I bought the Cineroid during BVE in London because the Panasonic AF101 needs an external viewfinder to see critical focus. The Cineroid was good and has now found a new home because I now have one of the long awaited Zacuto EVF Pro external viewfinders. I have no affiliation with Zacuto and joined the long queue of prospective owners and paid full dollar, so anything you see here is my own honest opinion.
The first thing that strikes you when you hold it is the build quality far superior to the Cineroid I am sorry to report, it looks built to go into battle. One of the Cineroids achilles heals was the battery compartment, very hard to remove and the battery was quite tight, the Zacuto on the other hand is a breeze to slip on and off and uses a Canon LP-E6 which are very easy to order and get hold of.
The bottom line is the picture quality of the LCD and I have to take my hat off the Steve and the boys they have sourced a cracking LCD panel it’s the best, cleanest picture I have seen in a long time, it is so smooth you cannot even see the pixels. One of the main attractions was the full size HDIM sockets “in and loop out”, the Cineroid is spoiled using the mini HDMI connector, I went through 2 mini HDMI cables because of poor construction. Zacuto are thinking about an HD SDI version but this will be more expensive and exclude its use from the Sony FS100 and the Atomos Ninja.
The menu is very user friendly and just for old times sake I tried switching from colour to monochrome and I actually prefer the colour picture in other words you do not gain anything by switching it over to black and white.
If I gave gold stars for this product it would be 5 out of 5 but I can go better than that I will give the Zacuto EVF Pro the first ever coveted “Blue moon product of 2011 award”, I can not fault it in any way apart from the pouch that comes with the EVF, I emailed Steve as to my findings with the size of the pouch and told him that the EVF would not fit fully built and Steve told me “The pouch is only meant to hold the EVF alone not with the Z-Finder on it. Most people keep them in two pieces apart when packing or transporting. Lots of people keep the Z-finder around their neck.” I still think Zacuto have missed a trick with the pouch as I prefer not to dismantle my EVF the pouch would have come in very handy, but a small camera bag will do the trick.
Conclusion : What else can I say, this is such a deluxe product in every way, for once a team of cameramen have designed a product for the market that does what it says on the tin…robust, easy to use and an LCD screen to die for”. The Zacuto EVF comes in four flavours starting from $675 to $1000 for the Pro version reviewed here. The only one downside is the EVF only comes with a mini HDMI to HDMI cable and for AF101, F3 and FS100 owners this cable is redundant any chance of adding the same cable but with HDMI to HDMI, please.
If you own a Panasonic AF101, Sony F3 or a Sony FS100 this is the recommended viewfinder for critical focusing. “Not only is it designed by cameramen but recommended by independent cameramen as well”
The Blue moon award is for a product that is so well made and thought out. “Because they only make products as good as this once in a blue moon”
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