Customizing Olympus PEN (part 1): VF-2 viewfinder

No camera is perfect: neither the old film cameras nor the modern digital variety, not even the otherwise excellent Olympus Micro Four Thirds range. I’ve had an Olympus PEN E-PL3 as my main digital camera for over a year, and while I like it very, very much, I decided to do something about two annoying mechanical design flaws it has. The first problem is the loose fitting of the VF-2 viewfinder.

I’ve already explained here why I ended buying a VF-2 viewfinder for the E-PL3. While excellent as such, it has one severe design flaw: it lacks a lock to keep it securely fitted to the hot-shoe; it is kept in place practically by friction alone. I think this was a really stupid oversight from the Olympus company; the error has been fixed in the later VF-3 and VF-4 viewfinder models, though. I haven’t actually dropped the viewfinder yet, but on several occasions, like when taking the camera out of the camera bag, I’ve noticed it being partially dislocated and on its way out.

As you can see, there’s a small spring-loaded pin at the bottom of the viewfinder, which is supposed to secure it to the hot-shoe, but the spring itself is way too weak to do its job properly.


Here’s my resolution for the problem: a spring clip made from ⌀1.5mm steel wire, and partially covered with heat-shrinking tube. The wire ends are designed to lock into the grooves on the sides of the VF-2. It is a bit tricky to fit, but because I keep the viewfinder almost always in place on the camera (I do not use the clip-on flash), it doesn’t really matter.

Spring clip

A series of pictures to show how it fits in place. I hope you don’t mind me boasting about this, but I think this is really a very neat looking solution to the problem; the clip looks like it was part of the original design…

Clip in place #1
Clip in place #2
Clip in place #3
Clip in place #4
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