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Old February 25th, 2012, 07:14 PM   #1
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AC-130 needs a Viewfinder!!

Hi Guys

Shot a wedding on both AC-130's yesterday and I definately think that an essential asset would be a loupe viewfinder over the LCD screen.

It seems that Hoodman's EX PRO kit should fit any 4" LCD and it would certainly make using the cam up on your shoulder a lot easier...even on the tripod I found that the LCD just wasn't sharp enough for my old weary eyes and the Hoodman EVF Kit looks pretty much perfect.

Anyone else have something like the Hoodman on an HVX or HMC150 that they can say really works well??? The DSLR Loupes only fit a 3" screen so I think the EX kit has an extra extender.....

I need to know what would be the best kit to order???

Chris
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Old February 25th, 2012, 08:35 PM   #2
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Re: AC-130 needs a Viewfinder!!

Why not use the VF? It's actually higher resolution than the LCD
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Old February 25th, 2012, 09:33 PM   #3
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Re: AC-130 needs a Viewfinder!!

Hi Les

Very inconvenient and way too far back !! Yes it's much nicer res but really badly positioned. You have the whole weight of the camera extending from your eye..sorta domestic camcorder style and at 5lbs or more it's tough to handhold!!

My 130's are on aluminium rails with a shoulder mount pad and handles at the front but the EVF sits near my ear so at the moment I'm using the LCD with a foam board constructed shade hood and a little fresnel lens on the top but it's not ideal. I need something like the Sony EX-3 has (they have an EVF just like the Panny HMC80 with the LCD and a loupe over it.

Now, I have also just found the Hoodman EVF that is made for the Canon XF305 and the blurb says "suitable for all 4" LCD's" The 130 has a 4" LCD ....!!! Anybody bought one of these units???

It seems to almost be a copy of the HMC80 flip up loupe with a decent eyecup too and straps over the LCD with velcro .... I think that might be the best option ???? Anyone know if they have diopter adjustment too???? So far I have only found a suitable model from Hoodman.

Any feedback would be appreciated!!
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Old February 25th, 2012, 09:40 PM   #4
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Re: AC-130 needs a Viewfinder!!

Be interested to know if this fits as well. Does the Hoodman have any magnification?
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Old February 25th, 2012, 09:56 PM   #5
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Re: AC-130 needs a Viewfinder!!

Chris,
Just a thought but perhaps a trip to CenturyOptics dot com and check to see if they have a magnifer. That's what I use on my trusty 170(s) when on a tripod or the multirig (so I guess I use it all the time then lol). It's not a VF type setup but it magnifys the LCD really well and works great for focusing.
Just thinking out loud which is hard for me to do at this time of night! ;-)

Sounds like you really like the 130s.
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Old February 25th, 2012, 10:00 PM   #6
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Re: AC-130 needs a Viewfinder!!

Hi Nate
If you go to the Hoodman site and look for the EX Pro Kit the demo video (all 25 seconds of it) Shows the guy using it on not an EX1 but on a panasonic HPX202 and it looks pretty much perfect!!

I'm still trying to determine whether one needs to buy the EX1 kit as that does say that you have +-3 diopter adjustment (I need that adjustment!!!) but nothing is mentioned on the cheaper X305 EVF.

If it does have diopter adjustment (I think you turn the knob under the eyecup to adjust focus) then I want one or two ... without focus adjust I would think it would be useless unless you have 20/20 vision!!!

I can adjust my rig to suit but I think it would be perfect and you have the same sort of setup as the Sony EX3 ...only thing is you can't tilt the loupe upwards as it's strapped over the LCD.

Anyone else used one on a Panny camera ??? Is the EX Pro kit the better one to buy???

Chris
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Old February 25th, 2012, 10:03 PM   #7
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Re: AC-130 needs a Viewfinder!!

Hi Don

AWESOME cameras!! Just have to get used to switching in ND's outdoors!!! The wedding went very well but I think a loupe is going to be an essential!!

I'll look at Century as well!!

Chris
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Old February 25th, 2012, 10:09 PM   #8
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Re: AC-130 needs a Viewfinder!!

Yeah, even on the good old 170s I watch the LCD for the ND sign to flash in it when I go outside. I never forget but sometime I only set to 1 instead of 2 or 2 instead of 1. Oh well.

Hey maybe stronger glasses would do it.

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Old February 26th, 2012, 12:20 AM   #9
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Re: AC-130 needs a Viewfinder!!

Hi Don

Wow! Century Optics are pretty pricey!! The idea is to get away from glasses..I just need them for fine print close up and everything looks weird if I use them further than a foot away!!

I think the loupe is going to be a toss up between the Hoodman X305 model OR the EX1 Kit....both look the same to me so I'll give the dealer a quick call here tomorrow (it will be Monday here by then) and just confirm the difference and see whether to order one or the other!

Sorry I made an error guys ..the camera in the Hoodman demo clip is an HVX200 so that's pretty much the same body (size wise) as the 130 and 160 so it should fit OK.

Provide the kits actually do have diopter adjustment I will order a couple and let everyone know how they work out on the 130 LCD. If they do work (and it looks like they should) it will make the 130 a lot more adaptable on a rig (I can, of course, adjust the rig if need be but judging from my rigs my eye is directly in front of the LCD and about right for distance but the shoulder pad MAY need to come forward just a bit)

Chris
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Old February 26th, 2012, 01:56 AM   #10
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Re: AC-130 needs a Viewfinder!!

A bit of luck here now!!

It happens that although being called the most isolated city in the world (we were the ones that put on our lights for John Glenn on his maiden space voyage!!) a local camera dealer actually has the Ex1 Pro Hoodman in stock!!

I have a Realty shoot in the morning so after I have done that I'll go and pay them a visit (I'll also have a camera with me!) and go check out this loupe and hopefully can convince the dealer to let me put in on the LCD so I can evaluate it.

Nate?? I should have an answer for you before you climb into bed on Sunday night!! Magnification is stated as 3.0X Which should be great.

If I like it I'll buy two..one for each camera!!

Chris
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Old February 26th, 2012, 06:39 AM   #11
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Re: AC-130 needs a Viewfinder!!

@Chris ... ahhh yes I was thinking sticks and the VF ... totally understand the handheld issue. I removed the VF from my EX1R all together.

I had a Hoodman on the EX1R. It has a diopter. What I didn't like about the Hoodman or any other LCD approach is that the LCD isn't really designed to hold the weight and accommodate the pressure. In the case of the EX1R, the LCD actually flexes outward a little. I found the Hoodman slipping left to right to the point it covered the screen at times or slipped off the edge at others. YMMV

But in the end, the Handycam designs all have the problem of a lack of proper ergonomics and there's little choice but to frankenstein the rig. I think this is why the EX3, H1 and JVC semi shoulder mount cameras are popular.
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Old February 26th, 2012, 06:55 AM   #12
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Re: AC-130 needs a Viewfinder!!

Thanks Les

Yes, the mounting issue does present a problem of course...the EX3 does it the same way as the Panny HMC80 so the LCD is in a proper housing and the loupe flips up if you need it to. I have actually seen quite a few EX1's with the EVF physically blanked off !!

I'll look at the sliding issue...a squirt from my hot glue gun would keep the loupe in place all right but that's a little drastic! Maybe some soft "squishy" PVC on the bottom might hold it better??

The weight is always an issue considering the fact that the LCD isn't supposed to hold any extra attachments but I have also looked at the fact that there is 3 mount holes (2 x 1/4" and 1 x 3/8") in the middle of the AC-130 handle which might lend themselves nicely to some sort of extra support from the handle and down to the actual fitting to take some load off the LCD hinge. Hmmm maybe a little arm extending out from the handle so it hovers over the Hoodman near the eyepiece and a spring or lever arrangement between the arm and hoodman to allow you to tilt if you want to... Using it on a rig you should be able to have the support arm fixed as a support (or maybe adjustable on a shaft with a thumb screw but it's certainly worth looking at so the LCD hinges are not over stressed!!

Nice to know it has diopter adjustment otherwise you have to either add or subtract from the length to get the LCD image sharp.

Your input is much appreciated

Chris
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Old February 26th, 2012, 07:08 AM   #13
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Re: AC-130 needs a Viewfinder!!

I think you'll find the body position of the LCD on the Ac-130 puts the loupe in a poor position relative to COG. The EX1 and XF300 LCD is mounted on the handle near the mics. On the AC-130, it's on the body (lower and further back). When you add the depth of the loupe, you've got quite a bit of camera weight out in front and raised another few inches higher than those other cameras.
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Old February 26th, 2012, 09:12 AM   #14
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Re: AC-130 needs a Viewfinder!!

Thanks Les
I have my cams on a shoulder mount rig and the LCD is actually at eye level now and just around the right distance from my eye too...if the LCD was positioned the same as the EX1 it would be way too high for me (or the Hoodman would have to be tilted down a lot) and definately too far away...I have support handles on the rig (it's all my own design so anything can be changed!!) and also I have migrated my waist belt and ENG spring loaded rod that I used on the HMC80 to take the front weight off to these cameras too. I have the cameras on dual rails and on a shoulder pad so they sit pretty darn high...it I had an EX1 style LCD I would have made the rig sorta like a rifle stock so it fits into my shoulder rather than on it like the Ex3 does.

I'll post pics if this guy has the hoodmans in stock

Chris
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Old February 26th, 2012, 10:21 PM   #15
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Re: AC-130 needs a Viewfinder!!

Hi All

I have two Hoodman EX1 Pro kits in my hot little hands now...We tried them out in the store and they should be absolutely perfect.

I'll post some pics later as I have a shoot to do but initial "in-store" tests looked pretty encouraging!!

I will need to move my rig shoulder pad closer to the cam by maybe 2 or 3" but that's about all ..the eyepiece fits nicely and fall into a natural position where you can use it.

More stuff later when I return!

Chris
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