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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.


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Old June 11th, 2010, 05:48 PM   #1
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spare cash: Z-finder or WA Lens?

Hi guys,

I've chosen to purchase the 550D with a twin lens kit. I have also purchased the Sigma 30mm and have enough money left over to purchase either the Tokina 11-16mm lens, or the Zacuto Z-Finder. Ideally I would love the Z-finder and a good lens for my landscape photography...but my pocket's aren't that deep.

So I am now faced with a decision whether I purchase the Z-Finder or the lens, what would your choice be?

I will be shooting a short film fairly soon for a short film festival so I want it to look a million bucks, and I probably won't be needing the Tokina lens for the video, but it is a lens I would really love for my photography. Is the Z-Finder really as important as people make it out to be, if so then which model do I choose? (2.5x or 3x etc).

Cheers,

- Andrew
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Old June 11th, 2010, 06:54 PM   #2
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A loupe is not optional, so make sure you have a loupe before you do any project. You won't be able to focus moving subjects without one, simple as that.

But the z-finder is not the only option available. For professionals, I think it pays for itself to buy Zacuto, but not for me.

In my experience, the more magnification the better. Some people say they don't want to see pixellation, but I find it helps to focus.

Consider other options like the LCDVF and the Hoodloupe with the 3x magnifier. If you're DIY minded, you could buy a chimney finder for a medium format camera on ebay, and jerry rig it to your camera.

I bought a top quality achromatic 6x7 slide viewer from ebay and hacked it into place. Optically, it is as good as a Z-Finder. Sharp into the corners, awesome contrast and no CA at all.
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Old June 11th, 2010, 06:59 PM   #3
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Okay, so you think 3x would be the way to go? Why is that?
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Old June 12th, 2010, 02:08 AM   #4
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Too much magnification, the image starts to look too pixelated. Too little, and it will be a less effective aid to focusing. For the physical size and resolution of the T2i's screen, 3x is just right.
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Old June 12th, 2010, 02:32 AM   #5
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I've used the T2i with the 3x Z-finder and I find it difficult to compose with so much magnification. I haven't used the 2.5X but that is what I would buy if I have the budget. I am slightly far-sighted so maybe that is why I prefer less magnification?
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Old June 12th, 2010, 03:42 PM   #6
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Does the diopter not compensate for your far sightedness?
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Old June 13th, 2010, 01:08 AM   #7
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I can see everything clearly with the Z-finder 3x, but I find it hard to take in the whole composition. I find myself fighting to see the whole picture. It is also harder for me to judge perfect focus when I can't concentrate on a substantial portion of the image without moving my eyes. I moved the eyepiece all the way out and it is okay. There are extension rings available which I would get if the x3 were mine. I should repeat that I have no trouble focusing with the 3x in any adjustment range, but rather that the image is too "in my face". I do not need reading glasses to read, but things are more in focus close to my face with weak reading glasses.
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Old June 13th, 2010, 02:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Hardman View Post
Hi guys,

I've chosen to purchase the 550D with a twin lens kit. I have also purchased the Sigma 30mm and have enough money left over to purchase either the Tokina 11-16mm lens, or the Zacuto Z-Finder. Ideally I would love the Z-finder and a good lens for my landscape photography...but my pocket's aren't that deep.

So I am now faced with a decision whether I purchase the Z-Finder or the lens, what would your choice be?

I will be shooting a short film fairly soon for a short film festival so I want it to look a million bucks, and I probably won't be needing the Tokina lens for the video, but it is a lens I would really love for my photography. Is the Z-Finder really as important as people make it out to be, if so then which model do I choose? (2.5x or 3x etc).

Cheers,

- Andrew
Z-Finder is great and comfy with glasses on. As mentioned, you must have something to show you critical focus. Really makes life easier.

Don't discount the value of the Tokina for video. It's my 1st choice for flying on the Blackbird and provides a definite look that my 24-70 can't do.
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Old June 14th, 2010, 07:05 PM   #9
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I use the Hoodman Loupe with 1X magnifier and find it perfect for critical focus (with glasses on, which probably magnifies as well). I find 3X much too pixelated and have trouble focusing. I use Redrock attachment which works well. Total price, $115.

I use a Canon 10-22 often, but DOF is so great I don't a loupe for that lens.
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Old June 15th, 2010, 12:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Andrew Hardman View Post
I am now faced with a decision whether I purchase the Z-Finder or the lens, what would your choice be?
If you have any desire to shoot handheld, I'd go for the Z-Finder - or one of the good but cheaper alternatives. The extra support (skull to camera) helps stabilise many shots. An out of focus shot does not sell.

But it depends - do you shoot mostly tripod? Do you shoot mostly static? Then perhaps a Z-Finder isn't quite your first priority. However, shoot beyond 55mm (maybe less), shoot focus pulls using the manual ring, and a magnifier is crucial.

There's guys shooting without them, but then you notice their Marshall or SmallHD monitors clamped to their rigs that cost seven times more than the camera, and that's a nice way to shoot.

But I bought the camera+kit-lens, then the Z-Finder, then the lenses. I couldn't shoot handheld without the Z-Finder (or similar), and I bought the kit to be able to do handheld. YMMV. :)
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