Cineroid EVF Review…The first EVF out of the block…

14
Mar
2011

Sorry I am bit slow on this one but as some of you may know these babies are in short supply so it was not easy getting one. I have had one now for a few weeks and wanted to use it for a bit before reviewing it and then I found myself on the road for the Rode tour and CanonFilmmakersLive.com and my time to dedicate to my site evaporated. I have a day off today so making the most of it and trying to catch up on emails, blog posts etc…

A quick word about ethics: I am a Zacuto and Redrock affiliate which help support my site but it is essential that I look at competing products otherwise I feel my voice will be compromised. SO I will be reviewing competing products by companies other than my affiliates so my readers get the best info possible. Hell, Eric Kessler even wants me to review other sliders!!

The LCD screen on the Canon DSLR is not ideal for shooting. No peaking, no exposure assist, only the T3i and 60D have articulating screens. I have been using my Zacuto Z-Finder since Version 1 back in May 2009 and love it but the problem is it sits on the screen and can’t be moved like a viewfinder. The solution is an electronic viewfinder. Redrock Micro and Zacuto are hard at work bringing theirs to market. Zacuto will have theirs out before NAB, Redrock I don’t know.

This one is the first out of block, made by Cineroid in Seoul, Korea. It’s basically a very sharp high quality 800×480 LCD panel with a loupe on it. You connect to the HDMI port of the camera (that crappy mini HDMI one) via the supplied mini HDMI to mini HDMI lead. This goes into the EVF and gives the panel a signal out of the camera.It auto-detects the resolution which goes into so it deals with the 480p record signal of most of the Canons pretty well, it does not scale the image up but as the resolution is not that much bigger than the signal it works fine. Obviously the 1DmkIV and 7D have the best signals as they are the only cameras to maintain an HD signal whilst recording. Stick this on a noga arm or ball mount of Zacuto Z-American arm and you can angle the screen to wherever you are shooting! This makes a HUGE difference with the crappy DSLR ergonomics!

The cool thing is the features it adds to it as well. Peaking and Zebra as well as pixel to pixel punch in for accurate focus WHILST recording, but this only works on the 7D and 1dmkiv as the input resolution is much higher as I just mentioned. It can’t punch into a resolution that is lower than the panel’s native resolution…

When you hit record with the 5DmkII and it drops down to 480p it takes the Cineroid under a second to ressync to standard definition. Nice and quick!

The peaking is fantastic and helps to focus really easily. Not a huge fan of the Zebra. It helps but it’s does not function in the same way I am used to Zebras working on my traditional viewfinders but I am sure I will get used to it…

The one I have is the one you must get, the HDMI loop through. This way you can send an HDMI signal to another monitor. The cheaper version does not have loop through. Get the loop through! ESSENTIAL!!

There are loads of other features including image flipping, underscan, b&w, 4: 3 markers…

It’s a super piece of kit, I have no idea how it compares to the upcoming competition as they are not out yet, I have seen the Zacuto panel and it’s superb and you will use your existing Z-Finder with it. The Zacuto promise to offer lots of features that compete with this and promise some better ones too…but until it’s out we won’t know and for now the Cineroid is simply the best one out there.

Build quality is pretty good…a bit plasticky. It’s powered by Sony NPF batteries rather than Canons ones, it comes with a charger. Lasts about 3 hours on one small battery. Not bad!! The Zacuto one will be powered by Canon 5D batteries, more practical if you are a 5D/7D/60D shooter…

Negatives…I HATE mini HDMI, I so wish they had no put those connections on the EVF, so so fragile. The Zacuto one does have full size HDMI but even those suck to be honest as they are not locking, HDMI is a domestic connection not pro, but still better than mini ones. MUCH better.

I don’t like the Cineroid loup that much, def prefer the Zacuto one. It fogs up and doesn’t feel as good the Z one. But it’s still good,  better than some out there just not as good as the king loup! The Z-Finder Pro is simply a fantastic piece of kit…

Retail price is around $800 but they are bloody hard to get hold of. Sold out in most places. Oh and this works a treat on the AF101 as well which has a very sucky EVF built into it compared to this.

Well done Cineroid, lovely product. Let’s see how the big boys react and how they compare. It’s going to make my DSLR shooting a lot easier…

Zacuto EVF

Redrock EVF

Comments

  1. Stu Mannion says:

    Can you comment on how the Cineroid handles the switch from HD to SD out when you hit record on the 5D?

    Does it blank out for long? Does it get the change in aspect ratio right?

    Thanks for reviewing this one!

    Cheers

  2. Thanks Philip for this nice review!

    Could you tell how was the experience when using it with the 5D Mark II?

    How does this EVF’s display compare to the 5D Mark II screen in sharpness, color accuracy, exposure, etc? Especially considering that displays on Canon cameras are very accurate regarding color, etc.

    How much do you think (if there is no specification) the loupe magnification is?

    When connected to a 5D Mark II, does it also have few seconds of black image after start recording?

    Thanks a lot in advance!

  3. There is a solution for the HDMI connection problem that DATAVIDEO solved on their HDMI to SDI converter with a plate just under the HDMI port with holes for cable ties, so you can fasten the HDMI cable to the converter and don’t risk unplug the HDMI or damage the port and cable. Maybe something for Zacuto?

    here is a link to the converter how it looks and works
    http://www.datavideo.info/en/Converters/DAC-9

  4. roman sydor says:

    Hey Philip,
    Look forward to seeing the Zacuto in Miami! I think they will prevail as the number one unit since i have the 3x one and truly love it and the Canon batteries are much more practical. 4 days and counting!

  5. John Novotny says:

    Great piece of gear. Thank you for the review.

  6. “The LCD screen on the Canon DSLR is not ideal for shooting. No peaking, no exposure assist (…)”

    a t2i with magic lantern has:
    * peaking
    * zoom-in while recording (and not just digital zoom: there’s definitely additional detail)
    * zebras
    * live histogram and waveform
    * false color

  7. alanmarino says:

    Hey Philip – plugged my GH2 into the Cineroid at Bandpro in Burbank, CA today and no audio thru while recording. Plays back recorded clip with audio thru HDMI but no go while recording. Beautiful EVF though and can see VU meters working in the Cineroid but not passing signal thru phones or speaker while recording. Bummer – is it just my GH2 – is yours still on the bottom of the Pacific or have you replaced and tested?

  8. Philip,

    Thanks for the review.

    You mention that “…for GH2 which does send sound down the HDMI, users can monitor audio actually being recorded by the camera…”

    I’ve read elsewhere that the HDMI feed from the GH2 does NOT include audio.

    Can you clarify?

    Thanx much!

    1. alanmarino says:

      The GH2 only outputs audio only on playback, not during recording through HDMI. I’ve tested a Cineroid EVF and also finally contacted Panasonic to confirm. Hoping for a firmware update or hack to remedy this.

  9. Tulio says:

    Why cameras like the Pana AF100 and the Sony F3 have such crappy viewfinders?
    Why not just copy the high definition VF of an EX3?
    Agree about the HDMI, hopefully Canon will bring thunderbolt to the 5D mk3.

  10. Ronald Vonk says:

    Sounds good! Price is not bad, too! Which would you recommend more for easier focussing (not by focus puller, I shoot alone, mostly): an external monitor or one of these new EVF systems? My eyes hurt from trying to focus f/1.8 with my LCDVF.

  11. Wait a bleepin moment, mini hdmi cable included? C’mon nah Cieneriod. That might even be considered racist. FAIL

  12. chrisccw says:

    I agree, this tool is a lifesaver with critical focus situations. I got mine from Hot Rod Cameras along with my Tuner Kit for the AF100. The plastic housing is pretty tough and keeps it very light weight, which I like. Love the giant movie screen up against my eye. Older cinematogs, like me, will appreciate that.

  13. Peter says:

    I have Cineroid EVF-4L (Loup trough) since last week and i am very happy with it!!! Very good built with a mass of features.

    The headphone jack on the Cineroid is very good for me as a gh2 user. Good idea to use the Sony NP-F550 batteries, hold long and are cheap to find on Ebay.

    I can only recommend this EVF, a very good price for that what you get!!!
    (Phil is right, take the L4 with Loup trough, that is very cool…

  14. Strangley enough I bought the Cineroid EVF-4L just hours before you reviewed it. Great piece of kit! I have been waiting for the Redrock EVF and after contacting them in the USA, they could not give me an answer when it would be available. They did say it would be worth the wait though. Unfortunately I could not wait any longer.

    After working on a corporate video for a high-profile client using my 1D-MkIV with a Canon 16-35mm & 100mm L macro lenses amongst others, found throw focusing using the back LCD screen a bit hit and miss even with a viewfinder loupe. No problem now with the Cineroid EVF-4L even with a 16mm, I use it in the monochrome mode with red peaking on. I also get a 2.5X zoom in on the picture during recording in Pixel to Pixel mode so I can check focus during a shoot. (If you have a 5D MkII, you wont get this!) This is in addition to the 5x & 10x zoom in, prior to recording.

    I have also set the zebra on the viewfinder so it reacts in exactly the same way as my Sony Digi-Beta DVW-790 camera. Exposure is spot on.

    You can also run the viewfinder using Canon LP-E6 batteries or external power using a PA01 adapter.

    Your right, they are very hard to get hold of, but you won’t regret it once you have managed to buy one!