The Zacuto Z-Finder is an auxiliary optical viewfinder that is specially designed to use with an HDSLR, or for photographing in live view mode on your DSLR. These viewfinders encompass the LCD monitor on the rear of your camera, allowing you a clear, shaded view of your screen while working. In addition to providing a tunneled view of your monitor, they also provide an additional point of contact for helping to steady your camera as you work. Zacuto has recently released new mounting plates for their Z-Finder system that are compatible with 3.2” LCD monitors, which are found on certain newer DSLRs such as the Nikon D4 and D800, as well as the Canon EOS 1D X and 5D Mark III.
The Z-Finder is essentially a specially designed loupe for your DSLR, providing you with a clear, magnified view of your screen. Since the mirror must remain up while the camera is set to live view mode, your LCD becomes the only way to view your subject matter. One of the main drawbacks of working with an LCD is the amount of light reflection to which it is susceptible; the Z-Finder counters this by providing an enclosed viewing space for use in any lighting situation. The Z-Finder features a soft eye cup to help block extraneous light, a 40mm diameter lens for viewing and an anti-fog shield to reduce the effects of condensation when changing climates or working for long periods of time. Additionally, a diopter is integrated into the design of the finder for fine focusing, depending on your eyesight. The Z-Finder is available in two magnifications: 2.5x or 3.0x. The 2.5x finder has an effective diopter range of -4.75 and up, whereas the 3.0x version has a diopter range of -2.75 and up. For farsighted users, there are three extender frames included with the Z-Finder for placing additional distance between the viewfinder and the LCD, to help gain sharper focus when peering through reading glasses.
The mounting frames are what enable the Z-Finder to be attached to your camera, and these are what have been updated in order to allow proper use of the viewfinder on your 3.2” LCD. There are two distinct methods with which to attach the finder to your camera; one involves an adhesive mounting system, while the other requires more components and connects to the Gorilla Plate on the underside of your camera.
The Z-Finder 3.2” Mounting Frame is included with Z-Finders and is attached to your camera via the included Gorilla Plate. This system does not require any adhesives and is fully compatible with small-body DSLRs featuring a 3.2” LCD, such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Nikon D800. The aluminum construction of this mounting frame gives it rigidity and allows for a solid mounting surface for the Z-Finder. This mounting frame is attached to the Gorilla Plate by two thumb screws on the bottom of the frame, which also aids in proper placement, depending on the make of your camera. There is a soft rubber coating on the side facing the camera to prevent scratching of the camera’s screen, as well as providing a light-proof connection point. The Z-Finder itself attaches to the plate by a secure snap-on method, making it easy to switch between working with or without the viewfinder.
|Z-Finder Screw Mounting Frame||Z-Finder Adhesive Mounting Frame|
Another option for attaching your Z-Finder to a camera is with the Adhesive Mounting Frame for 3.2” LCDs. As the name suggests, this frame attaches to the camera through the use of a pre-glued adhesive located on the camera-facing side of the plate. The benefit of this system compared to the traditional mounting frame is that it is feasible to attach these plates to several different cameras for more efficient switching between cameras with your Z-Finder. Rather than having to unscrew the mounting frame and Gorilla Plate from camera to camera, these plates allow more instantaneous swapping when working with multiple cameras at the same time. This specific frame is compatible with 3.2” LCDs. There is also a 3.0” version; both versions accept the same Z-Finder but the 3.2” version requires the use of the included extender frame for proper connection.
The Z-Finder is a standout system in regard to overall quality and versatility. The principle of the viewfinder is simple, yet executed very well with ample room to accommodate different user’s preferences and needs. The update to include 3.2” LCDs further expands this system’s capabilities, and the adaptability of the viewfinder allows for use of one Z-Finder across multiple platforms.