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Old February 7th, 2016, 02:52 AM   #1
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C300 MK 11 Zacuto EVF Recoil + Gratical X (or HD)

As I prepare to purchase the C300 Mk 2 I'm looking into buying the C300 MK 11 Zacuto EVF Recoil + Gratical X package and wondered if anyone was already using this set up and what they thought of it - the pros and cons.

The way that Canon have designed the new Top Handle for the Mk 2, whilst being far more robust, is an ergonomic nightmare if, during the course of a days location filming, people want to switch between using the handle or simply mounting the monitor unit on top of the body.

I'm constantly changing the configuration of my C300 when out working. It's one of the really great benefits of the camera. At the moment with the C300 this is a pretty painless operation involving removing the monitor unit from the cold shoe and undoing one mounting screw.

With the C300 Mk 2 this now turns into a meccano set type of activity involving fitting on undoing 5 hex socket head screws with hex wrench. 3 to attach or undo the mounting bracket to the camera and a further 2 to attach the actual handle. These final 2 are also very awkward being inside the handle shape.

I just can't imagine the person who designed or approved of this system having been out on location. Let alone the time involved in this activity what if you lose or drop any of the crews or the hex wrench. You'd be stymied.

And the Monitor unit is still attached onto a fiddly cold shoe.

The Zacuto setup on the other hand looks very robust and pretty well thought out although, when using a Gratical viewfinder, it seems to limit the monitor unit to being stuck on at the back of the handle. Again fine for many situations but not great for solo operators with a microphone attached to the monitor unit, you'd want that at the front. And if you were to find a way to mount the monitor at the front I think, apart from the weight distribution, would put quite a stretch on the cables.

And again if you want to switch to a stripped down operating mode you'd still need to get out a Hex wrench unless Zacuto sell a little cold shoe adapter to fit on their C 300 Mk 11 head plate.

Apart from the ergonomic issues has anyone tried the Gratical Viewfinders? They have picked up some very good reviews. If I go ahead and get one I'd probably go for the cut back Gratical X rather than the Gratical HD and then assign the C 300 MK 11 displays onto it. Has anyone tried this?
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Old February 7th, 2016, 04:35 AM   #2
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Re: C300 MK 11 Zacuto EVF Recoil + Gratical X (or HD)

Mark,
The C300 mark II top handle is sturdy and is designed if you are handholding a smaller lens as well as to mount other accessories. For handholding smaller lenses, the top handle has got a grip for fingers and a thumb grip on top. By handholding here I literally mean handholding and not shoulder mount. A lot of people do handholding barebones without any gimbal or accessory. So this top handle design is for them.

If you need to quickly remove it, then better to remove the two screws on the side by an allen key so that you take out the entire helmet + top handle and monitor. That is how I do.

Also, for certain configurations I don't want any handle. For eg. when I am using the Mark II with the long lens the camera and lens go into a long lens case when I am not shooting as most of the areas where I shoot is incredibly dusty. In such situations, using the earlier C300 Mark I monitor is fine as you can quickly remove it.

The shooting style of people varies, so I don't think any single design can fulfill all the expectations. If you are using EVFs then the Zacuto design of top handle seems to be fine. Also the Wooden camera shoulder mount with grip relocator also looks nice.

Cheers,
Sabyasachi
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Old February 10th, 2016, 12:49 AM   #3
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Re: C300 MK 11 Zacuto EVF Recoil + Gratical X (or HD)

I have the Zacuto gear and like it. It is well built and robust. Pricey, though. I've found it to be the way to go with the original C300 and I have the VCT Pro kit for Cine lens that was meant for the MarkII and Cine servo lens. This setup is fine, but not very modular and the 15mm rods don't fit well with the current zacuto 15mm adapter. It needs a little more fine-tuning. However, it is a good system if you use it with the cine servo, the base, camera... it all fits well and is solid. Once you deviate from that plan, though, it becomes difficult.

I love the wooden top handles Zacuto built. I am currently on assignment with the original C300 and I didn't pack it to save weight... I have missed it all week. That part is very modular and convenient, I would recommend it.
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Old February 10th, 2016, 09:02 AM   #4
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Re: C300 MK 11 Zacuto EVF Recoil + Gratical X (or HD)

Thanks Scott, Sounds like you are having fun.

I've ordered the C300 Mk2 Zacuto Recoil bundle which includes the Gratical HD. I've also ordered a VCT camera plate for my Miller tripod - not sure how that's going to work but it will hopefully be more solid than my present set-up which is simply the miller tripod plate attached to the bottom of the camera. This results in quite a lot of vibrations being picked up when adjusting anything on the camera.

I had considered Zacuto Z drive and Tornado but will wait to see how I get on with a shoulder mounted set up first. I've always been put off by Zacuto prices but they really seem to understand the difficulties of using these hybrid shaped cameras such as the C300 / F7S etc and their gear seems to built to military specifications.

The downside is that there is a 4 week delivery schedule for the UK so I'l just have to be patient.
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Old February 10th, 2016, 11:40 PM   #5
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Re: C300 MK 11 Zacuto EVF Recoil + Gratical X (or HD)

The Zacuto gear, and I now have a lot of it, is not 100% awesome but it is pretty good. Definitely, most of the items I have used are a notch better than the rest of the rigging out in the world. Most other gear is over-built and heavier. Zacuto seems to understand that users like me are not going to be mounting a ton of cine-gear on their cameras, but rather need stuff that is lighter and fast enough to reconfigure.

My biggest complaint about the vct base is that the pad is too soft and springy, causing a lot of wobble if you aren't paying attention. It is comfortable. I liken it to sitting on a rubber yoga ball as opposed to a firm chair. Sometimes, you need a firm chair.

Also, just behind the padding, the metal base has a hard corner that can sometimes jab your shoulder. I feel that section is too chunky and it's profile can be slimmed down.
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Old February 11th, 2016, 01:02 AM   #6
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Re: C300 MK 11 Zacuto EVF Recoil + Gratical X (or HD)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Stoneback View Post
My biggest complaint about the vct base is that the pad is too soft and springy, causing a lot of wobble if you aren't paying attention. It is comfortable. I liken it to sitting on a rubber yoga ball as opposed to a firm chair. Sometimes, you need a firm chair.

Also, just behind the padding, the metal base has a hard corner that can sometimes jab your shoulder. I feel that section is too chunky and it's profile can be slimmed down.
Ouch - I guess I'll find this out in a few weeks time. I suppose it would be possible to replace the oversoft material and replace it with something with more resistance.

My main concern is more to do with operating a camera on my shoulder. Whilst I've hired big broadcast camcorders in the past, my more recent camera history has been more lightweight and portable. Canon 7D - XF305 - C300, all light enough to handhold but not for extended periods of time.
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Old February 11th, 2016, 01:31 AM   #7
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Re: C300 MK 11 Zacuto EVF Recoil + Gratical X (or HD)

I shot all this week with my original C300 stripped down. I am in Laos and needed it small. No baseplate, no handle. I still kept the Zacuto monitor assembly mount so that I could offset the monitor. It works pretty well. It is heavy during a long period of shooting, and it is hard to get the camera up high enough to eye-level.

The VCT base is pretty great to configure the camera to shoulder, but realize that you are going to want 15mm rods and a handle up front, otherwise there is no way to easily hold the camera on your shoulder. I have the follow focus w tornado and a grip relocator for shoulder setup. This is with the original C300 or the Mark II if I don't use the cine servo lens.

You can mix and match some Zacuto gear with other brands, too. I have a "dead" handle that is a cheap brand off ebay. I also use a v-mount battery sled off of Amazon. There are lots of 1/4-20 screw holes to mount things to.

The padding, I should say, is comfortable... but I do find that the camera can roll around on my shoulder somewhat if I don't pay attention. Just pay attention, you will be good. The Arri base and there is another one that start with an M, I think, are pretty awful for day-to day use for any extended amount of time.
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