Sabyasachi Patra

LCDVF Viewfinder for Filming

LCDVF Viewfinder for Filming using DSLRSs

 

Filming with a DSLR presents its own challenges. One of them being the small LCD at the back which doesn’t help in focusing. With the AF in the DSLRs while filming being pretty rudimentary, it is better to use manual focus.

After struggling in a couple of shoots, I bought the LCDVF viewfinder. I had corresponded with Zacuto to get their new viewfinder, but that was not in stock when my friend from US was coming to India. So I ordered the LCDVF from UK.

The LCDVF is a fairly simple device. You need to attach a metal mounting frame to the back of the LCD. This metal frame has got glue preapplied and you need to apply some pressure for a couple of hours to get the frame properly attached. Due to its magnetic action the LCDVF gets attached to this frame. When I opened the box, I found that there were two mounting frames. There was a protective neoprene pouch. Once it fell off from my safari vehicle and then later I found it. I just had to wash it and it was as good as new.

They have also provided a lanyard. I hang it from my neck and keep it on the top pocket of my Domke vest. The red ring gives it the Canon L series like exclusive look. the eye cup is smooth and fine.

 

Apart from the help in focusing, the LCDVF also helps in handholding. I use a LCDVF in my Canon EOS 1D Mark IV for filming. It helps in giving me an extra point of contact and steadies the footage while handholding. Ofcourse, the footage is much better when I use the new generation IS of the 70-200 f2.8 L IS II USM lens.

I have used the LCDVF in the heat, dust, rain and storm in India. Recently, I was filming in Sundarbans, the worlds largest mangrove delta and was filming in a storm. The weather sealing of the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV and my EF 70-200 f2.8 L IS II USM lens gave me no problems. So was the LCDVF.

Cons:

It doesn’t have a dioptre adjustment. I wear spectacles.

Despite the LCDVF, I still have a challenge as it shows the pixels on the screen. Focusing still is not that easy when I am filming a wide angle scene. I guess I need a high quality EVF.

With the new cameras having bigger screens, now my LCDVF cannot be used when I upgrade. Not sure what to do with it. I guess it will have to go to a dustbin.

When I am using my tripod I feel having an EVF will be better. At times when my I am using a tripod and recording is on, and I feel I need to attach the LCDVF, I do it slowly, but due to the magnetic pull it attaches with a kind of snap and there is a vibration. The footage momentarily becomes unusable and that needs to be edited.

I was not very keen on sticking a frame to my Mark IV. However, I went ahead and did it. The challenge that I face now is while shooting still shots. my face is in touch with the LCD and due to my oily skin the LCD is smudged. Cleaning now becomes a small issue due to the frame, however, it is more of an irritation than a major problem.

Overall, this has helped me a lot. This has helped me in handholding my barebones Mark IV with a lens and has helped me in getting some good footage for my film “A Call in the Rainforest”. The preview can be found here:

The LCDVF can be found in their site: http://www.kinotehnik.com/products/lcdvf/overview

Sabyasachi Patra

Sabyasachi is an award winning DoP/Cinematographer, passionate wildlife filmmaker and photographer. He has been striving to make his films and photographs full of life and emotion and write articles to educate and evangelise the need for conserving the last tracts of vanishing wilderness and wildlife in our country. He hopes that his wildlife films, photographs and writings force people to pause, look, ponder and ultimately take action.
His documentary film ‘A Call in the Rainforest’ has been screened at various national and international film festivals.

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