Saturday, 21 May 2011

If The Cap Fits - EVF burn in

I got two emails recently on a related topic - so thought you might be interested...

The first email was from Al Bergstein...

"Hi, as a new owner of a xf305, I called Canon parts to order a evf [electronic viewfinder] plug to protect against the problem reported on the vimeo xf305 site, which documented burn in problems with the viewfinders. Canon's serviceman told me they fixed the problem in recent builds of the units, and that I would not need the caps. I notice you haven't covered this issue on your blog. Is there a reason for that? Can you confirm that the issue has been fixed through your contacts?"

If you want to get a bit more background info on this - there are posts on the Vimeo forum and DVinfo.

I must admit, I've known about this for some time - about 20 years at least ;-)

When I used to shoot on Betacam I was warned not to leave the eyepiece pointing up at the sky. A colleague had done just that and saw smoke coming from his eyepiece! The lens in the viewfinder is just a magnifying glass and can burn the screen if the sun is allowed to shine directly into it.

I had a look through the Canon manual to find its warning - it says "Do not point viewfinder lens at the sun or other strong light sources" on page 185 (see below).

Page 185 of Canon XF305 manual 2010
But, this is nothing new. I have a big collection of camera manuals and they say pretty much the same thing. So, I don't really think you can say it is a Canon fault. 

Here is the same warning in the Sony DSR-570 manual page 139 (printed 2001) which states...

"Do not point viewfinder lens at the sun or other strong light sources. The eyepiece lens can concentrate the sun's rays and melt the interior of the viewfnder".

Sony DSR-570 manual warnings.

It is also in the oldest manual I have from 2000 - for the (beloved) PD150. Sony even added a picture with a big cross through it to emphasise the point - on page 7. Click on any of the screen grab images to get a bigger image.

Obviously, you don't want to damage your new camera so, if you are worried about burning the eyepiece screen. Canon are supplying plugs. Which leads me to the second email I received:

"Hello Ms Fox,

thank you for your XF300 blog.

I thought you may be interested in my solution for XF300/XF305 owners that want to use the camera with the eyepiece removed. I almost never use the viewfinder and like the smaller size of the camcorder without eyepiece.

No one seems to offer a cap for the remaining viewfinder part therefore I designed one and uploaded it to the 3D printing company Shapeways. The cap slides in, clicks in place and can be easily removed to attach the eyepiece if needed.

3D printing is not cheap but the Shapeways price includes worldwide UPS shipping.

The eyepiece cap is available at

Best regards

Martin Koch

If, like Martin, you don't use the eyepiece or perhaps you're trying to reduce it's size a little for use in a 3D rig. This might be a suitable bit of kit for you.

Flip off the eyepiece lens and rubber eyecup

Protect the screen with one of Martin's caps