PRODUCT REVIEW: THE Z-FINDER EVF PRO by ZACUTO
Review by Gary Nadeau and Jason Koontz
As a Director I spend most of my time positioned beside the DP or standing behind a monitor. One problem with the Canon dslrs is that once you plug in an hdmi cord for an additional monitor it negates the built-in one.
I am personally not a fan of converting a small camera into a giant rig that needs multiple operators. I like my cameras lean and mean and ready to roll – especially when budgets are low and schedules are tight
Lucky for us Zacuto has produced a product that really hits the sweet spot; in both price and function.
The Z-finder EVF Pro.
I asked DP, Jason Koontz, to use and evaluate the EVF on a recent gig. Here’s his thoughts…
Jason Koontz: We used the Zacuto EVF on an overseas shoot that took us to Brazil and Spain. The crew consisted of only myself (as DP), an AC, and DIRECTOR Gary Nadeau. When we work in such small sized crews, speed and mobility are high priorities. We almost always work with DLSR’s stripped down to their most basic form: camera body + lens. This gives us the ability to move quickly in and out of setups. For this shoot, we had several people from the agency with us on location and we needed to provide them with a monitor while we were shooting interviews. We wanted to do this while still maintaining our simple setup. The Zacuto EVF was the perfect solution. It allowed us to run an HDMI line out to client monitor while still giving myself (as camera operator) a screen in which to work from. The EVF is small enough to fit right on top of the camera’s hotshoe, so no additional cage or rail system was required. The image on the EVF was something I could trust to give true color and exposure readings. The focus assist with peaking is perhaps my favorite feature. It is really tough to achieve critical focus on such a small screen, so the electronic sharpening makes it clear when you hit your focus marks.
When shooting outdoors, the Z-finder and exposure zebras were our biggest assets. The shooting schedule sometimes left us shooting mid-day in direct sunlight, which makes it nearly impossible to work from the screen on your DSLR. Being able to have your eye directly on a viewfinder is something I’ve missed since working with DLSR’s, but the Zacuto EVF brings that ability back. This in combination with the zebra function ensured our shots were in focus and properly exposed.
I love when companies create products that actually fit the needs of a consumer. The ability to use Canon batteries to power the EVF is a great example of how Zacuto gets what a user has and what they need. Instead of having to carry around an additional set of batteries and chargers, you can use the batteries you already have for your DSLR. This not only saves the user money, it also saves room in the equipment bag. And when you’re traveling with gear all over the world, every last inch and pound is accounted for.
There are many monitoring solutions out on the market today, each having their own unique benefits. The Zacuto EVF can be used in many different setups. In my experience it is a simple, effective system that allows us to maintain our quick and streamlined style of shooting while giving us the ability to achieve proper focus and exposure while running a monitor out to client…
GN: I highly recommend the Zacuto EVF to my fellow filmmakers. It’s a super product that can adapt to your individual needs perfectly. Thanks Zacuto for making such a solid well built product and thanks for letting us take it out for a spin!