Simple Photo Hack: Use a Vintage Optical Viewfinder with a Mirrorless Camera

Despite its age and budget status, my trusty SONY NEX-3N still serves me well. But the lack of an optical viewfinder (OVF) hasn’t become any less annoying with time. Although the camera has a decent display, it becomes pretty much unusable on a sunny day. Admittedly, excessive sunshine is not the problem we face here in Denmark very often, but it’s known to happen.

Fast forward to the last weekend. I’d been having breakfast on a lazy Saturday, leisurely perusing the Mr. Zenza Rolls-Royce story, when it hit me: I actually have a waistlevel viewfinder for Zenza Bronica ETRS lying around. So why not couple it with my SONY NEX-3N?

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Zenza Bronica waist level finder on SONY NEX-3N for better viewing experience and increased retro chic.

The viewfinder turned out to be almost a perfect fit for the camera’s display. Better still, the viewfider has small plastic rails at the bottom, so it doesn’t scratch the display and sits solidly on the screen. To prevent light leaks completely, I put a thick rubber band around the rails. This also adds some grip to the viewfinder when it sits on the display.

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Simple rubber band acts like a light sealing and makes the viewfinder more grippy.

I can use the viewfinder as a simple display shade, or I can pop up the magnifier for even better viewing and increased retro chic. In theory, it should be relatively easy to mount the viewfinder permanently on the display, but I prefer to use it as a removable accessory.

Tech writer covering Linux and open source software

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