On the fence about the new Panasonic GH4? This Zacuto product overview video could change your mind. The intro starts out slow, but later gets deep (really deep) into the Panasonic GH4's ground breaking features - including that of the DMW-YAGH Interface Unit.
No need to sell me on the GH4, I'm already actively shooting with several Panasonic GH3 cameras. I've even tried implementing it into my Live Switch Broadcast project. It's a great all around camera, but nothing compared to what the new GH4 will be offering.
I'll often reserve the cliche term 'game changer', but I really think it suits this camera perfectly. They've added so many more features not just for Photography, or consumer video, but for broadcast, cinema, and not to mention the push for 4K. Once this camera starts shipping, you'd better expect for a very long waiting list, so maybe it's time to rethink about putting your name down on that pre-order list (found here).
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 with DMW-YAGH Pro Audio Video Interface Unit
Now that the SmallHD DP4 and Zacuto EVF have made electronic viewfinders for DSLRs (somewhat) affordable, you'll see some popularity around straight inline shoulder rigs. Popular DSLR rigs used an offset to place the entire camera in front of the operator. Although DSLRs are light weight, once you add a few items like recorders, lights, microphones, and follow focuses, you're managing a few pounds over the hands. Pretty tiring and less stable.
Like conventional video cameras, the straight inline rigs align all of the heavy weight over the shoulder (better on your back) and less outwards over the hands. Only the EVF needs to be positioned in front of the operators eye. Straight inline DSLR shoulder rigs + an EVF can help you towards building a more balanced, stable rig, not to mention overall lighter on the hands. If you're not looking into an expensive EVF, you can still offset an inexpensive small LCD monitor (as seen above).
Instead of dropping a few grand with a Redrock config, there's a few similar rigs you might want to look into over at Express35. These straight inline shoulder rigs are bundled with a comfortable contoured shoulder pad and counterweight. These are well designed for EVF or small LCD monitor use. (seen above). You can find those rigs at the site (click here). If all you're looking for is a DSLR baseplate, Tripod Mount, and a basic rail set for your Follow Focus, there's also a weekend sale on the basic rail set going on right now too found here.
Zacuto's got one of the sweetest EVFs (electronic viewfinders) available on the market. You could buy the 3" HDMI EVF alone which will save you a few hundred dollars, but of course, what good is the EVF if you don't have the Z-Finder Loupe to match? Having to invest in a Z-Finder loupe will run the bill up several more hundreds of dollars. According to Cheesycam reader Ray, another popular ViewFinder works fine.
Redrock Micro was the first to the scene with the 'microEVF' announcement, but still no word on what's going on with that. Zacuto made an announcement about an EVF (very) shortly after, and here they are showcasing an actual working product with complete specs far far ahead of RRM. Here Steve Weiss drops the much anticipated Zacuto EVF (Electronic View Finder) to show off the durability. Let's hope this really doesn't happen on any of your shoots, especially twice from 12ft. Should it happen, at least you know you have a fighting chance with this sturdy little monitor. The new Z-Finder EVF is listed to start at $675 without a Loupe, up to $1K for the full deal, and a few options in between. The new 3.2" LCD EVF has a resolution of 800x480 and will be powered on Canon LP-E6 batteries or optional 12V external. Said to be shipping next month (May) and Pre-orders are now available on the Zacuto website. Check out more of the features this little EVF is said to provide. I have a feeling with all of the new cameras coming out later this year, they will sell out fast (not just for DSLRs).
Shortly after RedRock Micro announced their EVF - Electronic View Finder for DSLR's, Zacuto now has a complete web page and video showcasing their product. Actually they've gone as far as a complete domain name @ ZFinderEVF.com. It's still up in the air if RedRock Micro has an actual working version, but from the images that were submitted, it doesn't look like a finished product. Actually in this Video (above), Zacuto is also just showing a 3D model, so take this as just another announcement and not an actual product (yet).
Marketing is always ahead of technology and some people are speculating that the announcements were aimed just to be the first. Hopefully the products are released soon, as we've seen some bad turnouts on early announcements for products that never seem to make it to market or experience long delays. Personally it's all exciting, but I don't know if consumers really care who's first to announce what, it's more about first actual availability and pricing. I'd even take my chances on a no-name brand EVF if the resolution was adequate.
Redrock Micro is stated to come in around $600 dollars, and the Zacuto EVF just under $800. If i'm correct, you'll still need a Z-Finder to use with the EVF bumping that price up a few hundred more. This is something many DSLR shooters have been looking for and I feel they'll be set to grab whatever becomes available early on. Under those brand names, they'll both be well made products, but since Zacuto's will be several hundred more (including Z-Finder Loupe), time to market is what's really going to set the pace on EVF sales.
Another option would be going with the smaller 5" LCD monitors such as the Marshall V-LCD50-HDMI. Unlike the EVF's announced, the Marshall Monitor has additional features for setting proper exposure. I guess if you really wanted magnification for the LCD, you could just make a DIY loupe using a Macro Close Up FIlter and a box.
IKan also has a 5" LCD HDMI Monitor for DSLR's too.
Yeah there I go, second member of the DSLR BTS (Behind the Scenes) group over at Vimeo immediately after the man of Zacuto himself, Steve Weiss. Another top DSLR gear maker as a member is Cinevate, which BTW I am patiently awaiting the release of their new and more affordable Atlas 10 Camera Slider (hurry up guys! or send me a Beta!). It's a new group started by the dudes at DSLRUniversity.com dedicated to behind the scenes work with DSLR's, and that's where you'll always find the latest gear, tips, tricks, and techniques. If you guys are interested in that kinda stuff (which if you're on this blog, i'm sure you are), check it out and join in. After my music video shoot with the 3 Canon 60D's, i'm hoping to add a BTS video there too.
Looks like China is hip to the Viewfinder market. They are a bit late on this particular clone of The Real Zacuto Z-Finder, and i'm sure Zacuto's got some new finder in the works that will make this look a bit obsolete. Better late than never I guess.
Here's a quote from a reader.
Looks like Chinas sweatshop copycats are discovering the DSLR film-makers market. I got word from a friend who is doing business with Shengzen manufacturers, that they already got bored copying the 5 buck plastic thingy called LCDVF. They will start to ship a clone of the technically superior Zacuto Z-Finder Pro in September this year – of course the 3x version 😉
The image above is supposedly from their prototype modeled from The Real Zacuto Z-Finder. I'm sure they'll dress it up with a bit of color and coating when it's finalized. From the image above, it looks like they have it scaled pretty well. I'm sure it's not going to stand up to the quality of real Zacuto, but there's a trade off in price that doesn't stop users from making these over seas 'clone' purchases. We'll just have to wait to see where this one goes.
For those who have been complaining about Fog on the viewfinders, this might be of some help. Used in Dive masks and Goggles to resist fogging it should be safe on the eyes.
Rod based rigs are nice, since you can slide for adjustments to fit pretty much any body type. The problem is finding cheap clamps for those 90 Degree angles. Here's a guy who was able to machine some of his own clamps for standard sized rods. The DIY video above was submitted to me by Igor which is very similar to Zacuto's $1000 dollar 'Striker' rig. I'm guessing Igor didn't spend $1000.00 dollars for his DIY project. Thanks for sharing, check out his DIY rig, and leave Igor some comments at his video link here.
If you're looking to get Razor Sharp focus on a DSLR, this post is for you! I've posted about Loupes before, but this Hoodman is just jumping off as the best price + features.
If you're not familiar with a LCD Loupe, it covers the LCD on your camera so you can not only see better color and contrast, but it will magnify the LCD so you can see pixel for pixel what's in focus and what's not. Nothing like poor focus to ruin good video footage. Plus it adds 'more looks per hour' to your mojo.
I've been reviewing quite a bit of different LCD loupes and personally own the LCDVF. The LCDVF is a great looking product that ties in nicely with the color scheme of Canon L lenses, but it lacks some features found on the Zacuto Z-Finder. The Hoodman has been around for quite some time, but it seems they've been putting alot of emphasis on video DSLR's. The Hoodman HLPP3 Hoodloupe Pro bundle with Eye cup is a perfect bargain because it comes in cheaper than other Loupes, and has more options than the LCDVF. This Hoodman comes with a diopter for those who have 'less than perfect vision', and actually straps to the camera. The Z-finder and LCDVF use a magnetic frame which you can easily knock the loupe off the camera (i've done it many times). I wished I held out a bit longer now, but maybe I'll just pick up a second. Check out the link below and get your's while they're in stock. With the new T2i out, i'm sure it will sell out very quickly.