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Zacuto Z-Finder Jr. First Impressions

Posted on 18 June, 2015  in Reviews

I believe I’ve got one of the first Zacuto Z-Finder Jr.‘s in the UK from Creative Video. Now, first and foremost, I’ll be doing a proper video real-world-review of this new Z-Finder soon, but I just wanted to share my initial thoughts with you on why I got it.

I had a shoot coming up at the weekend and was in need of a viewfinder. It was a road bike event (or “sportive”). From previous shoots, I knew that just using the DSLR’s screen was not going to cut it (see the reflection of my face in it in the photo below).

The reason for the reflection is obvious. The sun hits the screen and bounces off. A viewfinder was needed, and I went on the hunt for a suitable product. I know there’s the Hoodman HoodLoupe and the LCDVF, but they each come with their downsides (the HoodLoupe attaches with straps around the body – not strong enough for outdoor run and gun, and the LCDVF comes with a magnetic bond – and cameras and magnets scare me!).

That left Zacuto and their Z-Finder. Now, the old Z-Finder (the V2) didn’t sit well with me due to the on-body adhesion, but when I heard about the new range of Z-Finders, I had found my loupe.

Little real-world problem here though. It was Wednesday and I needed to get the loupe before the weekend. Luckily, Creative Video had the Z-Finder in stock, but only the Jr., Zacuto’s basic loupe. I simply couldn’t wait for the pro versions of the Z-Finder. I was desperate, I didn’t want another can’t-manage-to-see-what-I’m-focussing-on moment. I ordered and it arrived just before the weekend’s shoot.

One immediate thing to mention about the Zacuto Z-Finder Jr. if you’re considering a purchase, is the mounting bracket that connects the loupe to the camera body. It sucks, big style. Reading the instructions (which were sent to me via Twitter by Mandy @ Zacuto – thanks Mandy!), it shows you how to attach the mounting bracket to the camera and then how to fit the Z-Finder Jr. No matter how much I adjusted, tightened and fiddled, I couldn’t find a way of securing the Z-Finder for prolonged periods of use. I’d bring the viewfinder up to my eye and see that it was wonky. I do wonder if using the mounting bracket actually damages the screen (the rubber seal has warped quite a bit).

The solution? A Gorilla mounting frame and baseplate. Not available in the UK yet, but get them as soon as they are available. That should give you a rock-solid fit without resorting to the adhesive.

Also, being my first loupe, I wasn’t aware of how problematic fogging-up of the lens can be. For that reason, I’d probably get one of the Pro versions (which have an anti-fog coating on the lens) – which are now in stock in the UK – hurrah!

I’ll be doing a video review of the Zacuto Jr. in a few weeks time, once I’ve had a decent amount of use of it to warrant a proper review – that’s only fair -right?

Disclaimer: Not that it matters, but this is my own personal Z-Finder Jr. bought with my own money and this article consists of my own opinion and experiences – this isn’t endorsed by Zacuto in anyway.

Have you got a Z-Finder Jr.? How are you getting on with it?