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Old November 11th, 2009, 08:34 AM   #1
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URGENT! Need a Z-Finder fast!!!

Hello all,
Im wondering if anyone would be kind enough to sell me their Z-Finder for a rather big commercial project Im about to embark on this monday November 16th. Twenty countries in 75 days!!! - joint project between National Geographic and HSBC Bank (J Walter Thompson Agency). We have sold the client on the 5D2 for those magical specialty shots, but I was counting on the Z-finder and am seriously worried about focusing without one.

Zactuo, B&H etc...are completely out. If you order one today it it will arrive Dec. 18th, so if anybody has one sitting around during that time and wouldnt mind getting a brand new latest version mid-December I would be forever grateful!

Worth a try, right?!

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Old November 11th, 2009, 09:37 AM   #2
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Hi Bryan,

Generally it's not a good idea to post a phone number to a public forum, and instead of waiting a year or two to get an email from you begging me to remove it, I'll probably just edit it out of your post today. Just post your email address in a non-harvest format like this: chris at dv info dot net. Also, I really don't like these types of queries going into the camera boards... the forum is strictly for technical and creative discussions only. Your post is a WTB (want to buy), and as such, it belongs in our Private Classifieds forum -- so if you see this thread disappear, it's because I moved it to Classifieds where it belongs, as a WTB.

However, I mainly want to point out that you have several viable alternatives to the Z-Finder. I'm not knocking the Z-Finder at all; Steve Weiss let me borrow one out in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago and I loved it. Have to say, it was really hard to give it back to him, especially since I knew of their severely back-ordered status. Then just last weekend I had an air show to shoot at Randolph AFB and I knew I needed a viewfinder, and I knew the Zacuto was impossible to get, so I bought a modified Hoodman from iDC:

iDC Photo Store - Specialty gear for the photographer - iDC Viewfinder

It's about half the price of the Z-Finder, it mounts to the camera securely in a much better way than using the Hoodman rubber bands, it has a new quick-release feature that I don't think is even posted on the iDC site just yet, and in my opinion it's worth its weight in gold.

Don't get me wrong, the Z-Finder is a great product -- I know because I've used it. Zacuto is an awesome company and they're one of this site's sponsors. However I really don't understand the sense of urgency surrounding the Z-Finder backorder status, such as indicated by the post above, when there's a readily available solution which does the job quite well. I'll post a write-up of the IDC-modified Hoodman loupe pretty soon, but in the wake of this tragic depletion of Z-Finders that has everyone biting their nails, I just wanted to point out that the Z-Finder isn't the only thing out there and if you need a viewfinder loupe for your 5D or 7D, you can have a very good one in your hands tomorrow by clicking on the link I've posted or by calling iDC on the phone. Hope this helps.
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Old November 11th, 2009, 10:58 AM   #3
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Hi Chris,

Sorry, I did not mean to offend by any means. Im fairly new to these boards and not completely up to speed on the etiquette. Regarding the Hoodman eyepiece, I am familiar with it and tried to find one, but could not find one of those in stock either. Therefore I just posted about the Z-finder.

Thanks for the advice and all the great info on this board.

Best!

Bryan
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Old November 11th, 2009, 11:05 AM   #4
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The iDC-modified Hoodman is indeed in stock and ready to ship today, per the link I posted above.
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Old November 11th, 2009, 11:07 AM   #5
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Chris,
Many thanks on the IDC recommendation! They had not come up on my google search for the Hoodman as a vendor. I just called them and they are shipping me one.

Thanks,

Bryan!
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Old November 11th, 2009, 05:37 PM   #6
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Guys, some feedback on this would be great.

As I think many of you know, I'm a stills guy with some audio chops who mostly shoots live music events. My primary focus is audio, with a close second with stills. I've been doing slideshows for a while now (stills on top of the audio), but have recently with the 5D2 toeing into doing multimedia mashups of stills, video, and audio using Vegas (e.g., lay down the killin' audio first, drop in and manually sync video next, then go ken burns with keyframes on the stills (using the stills as primary story sometimes, b-roll at other times, and as cover for shaky cam at other times).

Anyway, I tend to need to be highly mobile and somewhat discreet during the shows, so stabilization is usually out (although I do use a tripod sometimes, and a ball-jointed monopod with mini 3-legged platform at times), and there's no way I'm using a steadycam, etc. I'm just not that hardcore for video (yet, lol).

However, this eyepiece has really got me wondering. I mean, I don't think I'd ever drop the cash on the Zacuto, but $200 for this ain't that bad, plus it has the hole for sling straps (which I use) and can be easily removed for stills use.

My question is this...

I know this isn't really going to help stabilization THAT much, so trust me, I'm realistic about that, but it looks like being able to press the eyecup up to my eye and hold the camera in a more natural position could seriously improve hand-holding video even without a shoulder brace or other stabilization methods. I say this as someone who shoots stills successfully and regularly handholds 1/60 at 200mm in bad indoor light. Again, I know it's not going to be a steadycam or locked down shot by any means, but when I watch the video, it just seems like in that position, a position much more suited to how I'm used to holding the camera, and being able to press it up against my face as a virtual third point of contact (like I normally do with stills through the mirror box), might make for a (relative) material improvement in hand holding.

Is that true? Or am I off base here? I'm tempted to buy this puppy, but I wouldn't want to waste $200 if it doesn't improve that, and I'm definitely not heading toward some huge video-based rig that would otherwise require an eyecup. Do you think it might be worth it for me?
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Old November 11th, 2009, 06:02 PM   #7
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Chris, do you find that 1:1 ratio is as easy to focus compared to 3X magnification? better or worse?
Thanks.
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Old November 11th, 2009, 07:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Binder View Post
Guys, some feedback on this would be great.

Is that true? Or am I off base here? I'm tempted to buy this puppy, but I wouldn't want to waste $200 if it doesn't improve that, and I'm definitely not heading toward some huge video-based rig that would otherwise require an eyecup. Do you think it might be worth it for me?
Hi Bill,

I have had a Zacuto finder for several months. I think you would find any such finder would improve your hand held video shooting on the 5D MkII.

cheers

Morton
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Old November 12th, 2009, 09:12 AM   #9
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Bill -- Sorry I can't really answer your question; the only way I'll shoot video using one of these cameras is from a tripod. I don't shoot video with a D-SLR handheld, and when I shoot photos handheld, I don't use LiveView. Hopefully you'll find Morton's input above to be useful.

Khoi -- I don't have as much experience with the Z-Finder is I do with the Hoodman, but I have not had any issues at all with focus through the Hoodman loupe. I wear glasses to correct astigmatism and I'm old enough now that presbyopia is starting to affect me, so I shoot with my glasses on. Thankfully there's enough room in the diopter range of the Hoodman loupe to let me do that.
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Old November 12th, 2009, 02:35 PM   #10
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when I shoot photos handheld, I don't use LiveView.
Thanks for the reply, and as for the above quote, I couldn't agree more. I mean liveview is great for stills on a tripod, basically an easy-to-use mirror lockup with zoomed-in manual focusing ability. But for handheld, no freakin' way. I almost laughed out loud and spit out my drink when the guy in the iDC video suggested it could be used like that. What I did like was the easy on/off and the hole for a sling strap though, heh...
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Old November 12th, 2009, 04:44 PM   #11
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Bryan if you want to PM me I have a hoodman going spare with an eyecuff fitted. It is glued on to a sunshade frame which fits the 5D2.

Cheers

Avey
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Old November 12th, 2009, 06:27 PM   #12
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Well, I ordered the Hoodman with the IDC follow focus, coming tomorrow. Then later Zacuto called and said they received a demo Z-finder they could send me. So, I'll be comparing both tomorrow. Ill let you know what I prefer.

As a side note, I've been testing the 5d handheld and Im not really impressed. The picture is really jittery with any type of movement to speak of. Now that I think back on all those beautiful shots I've seen with it, such as in Reverie, they're all mostly locked off shots with little movement.

I went with the 24-105 IS (image stabilizer) lens thinking it would be good for smoothing handheld stuff, and it does work great for that. One problem Im finding with that is the IS is noisy audio-wise. My shockmounted Sennheiser ME 64 picks it up no matter where I mount it. I've got the juicedlink/magic lantern setup which is great. Ill be running a wireless mic on the other channel. That sound is very clean and quiet. Im now thinking tripod only shots since my audio is not really acceptable with the image stabilizer on. Im using this as a second camera setup for specialty shots and in situations where my PDW700 will be too big and obtrusive.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 01:48 PM   #13
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For the record, I agree on hand holding, it's near impossible with this camera. Locked off is WAY preferred of course. I've been having some success with the Manfrotto monopod that has three mini fold out legs at the bottom that form a little platform with a ball head in it (yes, a ball head in the base of the monopod). Anyway, with that, I can get what I'd describe as kind of hand-held looking shots (think docu-style, The Office, etc.) that are much more usable than true hand held. Beyond that, I only hand hold at the very wide end, 35mm and below, where it can work at times. But again, video is an afterthought for me, not my primary concern, so I have different needs than most of you, just sharing some things I've been doing...
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Old November 14th, 2009, 11:59 PM   #14
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I've found a monopod is essential for handheld. I'm using induro's smallest carbon fiber monopod, it weighs just over a pound with a simple tilt head on it. Collapsed and flipped up horizontal it works as a shoulder mount, halfway extended it can either be braced against your thigh or simply hung below the camera for stability, and of course you can always fully extend it and use it as a monopod - in any case it makes for a huge improvement in stability. Simply attaching it and holding it instead of the camera makes your shots noticeably more stable as it shifts the pivot point a few inches off the lens axis.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 01:12 AM   #15
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I'm using induro's smallest carbon fiber monopod, it weighs just over a pound with a simple tilt head on it.
That's funny; I'm using Induro's largest carbon fiber monopod. Based on your recommendation I guess now I'll have to check out their smallest.
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