With the introduction of new cameras this weekend at the annual PMA (Photo Marketing Association) convention and previous intros, I'm afraid that we've come to the end of the line for optical viewfinders on compact digital cameras. Canon had the largest line of cameras that included optical viewfinders. But in their new line of 2010 Powershots, alas there was not one model that included a viewfinder! The same goes for the other camera companies (Nikon, Sony, Olympus & even Leica!); not one compact p&s with an optical viewfinder! Now I hear you, customers of ours who say y'all need the viewfinder for one very important reason; You can't see the screen in bright sunlight! And in defense of the camera companies, they are making the LCD screens on the back of their cameras both larger & brighter! (Photo courtesy of Canon USA) For example, the Canon Powershot SD1300IS (profiled in a previous post), which replaced the best selling SD1200 that had a viewfinder has on it's back a 2.7" PureColor II anti scratch LCD screen with an anti reflective coating, 230,000 pixels and 100% (yes,100%) image coverage! That means that everything you see on the screen is on your recorded image. In contrast, the viewfinder coverage on the SD1200 averages only 84 to 87%, which means that edges can be cut off when you take shots requiring full image coverage. The next post will cover a real time test of how bright these screens actually are outside (Monday's forecast calls for sunny skies, high of 44 degrees!) and the alternatives available if you really NEED a viewfinder. See ya then!