Get an up-close look at Sony's new camera.
I was most uneasy about the electronic viewfinder—an EVF on an SLR? It seemed anathema. Sony is aiming for shooters moving up from a compact, and those folks will most likely feel more immediately comfortable than veteran DSLR shooters with the concept. At first I found myself reviewing the LCD (AKA “chimping,” as it’s often derogatorily called) as I normally do while shooting, only to find myself, essentially, in live view mode. That's because, by default, the option to review is turned off, and when you take your eye away from the viewfinder you automatically switch to viewing through the LCD. Having review on while shooting through the EVF is annoying—suddenly you're staring at a still when you're in the middle of a photo shoot. But I quickly became adept at tapping the well-located play button to review my images via EVF when there was a break in the action. One advantage of the EVF soon revealed itself: Shooting in bright sunlight, I had no trouble seeing the images I had just shot—no more hiding the camera under my jacket to check exposure.
I enjoyed the EVF even more when I was shooting a nighttime, outdoor rock opera with challenging, constantly-changing lights. Not only was I glad that I wasn't disrupting others' experiences with my glowing LCD, I could also see my exposure as I was shooting. Because it's an EVF, you'll know right away if you're overexposing, or if your white balance is off. With the need to chimp mitigated by the live shooting experience, I missed fewer shots.
Another bonus of the EVF: all your menu items are accessible while shooting, and they don't fill the screen. That means, if you're monkeying with a function while looking through the viewfinder and you see a shot, you can still fire the shutter. It's worth memorizing the button locations so you never have to remove the camera from your eye.
Still, the EVF is no pentaprism—nor is it as crisp and clear as the LCD screen. In a few more generations, I'm sure I'll be fully won over.