52 Cameras: Apple QuickTake 200 Viewfinder Parallax

A YouTube viewer asked about the parallax error when using the clip-on optical viewfinder. I did a quick & dirty experiment to find out. Original Quicktake 200 post is here.

The 3 focus ranges are 9-13cm for close-up, 45-90cm for portrait, & 90cm-infinity for landscape. The manual says, “IMPORTANT Do not use the close-up focus when you use the viewfinder. It is not accurate.” I didn’t bother with the close up setting but the next worst parallax would be the nearest focus of the portrait setting. The manual also says, “Estimate the focal distance from the front surface of the LCD screen to the object being photographed.” The LCD is on the back so I guess they mean its surface.

I put this on the wall in the kitchen.

Sometimes, science is ugly.

Sometimes, science is ugly.


I put the camera on a small tripod, and measured the distance to the wall so the LCD was 45cm away. I looked as straight through the viewfinder as I could and held still while M slid her finger along the ruler toward the center until I could see it. We repeated that for left, right, top, and bottom. The measurements are just relative to each other, not meaningful in themselves.

Left: 29cm, Right: 67cm, Top: 10cm, Bottom: 37cm

Next, I snapped a picture with the camera in the same place. Ignore the date & time – I didn’t set the camera’s clock.

I used composite out to the old TV instead of digging out the old laptop and Smartmedia floppy adapter.

I used composite out to the old TV instead of digging out the old laptop and Smartmedia floppy adapter.


The image captured these measurements.

Left: 28cm, Right: 60cm, Top: 13cm, Bottom: 38cm

I was a little off reading the ruler. This diagram shows the relationship of the viewfinder view and the sensor image.

Pretty wide angle and not too bad for a cheap plastic clip-on viewfinder.

Pretty wide angle and not too bad for a cheap plastic clip-on viewfinder.