Zacuto EVF Review

EVFflip

 

EVF History & Introduction

The HDSLR revolution changed the way we shoot video forever which lead to a huge demand for camera support. We’ve seen many inventions in the past two years but a decent EVF for the Canon 5D MkII and 7D cameras has yet to exist until now.  A few companies announced rumors claiming they have EVF’s in production but only a few have actually put out a product on the market. That’d be Cineroid EVF ($750), Zacuto EVF ($650-$1k), and SmallHD DP4 EVF ($750).

I’ve been fortunate enough to test out the Zacuto EVF Flip-Pro Prototype on a 25-Day feature (R1 MX) and a 3-Day PSA shoot (5D/7D). I really enjoyed testing it in two very different applications. The feature being very harsh and demanding on build quality and the PSA was quick-n-short relying on ease of use. I put this little bad boy through the ultimate test.

Hardware

The front face is the LCD screen which is very elegant and sharp. I much prefer this screen over some of Marshall’s monitors and Canon’s Camera LCD.

EVFchart2

There are two models a Snap-On ($640) and a Flip-Up ($740). Which one do I buy? Well depends, I like the Flip-Up it’s a very handy and worth the $100 in my opinion. If you’re on a budget crunch or don’t care for EVF mode then go the Snap-On route. Just be ready to have a place to put your Z finder when you don’t need it (Some people like the lanyard but I can’t stand them, if you have a belt then you can use the CineBag, again personal preference). On the back end we have the LP-E6 Battery Slot for quick access. I was very skeptical about all the new monitors supporting LP-E6 batteries, the more and more I used them, slowly I began to love it. Over the course of a 12hr period if I powered down the EVF in-between takes I could get through a days worth of shooting on one Canon Brand battery. Sometimes if I left it on all day then I would get 10hrs per battery, with 3rd party batteries I would get 4-8hrs depending on manufacture, I tried 3 brands.

Features

All the first generation Monitors that were designed for DSLR use only one HDMI port, this caused all sorts of problems! Dealing with converter boxes, HDMI Splitters, having to power the darn things, a true headache for producers and camera department. So now that we learned the hard way, everything coming out this year has HDMI Loop thank god. For all the cameras that aren’t DSLR they still offer an HDMI port so you end up keeping your HD-SDI free for more important things. Recently Zacuto put out an update that allows the option to monitor sound, this is great if you’re a one man army. Checking audio levels and operating at the same time couldn’t be any easier.

Pros

  • Available NOW
  • Made in USA
  • HDMI-Loop
  • LP-E6 Battery Compatible (10Hrs w/Canon Brand Battery)
  • False Colors & 1:1 Ratio
  • Custom Settings for any Camera

Cons

  • Z-Finder tends to fall off (Solution: I get 1/4” Strip of Gaffer tape and run it along the border of the Frame and Z-Finder)
  • No lock for EVF when in Flip Mode (Pic Above)
  • Only 1 Mounting Point
  • No Red One MX Camera Setting
  • Takes about 15-30 Min to Color Calibrate the Monitor

Wrap-Up

Being one of the first and few EVF out there, Zacuto seems to meet every demand.  Being smaller than the DP4 it’s more logical for use in EVF mode when attaching it to a shoulder rig, the screen is still big enough to fit the needs when using no eye loop (which reminds me of the LCD I grew up with on my Canon GL1). The HDMI-Loop is key and the fact that I can use one battery for a full 12hr shoot makes all the difference. It’s unfortunate that you have to either own a Z-Finder or buy one (You should own one if you don’t already). The Menu and UI is very respectable, it’s good to go straight outta the box and if you want to dig deep for functions there’s plenty of depth to work with. Typically I use Flip-Mode 60% of the time and 40% in EVF; everyone has their preference not to mention every shoot will determine how it’s used. I consider it more of a hybrid since you can decide between two modes and its more flexible when it comes to run-n-gun shooting style. This is a great product and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who needs an EVF/Monitor. You can wait for other brands to release their version but I wouldn’t hold my breathe for too long, you might end up choking.

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