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In an increasingly crowded market, Zacuto is well known as a designer and manufacturer of video-camera accessories. Since the early days of the HDSLR revolution, they’ve made a name for themselves with a comprehensive range of products that transforms cameras designed for still photography into a more video-friendly form factor. Today, they’re addressing similar challenges with a line of accessories designed for the rather unconventional Canon EOS C300 and C500 cameras.
Zacuto has recently announced a new Z-Finder and two different types of top handles—the Helmet ColdShoe Handle Kit and the Helmet Tapped Handle Kit—designed specifically for the Canon C300 and C500. These new products will join Zacuto’s existing line of C300/500 accessories, which already includes the Studio Baseplate, the Gorilla Baseplate, the Grip Relocator, the ENG Grip Relocator, and a variety of rig bundles. The new Z-Finder and handles are also accompanied by a new mounting system, which we will explore in greater detail below.
One of the nice things about the Canon EOS C300 and C500 is that these cameras include a modular monitor unit, which can either be mounted on the OEM top handle or can be repositioned via third-party accessories. Zacuto’s Mounting Kit for the C300/500 Z-Finder is one such option. This mounting kit allows users to position the C300/500 monitor unit beside the camera, in an optimal position for shoulder-mounted operation. The mounting kit utilizes Z-Rail and 15mm rod concepts to enable forward and backward, side-to-side, and tilt adjustments, although users should bear in mind that for optimal flexibility, they may need to purchase Canon’s monitor extension cables.
The mounting kit can be purchase separately or bundled with the new Z-Finder. Zacuto’s C300/C500 Z-Finder is an optical viewfinder, specially designed to attach to the C300/500’s modular monitor unit. The Z-Finder includes four interchangeable diopters and a built-in diopter adjustment wheel, so users can focus the Z-Finder to accommodate their vision. These anti-fog, glass diopters magnify the LCD screen 1.8x, and an integrated aluminum sun mask blocks extraneous light that might otherwise cause screen glare.
The Z-Finder attaches with a padded foam sleeve that slides over Canon’s LCD screen and is secured with the built-in bar clamp. This design makes the Z-Finder remarkably easy to attach and remove, which is a tremendous time saver for those who often find themselves swapping back and forth between “monitor mode” and “EVF mode.”
Perhaps equally as important, the Z-Finder’s large eyecup provides an extra point of contact to help you steady the camera during handheld or shoulder-mounted operation. In the process of designing this system, Zacuto realized that the hinge on Canon’s LCD screen was not rigid enough to allow users to press their eye socket close enough to the eyecup. Of course, the Z-Finder mounting kit includes a “monitor lock clip” that remedies the issue.
The Canon C300 and C500 both feature a modular top handle, which can be mounted on the camera via the built-in cold shoe. Zacuto’s Helmet ColdShoe Handle Kit and Helmet Tapped Handle Kit are designed to replace this whole setup with a more robust and versatile system. The titular “Helmet” is a mini cage, which mounts on top of the camera at three points for an exceptionally solid connection. The helmet provides several ¼"-20 and ⅜"-16 mounting holes for attaching a variety of accessories, like the 3" Z-Rail that is included with both kits.
The kits also include a quick-release top handle, which mounts on the Helmet via the included Z-Rail. The two different handles are the key distinction between the two kits. The QR ColdShoe Handle features a hand-tooled maple grip and two cold-shoe mounting points (one vertical and one horizontal). The great thing about Zacuto’s “cold shoes” is that the design is really more of a clamp than a proper cold shoe. Of course, they’re still compatible with traditional shoe-mount accessories. They simply provide a more secure connection.
Like the QR Coldshoe Handle, the QR Tapped Handle also features a maple grip but—instead of cold shoes—it features one vertical and one horizontal ⅜"-16 threaded holes. The quick-release function offers a decided advantage over the original Canon handle. These handles can also be purchased separately and they are compatible with any Zacuto Z-Rail, the Zacuto Half Cage, and NATO, SWAT, RED, PICATINNY, and Wooden Camera dovetail rails. In case you are interested in using these handles with a third-party system, you should also note that they can be rotated to accommodate different rail orientations.
Altogether, Zacuto’s Canon C300 and C500 accessories provide these cameras with the flexibility and traditional form factor that professional video camera operators demand. For more information on these and other Zacuto products, please visit the B&H SuperStore in New York City, call us at 1-800-606-6969 or contact our experts online via Live Chat.