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.
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.
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.
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!