Zacuto HDMI Lock – Pincher

If you live and die through HDMI, then you might have heard a few stories (maybe experienced it yourself) about HDMI damage on your DSLR. This little achilles heel in DSLR workflow when using LCD monitors or EVF solutions can cost you big repair bills. Zacuto introduces a new HDMI lock (requires a zacuto plate to mount) called the Pincher. Not the cheapest solution, but it's almost the only one out there. Found at the Zacuto website, or a few dollars cheaper at B&H.

zacuto hdmi lock pincher
find-price-button Zactuo HDMI Lock - Pincher

Or as some others have pointed out in the comments, the new TrusMT DSLR cage has HDMI locking options found here.

trustmt-dslrcage
find-price-button TrusMT DSLR Cage Ultimate with HDMI Locking

 54 Comments





54 thoughts on “Zacuto HDMI Lock – Pincher

  1. Tom

    1. Not all Zacuto makes is great.
    The EVF comes with a battery charger that is the worst I`ve ever seen. It`s simply crap. At a price of approx. 850€ in Germany this is not acceptable.

    2. Don`t treat us like children by telling us how reasonable your prices are. It`s so American. Your products are good. But if you continue to offer them at such ridiculous prices, your company will go downhill sooner or later.

  2. It is a funny argument really. I felt the same about Zacuto prices when I first started out - I didn't have the cash to buy the bits of kit that looked the best/most reliable. So I bought Asia-tastic imports to do a job that needed to be done. Now, earning my living full time as camera/steadicam op if ever I need a DSLR support product Zacuto is the only option for me. (Occasionally Redrock 🙁 , but normally Zacuto...)

    If you use the cheapo import stuff intensely every day, you'll quickly see why there's a price discrepancy. Zacuto can take a battering. Can take salt-water abuse. Can take being dropped down a flight of stairs (the camera doesn't fare so well tho...thank god for production insurance).

    Obviously this is only my opinion, but for newbies, go ahead - buy the cheaper stuff. You can afford it & it WILL do the job, but for a limited time. Then, when you are earning a living by this job, get Zacuto. Or at least a quality assured product by a reputable company. If you do it every day you need to rely on your grip - there's not time to replace bits when they go wrong. And if they do go wrong you don't want to have to pay again to resolve the issue.

    p.s. I'm talking exclusively about DSLR work...I've not used Zacuto products with bigger cameras so can't comment on that side of things - as Steve says this product is designed specifically for DSLR's.

    If I get one of these 'pinchers' I'll let you know when it fails - expect to hear from me around 2030!

  3. Joe Mahma

    Great product, but wholly unnecessary if you follow the standard, age old practice of strain relief of the cable. I've never had to replace a firewire jack or an HDMI jack.

  4. Clay

    You guys have obvisously never used a Zacuto EVF. I'd like to see someone post a picture of a camera system using the bulky RRS cable clamp with a Zacuto EVF. I garauntee there is not enough clearance to mount the EVF, let alone operate the menu buttons to the left of the on-camera LCD.

  5. BTwins

    In case you have an L-bracket (or L-plate), ReallyRightStuff just came out with something called CRS - Cable Relief Spacer, it includes a locking bar for the cables (you can lock both USB and HDMI) and costs $66:
    http://reallyrightstuff.com/ProductDesc.aspx?code=CRS&type=0
    Kirk has a similar spacer, albeit without the locking bar, $60:
    http://www.kirkphoto.com/LBA-1_USB-AC_Spacer_Block.html

    RRS also have "index stop bars", while they are designed for stopping macro/panoramic sliders, you can put a pair of them ($25) directly on the L-bracket's dovetail and lock the wires in-between:
    http://reallyrightstuff.com/ProductDesc.aspx?code=MPR-B-pair&type=4&eq=MPR-B-001&desc=MPR-B%2c-pair%3a-Two-index-stop-bars&key=ait

    Finally a few comments for Steve Weiss if he is still reading:
    1. It'be nice if you could have a version of your HDMI cable lock which could be mounted on a 15'' rail, for those of us who don't use Zacuto plates
    2. It'be great if you could provide optional screws with hex socket drive instead of a slotted drive - all of my photo/video gear has hex drive bolts, except for Zacuto zicromount, forcing me to carry a screwdriver.

  6. Funny thing is we did a test where we had some of our components priced out in China and we were surprised that they were really not that much less. I think our lever which costs us $2.25 in the US at 25,000 quantity was about $2.05 in China and had a 6 - 8 week lead time (assuming they get it right, otherwise it could be another 6-8 weeks) and I had a pay a large shipping and import fee. My lead time in the USA 3-4 weeks and I can visit the plant to make sure it's perfect. Milling is not really the Chinese specialty. Where you can save money is on plastic parts and tooling. Tooling is the mold that we create to make the plastic parts. A mold that would cost 22K in the USA might cost 7K in China, India or Mexico, but could take months longer to get made off shore. Our market is changing by the minute and the time differential makes it impossible. People are bitching that they can't get our products fast enough now, if I went abroad I'd have a bad customer service reputation. Plus I really don't like the toy plastic you get from China. Our Z-Finder uses an ABS plastic that I much prefer, it's virtually unbreakable. Besides molds, I haven't found that the economies of scale in China would work for Zacuto. Part of the problem is in our designs. Making them so universal between cameras causes us to have lots of parts and complicated multisided milling. Since our policy is to make equipment that will work on all cameras and future cameras as much as possible, I'm not changing my designs to accommodate a lower price. Like many have said, my products are probably not for the diy buyer. They are for people making money in film and video, i.e. weddings, commercial, corporate, etc. where equipment failure is not an option.

  7. Lensdude

    Products for photography and video production cuts across a huge price range.

    No one is forcing you to buy Zacuto gear. Even users who own a lot of Zactuto gear will not buy everything in their kit from Zacuto. Pro users will mix and match while building a kit that matches their needs and budget.

    But the bottom line is that there are companies that make gear for serious users and professionals. A $1000 shoulder rig will seem insane to the average web user who comes to this site for news on the latest budget offering. Cheep gear that is copied and built in China might be fine for most casual users. Serious hobbyists or professionals are going to buy serious gear though. If you are one of those people who complains about Zacuto prices and cheers on chatter about pointless Zacuto boycotts then its obvious you are not in "this market". DP's who shoot all day and every day will jump at pro level products that make their job easier, more efficient and more reliable. Their reputation might be at stake. Spending $124 on a gizmo that will make their HDMI reliable is nothing really. I just broke my HDMI port on one of my bodies and I wish I had been using something like this. It would have been cheaper than my repair bill.

    I enjoy this site and am a regular visitor. That being said I have purchased two products (fluid head and LCD light) that have attracted a lot of buzz on this site. Both of them have been really disappointing. I wish I had spent more on better gear as a result.

    A cheap product might be fine for you if you are producing short videos on Youtube. If you are part of a pro level team in a production with a real budget then odds are you will not survive very long if all your kit is poorly built DIY or cheap copied stuff made in Chinese sweatshops. Please do not get angry with companies that cater to a different market; it does nothing except announce that your skills are at the basement level.

  8. Emm

    Post author

    @Philip K - Most DSLRs require a miniHDMI, which this one doesn't appear to have available. The Locking HDMI is designed to prevent it from falling loose, which seems to work great, but doesn't work in the same manner as the Zacuto Pincher which prevents the cable from reaching extreme angles that can put stress inside the camera HDMI port.

  9. J Toha

    Appreciate the breakdown, Steve.

    Seems to strongly show that the bulk of the cost is contributed to the fact that it's made in USA, and even if you got the raw materials overseas, there's shipping and local labour to be factored in. That the 'giant' country can sell things so competitively is because the raw materials are readily available there, and the labour cost is lower. If Zacuto outsource some of its resources elsewhere, perhaps the savings can be passed on to the people too. But sure you have your reasons for making it all USA-exclusive for the quick turnaround. Pros and cons.

    Bottom line is we as customers still have a choice :/

  10. DNS

    I think Zacuto could sell you a burger for 24$. Without forcing you to buy of course. Just by explaining why they go for cheesy by taxi.

  11. Philip K

    I thought to look up what other options there are for this problem and found this:

    http://www.amazon.com/Locking-High-Speed-HDMI-Cable/dp/tech-data/B001R2BRJI/ref=de_a_smtd

    I wouldn't hang my Camera from it, but these girls seem to be happy doing so:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdIOZ-mpN5g&feature=related

    The idea is explained here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EOVEx79mfk

    And a stress test is shown here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBICrBOEN7A&feature=related

    It's a much simpler option than what we're seening from Zacuto but for $8 maybe it's a useful and cheap one. Any one who tries it out I'd love to hear how it performs for HDLSR users.

    Now if only I could find it for the same price here in Russia.

  12. Morgan Stewart

    All the 'angry anonymous masses of the internet' - you mean the sore losers on this forum crying about the price of Zacuto products? Someone mentioned 'boycotting' this brand - do you know that Emm owns a Zacuto EVF, and tons of other 'expensive' gear? Isn't that a contradiction to the old Cheesycam DIY mantra? 🙂 LOL.

    Nobody is forcing anybody to buy Zacuto gear - and to all the angry masses saying they can put together something better AND cheaper - go for it, but also make sure you don't forget to include the lifetime warranty and customer service as well.

    I'm in no way a champion for Zacuto - but don't hate the playa hate the game. A $140 HDMI clip, or a $1.40 twisty tie NEVER stopped anyone from making a good film.

  13. y2j

    Steve- I respect how you come and explain your business to the angry anonymous masses of the internet.

    That being said, still grossly over priced, but I have no doubts you will sell a kings ransom of these fast as your little 4 axis machine pumps them out.

  14. Just for fun I'm going to show you guys the BOM (bill of materials) for this product. So you can actually see how a product is actually broken down and then eventually priced.

    $15 base
    $8 dog
    $9 two custom red screws
    $7 bar
    $10 bottom slide block (the most complex milled part)
    $2.5 two internal screws
    $3 anodizing
    $.48 two labels
    $2.2 assembly
    $2 packaging, print design, instruction sheet, photography, video
    $3.5 taxes
    $.5 parts shipping to Zacuto
    $5.5 design amortization over 1000 parts
    $2.5 overhead (staff, rent, phones, customer support, etc.)

    $71.18 TOTAL (cost basis)

    That leaves $58.82 to split between our distributors, dealers and Zacuto
    A manufacture should make 100% markup after his dealer network and on this product we are nowhere even close to that.

  15. y2j again, it's not a few pieces of metal it's very complex part and the milling requires it to be milled on a 4 axes machine. And true it does not cost $124 to make, remember a dealer takes a percentage, and I'd like to make a small profit as well.

    Morgan,
    When you get yours please do a review of it.

  16. DNS

    You don't advertise porsche in places were people drive a VW Polo right?
    It just reminds me buying bottle of water on the plane ( In terms of price ).

  17. Morgan Stewart

    I can't afford a Porsche but I don't go around bashing the company. Steve keep doing what you do, I love your products, services, and your BTS are bar none the best stuff out there. BTW - I ordered a pincher this week.

  18. y2j

    I am all for buying american and supporting our own economy, but you cannot convince me that that small piece of metal cost 124 dollars to make, or even anything close to that. I refuse to take it in the butt no matter how designer boutique the penis is

  19. J,
    I'm not a volume style business, I'm a boutique and we design our products, figure out the cost and price it on our dealer model. I don't want to do what other companies do, set a price and then design to fit that price, I'd lose valuable features then. It's just not my interest in life, I guess I'm just more of a Ferrari guy. I hope you can understand that. My products are not for everyone and I understand that. We do have our marketplace. I will warn you from buying garbage and having to re buy because at that point you could have had the Ferrari 😉

  20. J Toha

    Steve, I'm with you regarding copyright infringements, and I do wish that the other country wouldn't copy Zacuto's design blatantly and sell it under their own brand. If they innovate and sell it cheaply, nobody would blame them. In fact, people would be happy to go with them as another alternative.

    I guess a lot of people are displeased with Zacuto partially because though you make excellent products (with designs to drool for) and provide outstanding customer service, the pricing you set is simply unreachable to most of us. It's like 'Why, Zacuto, why??' But deep down, we know that you have the freedom to set whatever price you want.

    We do wish you would make it accessible from a price standpoint to a LOT more people, from amateurs to professionals. So you'll get profits generated from volume sales, and you get to show love to people who have always wanted to support Zacuto products but are simply unable to.

  21. Wow, bunch of angry people. Sorry for being the cause of all of your anger. Sure people can copy my products, but on this one I don't think you are going to find anyone who is going to make this product substantially cheaper. It has many moving parts so that it can work with every single DSLR on the market including cameras with external large batteries. I could make camera specific products for 1/2 the price but then if you buy a new camera which you inevitable will then you are right back where your could have just bought this one. This product was intended for Zacuto users who own a Z-Finder or Zacuto camera support system so you don't need to buy a Gorilla plate. Plus not one of your links actually referred to a product that locks the cable in the HDMI port. The one who listed the Viewfactor solution regretted to mention that you need a $2000 cage to make it work.

    We make products in the USA because we can control the quality and get things to the market extremely fast. You can't do that in China. I'm not interested in making crappy products that I can't be proud of and warranty for life, give the best customer service in the world and create content to help indie filmmakers. If I can't make great innovative designs that people want to rip off (which is illegal by the way and we do go after trade and copyright infringements) Some of you seem perfectly fine seeing people steal our designs and make them cheaper in China (not very American ideals)

    For professionals in the industry my products are considered cheap against Arri and Chrosziel. No, I may not be for every entry level indie shooter but does that make me the horrible industrial capitalist that some of you make me out to be. Steve

  22. Altamiradora

    Although I made a nasty comment about Zacuto, it's true that the service and warranty is outstanding !

    The price is what you have to pay for quality product that you can rely on.

  23. Amused Observer

    @ imgpro615 ... This is one of the ongoing speaking points in the Presidential debates. Mitt Romney for one, is a strong proponent of assigning high tariffs to all imported technologies that can be traced to American patents. He, like moany others, believe that Asian companies who "steal" American innovation and manufacturing ideas and then undersell the US market by utilizing their indigenous, inexpensive labor ... culminating in a far cheaper price than the originating US manufacturor. They believe this is one of the many reasons why American companies cannot and will never be able to compete within the so-called "free enterprise" marketplace with their offshore competitors.

    My thought: This is a real (not merely political) issue that is not going to go away and there will most likely be legislation addressing this issue in the not so distant future as the country tries to recover from the ongoing recession.

    So bottom line: take advantage of the "Ginis" of the world now, because at some point their price structures may be just as high (or higher) than their American competitors.

  24. imgpro615

    @ nice lady...you make a great point of all their positives but prices like that make Chinese good the obvious choice...it is highway robbery...no excuse for it

  25. David

    That's a ridiculous pricing on their part. It's more expensive than your Pico. Thanks Emm for letting us know that it exist though.

    Cheers!:D

  26. Astonished about the comments regarding the price of Zacuto products considering 1) They are Made in the USA 2) They are warrantied for LIFE. No wonder Americans can't find jobs, everyone wants to support knock-off products made in Asia for sweatshop labour prices. Think about it.

  27. Kenrik

    I Emailed GINI...

    He replied " Now I make one different Style"

    High Quality Low price version here we come!!

  28. Canon makes a USB tether cord anchor for their 1D series that I'm sure you could modify to work with any camera. What I use is a velcro tie around the cord and anchor the tie to the camera strap eyelet. Simple and it works.

  29. Tony Maceo

    I know we always give Zacuto a hard time and rightfully so. But these guys simply introduce products with outrageous prices that even would raise the brow of some pros. Maybe they aren't even targeting the entry-to-mid level video and cinematographers? I will need a projector for an upcoming large venue event...but I don't think a $73k Barco FLM HD20 projector fits my budget. Maybe Zacuto is the "Barco" of dslr accessories. @Nikita Pavlov - Trust me, Someone is Asia (HK,TW,SZ) or India will have a knockoff ready by the holidays. =)

  30. Emm

    Post author

    @J Toha - The problem is not the position of the HDMI. If even that end gets pushed in the wrong angle it could damage the HDMI in the camera.

  31. Quicksilver

    Oh come on, give me a break Zacuto!

    since Dec 2010, locking clamp from VF: http://www.viewfactor.net/index.php/products/cages/contineo-hdmi-clamp.html

    Cheaper: buy some short Male to Female adapters (http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10240&cs_id=1024004&p_id=2891&seq=1&format=2&style=) Tie/tape the adapter to your rig. If somebody pulls on the hdmi cable, it will only disconnect/kill the adapter and not kill your cameras intern hdmi connector.

    Vincent Laforet must have killed a lot of these adapters, until he got the VF locking clamp for his DSLR cage. He told the adapter trick in his May 2010 creativeLive class "HDDSLR Cinema with Vincent Laforet". Thanks a lot Vinc! 🙂

  32. After further thought, Perhaps a better solution would be a small rod mounted breakout box with a small tail that would attach to the camera ports. Then everything would plug into this breakout box. It could even have an HDMI splitter included.

    THoughts?

  33. K, so after this, I decided I think I am going to meet up with a local CNC machine shop and design a Cable restraint that will attach to a 15mm rod and secure the cables that plug in on the camera. What ideas, requests do you guys have? Perhaps a model that would attach to the hotshoe, tripod mount, etc?

  34. Gerardo

    Product of the year? Maybe.

    Over-priced product of the year? FOR SURE!

    We all know Zacuto makes quality products. But they are like the Aston Martin of video equipment. Good looking, does what it´s supposed to do, but with the same money you can get many more things in a car, like design and engine. Like an Audi SR8, or a Mercedes SLK55 AMG. Or just import it from asia, a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution = Konova/Proaim (not the same level, but amazing for the price).

    Let´s see how long it takes Asia to develope the product for a "reasonable price", like 15-25 dollars maybe. I just hope Litepanels doesn´t already have a patent for it. Hehehe, just kidding...

  35. Olphus

    ...or attach a friction arm to the hotshoe and DIY fixate the HDMI connetor to the end of a friction arm, and voilà a not so elegant Pincher;-)

  36. Seriously Zacuto....$124 to hold my HDMI cable and to protect my HDMI port? For real? I really can not stand those guys. I know they make a great product...but I would appreciate them more if they would make their gear more affordable instead of creating a toys r us of elitism. Those guys are douchetastic!

  37. Altamiradora

    Yeah ! Leave it to Zacuto to be caught with their system !

    Anyway, I have a Contineo Powered cage for my 5D !

    My HDMI cable restraint costed me only 90$ !

    Pricey but well below zacuto's !

  38. HD-tography

    Leave it to Zacuto to make sure they make you buy one of their plates to mount something so simple, I mean they could have easily included a 15mm single rod mount for that ridiculous price point!

    All I can say is... Screw Zacuto!

    Yeah I've used their stuff in the past, some of it is real nice, but the pricing is outrageous. I am boycotting everything from now on, no matter how cool it is!

  39. Great idea but the price is retarded, I'll give it a few weeks, someone will come up with a DIY or a cheaper version will appear online

  40. I think this is an AWESOME product. I have a TON of trouble with my HDMI port when using my 15ft motorized pan tilt jib. The damn thing always loses contact with the port when im trying to pull off a 360 move way in the air. This little guy would be a god send. BUT There's no way in hell i am going to pay zacutos outrageous price for it though...Jesus. $124.00 PLUS a 100.00 docking plate for a freaking piece of metal!? Ill wait until something comes out of China for 40.00 that does the same thing AND comes with a docking plate AND a nice padded case...AND free shipping...lol. Thanks for the heads up though Emm. This is A HUGE advancement in HDSLR adaptability.

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