Canon T1i Viewfinder

The Canon T1i is a digital SLR design, so the optical viewfinder offers a true, through-the-lens (TTL) display. A dioptric adjustment dial accommodates eyeglass wearers, letting them adjust the viewfinder optics between -3.0 to +1 diopters. Coverage and magnification are rated the same as the previous XSi model at 95% and 0.87x for a 50mm lens and -1 diopter, giving a larger viewfinder image than did the earlier XTi's 0.83x magnification. The viewfinder eyepiece has an eyepoint of approximately 19mm from the eyepiece lens center, also the same as the XSi, but a little lower than the XTi's 21mm eyepoint, and a little tighter than we'd like for eyeglass wearers.

A pair of horizontal infrared sensors just below the Canon T1i's viewfinder, which we've highlighted with a green rectangle in the image at right, detect your eye as it approaches the viewfinder, and deactivate the LCD information display if you have the LCD Auto-off option enabled. (The Auto-off option is found on setup menu screen 1.)

Like most other entry-level DSLRs, the Canon T1i viewfinder uses a pentamirror design. The advantage of a pentamirror is that it is light and inexpensive, but an all-glass pentaprism design delivers more light to the viewfinder eyepiece, thanks to its more efficient internal reflection. As a result, the Canon T1i's viewfinder image is not as bright as that of the EOS 50D, which uses a true pentaprism. However, Canon says they've used a more efficient coating on the mirrors in the pentamirror, which makes for a brighter image when compared to the earlier XTi model. At 130ms, viewfinder blackout on the Canon T1i is the same as that of the XSi.

The illustration below shows all the elements in the Canon T1i's viewfinder. The extensive information available appears beneath the image area in a small strip, and reports all of the major camera settings, such as shutter speed, aperture, flash mode, EV compensation, etc. Compared to the XSi, the Canon T1i's viewfinder info adds an indicator ("D+") for Highlight Tone Priority mode.


Viewfinder Test Results

Good accuracy from the optical viewfinder, excellent accuracy from the LCD in Live View mode.

Optical Viewfinder LCD Live View

Testing with a low-distortion mid-focal length macro lens to avoid the effect of lens distortion, we found the Canon T1i's optical viewfinder about as accurate as those of most consumer SLRs, with about 95% frame coverage. Live View mode using the LCD was more accurate, at almost exactly 100% coverage.


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