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on October 22, 2011
This OLED viewfinder is a great addition to my NEX-5N. I was pleasantly surprised because a few days after I placed the order I received the shipping notification from Amazon although it is always out of stock.

I have no experience with other electronic viewfinders but I can tell you this one is amazing. Very high resolution, sharp and all the necessary info shown in the viewfinder - even the live histogram. (One weird thing though when adjusting exposure compensation you wont see the histogram. It behaves the same way on the LCD - I don't know what Sony was thinking... hopefully they will change this in a firmware update)
You can go through on the camera's menu in the VF which works great (you can't utilize the LCD's touch feature - which I think wouldn't be possible anyway). I have the soft buttons customized and I found it easy to change the settings through the viewfinder. If you have the focus set to "Flexible Spot" you can move around the spot by pressing the scroll wheel and don't have to take your eyes off the finder. Pretty neat... But the other two soft buttons are not VF friendly. They are flat and don't stick out from the body so it's hard to find them - a firmware upgrade won't help on this but you can put some small rubber bumper pads on them.
You can also review the pictures in the viewfinder which is also great, the brightness and the colors are the same that you will see on the computer screen.

There are also a few negatives to consider when using the viewfinder. The first and biggest is the price - it will be prohibitive for many. It cost 50% of the 5N body which is a joke... $250 would be still much but more realistic. With it the NEX-5N cost almost as much as the NEX-7 which has the same VF built-in although you can't tilt that one.
If you attach the VF to the body it sticks out and might not fit in a slim bag or in your jacket pocket. If it does be careful when you pull it out - remember it is $350.
You can't use the flash while the VF occupies the accessory port and sometimes this can be troubling. Take the VF off put the flash on take the flash off put the VF back on... I don't know when will I experience contact problems. I guess after the warranty expires.
One more thing - I don't like too many bits and pieces because I have more chance to lose them but at least the VF comes with a little pouch so I can keep the flash in it while the VF is on the camera.

I have no regrets buying it and it will stay on my NEX-5N 95% of the time. If you buy it you will love it but if you think it doesn't worth $350 for you that is understandable because it is really overpriced.
77 comments|51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I purchased Sony NEX 5N this fall and overall enjoyed the camera (see my review of Sony NEX-5N 16.1 MP Compact Interchangeable Lens Touchscreen Camera With 18-55mm Lens (Silver) here The one issue I had with the camera was ability to see the LCD screen in the sun, but I knew this OLED viewfinder was coming and hoped it would resolve the issue. I received it yesterday and I am very pleased!

I am attaching 8 photos which I will be referencing in this review.

The OLED display is very clear. Not only does it help me to see the image perfectly, it also allows me to see text and numbers better as it has a control that allows you to adjust it to your eyesight. I am slightly far sighted and was able to get the display perfectly calibrated to my eyesight. The adjustment can go much higher and lower, so I know it will continue to work if my eyesight changes. Photo #1 contains a schematic which shows all the controls labeled in red.

The OLED display has to be attached/removed to the camera while the camera is turned off. Once you connect it, there is a lock screw that holds it down. One of my concerns was that I could easily knock the viewfinder out of the connector while using the camera, but with a screw down mechanism there is no danger of that. The eyepiece if firmly in place while I pressed on it with my eye. You can see the screw down mechanism clearly in photo labeled #6.

The eye piece can be adjust in many different positions so you can place it at different angles depending on how you need to hold the camera, so it works much better than the fixed position eye piece. I am attaching several photos showing the angles of the viewfinder to the camera. Photos 5,7 and 8 show the different positions of the viewfinder. I left the camera's lens cap in the photo for size reference.

The OLED display comes with an end cap which protects the connector and soft cloth bag, which protects it from scratches. Photos 3 and 4 show the viewfinder with the end cap on and off, as well as the bag.

The weight of the viewfinder is 1.1 oz.

The instructions recommend that the OLED viewfinder is always transported separately from the camera to avoid damage to the connectors.

There is a button which controls whether the LCD screen is on or off when the viewfinder is attached. The options are to have the display in both viewfinder and LCD screen or either of one of the two. I found having both on is handy when you want to use the screen to control the location of the focus. Auto focus prefers the center of the camera, and I often like off-center focused images for better composition. Even in the sun I can see the general area of where I want the focus to be, and then I look into the viewfinder for the final shot composition. Since the camera gives feedback to where the focus is located (the green square) I can confirm that my touch screen operation did what I wanted it to do. It is not a perfect solution for focus override but it works.

If you wear glasses it possible to remove the rubber eyepiece cup from the unit, but I did not find this to be an issue when I tried using the camera with my eyeglasses on. Photo #2 has a good view of the rubber eyepiece.

OLED viewfinder is very sensitive to water. More sensitive the camera without the viewfinder. If you don't have a rain jacket for the camera, it is best not to use the viewfinder in the rain.

The flash and the viewfinder share the same connector, so they cannot be used at the same time.

The viewfinder is not compatible with SONY NEX-3C. NEX-3C is a very similar camera to NEX-5N that came out a few weeks before NEX-5N, with the main differences being it and NEX-5N being slightly lower price, incomparability with OLED viewfinder, and no touchscreen.


1. Clear image which I can see in the sun
2. Has diopter adjustment for perfect eyesight calibration
3. Lock screw holds it firmly in place
4. Allows me to control when I want LCD on (for touch screen focus control) and off (for battery power savings)
5. Lightweight: 1.1 oz


1. The price

Overall, it makes the camera much better for my use and I recommend it.

Ali Julia review
review image review image
22 comments|40 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 9, 2012
The FDA-EV1S is another quality accessory from Sony that does exactly what you expect from a viewfinder. The resolution outclasses just about any other EVF currently available for other cameras of this type in terms of resolution (by a long shot) and it can rival the effectiveness of a DSLR's optical viewfinder when trying to manually focus and compose your shots. If you use adapters to attach legacy lenses (Leica, CV, etc) to your NEX-5N, your ability to accurately nail the manual focus will be greatly increased even with the focus peaking turned off. In fact, when using my Leica 50mm summilux on the NEX-5N, I found it easier to focus in dim light with a shallow DOF (at f/1.4) with the NEX-5N using the EVF than with the same lens on my M9 with its rangefinder focus coupling. What helped the most here is that like the rear LCD display, the EVF will show you the actual exposure as it's "brightened up" by the NEX-5N sensor's superior high ISO performance. No doubt, the EVF brings out the most out of the camera. With the EVF, I have turned off the focus peaking feature on the NEX-5N simply because the EVF is able to resolve any particular area that I'm trying to focus on in my compositions, and there's no longer a need for focus peaking. In certain instances, the focus peaking actually becomes a problem because it would obscure the specific areas I would try to focus on that is already easily visible with the EVF.

So why did I give it only 4 stars and not 5? Simple. As great of an addition the FDA-EV1S is, it's a big ugly wart sitting atop an otherwise clean, svelte, and ultra-compact camera body. It doesn't seem like it belongs and makes me long even more for the NEX-7 with its built-in and more integrated EVF that I have on order. When I have to throw my NEX-5N in the camera bag, I feel its necessary to remove the EVF because I'm afraid I will accidentally break it off and damage it and/or the mount on the camera. It's held on by a flimsy thumb screw and I know that one of these days, it's likely it will snag on the camera bag when I try to pull the camera out for a quick shot and something will break. It's also very easy to catch, snag, and hit things when carrying the camera across your shoulder with the prominent wart of an EVF sticking out. While you can say the same about some of the big E-mount lenses, at least those are securely locked on the mount and look the part. This EVF's rather bulky implementation is not good in my book, but I guess it still beats not having an EVF at all. Not sure if it was possible for Sony to design it to be even smaller and low-profile, but looking at how well the NEX-7's EVF is integrated into the small body, I don't see why not. If you think this will be a problem for you, by all means get one. It truly completes the NEX-5N as a photography enthusiast's tool, albeit a fragile one.
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on August 14, 2012
I bought my Sony NEX-5N about a month ago. I struggled along with the touchscreen for almost a month. After looking at a friend's electronic viewfinder (on an Oly), I decided to spend the money to purchase the unit for my NEX.

Am I glad I did!

Here's the backstory: I bought my NEX as a replacement for a Canon Powershot G11 I used for a year or two. That camera was a replacement (really a carry camera) for my Nikon D100 dSLR. I loved my Nikon and had some good glass, but I found the rig too heavy to carry except for purposed shoots. After I moved a few years ago, I was no longer doing concert shoots and my Nikon gear was gathering dust. So I sold the lot of it and paid off some bills.

But I found the images from the G11 less than what I wanted. I tried to make a system camera from it with a couple of Raynox auxiliary lenses. Those are decent add-ons, but the image quality still didn't please me. So I used my iPhone most of the time.

I missed having a larger sensor. Images from an iPhone can be very interesting. But there are limitations, too. I missed the availability of real lenses and control. So, more or less on a whim, I purchased my NEX-5N.

I then discovered the world of peaking focus. That event marked my return to manual focus lenses and the need for the OLED EVF.

There is a large quantity of vintage glass from the film days out there. Most of it isn't very expensive. But some of the glass is wonderfully sharp and contrasty. In comparison to most of the kit zoom lenses available for these cameras, the vintage glass can produce much better images. The problem is that it's difficult (impossible) to see clearly the touchscreen outside during the day.

The Sony NEX-5N is capable of doing some fine work. It is a small camera that can function as a basic point-and-shoot. But, with good glass and the EVF, it is a great camera with one of the best sensors I've worked with.

The bottom line is that if you want to do serious work in poor light conditions (too bright or too dim), get the EVF. Your ability to compose and shoot will expand, even if you stick with the Sony lenses (and maybe the Sigma primes). A perk is that the EVF also angles, so you are not constrained to the (d)SLR perspective.

My only reservation is that now my NEX-5N is nearly as expensive as a NEX-7. My intent is to keep my 5N body (and EVF) and purchase a NEX-7 sometime next year. I prefer to have two bodies when I'm out and about anyway. I guess I'm old school.

So, shoo now! Go get an EVF and pick a couple of your favorite primes from the old days. Then go for a roam around your favorite area (even if it's just around the house) and discover the world of fast primes, peaking focus, and the capability of that APS-C sensor. Have fun! Make lots of images. Then throw away most of them. But you'll find a few that are extraordinary. Enjoy!
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on February 7, 2012
I bought this to go on my 5N. I live in a place that has a lot of bright sunshine, and I thought it would be the perfect solution to glare making the rear LCD unviewable in bright light. The OLED viewfinder does work well at times and greatly improves viewing. However, I wear glasses and if conditions are extremely bright, the little OLED VF is so small that it cannot block out side light and I still get too much glare on the OLED VF eyepiece. I am using manual focus lenses primarily, and at times I cannot see at all to focus them. I have the same issue even if I am wearing my wrap-around sunglasses that block more of the side light. It is disappointing for the price of this add-on. The eyecup on this product is removable and that may help some users, but it does not solve the problem for me. Wearing a hat does not solve the issue either. Hopefully Sony or Hoodman will produce a clip-on VF eyecup that makes the product more usable for wearers of eyeglasses.

When glare is not a problem, the OLED VF is very helpful, and I can quickly and easily focus my lenses. If there was not a glare issue, I'd rate the item with 5 stars, but because it is basically unusable at times, I am only giving it 3.
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on October 28, 2012
If you have a Sony NEX F3 mirrorless camera and take photos outdoors you will want this viewfinder. It is so bright and contains such great detail I use it all the time, indoors as well as outdoors. It is like looking through one eye on a pair of quality binoculars! My elderly eyesight isn't as good as it once was, and I find this viewfinder to be a major asset in using this camera. I love composing through a viewfinder rather than on the LCD screen, and this one is as good as any I've ever had on any camera ever, including Nikon DSLR's. Fantastic product!!!!!!!
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on October 17, 2011
The OLED True-Finder has an amazingly realistic screen. You may find yourself getting addicted to it, even indoors. You may never use your LCD screen again to compose photos.

The overall brightness of the screen is also very accurate, which is why you will use it often to review your photos and determine if you under or over-exposed the shot.

There is a diopter adjustment on one side of the viewfinder, and another button on the other side for manually switching between LCD and viewfinder.

Uploaded photo of OLED True-Finder on NEX-5N with E mount 18-200mm lens.
review image
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on May 2, 2013
I bought this viewfinder because I was either cutting off the feet or shaving the tops of heads when talking pictures. What you see in the viewfinder is what your picture is going to be. This viewfinder says it's for the Sony NEX-5N camera. I read on one of these reviews that a man bought it for his Sony NEX-F3 and it works great. I have a Sony NEX-F3, and the review was right, it fits my NEX-F3 and does the job it's supposed to do. Completes my camera and increased the quality of my picture taking 100 %. I checked the Sony website for this item but bought it thru Amazon and saved $100 dollars. Highly recommend this viewfinder
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on July 27, 2013
I am an old school compose it, compose it, and compose it some more! I could not warm up to live view all that well as my Sony NEX-5n does its business normally for composing. Video is fine, but my stills, I want that VF! I wanted the EVF OLED for a long time. Could never understand the grand larceny price of $349.99 et. al!

Well just bought it and saved the OLED EVF hostage! Was it worth it? Yes with a few reservations. Price, price, and price. Otherwise the EVF does as advertised. Outdoor composition is what I expect. With my new batteries and polarizer filter, some fine scenery can be had. Contrasts are well done, though I have to get used to the video vs. optical view of my world.

Sacrificing my flash for this sometimes is of dubious value as I would have liked to have both. I suppose I could spring for an a-65 SLR but why? This camera should have had either the EVF and flash together anyway, but I digress.

The EVF gives me valuable info on histogram, like others have said and won't repeat it is limited in scope,of operation. I appreciate the f stop and shutter speed info though. Haven't encountered the issue other eyeglass fans have stated. Mind you, I am not great of sight either! Stray light or anything is a non issue for me. I am getting better composed shots with EVF than I could ever get from the see it from the back window view of my NEX 5n.

I was trained to use a viewfinder or rangefinder. So old biases aside, and training, I like what the EVF offers. It is small, I think looks cool on my NEX. Your mileage may vary there. I agree it could be damaged. But I am careful and I have my camera out at the ready at all times, so no snags etc. don't exist. I think it makes also my focus state easier too as I like to play with certain areas in and out of focus, you call bokeh I suppose. It does seem fragile I noticed, but most optics are so no hit there.

I am going to keep the OLED EVF, and now wait for my Battery grip too! Should be awesome. Yeah Sony doesn't make it, but I want that extra room etc. I am seeing my NEX-5n as a complete system for me. My old Olympus E-10 soldiers on for my studio like images slow as it is. I just love the color of my OLY. Never giving him up!

So should you buy this? Yes at $250.00 maybe. At $200.00 definitely. At $350.00, not so much. Wait for a sale or used if you can trust the seller! I like mine, but Sony I think gouged us on this one. Yes I know OLED is expensive, I live and work the tech world. So finally a buy with price and application considerations withstanding. V.C.
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on November 30, 2015
I really like this electronic viewfinder.

I have the Sony Nex F3 and it does not come with a viewfinder but it does come with the smart accessory port which accepts the viewfinder. The reason I bought the viewfinder in the first place is because I would get home and look at my photos after a trip and notice some of the better shots I took were out of focus. With the LCD screen easily getting washed out by ambient light I wanted a better solution to get better pictures. This viewfinder when it first came on the market was expensive and still carries a pretty high price but it is well worth it.

The clarity on the viewfinder is amazing. I was really surprised how much it made a difference in my photography. The first neat thing is that it senses when you are in close proximity to the viewfinder and switches output from the LCD to the viewfinder and then back again when finished looking through the viewfinder. I really enjoy using this for macro photography as well. I can see the details of what I am focusing on with this viewfinder.

What I don't like is the installation and removal every time I use my camera. Sony does not recommend leaving the viewfinder installed all the time especially during storage or transport. I always feel like I am going to break the viewfinder or snap it off in the accessory port. The other dislike of mine is that you do lose the accessory port. If you want to add a microphone or additional flash you cannot when using the viewfinder.

I would have to say I like the Sony viewfinder for use with my NEX F3.
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