Posted on

Zacuto Z-Finder Pro 2.5x in the field

If not using an on-board monitor for your HD-SLR camera, the Zacuto Z-Finder Pro 2.5x (Z-FIND-PRO2) is essential for Live View shooting with the Canon 7D and 5D Mark II. Zacuto has constantly improved their viewfinders based on feedback from users. It’s good to see that they are implementing features that professional shooters have craved since the initial version of the finder. Many would say to simply use the magnification button on the camera when setting-up your shot for focus, but if you shoot professionally (be it documentary, commercial, corp, etc.) you are dealing with moving subjects / objects, etc., so this doesn’t work accurately. Having a proper viewfinder and being able to focus with magnification (without taking your eyes off the frame) is a huge asset. Personally, I found the 3x version of the viewfinder to be too much magnification, and it was a distraction when shooting. Most shooters I have worked with and talked to seem to agree that the 2.5x is the perfect solution for handheld and rig shooting when or if an LCD is not viable. First thing I noticed about the Z-Finder Pro 2.5x over the V2 of the finder was the mounting system. The Gorilla Plate with DSLR mounting frame is very adjustable and can be easily mounted to a Canon 7D or 5DMKII without worry of it popping off or using bands like the older Z-Finder. Using the 2.5X on the 5D required a bit of tweaking to the frame in order to position it but once centered, it was secure. Using the 2.5x on the 7D seemed to have the best fit with minimal adjustment needed to center the finder over the LCD. The second major improvement I noticed is that the new Pro finder did not fog up when used. This is a huge improvement, so much to the point that Zacuto now has an anti-fog upgrade kit for the Z-Finder V2. This upgrade is $22 and worth every penny if you have the older finder. The Gorilla Plate comes with the 2.5x and the 3x. It has several taped 1/4 20 holes in the bottom, but I suggest getting the plate adapter (Z-GRP-ADPT) for $17.50. This adapter will center your tripod mounting hole which will keep your pan axis point accurate. For under $400 the Z-Finder 2.5x is a great deal. Unlike monitors, you do not have to deal with power, cables, conversions (HDMI to HDSDI) etc. You also do not have glare to contend with or other reflections on the monitor. The Z-Finder will block out all extraneous light sources so you can see your frame accurately. This is a must for doc filmmakers (where power and excess equipment can be an issue) who plan on using the 7D or 5DMKII camera in the field. For the 5DMKII this will be even more of a must as monitoring the HDMI signal is only standard definition and getting critical focus is not happening with an on-board monitor. This is where the Z-Finder 2.5x saves the shot. You can achieve focus which, for this full-frame camera, is critical especially when using long lenses and wide open apertures. Mike Sutton, Senior Account Manager