Olympus has announced a new electronic viewfinder (EVF) dubbed the VF-3, to match its new PEN range of cameras.

With a total of 922,000 dots the new EVF actually has a lower resolution than the existing VF-2, but Olympus claims it still offers nearly four times the resolution of other EVFs in competing cameras.

Like the existing VF-2, the new VF-3 offers 100% field of view, but the magnification is quoted as approximately 1x rather than 1.15x and the eye point is 17.4mm rather than 18mm. As before, the VF-3 also tilts up to 90° for viewing from above to make it easier to shoot movies and stills from otherwise awkward angles.

A lock mechanism is provided to keep the viewfinder firmly attached to the camera.

The new VF-3 is designed specifically to work in the accessory port on Olympus's latest PEN cameras including the PEN (E-P3), PEN Lite (E-PL3) and PEN mini (E-PM1) and it is compatible with the compact XZ-1 and all Olympus PEN cameras apart from the E-P1.

The VF-3 is available from mid-August 2011 for £179.99.

Super EVF to come next Year

Speaking exclusively to Photoradar in June, Mark Thackara, Consumer Products Marketing Manager for Olympus UK, said that a new improved electronic viewfinder (EVF) will be coming sometime next year. On the face of it the VF-3 is just a refresh to complement the new PEN cameras and a fundementally improved EVF is yet to come.

Olympus obtains its EVFs from Epson and we understand from an earlier interview with Panasonic (which also uses the same viewfinders), that Epson is working to improve EVF refresh rate and resolution. This should make the viewfinder image smoother and more detailed, as well as enabling photographers to track moving subjects more easily.

Provided the interface of the Super EVF is the same, Olympus's decision to use external viewfinders should give its PEN users an advantage as they are able to upgrade the EVF without having the expense of a new camera. Other users will have to wait until the news EVFs are included in new cameras.