New Zacuto DSLR products including Z-Finder JR

Shameless plug time…but I just saw all these gorgeous new products on the Zacuto web site so I had to mention them. I have only seen the much awaited Z-Finder Jr and the new mounting frame and these are great. Obviously I am a friend of Zacuto through Critics and Filmfellas and an affiliate with this website. Any sale going through my banners helps support the site immensily!

So here is a run through of what is coming out for NAB. Damn exciting!! All the text below is Zacuto spiel, not mine. My thoughts will come as soon as I can get my hands on them!


The Z-Finder Jr.

is one of Zacuto’s Optical Viewfinders that allows DSLR cameras to have the correct form factor for video. It offers 2.5x focusable magnification, a 40mm diameter lens, an eyecup preventing extraneous light leakage, and a field of view perfectly matched to 3” LCD screens. The Z-Finder Jr. does not have a diopter instead it uses Z-Finder Extender Frames to adjust the focal point. The Z-Finder Jr’s focal point is -2.75 and up (unlimited with extender frames). The Z-Finder Extender Frames attach to the skirt of the Z-Finder Jr. and allow you to semi-permanently stack the frames until the LCD screen is in focus for you. The Z-Finder Jr. uses a mounting bracket that must be sandwiched in between a tripod plate and the camera. The bracket mounts to the ¼ 20” screw on your tripod plate and the actual Jr. is held in place with pressure from the fork of the bracket it sits in.

We also added a lanyard hook on the outside of the Z-Finder Jr. so you can attach a Zacuto lanyard to it. This allows for the user to quickly take the Z-finder Jr. off and on when needed.

The Z-Finder Jr. includes:
– 2 Extender Frames
– Z-Finder JR. Mounting Bracket
– Lanyard and Lanyard Hook
– Lens Cap

Warnings:
– If you are going to be moving between extreme environments, it is suggested that you use an anti-fog material. Zacuto sells the Fog Eliminator; 3 sheets for $5.00.
– The Z-finder is a magnifier and as such will magnify the sun and could damage the LCD screen if the sun is allowed to shine directly through the Z-finder lens. This is not a defect but a physical property. Caution should be taken to avoid sun magnification

The Z-Finder Pro 2.5x

is another one of Zacuto’s Optical Viewfinders that allows DSLR cameras to have the correct form factor for video. It offers 2.5x focusable magnification (a 3x magnification is available), a 40mm diameter Anti-Fog lens, an eyecup preventing extraneous light leakage, a diopter and a field of view perfectly matched to 3” LCD screens. The diopter allows you to dial in the focus to match your eye perfectly. If you need extra focal point you can use the Z-Finder Extender Frames. These are semi-permanently stackable frames that attach to the skirt of the Z-Finder Pro and extends the Z-Finder glass further way from the LCD screen for people who are farsighted.

The Z-Finder Pro uses our Gorilla Baseplate and Z-Finder mounting frame to mount to the camera. The Gorilla Baseplate attaches to the bottom of your camera using a ¼ 20” screw and the Z-Finder mounting frame attaches to the Gorilla Baseplate using thumb screws. The rubber back mounting frame does not attach to your LCD; it is held in place against your LCD with pressure. This method allows you to quickly remove the Z-Finder Pro by snapping it off the frame. If you want to remove the entire mounting frame from your camera, you can do so by loosening the thumb screws and pulling up on the metal mounting frame to release it. With the Z-Finder Pro, you are also a step closer to using one of our Gorilla Support Rigs, as they use the same baseplate as the base.

The Z-Finder Pro 2.5x includes:
– 3 Extender Frames
– Gorilla Plate with DSLR Short Body Frame (Canon 5D/7D type cameras)
*An additional frame may be necessary if you are using the Z-Finder Pro with a taller body camera like the Canon 1D Mark IV or Nikon D3s, or if you plan on using a smaller body camera with the battery grip.
– Lens Cap & Protective Boot
– Lanyard Hook and Lanyard
-2.5x Magnification Anti-Fog Coating Lens

Warnings:
– The Z-finder is a magnifier and as such will magnify the sun and could damage the LCD screen if the sun is allowed to shine directly through the Z-finder lens. This is not a defect but a physical property. Caution should be taken to avoid sun magnification

The Z-Finder Pro 3x

is another one of Zacuto’s Optical Viewfinders that allows DSLR cameras to have the correct form factor for video. It offers 3x focusable magnification (2.5x is available), a 40mm diameter anti-fog coating lens, an eyecup preventing extraneous light leakage, a diopter and a field of view perfectly matched to 3” LCD screens. The diopter allows you to dial in the focus to match your eye. If you need extra focal point you can use the Z-Finder Extender Frames. These are semi-permanently stackable frames that attach to the skirt of the Z-Finder Pro and extends the Z-Finder glass further way from the LCD screen for people who are farsighted.

The Z-Finder Pro uses our Gorilla Baseplate and Z-Finder mounting frame to mount to the camera. The Gorilla Baseplate attaches to the bottom of your camera using a ¼ 20” screw and the Z-Finder mounting frame attaches to the Gorilla Baseplate using thumb screws. The rubber back mounting frame does not attach to your LCD; it is held in place against your LCD with pressure. This method allows you to quickly remove the Z-Finder Pro by snapping it off the frame. If you want to remove the entire mounting frame from your camera, you can do so by loosening the thumb screws and pulling up on the metal mounting frame to release it.

With the Z-Finder Pro, you are also a step closer to using one of our Gorilla Support Rigs, as they use the same baseplate as the base.

The Z-Finder Pro includes:
– 3 Extender Frames
– Gorilla Plate with DSLR Short Body Frame (Canon 5D/7D type cameras)
*An additional frame may be necessary if you are using the Z-Finder Pro with a taller body camera like the Canon 1D Mark IV or Nikon D3s, or if you plan on using a smaller body camera with the battery grip.
– Lens Cap & Protective Boot
– Lanyard Hook and Lanyard
– 3x Anti-Fog Coating Lens


The Gorilla Plate

is used in both of our Gorilla Kits (Striker and Target Shooter) and must be used with the Z-Finder Pro. The Gorilla plate attaches to your camera using the standard tripod screw hole. You can also mount your tripod plate underneath the Gorilla plate so you can quickly go from handheld to tripod use. For mounting the Gorilla plate to the tripod, it has (2) ¼ 20” screw holes and a locking pin hole. The Z-Finder frame attaches to the Gorilla plate using two thumb screws. The thumb screws and slider are not included with the Gorilla Plate; they are included with the Z-Finder Frames. The frame can be removed by loosening the thumb screws and pulling up on the frame.

A Gorilla Plate and Frame is included with the Z-Finder Pro. If you need to mount the Z-Finder on an additional camera, an additional Gorilla Plate and Frame is required. This item must be sold with 1 of the 3 Z-Finder Mounting Frames, sold separately. The Gorilla plate does not work with the DSLR baseplate as it uses its own quick release system.

The Z-Finder Aircraft Aluminum Frame

must be used in conjunction with the Gorilla plate. The Z-Finder frame attaches to the Gorilla plate with two thumb screws; the Gorilla plate is attached to the bottom of your camera. The frame has a rubber coating on the end which stays against the LCD screen with pressure. The connection between the Z-Finder and frame is a snap fit. The Z-Finder snaps into the frame and can quickly snap off for going between video and photos. To release the frame from your camera, you must un-do the thumb screws and slide the frame off. This frame is used on the small body cameras with no battery grips such as the Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 7D, Canon 550D, Panasonic GH1 & Nikon D90.

This frame ships with the Z-Finder Pro. If you are using a battery grip on your camera, you might need the battery grip frame. If you have a taller body camera, a different frame is necessary.

The Target Shooter

is our lightest kit. It has three points of contact by having both hands on the camera and the gunstock in your chest. The entire kit is infinitely adjustable. You can add a fourth point of contact by adding one of our Z-Finders to the kit.

The Gorilla Plate, included with the Target Shooter, attaches to the bottom of your camera using the standard tripod screw hole. The Gorilla plate has a 15mm hole in the bottom which allows you to attach the main rod for the Target Shooter. The rig can be freed from the Gorilla plate by flipping the red lever. A tripod plate can be installed on the Gorilla plate for quickly moving from handheld to tripod by.

The Target Shooter can not accommodate a follow focus or matte box as it does not have a baseplate. Once you add more weight to the front of the camera, such as a follow focus and matte box, we recommend going to our Cinema DSLR Kits that have a shoulder pad and counterbalance weight to properly balance the rig.

The Striker

is light and easy to handle. It has three points of contact by having one hand on the handgrip, the gunstock in your chest and your focusing hand on the lens. The entire kit is infinitely adjustable. You can add a fourth point of contact by adding one of our Z-Finders to the kit.

The Zacuto Gorilla plate attaches to the bottom of your camera using the standard tripod screw hole. The Gorilla plate has a 15mm hole in the bottom which allows you to attach the main rod for the Striker rig. The rig can be freed from the Gorilla plate by flipping the red lever. A tripod plate can be installed on the Gorilla plate for quickly moving from handheld to tripod.

The Striker kit can not accommodate a follow focus or matte box as it does not have a baseplate. Once you add more weight to the front of the camera, such as a follow focus and matte box, we recommend going to our Cinema DSLR Kits which have a shoulder pad and counterbalance weight to properly balance the rig.


Available to ship the week of 4/19/10.

The Fast Draw

is a shoulder mounted handheld system that uses our DSLR baseplate. This kit works on any DSLR camera with or without battery grips as it is infinitely adjustable in height. The baseplate attaches to your tripod plate using the standard tripod plate screws, (2) ¼ 20” and (1) 3/8 16”. Your camera can also be quickly released from the rig by turning the red knob then pulling up on your camera. The camera quick release plate stays mounted to your camera so you can quickly switch between using the camera as part of a rig or on its own. You can easily add the optional Z-Finder Pro by attaching the Z-Finder Mounting Frame (included with the Z-Finder Pro) to the camera quick release plate using two thumb screws.

The Fast Draw uses our shoulder pad and 7lb. counter balance weight so you have a fully balanced rig. A fully balanced rig lessens fatigue as you will not be fighting the front heaviness of the rig. The rig can be configured for use on the left or right shoulder. It uses a single handgrip with the Z-mount Zwivel which allows you to change the vertical angle of handgrip. The handgrip can also be used on the right or left side independent of the shoulder pad position. The handgrip uses a ball joint so you can rotate the handgrip 180 degrees for user comfort.

As with all Zacuto gear, you can quickly release the shoulder mounted components and use the rig on a tripod. With this kit, you have the core to add a follow focus and/or matte box; additional rods are necessary.

Kit Includes:
DSLR Baseplate
4.5 M/F Rod
Zgrip Z-mount Zwivel
3.5″ M/F Rod
Z-mount
12″ rods
Minimount
Shoulder pad
Z-lite Double

The Cross Fire

is a unique kit as it is the Single Action kit and Striker kit combined. The Cross Fire uses the expandable DSLR baseplate so this kit can easily be upgraded from a simple point of contact kit like the Striker Kit to a full shoulder mounted system like the Fast Draw. This kit works on any DSLR camera with or without battery grips as it is infinitely adjustable in height. The baseplate attaches to your tripod plate using the standard tripod plate screws, (2) ¼ 20” and (1) 3/8 16”. Your camera can also be quickly released from the rig by turning the red knob then pulling up on your camera. The camera quick release plate stays mounted to your camera so you can quickly switch between using the camera as part of a rig or on its own. You can easily add the optional Z-Finder Pro, DSLR optical viewfinder, by attaching the Z-Finder Mounting Frame (included with the Z-Finder Pro) to the camera quick release plate using two thumb screws.

The .8 pitch Zipgear Universal fits one lens by cutting the strand to fit your lens and connecting the strand together by using the included housing and allen key. The follow focus slides on to the rods and the follow focus gear makes contact with the Zipgear allowing you to pull focus. If you require the use of other lenses with the follow focus, you must purchase additional ZipGears for each lens

Kit Includes:
DSLR Baseplate
Pair of 3.5” M/F Rods
Striker Kit
Z-Focus
ZipGear Universal

The Double Barrel

is a shoulder mounted dual handheld system that uses our DSLR baseplate.This kit works on any DSLR camera with or without battery grips as it is infinitely adjustable in height. The baseplate attaches to your tripod plate using the standard tripod plate screws; (2) ¼ 20” and (1) 3/8 16”. Your camera can also be quickly released from the rig by turning the red knob then pulling up on your camera. The camera quick release plate stays mounted to your camera so you can quickly switch between using the camera as part of a rig or on its own.

The Double Barrel uses our shoulder pad and 7lb. counter balance weight so you have a fully balanced rig. A fully balanced rig lessens fatigue as you will not be fighting the front heaviness of the rig. The rig can be configured for use on the left or right shoulder. This rig differs from the Fast Draw as it includes our dual handgrip system, our DSLR handle for shooting in low mode and our Z-Finder Pro 2.5x. The Z-Finder Pro 2.5x mounting frame attaches to the camera quick release plate using two thumb screws. The mounting frame does not attach to your LCD; it has a rubber back and simply sets or hovers over your LCD screen. This method allows you to quickly remove the Z-Finder by snapping it off the frame. If you want to remove the entire mounting frame, you can do so by loosening the thumb screws and pulling up on the metal mounting frame to release it.

The Double Barrel also includes our follow focus unit. The .8 pitch Zipgear Universal fits one lens by cutting the strand to fit your lens and connecting the strand together by using the included housing and allen key. The follow focus slides on the rods and the follow focus gear makes contact with the Zipgear allowing you to pull focus. If you require the use of other lenses with the follow focus, you must purchase additional ZipGears for each lens. The Double Barrel includes a set of 4 Zipgears.

As with all Zacuto gear, you can quickly release the shoulder mounted components and use the rig on a tripod.

Kit Includes:
DSLR Baseplate
Zgrips V3
Single 3.5″ rod
Z-mount
Pair of 2″ M/F Rods
Pair of 12″ rods
Minimount
Shoulder pad
Z-Lite double
DSLR Handle
Z-Finder Pro 2.5x
Z-Focus
Zipgear prime lens kit
(3)3.5″ M/F Rods

Please note: We do charge the card at the time of purchasing.


The DSLR Handle

is a sturdy versatile handle that mounts onto any 15mm rod system using our Z-mount Zwivel. It is the perfect solution for low mode shooting, lifting your rig on and off your shoulder, as well as a quick and easy way to carry your rig. The handle can swivel and slide so you can position it at the rigs center of gravity for perfect balance. You can also mount additional accessories onto the handle rod by using Z-mounts that will enable you to attach anything from a Zamerican arm, additional 15mm rods, lights and mics. The DSLR Handle is quick releasable from the rig by the twist of a lever. This is the perfect handle for all DSLR rig owners.

The Z-Finder Extender Frames allow you to further adjust the focal point of the Z-Finder by semi-permanently stacking the frames via a snap fit on to the skirt of the Z-Finder until the LCD screen is in focus for you. This is primarily for people who are farsighted or who wear reading glasses. This item includes 4 extender frames; all 4 extender frames will not be needed for everyone. It is best to test how many frames you need by stacking one at a time until the LCD is in focus for you. In order for the Extender Frames to lock properly, a new skirt is needed on the Z-Finder.

Extender frames work on both the Z-Finder Jr and Pro series. They will also work on the V2 model if ordered after January 25th. If you ordered a V2 before January 25th,

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61 comments

  1. Steve had mentioned that the Jr would be aggresively priced in the sub $200 range. Wonder what happened?? Also it looks like the Jr bracket won’t be easily attached or removed. Might be difficult to switch to stills when that bracket is still attached.

  2. That looks sweet! To bad i just purchased 3000 euro’s worth of Zacuto gear!

    I don’t really like the disign of the JR Z-finder, but the pro series looks like a big improvement over the old one!

    5 more day’s and i will be testing my new Zacuto gear in Thailand and Malaysia for one month! My first professional shoot with a DSLR, really stocked!

    Keep it up Philip, you helped me so much to get the most out of these DSLR’s

    1. Philippe,
      these kits are fully adjustable, that’s the cool part (and what took so long to create), they work with all cameras and configurations. Your large battery will be no problem. On the DSLR baseplate lower the top portion almost all the way down so that when your camera with pro battery grip is mounted, the matte box is aligned to the rods.

  3. Wow… that new striker may very well be my first kit from Zacuto (already have the z-finder and love it very much). I’m wondering whether or not it would be wise to put that money towards a larger kit that can accommodate a follow focus, I don’t have one at the moment, but a follow focus is sure to follow in the nearby future.

    So many beautiful toys, this or a kessler crane for my next big purchase. It’s funny when I first got my Canon 7D and watched the tutorials from the F-Stop academy I was thinking, “man I don’t need all that stuff!” but as I shoot more and more with this camera, I’m finding that indeed the rig needs some assistance. I tried doing a vertigo shot the other day with just the camera and was let me just say… a little frustrated. Very good stuff sir.

  4. I just bought a Z-Finder II from BH and haven’t even received it yet… I didn’t think Zacuto was one of those companies that releases upgrades every 6 months or so just to make people re-buy their equipment. I’m really pissed at Zacuto right now.

  5. Not 100% sure yet about the new designs. I could do with seeing a good old fashioned “Jens and Steve” Zacuto product video with the rigs in action. I can’t work out whether it is now more difficult to swap between cameras now than it was.

  6. The pro looks great and as a stills guy who does some video not having to glue the damn frame onto the body is a huge plus for me. I wonder if I can make it work with my D-Focus and D-Focus SLR mount…..

  7. Was about to order Z-Finder last night from B&H, glad I waited till this morning and saw the new design. Baseplate looks much more professional than adhesive frame. Pre-ordering it now for my 7D.

  8. I bought the Zacuto Z-Finder version 1.0. I can’t go anywhere without it – its a must have item if you need to shoot video outside.
    I hope Zacuto offer some discount to to their loyal customers who want to trade up to the latest models.

      1. I emailed today and seems the frame is compatible, so the option is open to use the new mount system. The main change between the v2 and the Pro3x seems to be the antifog coating. Zacuto’s aftersales is excellent so I would contact them and see what they can do for you.

  9. Philip, just a quick question. When you use a 3x magnification on the LCD of the 550D or 7D, does it make the pixels on the LCD very visible and distracting, or is it still sharp and crisp for shooting and focus?

      1. So if you were going to purchase one for your 5D, you would opt for the 2.5x? I remember in your review of the LCDVF you said that you sometimes had trouble focussing on small object with the 2x magnification. Does the extra .5x make enough of a difference? Does the 3x magnification bring out the pixels too much – is that why 2.5x seems best?

        Thanks.

  10. So a little gear question(answers from anyone who have experience with mentioned gear are very welcome to answer):

    My gear so far:
    550D + Kit lens + Tamron 17-50 f2.8, 2x 16GB SDHC
    85mm 1.8
    Zoom h4n + Redhead
    Basic rail kit I got for my soon to be shipped DFocus
    A really cheap manfrotto tripod
    4x batteries(3 cheap china brand)

    Next purchases/wishlist:
    Zacuto Z-Finder
    Zacuto Target shooter
    Fader ND 77mm
    Batterygrip

    The battrygrip is my last priority, but what do you see as the most vital parts to buy first of the other items?

  11. Funny thing is that in some photos I see you completely handheld with a strap or on a tripod with a glide track. Haven’t seen a lot of rig use lately.
    Why is that?

    Also would it be conflict of interest for you to recommend a cheap rig / shoulder mount equipment ever?

    Or could you maybe give me some pointers as to why Zacuto gear helps so much, is it worth it for lower budget types with the 550D and some decent lenses like me? What are the advantages?

      1. Ok just checked back on this… Once again… I see you doing a lot of work handheld or on a tripod in photos of you on shoots. Not so much with Zacuto or other stability gear. Why?

        Or is that just a representation of the photos?

        Also when is you next Toronto workshop scheduled, I need to mark it on my calendar… So to not miss it this time. I will also get you a lot of customers as I am DSLR resource because of you for the local industry here.

          1. Ok good to know. Just asking in case it was sooner. Mid June is far off but I will make sure to be there!!! It is now marked…

            Yeah I was just asking because I havent invested in something to stabilize while handheld. Sorry I confused my terms before. I was thinking “handheld” was just with the bare camera and strap. But it makes sense that you can also be handheld using Zacuto gear. Thanks Phil

  12. two quick questions philip:

    1. why are these kits SO DAMN expensive?! thousands of dollars for, what looks like, a rod and some joints? Am I missing something?

    2. The way the new z-finder is built, it looks like it’s going to be a mess trying to move it quickly from one of these kits to a tripod, and back. you have any thoughts about that?

    — i went ahead and got the z-finder anyway, mentioned your name and said that I thought you should get these products to review before we all go and buy them.

    Thanks!
    Jam

  13. Help!!
    Does anyone know if this Gorilla plate is a good thing or not – going from Zacuto to non-Zacuto products? (tripods, dolly’s, etc.)

    It seems you now need two plates on the bottom of your camera – if you use the Z-finder w/ frame – or their new rigs, to then go to another support.

    I just bought a Tactical shooter – and am not sure if I should buy the adapters, or return it and get a a new model (Striker?). The stuff’s expensive, and I don’t want to tie my hands with this new system if it’s limiting. But their stuff is good…

    Any ideas or opinions regarding these new features / plates / rigs would be much appreciated.
    Thanks.

  14. Hey Philip, any advantages about the Target Shooter vs. the Rapid Fire rod design? Maybe as far as adjustment goes? Irrelevant, cause I’m just outside of my return policy, but I was curious…

  15. Philip,

    I was wondering why stated in your post that you favor the 2.5x over the 3x magnification. At your master class, you mentioned that you really need 3x for accurate focus.

    thanks,
    Dan

      1. Philip,
        Can you be more specific in terms of why you like 2.5x more than 3x? Are the pixels less exaggerated at 2.5x? Do you lose some of your field of view at 3x? Thanks.

  16. I am so glad I have the stick-on version of the Z-Finder. I wouldn’t have bought it if I would have had to have mounted a complex system on the bottom of the camera. The adhesive is holding great. I couldn’t be happier.

  17. I’m little bummed that we got the dslr baseplate kit with the follow focus and the Tactical earlier this year and now newer and what looks frankly like better versions, particularly the baseplate. Oh well…

    My Zacuto gear works fine so no need to upgrade and frankly the Manfrotto quick release plate is a dream that allows me go from the Tactical to my monopod to a tripod with a click.

  18. Hi, Just wondering, The baseplates of the z-finder pros, can they then be put onto tripods or RedRock set ups? Can I use them at the same time?

  19. I just received my Z-Finder Pro 3X.

    I attached the baseplate directly to my 5D Mark II as instructed (no battery grip).

    However, when I align the frame with my LCD Screen, the frame is almost to the top where the two screws barely hold it? Anyone else experiencing this?

  20. 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.

  21. The Gorilla plate does not work with the Redrock gear. Also, having to purchase another Gorilla plate if you want to purchase a very expensive Zacuto entry level rig doesn’t make sense. I’m sure I’m not the first to point this out. If you own the Z-Finder Pro why should have to purchase another? With Redrock’s new Nano rigs entering the market it will make for stiff competition and hopefully drop prices to reasonable (read – more affordable) levels.

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