When the Zacuto EVF, Electronic Viewfinder, was first released, we focused on the hot button features like Z-Finder compatibility, camera specific scaling, HDMI loop through, and the new kits it helped us create like the Fee-N-G, Scorpion, Recoil and EVF Filmmaker. However, we believe it’s in the more subtle details that the Zacuto EVF can really shine.
This is our list of the top 10 lesser known tips and features that make our digital viewfinder the cream of the crop.
Zacuto EVF: Top 10 Tips & Features
Above left to right: Scorpion kit with EVF & Fee-N-G rig with EVF
1. EVF Function Buttons
The three function buttons on the side of your EVF are not just for navigating the main menu. When you purchase a Zacuto EVF the buttons numbers F1, F2 and F3 are set to toggle white line peaking, zebra lines, and pixel to pixel zoom respectively.
You can easily and quickly change those buttons to control which ever feature you wish. Just follow these simple steps:
- Open main menu
- Scroll to and select “Function Buttons”
- Highlight the button you wish to change from the list
- From the subsequent menu, choose the desired function and select by pressing F3
You can now quickly activate your chosen feature by pressing the appropriate function button on the side of the EVF unit.
2. Red-Line Peaking with Monochrome
Due to popular demand, our EVF has a new red line focus assist option. (This was added in a recent firmware upgrade that you can find here.) For added visibility when using the Red Line Focus Assist, some users prefer to simultaneously enable the Monochrome feature so that the red lines stand out from the black and white image. To do this, simply turn on both features. Both features can be set to the programmable function buttons on the side of the EVF for quick toggling on or off. Plus, activating monochrome will immediately turn your leading man into Humphrey Bogart – or, maybe not.
3. EVF Cheesestick
This handy little piece opens up a whole new world of mounting possibilities for your EVF. The Cheesestick attaches to the EVF via two of the four accessory screw holes on the back of the unit and gives the user a row of five ¼ 20” screw holes. You can mount the Cheese Stick either on the top or bottom of the EVF in 3 different positions. This means that you can now smoothly and quickly hang your EVF from the top of a camera handle and generally arrange it into any number of weird and wacky configurations.
4. Frame Store
The Frame Store feature allows users to store up to 7 unique screen grabs in the EVF’s internal memory. Once a frame is stored on the EVF, it can be pulled up at any time and viewed as an opaque image or half transparency. Frame store is here to help with continuity between shots, framing stop motion animations, or to just have a reminder of that time you shot a model on the beach in Maui.
5. AB2CB Power cable Options
Our little ole battery can last a good 7 hours or more and is great for lightweight kits and run’n’gun shoots. When a little more firepower is needed, the HotRod AB2CB LP-E6 to D-Tap Power Cable is here to save the day. This convenient, heavy duty, coiled power cable allows you to power your EVF from an external brick battery. It has built in regulation and can be stretched to 6” long. Now you can power our line of EVFs (or your Canon 5D/7D) with pro V-Mount or Anton Bauer style batteries.
6. Double Zebras
The EVF has a Zebra feature to aid the user in achieving the correct exposure. EVF units are sent out with the Zebra levels set at 70 and 100 IRE. The 70 IRE level is for exposing white skin tone while the 100 IRE level is for knowing when bright areas in the frame are clipping or losing all detail. The two different zebra levels can be set in increments of 1 IRE form anywhere between 1 and 109 IRE, giving the user extremely precise exposure control.
*To only have one level of Zebras, the user can turn ZEBRA DETECT 1 down to the OFF position and set ZEBRA DETECT 2 to whatever level desired.
7. Gorilla Plate Bracket
A lot of you DSLR users are upgrading from our award winning Z-finders to our award winning EVF! Do you know that you can actually use the Gorilla Plate from your Z-finder to mount your new EVF? Check out our Gorilla Plate Bracket. It attaches to the groove in the Gorilla Plate, where the metal mounting frame usually sits, to place the EVF on the left side of your camera. This compact, adjustable bracket is also conveniently placed to act as a simple stabilization point for your hand. Love this idea? Take a quick peek at our Slingshot kit!
8. Create and save user scaling presets
Our scaling feature has been getting rave reviews from customers since day one. We’ve been busy little bees adding more cameras and including cleaner and more precise color profiles with every firmware upgrade. Our scaling feature is designed to show you the largest image possible, but that doesn’t always include the camera information as well. For a lot of video cameras that information can be laid over the image from the camera side – usually by entering the main camera menu and selecting a display options feature. For Canon DSLRs you can hit the “Info” button to bring up different types of information, but that information will be on the outside of the image and therefore shrink the image. (If you’re not sure how to access features like this on your camera please consult your manual or contact a camera rep.)
Now, here comes the fun part! You can set and save scaling profiles in your EVF to show as much or as little of this information and indeed the actual image as you like. There are 16 empty slots available for you to save whatever specialty profiles you think you may need.
This easy to follow video shows you how to set up your very own customized scaling preset.
Worried about putting stress on your DSLR mini-HDMI port when using our EVF? Well, worry no more! Our Pincher, a universal HDMI cable restraint for DSLRs, will keep your HDMI cable snug and protected. More importantly (for your wallet!) it will dramatically reduce stresses and strains on the port in your camera. The highly adjustable Pincher can be set facing front or back, in or out, the “claw” can sit up or down and is easily moved to accommodate your cameras set up. It attaches simply to our Gorilla Plate or DSLR Baseplate.
Check out this video from Rob at Spirit Juice Studios, a longtime friend and customer. He knows Zacuto is worth its weight in gold – or in cameras!! Watch him hang his DSLR over a bridge with just our Pincher and an HDMI cable. Don’t try this at home!
10. Upgrade your Firmware Online!
Since the EVF release in 2011 we’ve continued working to streamline initial features and add new ones. Our free firmware upgrades over the past 18 months have added frame store, red focus assist, some versions of 1080p compatibility, color profiles, false color, an easy error diagnosis program, under scan options, and so much more.
We will continue to jam pack this little EVF with every possible feature we can! And, we will continue to provide these amazing upgrades free of charge on our EVF Support page.
We hope this list has helped illuminate some of the lesser known functions of our EVF. Head on over to store.zacuto.com to browse some of our EVF accessories! You can sign up here to get notification when we release downloadable EVF firmware upgrades and other great Zacuto products. Last but not, least, please always feel free to call or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments, or suggestions about our EVF or any products in the Zacuto line.