Review of new Zacuto Z-Finders

14
Jun
2010
Share Button

EDIT: New upgrade for V2 released to make it anti fog. Click here for details

Well I am back from the USA…again. I took in a number of places. Las Vegas, Phoenix and New York. Whilst at NAB I got to play with the brand new Z-Finder Pro 2.5x and 3x, the new Junior and their new rigs.

Z Finder V1, V2, PRO, Jr.

Now before I go any further most of you know of my close relationship with Zacuto as clearly stated in my “Ethics Statement”. Zacuto are my friends and I do have an affiliate relationship with them. But like all my affiliate relationships on my site they are all for products I utterly endorse. No point in recommending gear that sucks! This will be an honest review, I promise!

The original Z-Finder I got a year ago. It was awesome, made handheld possible and became instantly essential. The V2 come out. Massive improvement in looks and gave you a fine adjuster for your eyesight. Now we are on the V3, which has been re-branded the PRO to accommodate the introduction of the new budget junior. Many people complain that the Z-Finder is too pricey, well you now have two options. It really is one of those products that until you use one you really just don’t realise how good it is. I cannot confirm this but I know Zacuto have a crazy good customer service policy. Am pretty certain if you order one and don’t like it they will have no issue giving you a full refund (not that I think you will want one!)

So what do we get with these new Z-Finders Pros? First off they have given us two different magnification options. 2.5x and 3x. The original two ZF were 3x. Which gave you like a 100″ LCD screen in your eye. Makes focusing SO much easier. Some people complained that 3x was too much, you can see the pixels. That is why they have now given the option of the 2.5x. You don’t see the pixels quite as much. You also see the whole image very easily but is a smidge harder to focus due it to being a bit smaller mag. But just a smidge. I have been using both now for past two weeks and I simply am not which one I prefer. Sometimes it’s the 3x other times its the 2.5x. I think I will stick with 3x for now and keep trying to the 2.5x. Only time will tell. One advantage of 2.5x is on tripod it’s much easier to frame than 3x as you dont push your eye into it as much to see whole image.



The other MASSIVE thing is they have gotten rid of that damn fogging problem with the new non fogging glass. It’s ‘effin brilliant. Anyone who has shot with Z-Finder will know the fogging issue. They have fog wipes for them but they need to be applied every time you use them. It’s fog up due to heat/ cold issues when changing locations and is a massive pain. Now, it simply does not happen. Take your old Z-Finder and blow on it. Fogs up, right? Take the new Z-Finder Pro…blow on it and NOTHING. This is massive. Every viewfinder I have used in over 20 years has fogged up. This is breakthrough for me and makes the new Pro and must have upgrade, whether you go for the 2.5x or 3x. Interesting at NYC DSLR meet up most people preferred the 2.5x when I showed them…We also have a much improved eye cup and a nice cover for the eye cup to protect it from sunlight and a lovely case to protect your Z-Finder in your bag.

The 2.5x was popular at NY-DSLR meet up

We also have a new mounting plate. No longer do we glue the frame for it onto the camera (which I never had a problem with as it can be removed easily enough if needed and left no permanent marks), the new one though is a frame that is secured under the camera creating a frame. It’s very nice and very slick. You can get longer version for cameras with the battery grips on them.

new dslr plate

superb new mounting plate

Z-Finder case

We now also have the new Jr version for the budget conscious. Same great 2.5x mag but no de-fogger  and to be honest a mounting frame that I really dislike. In fact I recommend throwing it away and just buying the 6 dollar stick on frame which worked so well for  V2. The Z-Finder Jr frame stops you taking stills using the VF as it totally gets in the way. Not a fan, but there is nothing stopping you upgrading to the PRO frame when you get the cash. Also you can get add on bits for the junior to compensate for eyesight issues. Really important this as the diopter is only present on the Pro.

As much as I like the Jr and it is very good for the cash I cannot help but feel its worth saving up that little bit extra to get the what I consider to be essential fog free version with a massively superior mounting system. It’s a price difference of $135. For me as a pro, it’s worth it. If you are not a pro, is it worth it? Yes. That’s the price of a couple of nights out on the booze and it will last a lifetime and is in my opinion, at least 5x better. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still good. The Jr is a bit like the old V2, the Pro has upped the game so much it really is worth it.

Tomorrow I take a look at their new rigs, in particular the new Striker and the expensive but awesome Cross Fire which I have been shooting with the past three weeks. It bloody brilliant!

The Cross Fire. The best handheld rig out there!

Share Button

Comments

  1. Mark Terry says:

    You have convinced me to get one finally. ‘Finally” for me, not that you’ve been trying to convince me for a long time. Still on the fence regarding the 2.5x vs. 3x magnification since you seem to be as well. I only shoot people – that is, I almost never am shooting landscapes or even things that are more than, say, 20 feet away (often I’m shooting quite close, as I do a lot of newborns). In those type of shooting situations would one of the magnifications be better than the other?

    Thanks. And thanks for the review.

    1. pbloom says:

      why not order both and send the one you like least back?

      1. Mark Terry says:

        Wow, are they really that great about returns? I know you’ve said they are, but I never thought of doing that. Can I drop your name if they give me any trouble about returning one? ;)

        1. pbloom says:

          yeah why not!

  2. Thanks for the great review Phil, now I might have to drop another $400 just for the non fogging glass. Thanks!! I do think that’s an awesome upgrade from the V2. I struggle with that all the time. Shooting in Florida with the humidity has been a bit of pain with fogging. On occasion the fogging has caused me to miss my mark with focusing. Maybe the wife will spring for one for my birthday in June.

    Can’t wait to read your review for the cross fire. That setup looks awesome. Now that’s something I definitely need that I don’t already have.

    1. Joe Rodriguez says:

      How will a rig like the cross fire manage with zoom lenses? How do you control the zoom if there’s no free hand? I can’t imagine the popular 70-200mm 2.8 II on that rig.

      1. pbloom says:

        left hand operates zoom and focus like i always do with every lens i have ever used including ENG lenses

        1. Joe Rodriguez says:

          Speaking of the popular 70-200mm 2.8, I saw that on one of your videos you mount the camera on the tripod with the lens attached instead of mounting the tripod collar of the lens. I don’t own this lens but I’m curious about the weight distribution. Do you find there isn’t too much frontal weight for a 5D? I saw you did this with your monopod.

          1. pbloom says:

            sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t! i think for more even distribution it helps…

            1. Sam Harris says:

              The potential problem with not using the lens collar is warping of the lens mount. Very easy to do, but hard to diagnose and expensive to fix. How often you can do before it starts to bend, 4 times, 10 times or just the once. I can tell you, when you’re on a deadline, you’ve travelled 3000 miles home and it then shows up in post.

              The mount only needs to be out by a few microns – a human hair is 200 microns – and it can have a detrimental effect on the image output (with still images in particular and more so with high count pixel cameras as any defects are just magnified).

              When and if it does warp, how will you know if it’s a lens element misalignment, the mount on the camera or on the lens, sensor alignment or something else causing problems, most likely shows up as softness in the image?

              In my view, it’s best to remove that potential issue from the equation and always use the collar on the tripod. Same with the camera strap; if it’s over the shoulder, with the lens dangling, then all the weight is on the lens mount.

    2. Hoon Lee says:

      Contacted Zacuto and they will upgrade optics on the v2 so you can get the non fogging glass without having to buy a whole new finder. Very nice.

  3. Matthew Mann says:

    Do you find the 2.5x easier to frame than the 3x?

  4. Great review…I had ordered a 3x the other day – can’t wait – my first (and not last) piece of Zacuto gear! Looking forward to your thoughts on the new rigs – that is next on my very long list :) Thanks so much – Vicky

    1. pbloom says:

      email me about workshop…got time free coming up

  5. Ciné-Ernesto says:

    Thanks a lot for the review. You make it easier to understand than Zacuto’s own page for the product. I think that the snap frame for the junior is a really good idea.

    On another note, Philip, you know, one rig that would be GREAT if you reviewed is http://www.handyslr.com . A lot of people over at Cinema5d (including myself) are really digging this guy’s work. It follows a line that’s different from Zacuto and Red Rock Micro Cinema-style oriented setup, and from the cage setups etc. It just tries to turn the DSLR into a Camcorder, which is a great, solid idea. Anyway, I hope you give it a go sometime.

    1. Daniel Lowe says:

      Ernesto, the demo for that looks pretty cool! I have no idea how much this costs, but it looks like a pretty useful setup.

      1. ciné-ernesto says:

        Yeah, I think it’s amazing. The manufacturer, a guy from Turkey, seems veyr committed also. With that specific rig you can’t use a finder, it’s thought more for use with a small LCD monitor, but the whole vision is still great, as it it’s in the practical framework of a Camcorder (which for documentary people is a lot better). There are prices in the site, just go to the store section… I’m here hoping Philip might review it, because this rigs deserves it.

  6. Roman France says:

    Z-Finder is really great for that contact point. I usually am able to gauge focus without it, but it definitely helps steady out some shots. I actually quite like the 2.5x because it allows you to see the entire frame. Not a huge fan of the Cross Fire rig, it is too front heavy for my taste, kind of awkward as well. Their Double Barrel rig looks more my speed, of course its the priciest LOL. Though weight might not bother you other folks, apparently I’m a girl for thinking it’s heavy lol =).

    1. pbloom says:

      you were very weak if I remember correctly Roman. Like Monty Burns in The Simpsons!

      1. Roman France says:

        *Taps Fingers Together* Exxxxcellentttt. Nah but that rig really was heavy on the hands lol. I’m a tiny American what do you expect?

        1. pbloom says:

          dude, you are a big strong man. what gives?!

  7. Great review! My only concern: is it possible to use the Z Finder Pro with the dslr plate and the jag35 dfocus at the same time?
    Keep up with the excelent work on your blog.
    Cheers from Venezuela

  8. joe q says:

    Do you find the gorilla plate is a good thing? It’s required for the frame – and it changes the height of the camera for other mounting situations.
    (like a RR Micro rig w/ FF, for example).

    What can you do with you “V2″ when you upgrade? Will they upgrade the unit also? I just got my V2 a couple months ago…

    Thanks Philip.

    1. pbloom says:

      just upgrade the glass

  9. Stu Mannion says:

    Philip have you tried the LCDVF? It looks like better value to me. Just forget that you’ve got to spruke Zacuto for a second.

    Cheers

    1. pbloom says:

      i have done a review of one, do a search on blog. Biggest issue is finding one. He is having trouble actually making them I heard from a distributor who simply cant get hold of any.

      1. Adam Weiss says:

        I just got an LCDVF last week, and (for people with good eyesight) I think it is a much better product than the Zacuto if you shoot a lot of stills — especially if you are are a left-eyed shooter.

        When I tried the Z-Finder, the frame dug into my face when using the optical viewfinder, but the LCDVF frame is so thin I can barely feel it. The magnetic mount is also much faster to attach and detach than the Z-Finder, which is good if you’re shooting a lot of stills.

        Philip is right that they’re hard to find. I was lucky enough to get one in three days, but happened upon a store that had just gotten a bunch of them in that morning. They expected to sell out by the end of the day.

        If you can find one, buy it!

        1. pbloom says:

          you simply like the magnetic frame better, not the actual loupe itself…

          1. Adam Weiss says:

            That’s 100% true. However, you can’t get a Z-Finder with a magnetic mount, so that makes me like the whole LCDVF product better.

            To comment on the loupes themselves, I think they both have their advantages. The Z-finder’s increased magnification was nice, but I found it to be a bit too strong. The LCDVF could use just a bit more, but was closer to what I think would be ideal. The new 2.5x Zacuto might be just right, but I haven’t gotten to use one.

            The squared-off shape of the Zacuto keeps down the glare on the inside walls — something you see more of with the LCDVF but doesn’t bother me. I’m sure the magnification makes a difference in this regard as well, since you see more of the inside of the loupe with the lower-magnification LCDVF. Philip — how does the 2.5x Z-Finder do there?

            Optically, I have no complaints about either one. They both make the LCD look great. The anti-fog coating of the new Z-finder is nice, but I can buy a lot of Fog Eliminator wipes for $225.

            The lighter weight of the LCDVF is a nice difference when you are out for a day of mostly shooting stills, which leaves it hanging around your neck all day for the 20 minutes of video you want to shoot to augment your stills. This doesn’t matter when shooting a day of video, of course.

            The LCDVF also comes with a really nice eyecup cushion. This is something that you can get for the Z-Finder, but adds to the 200%+ price difference between the two. It also comes with a case and a second frame (again, more $$ for the Zacuto). These are not features of “the actual loupe itself,” but useful included accessories are something to consider when buying any product.

            If both loupes were the same price, I’d buy the LCDVF because of the mounting system. If they were both the same price and I could mount the Z-finder magnetically, I’d get the Zacuto.

            Stu said “better value,” and the hard truth is that they’re not the same price. As products, they are very close, both in actual use and features (minus the diopter that I don’t need), but one costs twice as much and has a less desirable mounting system.

            So, for Stu — and for others on a budget — the LCDVF is fantastic. For someone who does equal parts stills and video, it’s fantastic. If you have the money and primarily do video work, get the Z-finder.

            1. Stu Mannion says:

              I’m sure the Zacuto is a great product. I just got the LCDVF and I’m very happy with it for the reasons Adam mentioned above.

      2. Stu Mannion says:

        Oh yes you did! Thank you.

  10. Fred Forbes says:

    Thanks Philip, great review. I’m thinking of the 2.5x Pro for my 7D. Regarding focus, I assume you can still use camera 5x or 10x magnification to help while not rolling?

    1. pbloom says:

      all the time Fred. Find it essential

  11. BrandedChannels says:

    Hi Philip,

    I cannot imagine shooting without Zacuto’s Z-Finders, although I am still waiting for an angled version (allowing you to see the image when the camera is positioned either high or low), such as this one from Genus: http://www.genustech.tv/viewfinders/genus-prism-lcd-viewfinders.html Too bad that one uses Velcro and isn’t interchangeable with Zacuto’s gear.

    I already have two Z-Finders … V2′s. Would Zacuto consider trading one in for a V3 at the additional cost?

    Looking at the Cross fire also I wonder: how often do you actually work with a mattebox? Or do you prefer to stick on a VariND/FaderND filter to control the incoming light? I can only see me using a Mattebox for special occassions such as a Grad filter for shooting blue sky/beaches…

    1. pbloom says:

      i still prefer vari nds. works with matte box when i have to…

      they wil upgrade your glass i see for $40 for v2 users. pretty good news!

      1. BrandedChannels says:

        Can you provide a link to that promo? Thanks much.

  12. IVAN CIGIC says:

    Dear Phillip
    I am thinking to buy beactech adapder for audio. Is it possible to mount new Z-finder underneath the beachtech adapter or is it possible to mount it together at all.

    Thank you very mcuh for the excellent review

  13. Daniel Lowe says:

    Phillip, thanks for such a complete product review. I was tempted to buy one of these viewfinders a few months back, but I was short on cash.

    Instead I got the Hoodman Loupe (with straps), which, as a person with good vision, had an un-focusable dioptic; a complete waste of $100. I should have just bought a Z-Finder the first time.

    I wonder if they’ll ever put a nice adjustable flip viewscreen on the HD-SLRs, like the one on the Canon Vixia HF camcorder. That, or have a built in eyepiece. The existing rear LCD design isn’t optimal for practical use, which is why we’re all talking about aftermarket gear.

    1. pbloom says:

      we can wish Daniel. But they don’t seem that interested. More likely on the consumer cameras like the T2i than anything

  14. Dittrich says:

    Hi Philip, thanks for your thoughts on the new z-finders. I understand the Pro’s work with the Gorrilaplate. Maybe it’s worth noting that the Pro’s use the Gorillaplate which has tapped holes on the bottom. These holes are offset from the center of the lens which throws up a bit of a challenge when you try to use these new Z Finder Pro’s with a rigs that need the mattebox in line with the lens.

    Serious point to consider when using the new Z Finder pro with rigs other than Zacuto. (as to avoid dissappointment)

    I recommend consulting the good folks at Zacuto when in doubt, chances are you’ll find a solution.

    Cheers

  15. Hey Phil… showed you briefly in NYC at meet up, you should really check out the Half Inch Rails “Run N Gun Pro” handheld rig – much less expensive and includes a thumbwheel focus knob… much more functional, very light and versatile.

    No affiliation – I just like the product alot…

    Cheers…

  16. Jason Silzle says:

    Hey guys I have a version “2″ and I love it. I bought the upgrade kit and some defoggers and the case only to find out after NAB about the crazy good defogging glass in the new Pro. I called Zacuto and they where kind enough to offer a glass replacement for like $40.00 shipping and handling. If you have a 2.0 Z-Finder this might be a good option for you. I am in Miami now but when I get back to CA I will send mine in!

    Cheers,
    Jason

    1. Jason Silzle says:

      Clarification it will be $40 + Shipping and handling

    2. pbloom says:

      great news!

  17. STR says:

    Nice review Phil – I am pretty sold on the Z-finders… Undecided on 2.5 or 3x – may have to use both to get a better idea…

    Very keen to see some rig reviews – Zacuto striker looks good – although wondering how if the follow focus (single action) bolts on easy to it ? is that the rig you had at the NYC meet?
    Also Really like the look + build quality of the Captain Stubling RRmicro rig – don’t suppose you have shot / handled one ?

    http://store.redrockmicro.com/s.nl/it.A/id.850/.f?sc=2&category=2700

    Keep up the awesome info and reviews !

  18. Chris Weatherly says:

    The Pro will be my next purchase. Thanks for the review it really does help. Not sure if I’ll to 3X or 2.5X.

    Anyway, Phil, do you use the focus Z-Focus much? I figure if you are shooting gorilla no, but tripod yes?

    1. pbloom says:

      i use the follow focus a lot. less in guerilla more tripod

  19. dwolffnicolucci says:

    Great review as always! Will hopefully be getting mine in the next couple of weeks and am really excited to start trying it out. Especially since I don’t have the funds for a nice handheld rig yet so that third point of contact with the Zacuto should be helpful for me.

  20. PGW says:

    I purchased the old Z-finder a month before they came out with the new one. BH Photo would not exchange it since it had been discontinued, even though it was unopened in the box. However, I contacted Zacuto and they were kind enough to send me all the new parts for my old Z-finder to make it a pro version at no extra charge. Excellent customer service! However, after reading Philip’s post I think I’m going to send it back with $40 to get the anti-fog glass.

  21. Adam Levins says:

    One very important point that I feel should be mentioned about the new baseplate and mounting system is that the tripod or baseplate mount screw is not centered.I for example us a older vocas system with my 5D and I am getting this new viewfinder but I will have to drill and tap new offset holes in my vocas baseplate to make it work.

    If you have a system with a more adjustable baseplate you will be fine. Just something to be aware of. Nice writeup BTW.

    This is from the Zacuto Website:

    “The tapped holes on the bottom of the Gorilla plate are offset from the center of the lens. This is only a concern if you are using the Gorilla plate with other rigs that need the matte box in line with the lens/mounting screw hole”

  22. TrebD says:

    Just spoke with zacuto, if you purchased zfinder between march 1st and march 23rd its free to swap out glass, you just need to pay shipping. Great Costumer service!

    1. Craig Whipps says:

      “… between march 1st and march 23rd its free to swap out glass, you just need to pay shipping. ” Really! (I love those guys)

      Totally agree: best customer service I’ve ever had in my entire life. I’ve called them three times, and they picked the phone up on the first ring each time.

  23. TheHorse says:

    Z-Finder is bloody indispensable. Truly makes the experience of shooting something else. Cant recommend it enough. I love the idea of the base plate but how is this going to affect my Red Rock DSLR Baseplate mount?

  24. David says:

    Thanks for review. Like many here, I am considering 2.5x or 3x–I wish you would have preferred one or the other – ha ha…From what you and other’s say, its between easier focus or seeing the whole image, easier…I’m wondering if you still use the 5x and 10x preview to help focus with these still?

  25. tm says:

    Phil, any chance u can get some legit pics of the vf with the taller plate on 5d with battery grip and/or the Mk IV? Your pic and zacuto’s of the plate is just a rendering and no pics of it installed and in use. I’m a bit skeptical of it’s handling, strength, etc. It’s taller and more likely to bend (maybe break) more easily.

    Thoughts?

  26. Sami says:

    Ordered my 2.5x Pro back in March. Can’t wait to have it, and make me rig more complete!

  27. Great review as usual Phillip.
    I will be very interested to try the 2.5x as one of my gripes about the 3x is that the image is HUGE & I find myself literally looking around the screen to see the shot & the camera settings (I’m hoping there might be one or two floating around at Converge2?)
    Another thing I have observed using the Z finder (as have a couple of colleagues) is that I find that the centre of the image seems slightly soft compared to the edges – I was recently out shooting a load of vox pops on sticks with 70-200 2.8L & i found that I kept wondering if the subjects face was sharp – then I’d look at their hair (on the same focal plane) & it was pin sharp… I guess no amount of good optics can make up for the inadequacies of the LCD screen & its still in a different league to the Hoodman!.. & I guess still cant expect a £300 finder to give me what I am used to on a digi 970!
    But… I still wouldn’t leave home without it!
    If I like the 2.5 I might see if I can chop in my V2 glass for the 2.5 anti-fog.
    Look forward to seeing you at Converge – will be there on Wed for yours & Rodney Charters workshops- v.excited!

  28. Lucap75 says:

    Hi,
    good to know about these new Zacuto’s, but I still have one concern that Zacuto doesn’t seem to have worked out with its new releases: months ago I pointed out at them that their viewfinder lacked essentialy of a feature I find very important: the option of an angle-view, I mean you still can’t shoot from up-down-left or right but just frontally, because of the viewfinder-mount being only central.
    It will help out a lot to keep control of your shooting while you hold the camera over (like shooting a crowd) or under your eye-position (like shooting from the ground, as like as left or right (as for other needs due to your shooting condition).
    They replied to me by saying the would work on that. I think that, as long as there are angle-finder you can mount on the camera-viewfinder, there should be also some angle-finder meant to be mounted on the camera display, since that’s the only way you can control the picture on you Mark II while shooting video.
    Unless Canon will release a new firmware that activate the small viewfinder also while shooting video: so that will make thins easier for everyone and we costumers could buy a normal angle-finder, whether is Zacuto’s or not.

    1. pbloom says:

      what you after is incredibly hard to make. how would you do it?

    2. Craig Whipps says:

      I think the people at Canon have correctly assumed that anyone wanting to view at odd angles would be using a small monitor. I bought a SmallHD DPSLR which I’ll mount on the camera hot shoe, or an arm when I’m on the tripod. It connects using the HDMI port on the camera. Here’s a link: http://www.smallhd.com but Marshall makes some great monitors, also, you should check them out, too. (hope that helps)

  29. Dane Henry says:

    Anybody else notice the frame barely reaches to the gorilla plate, when matching up the frame to the LCD on the 5D. Also, I’m pretty damn frustrated that the Gorilla plate offsets the bottom mounting hole, now if I use it, I have to figure out a way to center the camera back to my Chroszial Rail/Mattebox system. I love the z-finder, it makes using the cameras for video a reality, and I’m glad to get rid of the stick on frame (pops off in cold weather) and the always loosening z-bands but damn zacuto throwing another hickup into an already complicated, do-dad riddled system is a bit frustrating!

    Not trying to rant at Zacuto, I just thought this was going to fix an annoying problem…but it has added another. I have been using the DSLR camera systems very frequently as of late for a lot of clients. Here is a link to the latest job I did for Fox Sports Network with the 5D & 7D cameras.
    http://news.deeprootsmedia.com/

    -Dane

    1. pbloom says:

      this was a pre-production model

      1. Mario Feil says:

        Have the same problem. Frame barely matches the LCD of my 5D and the hole of the Gorilla Plate offsets the camera

        Don’t think that’s just a pre-production problem.
        Or did Dane an I just get one of those??

        1. pbloom says:

          i would contact zacuto…

  30. Riaan says:

    Is there a Zacuto with adjustable eyepiece in the not so distant future? One that can tilt like VF’s on pro cameras?

  31. MarcusFromPhilly says:

    One day I’m hoping to meet Philip Bloom here in Philly *fingerscrossed* for a Philadelphia Meet Up happening. Again, hopefully Jon and Cristina can lure you to our great city.

    Also, ***WILL INTERN FOR FOR SOME ZACUTO GEAR***…LOL.

  32. Mike Collins says:

    I may be in the minority but I actually gorilla glued my mounting piece to my 7D.

  33. nicocoquet says:

    Thanks Philip ! It’s really helpful as always. I was hesitating to buy one… and hesitating even more between the 2.5 and the 3x. But now I think I’m going to buy the 2.5x
    Just have to find it in France

    Did you try Red Rock DSLR’s products ?? It looks quite interesting and not too expensive…

    Cheers

    1. Mike Collins says:

      Yeah I’m really curious if Philip has any take on Redrock. I think Dan Chung uses their rigs and I know Shane Hurlbut does as well. I really dig their nano rig set up.

  34. Copek says:

    Does anybody know if the new PRO viewfinder will work with the plastic glued on frame from the V2? I think I’d rather avoid the gorilla plate altogether.

    1. pbloom says:

      yes it will

  35. Greg says:

    Hey Phillip thanks for the review,

    I do have a favor to ask, and since I’m half British
    I’m sure you can help me out,

    Here goes..
    Can you give me your old Zacuto grear
    when your done trying to make films?

    I’m broke and I really need some gear
    :P

  36. RichardJ says:

    Love your bolg and these reviews.. But got me thinking how can you honestly review something when you have the advertising and sponsors on your website?

    1. pbloom says:

      Hi Richard,

      Honestly is the simple answer. Read the start of this review and read the linked to Ethics Statements.

      “Now before I go any further most of you know of my close relationship with Zacuto as clearly stated in my “Ethics Statement”. Zacuto are my friends and I do have an affiliate relationship with them. But like all my affiliate relationships on my site they are all for products I utterly endorse. No point in recommending gear that sucks! This will be an honest review, I promise!

      I am very transparent and hide nothing. I also clearly say that I am not a big fan of the Junior in this review.

      Best

      P

  37. Mitch Ives says:

    Philip,

    Nice to meet you in Scottsdale. I hope the Sedona trip was worthwhile. I’m looking forward to your review on the Striker and Crossfire. I was ready to get a Striker, but that Crossfire looks more flexible. Looking forward to your experiences and thoughts…

  38. Hi Philip,

    I am a new fan of your site. I do for over three years video with a fotocamera (a bridge camera) and I want to jump in the dslr bandwagon.

    I need urgent the new Zacuto from your review, but it comes out until June…

    Can you lend/rent/sold me one of yours?

    Which one is better for the Canon t2i (550D)?

  39. Craig Whipps says:

    Thanks for another honest review, Philip. I took your recommendation last March and can’t imagine what I was thinking trying to shoot hand held without it. My T2i is now balanced, my shots are steady, and I can finally follow focus with my EF 50mm f/1.4. Zacuto customer service is amazing. I’m excited that they will allow me to upgrade my v.2 to the new anti-fog glass as I live in an incredibly foggy place (Arcata, CA). Again, thanks for all the info. It really helps.

  40. frank apollonio says:

    I have a t2i w battery grip as well as the z finder pro n battery grip mount n it doesn’t line up right … know how to fix this phillip ?

    1. pbloom says:

      a canon battery grip? am assuming you have the tall frame. is it falling short?

  41. Frank Apollonio says:

    yes i have the canon battery grip… and i have the one for small dslr w battery grip.. and actually its too tall … i emailed zacuto and they said they were making a new plate just for that : ) i made my own shoulder mount and am waiting for the plate so i can feel it out before i screw on a manfrotto 394 … ill post pictures once its done… its actually quite interesting… i just got back from pittsburgh PA filming a promo for my cousins floral business… and i would of killed to have been able to use the z finder.

  42. Philip, could you please explain about the diopter in Zacuto Pro Z-Finder. Can it cope with medium near sight like -5. What about Junior Z-finder? Thank you.

    1. pbloom says:

      best to email zacuto direct…

      1. I emailed Zacuto – for everybody with near sight problem, here is their answer: “The Z-Finder Pro 3x diopter goes to -2.75. The Z-finder Pro 2.5x diopter goes to -4.75. The Jr model has no diopter at all and is not a good choice for people who are near sighted.”

  43. Simon S. says:

    FYI – I have the Z-Finder Pro 2.5x on order with the Flash Centre in the UK for £316.62 including VAT and delivery. £265 in the US Zacuto store + shipping + duty so not such a bad price differential.

    They expect back orders to ship from the US week of May 19th.

    1. pbloom says:

      Flash Centre are good lads.Better than CVP Mitcorp for your needs. They know what the gear is.

  44. Does anybody else find the whole 3x Pro system a huge hassle? I have the V2 on my personal 7D and a just got the V3 for my 5D at work and I am very annoyed by how much more process is involved to mount the Z-Finder.

    Part of what made the Z-Finder so brilliant was the ability to snap the finder on and off in less than a second. Now I have to tighten and untighten screws every time I want to make adjustments. If I want the Z finder to cover my whole LCD screen, it barely clips to the baseplate.

    Am I an anomaly? I honestly don’t find it as practical as the V2 (which I think is amazing minus the fogging). Now I have 3 base plates; Zacuto Baseplate for Z finder, DFocus DSLR plate, and tripod plate.

    I do appreciate the Z-Finder Case tho. :)

  45. Adam says:

    Well, I’m about to test out the much-praised Zacuto customer service. I got a v2 Z-Finder from Adorama three weeks ago, right before a 2-week photography trip to Hawaii and just a couple days before the new finders came out. I have to say I was extremely disappointed… the glass fogged every time I tried to use it, and constantly wiping it with anti-fog is just an extremely inconvenient solution. Maybe it was the humid climate I was in but I found it much easier to focus without the z-finder at all.

    So now I see the new z-finders have anti-fog glass. Since Adorama won’t take it back (just a few days past the 14-day window), I have contacted Zacuto and left a message. I’m not asking for a refund, I’m just hoping they will exchange it for one of the newer models.

  46. Dave Owen says:

    Just received my Z-Finder Pro 2.5 from Creative Mitcorp. I have to say it is superb quality, it works well and I am very impressed. From focusing via the LCD screen to focusing via the Zacuto is a massive difference.

    I found I had to attach one of the extension frames due to my eyesight but overall the build quality is 10/10.

    We originally looked at the Hoodman Loupe at Calumet and my wife laughed at it thinking it looked more like a kid’s toy. So we have waited and waited for the new Zacuto Z-Finders and it was well worth the wait.

    We are both very impressed with the professional build and quality of the Zacuto Z-Finder Pro 2.5, It is a professional tool and in my opinion is well worth the cost. I much prefer the new mounting system as well.

    Big thanks too for Phil Bloom for his advice and to Mandy Rogers of Zacuto for her email help, and to Creative for stocking Zacuto gear in the UK.

  47. Ben says:

    Philip, great site and thanks for all the advice and reviews.
    My question…I’m on a budget and I need a VF and a focus puller….has anybody compared the run & gun kit (7D) from iDC with what Zacuto provides and I’m not clear if their VF is magnified or not.
    Any help or comments from other people..?

    1. pbloom says:

      the IDC kit uses the non magnified Hoodman which am not a fan of

  48. Kai says:

    Letus is throwing their hat in the viewfinder ring.
    They look nice:
    http://letusdslr.com/letus-talon-kits/

  49. R. says:

    Hello Philip,
    I’ve been considering buying a Z-Finder PRO and just like almost everybody else I’m not sure which one would suit me better. But thanks to the meet up in Prague I was able to try your rig and your Z-Finder Pro was perfect for me. So the question is – do you remember which one you had on? I think it was 2,5x but I’m not sure.

    Thank you, see you

    R.

  50. STR says:

    Ben – it looks like the iDC run & Gun kit for both 5d and 7d

    http://www.idcphotography.com/kart/index.php?p=product&id=122&parent=333x

    have an optional upgrade to a 3x magnifying Eye-Cup – not sure how the system compares to zacuto magnification on Z finders though…

  51. Alex says:

    Hi

    how about the quick draw from zacuto? How does that compare to the striker if you have to do a lot of handheld shooting during a feature

  52. Doug Hancock says:

    thanks for the review Mr Bloom,
    I’m putting my pennies in for the zfinder 2.5. I was shooting a friends wedding party on a blistering day in Amsterdam’s vondel park. A zfinder would have been a dear friend. I spent the early part of the afternoon squinting against the sunlight glare, had to hide in the bushes to get a proper focus…. sounds wrong.
    looking forward to reading about the ‘cross fire’ rig in more detail…

  53. Walter says:

    Hi Philip,

    I know you are a Zacuto affiliate and I don’t mean to put you in an embarrassing position. I know though, that you always do honest products review and giving that you are a Letus products lover as well, I was wondering if you are planning to do a review of the “Letus Hawk” (DSLR viewfinder). I doubt that they offer the amazing Zacuto lifetime warranty, but I was interested in the quality and usability of the product.

    Thank you

  54. Bill Vincent says:

    I have nothing but good things to say about the Z-Finder. I have the same fogging problems everyone else has mentioned, but am in the process of getting the new one with the no-fog glass. Having used one now for several months now I don’t trust focusing without it. The fogging has been an issue, but sometimes just keeping your face off the eyecup about an inch can clear up the problem – not ideal, but it can mean the difference between getting or not getting the shot in a pinch.

    My biggest problem right now is that the actual LCD plastic cover came off on this weekend’s shoot (the Z-Finder weight pulled it off the camera – the Z-Finder glue was still holding to the cover). Now I have to order some double-stick adhesive tape from Canon to fix. Temperature was extreme tho – it was an outdoor wedding and 95 degrees, followed by a reception that hovered around 80 – 85 in the shade. Guess the Canon adhesive wasn’t meant to withstand the Z-Finder weight.

  55. Ed Woods Jr says:

    For 52 $ (all taxes in, the Loupe Master was a great piece of choise for my 550D…

    It include now 2 eyecup (classic round and an ergonomic one, a plate with velcro, a plate with 3x 3M adhesives (then slip in / out the loupe), a black body and a transluent body (the last for standard loupe uses)… The loupe is not mudphobic !

    Thanks to Johnatan Long !

    1. Ed Woods Jr says:

      http://loupemaster.com/enindex.html

      This can help poor filmakers !

  56. Ed Woods Jr says:

    So Why my comments are just waiting moderation and are never published ?

    Really independant ?

    I post it again for the second time (i record the firt pre-prublishes “Awaiting moderation”….

    SO….

    For 52 $ (all taxes in, the Loupe Master was a great piece of choise for my 550D…

    It include now 2 eyecup (classic round and an ergonomic one, a plate with velcro, a plate with 3x 3M adhesives (then slip in / out the loupe), a black body and a transluent body (the last for standard loupe uses)… The loupe is not mudphobic !

    Thanks to Johnatan Long !

    http://loupemaster.com/enindex.html

    1. pbloom says:

      i would appreciate some patience Ed from yourself. I run this website totally by myself and it takes a lot of time, I squeeze it in between work. All comments require me to check before they are published for obvious reasons, there is often a backlog. Thanks.

  57. Jason says:

    Ordered my z-finder on Monday from b&hphoto and received it on Thursday. Holy cow!! That was fast! Its great! Slight modification to fit 550d perfectly but wow, what a difference… Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as long as they look through the z-finder.

    1. Jason says:

      Forgot to mention…it is the z-finder pro 3x with gorilla plate. I hear some people are waiting 6-8 weeks for this thing…I must have gotten really lucky and found it on the right day.

    2. Hugh says:

      Hi can I ask how you modified it to fit the 550D? having the same problem..

  58. Jack Watson says:

    Apologies in advance for re-posting this. Originally sent this to an older blog post on Z-Finders that I doubt anyone will see:

    I purchased the 2.5x, and then purchased a 3x, just to see how it compares… with a plan to return whichever I choose not to keep.

    I can’t tell a difference between the two. It leaves me wondering if the difference is super subtle, or if I was accidentally sent another 2.5x. The only way to distinguish the two on the outside is by what is designated in magic marker on the packaging…

    Any insight here on how to sniff out the difference? From my peripheral vision, they seem equal in magnification.

    1. pbloom says:

      there is a stark difference, even just by looking through them without camera one you should see more or the black frame the other.

  59. Jack Watson says:

    Thanks, Phil. Honestly they really do appear identical. What are the odds? Wish I could tell which is supposed to be which… I fear I’ll have to return one, or both, to figure this out.

    Ah, the plight of online shopping.

    1. pbloom says:

      you may well have two identical ones…could be a mistake in packaging!

      1. Jack Watson says:

        Thanks Phil. Just to close the loop here, I did return both the alleged 2.5x and the alleged 3x, and then re-ordered the 2.5x. A great deal of work, but at the end of the day I was able to determine that I was incorrectly sent a 3x instead of a 2.5x the first time around. With the re-ordered 2.5x I was able to see a difference in magnification between what I now have, and what I was able to remember from the original two I received. I have decided to keep the 2.5x as I have found the differences in attaining critical focus with one vs. the other to be minimal.

        A little disturbing as there is no serial number on the product itself to more officially ID which product should be in hand. All one has to go on is what is magic markered with an X on the paper sleeve inside the packaging, which in this case proved to be wrong.

        A great product, but in this instance Zacuto was not very helpful on the support level, as I had to figure this out on my own.

        Phil, thanks for your feedback and suggestion I might indeed not have in hand what I had ordered… Turned out to be the case.

          1. Jack Watson says:

            indeed…

  60. headmeister says:

    Is there a UK seller for Zacuto?

    Cheers

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      The Flash Centre in London and Birmingham