AMITIAE - Wednesday 7 March 2012

Epson Ultimicron: Electronic Viewfinders for Cameras

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By Graham K. Rogers


When using a camera, I find that the best way to look at a subject is through a viewfinder. My Nikon DSLR camera has this, but when I take photographs with the iPhone, like many users of smaller cameras, I have to squint at the display for an idea of what the picture should look like.

One of the problems I have with the Nikon D7000 I use is that when using the video feature of the camera, I cannot use the viewfinder. For technical reasons, the normal mirror system is unavailable. The scene can only be viewed using that rear display.

Epson have a considerable expertise in the technology used in LCD displays for large displays. I use one of their projectors when I teach: these are fixed to the ceiling in most classrooms where I work. The knowledge about LCD technology for larger screens, however, is being put to use for smaller displays such as are found in my DSLR camera.

In a press release, Epson outlines the idea behind the viewfinder technology and their development of a compact and lightweight LCD panel for an electronic viewfinder based on the high-resolution HTPS panels used in projectors.

Epson Diagram of Ultimicron Display and Comparison with a Small Coin

"Using its expertise in miniaturization technology, Epson successfully produced an LCD panel for EVF capable of displaying high-resolution images with 16.77 million vibrant colors and no graininess, all on a display area no bigger than a penny. This was achieved by arranging each pixel of the color filter in a 4 x 12 µm stripe pattern for each of the individual R-G-B sub-pixels."

The new panels which are being used in some high-end DSLR cameras and commercial camcorders use the name Ultimicron (Ultimate + Micron). The technology is also being used in a head-mounted display (worn like glasses).

More information is available via the Epson Information page on the Ultmicron and on a specific Ultimicron page.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.



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