Photographer Builds Hybrid Viewfinder with Digital Overlay for Smartphones

Since advances in mirrorless camera systems and their digital viewfinders, cameras with optical viewfinders have become somewhat rarer, with hybrid viewfinders even harder to find. That’s why Gatesman decided to dive into his physics and engineering background to build one from scratch for his smartphone camera.

Originally seen in this twenty-seven minute video. Hackadaycreator and YouTuber Christopher Gatesman Taking inspiration from the hybrid system found in the Fujifilm X100, we show our way to creating a true hybrid viewfinder for mirrorless cameras and smartphones. Throughout the video, Gatesman goes into great detail about the physics and science behind the entire process, and why he felt the need to go “old school” and build this project.

Gatesman says in the video, “I wanted to know how to set myself up for a project and finding that information was surprisingly difficult. Here’s what I learned and explains (a (through historical perspective) on how you approach the modern hybrid viewfinder.” He then posed the question, “Why use a viewfinder if you have a display with a live sensor readout?” And the answer goes deeper than just nostalgia.

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The design used by Getschmann takes advantage of an interesting combination of lenses and “beam splitters” housed in a 3D-printed enclosure that avoids anything overly fancy or the use of glues and adhesives. For it is equipped with pressing only. Gatesman says he tries to avoid these glues because even the tiniest amount of superglue will generate enough vapor to permanently fog any surrounding glass surfaces.

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Once assembled, the whole thing slides to the side of the smartphone and combines an optical view of the scene that matches the camera’s field of view and a small digital overlay from the phone’s screen. Includes some guidelines and a gyroscope/tilt indicator programmed by Gatesman. self In the video, he says that adding additional information can be easily done and will be programmable, but he wanted to tackle other optical issues first.

there is a Very Some great guides to the science are included in this extensive video for those interested in learning more about the science behind viewfinders and the glass optics involved in these systems, but also for those just watching the video. Want to skip to the actual DIY build part, you can jump to the 23 minute mark to see the final build.

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Despite creating a fun and functional product, Gatesman says there are still some kinks in the design, including some noticeable distortion and chromatic aberration on the largest digital overlay, which he says is mostly due to the additional lenses. There is a shortage. In between to cancel these errors. Perhaps in a future update it will make room for these lenses to help fix this. Despite the minor flaws, the deep dive into viewfinder optics is quite interesting and worth a look.

Check out more of Geschmann’s videos on his YouTube channel here.


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