There’s a whole generation of digital camera users that probably will never use a viewfinder, even if their camera has one.
Manufacturers increasingly omit viewfinders on small compact cameras that sport large LCD monitors. People want smaller cameras and larger screens, and there is just so much camera real estate to go around. And there is no doubt that the quality of LCD readouts are improving.
However, I much rather have a digital camera with a slightly smaller LCD and a mediocre viewfinder. I can use the viewfinder when it’s really needed, as I do with my Canon SD890.
Because a camera must be held at arms length when shooting, there is a greater likelihood of camera shake when using the LCD to frame a shot. A camera with a viewfinder can be pressed against the face to help steady it. Increasing numbers of digital cameras have Image Stabilization but, while extremely effective, it’s not perfect.
Without an anti-glare film protector, an LCD can be difficult if not impossible to see when framing a shot in bright light. This truth was brought home when taking photos with my Panasonic TZ3 digital camera. The TZ3 is the first digital camera I ever owned without a viewfinder. I discovered I could not live without a viewfinder and sold the TZ3, which is an otherwise very fine camera.
LCDs can be extremely effective for framing shots and observing exposure changes in a scene. But there is one thing that can be said about a viewfinder that you just can’t say about LCDs: a viewfinder is always viewable!