With the convergence of DSLR filmmaking, there are many essential tools that are needed to get the correct form factor for video. When shooting video on a DSLR camera, you must use the LCD screen and you must use manual focus. The combination of a very small screen, manual focus, and razor thin shallow depth-of-field makes it very challenging to focus. When shooting in both outdoor and indoor settings, the sunlight and glares make it nearly impossible to see the LCD screen. Lastly, holding the camera out in front of you so that you can focus on the screen makes the camera unstable and shaky. With any camera, you want to bring it close to the body for stability.
The first essential item to help with these challenges is a DSLR Optical Viewfinder. Zacuto has three models for you to choose from. Let’s take a look at each model so you can decide which Z-Finder right for you.
- Download the Z-Finder Compatibility Chart (.pdf)
- Learn more about the Zacuto Z-Finder and accessories in our photo gallery
Z-Finder Jr. vs. Z-Finder Pro 2.5X vs. Z-Finder Pro 3X
Z- Finder Jr.
Z-Finder Pro 2.5X & 3X
|The Z-Finder Jr. is an excellent starter viewfinder that offers a 2.5x focusable magnification, a 40mm diameter Zacuto optical design lens, a large form fitting eyecup preventing extraneous light leakage, and a field of view perfectly matched to 3” LCD screens. It does not have an anti-fog coated lens. Therefore if you are going in between extreme environments, you will need some type of anti-fog wipe or material.
The Jr. mounts to the camera using our Jr. stainless steel mounting bracket. The mounting bracket must be sandwiched in between your tripod plate and camera. The bracket mounts to the ¼ 20” screw on your tripod and the Jr. is held in place with pressure from the fork of the bracket it sits in. This bracket cannot be quickly released from your camera; you must unscrew your tripod plate from the bottom of your camera to release the bracket. The bracket must be removed when shooting photos because it will interfere with using the cameras photo optical viewfinder. If you need to quickly move between photos and video, you might want to consider one of the Z-Finder Pro models.
The Jr. has an adjustable focal point by using the Zacuto Extender Frames™ which allow you to semi-permanently stack frames onto the skirt. The Extender Frames™ push the Z-Finder Jr. optics further way from the LCD screen until it is in focus for you. The Extender Frames will get the focus close but might not be exact as you can’t dial it in with a diopter, as you can with our Pro models The adjustable focal point is a advantage over our competitors who have a fixed focal point viewfinder; thus accommodating everyone. If you have perfect vision, wear contacts or don’t mind wearing your glasses while shooting then the Jr. might be a good option for you.
The Z-Finder Jr. Mounting Bracket only works with small bodied DSLR cameras such as the Canon 5d/7d. If you would like to use the Z-Finder Jr on a small bodied DSLR with a battery or a taller bodied camera such as the Canon 1D Mark IV, you will need to use the Gorilla Plate as well as the battery grip frame or the taller body frame or the snap fit adhesive frame.
The Jr. comes in at $265.00, which is a great price for an adjustable focal point viewfinder with a lifetime warranty; just be sure it works for your needs.
|With the Z-Finder Pro, we have two different models: Z-Finder Pro with 2.5x magnification and a Z-Finder Pro with 3x magnification. The only difference between the two Pro versions is the lens magnification. Because of the lens magnification difference, it also alters the negative diopter range of the two different models. If you are nearsighted the 2.5x might be the Z-Finder for you as it offers a -4.75 correction, whereas the 3x offers a -2.75 negative correction. If you are not nearsighted, then it is just a personal preference on magnifcation.
The Z-Finder Pro models offer a 40mm diameter Zacuto optical design lens, an anti-fog coating protective lens cover, a large eyecup preventing extraneous light leakage and a field of view perfectly matched to 3” or 3.2″ LCD screens. With the expendable anti-fog protective covers, going between extreme environments will not be a problem. Additionally, when shooting for longer periods of time with a lens that has no type of anti-fog solution, fogging will occur.
The Pro models mount to your camera using our Gorilla Plate and Z-Finder aluminum mounting frame. There are different Z-Finder Mounting Frames depending on your camera. We have one for 3” short body cameras such as the Canon 5d Mark II, Canon 7D, Cannon 60D, Canon 550D, and Nikon D90. We have a frame for 3” short body cameras with battery grips such as the Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 7D and Nikon D90. Then we have a frame for 3” taller bodied cameras like the Nikon D3s and Canon 1D Mark IV. We also have a 3.2” frame for short body cameras like the Nikon D800 or Canon 5D Mark III.
The Gorilla Plate attaches to the bottom of your camera using the standard tripod screw hole. The Gorilla plate also has (2) ¼ 20” threads on the bottom and a locking pin for mounting a tripod plate; therefore you can quickly go between handheld and tripod. The Z-Finder Mounting Frame attaches to the Gorilla Plate using two thumb screws and gently presses on your LCD with rubber preventing any light leakage, as well as scratching. The mounting frame does not adhere to your camera. The Z-Finder Pro then snaps on and off the mounting frame for the ability to quickly move between photos and videos. The frame does not interfere with the cameras photo viewfinder. This is a huge advantage over the Jr. but it may not be necessary for all shooters.
The Z-Finder Pro focuses with a diopter; therefore you can dial in the exact focus for your eyes. If you need extra focal point, you can also use the Zacuto Extender Frames™ to extend the Z-Finder glass further away from the LCD screen. This is important for people who are farsighted and/or people who wear reading glasses.
The Z-Finder Pros (2.5x Anti-Fog & 3x Anti-Fog) list price is $395.00 and like all Zacuto products includes a lifetime warranty.
Zacuto’s Z-Finder Pro
Z-Finder Small Frame Installation