentially get broken or fail to then impede on your ability to actually seriously take pictures, a regular mirror viewfinder will ensure you've still got something to preview and frame your pictures up properly with in a professional manner. But as soon as I started to notice dust in the viewfinder, all the associated nerve working but yet none performance affecting annoyances came flooding back as my OCD tendencies started to kick in. 

But then I got to thinking, is a mirror reflex based viewfinder really that important these days where a digital camera by default won't actually operate without electrical power to begin with? Not to mention that top end interchangeable lens camera's with an LCD screen and/or an electronic viewfinder usually have very high quality, high-resolution displays. The very latest of which are also usually designed to operate just as quickly if not faster than mirror reflex cameras for focusing performance, at least as far as mirrorless interchangeable lens compacts are concerned. Although older dslr's are generally extremely fast at getting focus locks when using the mirror viewfinder in regular lighting, they're generally a little slower than mirrorless compacts with a greater tendency to focus hunt in LCD live-view mode. Mirrorless compact interchangeable lens camera's are always in liveview mode whether using an LCD screen or the electronic viewfinder.

The main advantage of using an LCD screen in live view mode or an electronic view finder? You can actually see things and preview images in the dark and/or very low lighting conitions with actual focusing capabilities (some degree of auto but at the very least full manual is still perfectly possible) where it would otherwise be impossible to see anything at all via a standard mirror viewfinder. By default camera sensors are much more capable of seeing in very low light conditions than your eye via a mirror viewfinder. As such a large LCD or electronic viewfinder will show what the sensor see's where as the mirror view finder can't do that. 

Another main advantage of a high res LCD or EV? With a high res electronic viewfinder and/or high res LCD you can actually see/ preview images as they will appear post shutter release/post recording video with all your additional WB, exp comp, software sharpening/softening, HDR and C-temp settings applied. Its not possible to see any of that with a mirror viewfinder which will only display the bare pre-processed optical lens image.

Not too much of a concern for me personally since thus far  there's not much discrete surveillance I plan on using my camera for but...

From a covert surveillance standpoint an LCD screen or EV could potentially give you away due to the lighting from the displays.