The Advantages Of An Articulating LCD Screen On A Digital Camera

January 24, 2008 · Filed Under Digital Cameras 

Lawren here again.

Today I’d like to talk just a little bit about one of my favorite features on a digital camera – the articulating LCD screen – in fact I will not buy one without this feature.

If you were to ask me what my favorite advance in photography in the past few years was, I wouldn’t say photo editing, increased megapixels, or even DSLR’s. I would tell you about my articulating lcd screen (also called a “flip out and twist” screen), and I’d probably go on about it for another 10 minutes.

Not only is my lcd screen protected when I’m not using it (it’s folded into the body of the camera), but I can take pictures from almost any angle with out having to leave the framing to blind faith. This way, even if you don’t have an external flash, you can still bounce it and see what you’re shooting at the same time.

My dad’s favorite part is the great candid shots you can get. Who would suspect you’re taking a picture when your camera is sitting in your lap or on the table. You can get great realistic shots without posing or camera shyness. If you get really good, you can even take pictures of someone standing behind you!

While it’s a piece of cake to find a video camera with an articulating LCD screen (it comes on virtually all consumer models), for some reason an articulating screen is harder to find on digital cameras, and just because the previous model of a camera had one doesn’t necessarily mean it’s next version will.

Case In Point. The Canon Powershot G7. While it’s predecessors (dating back to the Powershot G1) all had articulating LCD screens, Canon didn’t include on in its most recent release with the G7.

So here’s a list of digital cameras with articulating LCD screens. You’ll notice a lot of Canon cameras in the list, and they do certainly make more flip out and twist LCD screens than any other manufacturer, but they’re not the only one. I tried to cover all the current models in this release, but its likely I missed some. If that’s the case, then please post any corrections or omissions in the comments below.

Canon Powershot G1, G2, G3, G4, G5, G6.
Nikon Coolpix 5000, 5400, 8400, 5700, 8700, 8800.
Canon Powershot S1 IS, S2 IS, S3 IS, S4 IS, S5 IS,
Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200
Canon Powershot A80
Pentax Optio 750Z
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50K (one of the best higher end cameras with this feature)
Canon Powershot A640, A650 IS
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H9 (flip out only, no twist)

Comments

26 Responses to “The Advantages Of An Articulating LCD Screen On A Digital Camera”

  1. jb on February 13th, 2008 7:05 am

    I’ve been looking about for a good point and shoot with an excellent lens and an articulating (flip and twist) lcd screen. I’ve checked out the one’s above but each seems to have their own problems with one or more problems of overall quality, image quality, focus in low light, lag, etc. (at least in the point and shoot range) I wish they’d come out with a point and shoot w/articulating lcd (or even a viewfinder on top) that had the same image quality as the Contax T (or Yashica T)series 35mm point and shoot cameras, both of which, imo, are the epitome of point and shoot overall and image quality. I’ll keep checking by here now and then to see what you else you might come up with.

  2. David Chesler on February 29th, 2008 8:16 pm

    I’ve been having lemonish problems. Canon replaced by A540 with an A620, and I thought the articulating screen was great, because I tend to shove a camera of this size in my pocket.
    Now it’s being replaced with an A720. Certainly a better camera, but I’m going to miss the screen. I don’t do much self-timer or self-photography, but I have seen someone using the flip screen feature very well for a self-timer portrait. (With a digital it’s not much bother to do one’s best to frame and retake if necessary.)

    I’ll have to buy something to protect the screen, at a minimum.

  3. Brandon on July 11th, 2008 8:24 pm

    My trusty Olympus E10 (and its siblings) had this feature several years ago.

  4. CharlieJ on August 8th, 2008 8:11 pm

    THANKS for the list. I’ve been searching on PriceGrabber.com, but couldn’t find the proper keyword to result in a list. Your blog post solved my problem. Now, all I have to do is decide which camera will be the replacement for my Nikon 5700.

  5. Mike B on August 28th, 2008 10:15 pm

    I agree. I’ve owned a Canon Powershot A80 for about 4 years and have found the Articulating screen to be a must have tool. It comes in handy especially when photographing small children (0-4yrs old+) that can’t or don’t know to look at the camera lens. It allows them to look at themselves and helps keep them focused. Though it is noticeable that they are looking just a tiny bit to the side, none the less.
    I’m currently in the market for a new camera and am considering the Canon S5 IS. However due to expectation that the S6 is due to be announced around Sept/Oct I’m holding out.
    But I must agree, I won’t buy a camera without an Articulating LCD Screen. It’s a highly under-rated feature.
    Great Article.

  6. colorado_bob on September 11th, 2008 7:22 am

    A few more:
    Canon Powershot A620
    Canon Powershot A95
    Canon Powershot Pro1 (I think a few more of the Pro models)
    Fujifilm FinePix S100FS

    I agree, this is an important feature. I discovered the value when photographing documents. I can lay a paper or book on a table, hold the camera above it, and not have to stand on a chair to look down at the display.

  7. fabio briatto on September 17th, 2008 6:53 pm

    thanks so much for this. I am totally deceived by the new canon G10
    announcement. Again they did not put a flip screen.
    There are less and less very compact camera (like the 650 IS, or G6)
    with flip sreens. WHY ??? Did they go nuts ?
    I use a D300 and a G3 (now defunct). These two are complementary
    but believe it or not, i could easily find a replacement for a
    2K$ dslr and nothing (even with 1K$) in the space of compacts with flip screens !
    I you have time and ideas (maybee photokina 2008 will help), thanks to post
    an updated list ;=)
    best
    fabio

  8. Lydia on September 20th, 2008 9:47 pm

    I totally agree with you and in fact since damaging my Nikon Coolpix 5400 two years ago I haven’t bought myself a camera because nothing seems to quite fit the bill, mainly because my options are narrowed by the fact that I can’t imagine photography without the vari-angle screen any longer! I’m very excited now about the Panasonic G1 that is about to be released. But are you aware of any other models released since you wrote your list? If I buy the Panasonic I’d be keen to get a second very compact camera but I don’t think anyone has been putting a vari-angle lcd on those types of cameras, but perhaps I’ve missed something? I keep hoping manufacturers will realize just what a bonus this feature is, but even the lack of responses to your message seems to indicate that very few people out there have discovered its potential :(

  9. Paulie on October 14th, 2008 6:36 am

    Flip & Twist screens are terrific, and should be more widely available in high-end SLRs too. They are valuable tools when trying to take a photo in a crowd of people ie; concert, celebrities, sports events etc. not everyone is 7ft tall and can live view such photos. ( I am 5-7 ). Paulie

  10. Richard on October 22nd, 2008 10:54 pm

    Why do the manufacturers ignore us. I still use a G6 and A640 both with flip-out screen to supplement my DSLR but still Canon dont learn and G10 has no such feature and A650 IS is now being dropped. When will they learn!

  11. Melanie on November 23rd, 2008 10:25 am

    In the meantime I am using this on my G10. It is a mirror that attaches to the LCD and allows you to see what is on your LCD. http://flipbac.com

  12. Rajev Charudutta on February 7th, 2009 4:39 pm

    Some more to the list:-

    Canon Powershot SX1 IS
    Canon Powershot SX10 IS
    Olympus E3

  13. Stephen on February 9th, 2009 11:10 am

    I completely agree with you; an articulating LCD is a must for me too.
    As I have difficulty using the optical viewfinders on cameras I use the LCD to compose the majority of my shots. Holding the camera up to eye level to view the LCD feels neither natural, nor stable. With the articulating LCDs on my Canon A620 an S5 I can look down and shoot from waist level holding the camera steady against my body, or even ‘rest’ the camera on my camera bag around my neck.
    As others have said it is also perfect for candid shots and macro shots in awkward positions.
    Flip LCDs add so much versatility to a camera I am at a loss to understand why more manufacturers do not feature them, or why Canon have removed them from many of their cameras.

  14. Glen Morgan on February 21st, 2009 12:11 am

    Has one more of the evaluation sites done reviews of the ‘glue on’ type? I assumee you
    are speaking of such? Where are they available and where may I read more about their effectiveness? Thanks & Adios, gm

  15. Jason on May 7th, 2009 11:25 pm

    Totally agree – I am also at a loss as to why Canon seems to be doing away with rotating LCD screens. From reading an interview it seems Canon is doing this in the quest of achieving a compact camera that is truly as “compact” as possible. Sorry, Canon, but I would much rather have a rotating LCD screen in the trade off for a slightly larger body. As others have said, it is an indispensable feature for taking pictures at any other angle than eye-level. Anybody who knows anything about photography realizes that often the best pictures are those NOT taken at eye-level. At this point they only have 2 (!) models remaining with rotating screens. Maybe they should do away with the flash as well – that’s kind of a useless feature too, right?

  16. marvin schulz on May 8th, 2009 10:22 am

    Hi, I agree on the tilt & twist lcd, I don’t know why it’s so hard for the camera manufactors to understand it’s a great feature. I’m handicapped and only have about 25% of my left hand and none of my right, so the tilt & twist is a must for me as I can’ty look through the viewfinder, I was all excited yesterday when I saw the Nikon D5000, but after reading about it the only good thing about the liveview was the tilt & twist lcd, if you read about it you’ll see what I mean, guess I’ll have to wait another year, I bought a Sony A300 and it has a nice live view that tilts, but no twist, I guess the maker of sreenguardz may have something to do with being able to turn the lcd in to protect the sreen, anyway I don’t understand a camera maker like Nikon not being able to make a live view that works well, Sony & Olypmus had no trouble and Nikon has been making camers decades before Sony. Marvin

  17. Elizabeth on May 20th, 2009 2:18 pm

    Also, let me be the first vain person to say, the articulating lcd is important when taking pictures OF YOURSELF. I can’t believe that with facebook and myspace and sites like this ALL consisting of pictures of yourself that camera companies would shoot themselves in the foot and not include this feature!

  18. Katie M. on October 11th, 2009 7:25 pm

    I don’t know if these have been added yet or not but I was just checking out the Canon website and the G11 has an articulated LCD, and so does the new Lumix G1.

  19. Diane Collar on November 19th, 2009 1:39 pm

    Your article was written 1/08, any new models coming out with an articulated LCD? I am also waiting to replace my Sony dsc f717 with an articulated lcd on a digital slr.

  20. Digital Shots Guide on December 4th, 2009 5:45 pm

    Hey Diane, thanks for the note. Here is a highly rated new camera with 2.5 inch articulating lcd:

    Canon PowerShot SX20IS

  21. Digital Shots Guide on December 12th, 2009 7:10 pm

    Also, the new Ashton Kutcher commercial for the Nikon D3000 shows an articulating lens.

  22. Anjeanette on February 7th, 2010 4:54 am

    I have a Canon SX20IS which also has a flip and twist LCD screen on it. I love that feature and very happy with having it on my new camera. The only problem that I am having is trying to figure out how to compose my shots using the LCD screen and not the viewfinder? I haven’t figured it out yet and don’t see it in the Starter guide the camera came with so any suggestion on here would be great. Thanks.

  23. Brian on March 21st, 2010 6:00 pm

    I have a Panasonic FZ50 and totaly agree the flip and twist is the way .
    Any thoughts on the side or bottom hinge .

  24. Chris on September 29th, 2010 9:16 pm

    Yeah, just what’s needed more moving parts to knock off.

  25. mhzayer on August 3rd, 2011 5:48 pm

    The new Canon EOS 600D

  26. Gary Hartman on January 23rd, 2013 4:42 pm

    How about the Olympus E-5 I believe it is the only “top of the Line” DSLR with a fully articulating LCD.

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