Z-Finder DSLR Optical Viewfinder
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 multiple models for you to choose from. Let’s take a look at each model so you can decide which Z-Finder right for you.
- View 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
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 with an anti-fog disc and sun mask, and a large form fitting eyecup preventing extraneous light leakage. The Jr. mounts to the camera using our Jr. stainless steel mounting bracket or an adhesive frame. 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. The Z-Finder Jr also includes a 3″ Adhesive Frame that can be used instead of the bracket. The Z-Finder Jr pops on and off that frame. 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 have a tall body camera like the Canon 1D or Nikon D3.The Jr. comes in at $165.00, which is a great price for an adjustable focal point viewfinder with a lifetime warranty; just be sure it works for your needs.
|The Z-Finder Pro comes with either a 3x or 2.5x magnification and either a 3″ or 3.2″ mounting frame. There is also a Panasonic GH3 specific version. 3x and 2.5x refers to the magnification built into the lens. If you wear particularly strong reading glasses we recommend a 3x model. Otherwise a 2.5x model is usually best. The 3″ or 3.2″ refers to the size of your camera LCD screen. If you are unsure which model best fits your camera, please down load the Z-Finder compatibility chart at the top of this article. The Z-Finder Pro models offer a 40mm diameter Zacuto optical design lens, two anti-fog coating protective lens cover, a large eyecup preventing extraneous light leakage and a sturdy metal two piece mounting system.
The Pro models mount to your camera using our Gorilla Plate V2 and Z-Finder aluminum mounting frame. The Z-Finders will come with frames to fit short body camera like the Canon 5D M2 or 3 and Nikon D3000. We also offer mounting frames for tall camera like the Canon 1Dc and battery grip frames for small body camera with grips attached. These frames are all purchased in addition to a Z-Finder. The Gorilla Plate attaches to the bottom of your camera using the standard tripod screw hole. The Gorilla plate has (2) ¼ 20” threads on the bottom and a locking pin for mounting a tripod plate to 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. All Z-Finder Pro models have a list price is $395.00 and like all Zacuto products includes a lifetime warranty.