Best Viewfinder Cameras to Buy in 2016

Shop for the best cameras with a viewfinder

One of the most common complaints I hear from readers about the current state of the digital camera market is the lack of viewfinders included with cameras.

Most cameras today make you frame photos using the LCD and don't contain viewfinders, so you may have to hunt quite a bit to find a camera with a viewfinder, especially a point and shoot type of camera.

Hopefully my new list of the best cameras that contain viewfinders with help you spend less time hunting. This list contains both fixed-lens point and shoot cameras, as well as interchangeable lens cameras, all at varying price points.

Keep in mind that two different types of viewfinders exist. An optical viewfinder, which is typically found with a DSLR type of camera, uses a mirror and a prism to reflect the actual view of the scene that's traveling through the lens back up through the viewfinder. There's also an electronic viewfinder, often shortened to EVF, where the view of the scene that's shown on the LCD screen is also shown on the EVF, which is simply a smaller screen.

1
Best Mirrorless: Panasonic LUMIX GX85

Panasonic LUMIX GX85
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Don’t be turned off by its compact size. The Panasonic GX85 is one heck of a camera. This 4K mirrorless, interchangeable lens shooter was designed for enthusiasts who are looking for a lot of power and a lot of performance. The mirrorless design allows for faster, lighter performance in a body that is roughly half the size of your average DSLR camera. It features a 12-32mm kits lens, a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor, dual image stabilization, 4K video recording and WiFi connectivity. The integrated, 2764k-dot eye-level electronic viewfinder allows for a classic camera feel that some purists actually prefer over LCD displays (although theGX85 also includes a tilting LCD for added convenience and versatility). As far as mirrorless shooters go, the GX85 is fairly price and there’s not much to dislike about this camera.

2
Best Point-and-Shoot: Sony DSCHX90V

Sony DSCHX90V
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Back in the world of point-and-shoots, it’s not often you find a shooter with one of those tried-and-true electronic viewfinders, but the Sony DSCHX90V has that and a lot more. The built-in retractable OLED viewfinder accurately reveals what you’re trying to record, while also delivering a framing option in excessive lighting. The 30x optical zoom Zeiss lens (with 60x Clear Image Zoom) allows for some impressive downrange performance. And the 18.2-megapixel CMOS sensor allows for even greater performance in low-light conditions. WiFi and NFC connectivity allow for smartphone-based remote control options, as well as quick and easy sharing to social media and hardware platforms. GPS functionality allows you to automatically tag your images so you don’t have to worry about when and where images were taken. The LDC display rotates up 180° so you can snap selfies—a nifty little perk that helps assert the camera’s general superiority over smartphones.

3
Best Zoom: Nikon COOLPIX B700

Nikon COOLPIX B700
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Nikon really took the idea of the point-and-shoot to the next level with this one. The COOLPIX B700 packs as much power as a DSLR into a fixed-lens design. One of the reasons photographers prefer mirrorless and DSLR shooters over fixed-lens is because, well, the lens. They want to be able to use their own, and to change them out according to shooting conditions. So any decent high-end point-and-shoot needs to have a truly versatile—and truly powerful—lens. The B700 features a stunning NIKKOR Super ED 60x optical zoom lens (24-1440mm) that puts most others on the market to shame. Throw in the 20.2-megapixel 1/2.3" BSI CMOS sensor and you have one remarkable camera in your hand. With 4K/UHD video recording, a three-inch swivel LCD, and a 921k-Dot Electronic Viewfinder, your shooting and recording options are pretty much unlimited. For added sharing and connectivity options, the B700 also comes equipped with built-in WiFi, NFC and Bluetooth functionality.

4
Best DSLR for Beginners: Canon EOS Rebel T6

Canon EOS Rebel T6
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Canon’s Rebel line of cameras is designed for entry-level digital SLR shooters, and the EOX Rebel T6 is one of the best you can get for the novice category. It has all the power and performance of a top-notch DSLR without the spec-heavy weight of a professional-grade shooter. The 18-megapixel CMOS image sensor and high-performance DIGIC 4+ Image Processor deliver characteristically impressive shots. The nine-point autofocus (AF) promises added versatility and control over your images, and optical (yes, optical) viewfinder helps ensure further accuracy for framing and capturing the ideal shot. The T6 includes an ISO range of 100-6400 (expandable to H: 12800) for solid performance under any lighting conditions. And it includes WiFi and NFC technology for sharing your images and quickly uploading them to hardware platforms. You can also use the connectivity options to remotely control the camera from your mobile device.

5
Best All-Weather: Pentax K-50

Pentax K-50
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Pentax is not as much of a household name as Canon, Sony, or Nikon, but they certainly make some impressive cameras. The Pentax K-50 is on par with Canon’s Rebel T6, in that it is an entry-level DSLR designed for folks who are looking to take the art of photography a bit more seriously. It’s not compact. It’s doesn’t have a lot of connectivity options. What it does offer is performance and reliability, and the kinds of specs you expect from higher-end shooters. It features a 16 MP APS-C CMOS sensor with a DA-L 18-55WR kit lens. An ISO range of up to 51200 ensures powerful low-light performance and noise reduction, and Pentax’s shake-reduction technology promises to keep images sharp, stabilized and level. Among other features, the K-50 has a built-in flash, an optical viewfinder, continuous shooting at six frames per second and Full HD (1080p) video recording. Perhaps best of all, it features a weatherproof design, allowing for reliable performance down to 14°F and seals to keep out dust, sand and rain.

6
Best Compact: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS60

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS60
Courtesy of Amazon.com

You don’t often find viewfinders in compact point-and-shoot cameras, but when you do it’s hard not to be impressed. They just add so much more versatility, control and even elegance to a camera that they can actually be something of a tiebreaker. The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS60 delivers one of those impressive builds that are hard to find among dedicated point-and-shoot devices. It features a next-level 30x (24-720mm) LEICA DC optical zoom lens, which is ideal for travelers looking to conserve space but maximize shooting potential. The 18-megapixel sensor offers an extra nudge of image resolution, and the 4K/UHD video recording absolutely knocks it over the edge for the price point. The lens-mounted control ring provides more control than is often found in the point-and-shoot space, and, of course, the electronic viewfinder (EVF) and touch-enabled LCD just adds a bit more convenience and versatility. Truly, this is a point-and-shoot worth writing home about.

7
Best Design: Canon PowerShot G5 X

Canon PowerShot G5 X
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Every once and a while you come across a camera that looks like something from the old days of film shooting. The Canon PowerShot G5 X is not a film camera, but its design hearkens back to a pre-digital era. It’s quite expensive for a fixed lens camera, but if you’re in the market for a dedicated shooter with a 24-100mm, F1.8-2.8 (4x optical zoom) lens, this is certainly worth looking into. It has an impressive one-inch, 20.2-megapixel high-sensitivity CMOS sensor with an ISO range of up to 12800. The three-inch multi-angle swivel LCD with touch controls promise a reliable shooting experience in low- to mid-level lighting conditions,and the electronic viewfinder delivers the rest for high-light conditions. The G5 X also features Full HD (1080p) video recording, as well as WiFi and NFC connectivity for fast sharing and remote shooting. It features the standard array of PowerShot goodies, including a mobile device connect button, an image sync function and Canon’s proprietary shooting software. It’s a strong shooter in an elegant, throwback design.

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