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Director's Viewfinder - Need Advice


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#1 Matthew Jankes

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 01:29 AM

Hi all,

I want to buy a director's viewfinder, but sadly I live in South Africa and there is no chance of testing any product before I buy it - will have to order online and have it shipped.

I've been reading up on them, hearing vastly different accounts of all the options. I have roughly $300 to spend, what is a decent option for that amount?

I see the Cavasion finders are the cheapest, but i'm reading horror stories about how inaccurate they really are, like the 20mm setting is actually closer to a 30mm. The Mark versions seem great, but sadly out of my price range.

Can anyone gimme some tips as to the best brands, etc. I really need a fast tool to communicate with my DP regarding lens choices, framing and angle; plus I would like the chance to explore without stepping on the camera crews toes and asking them for the camera all the time. I'd also like it for pre-prod, so an adapter finder doesn't really suit my needs. I work on a variety of formatts, s16mm, 35mm, HDV, HD and now the Red One. I would also like to get one where I can adjust the aspect ratio, although if it comes down to it that is one option I can live without.

Any help would be much appreciated,

Thanks
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#2 Mike Washlesky

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 10:12 AM

Hi all,

I want to buy a director's viewfinder, but sadly I live in South Africa and there is no chance of testing any product before I buy it - will have to order online and have it shipped.

I've been reading up on them, hearing vastly different accounts of all the options. I have roughly $300 to spend, what is a decent option for that amount?

I see the Cavasion finders are the cheapest, but i'm reading horror stories about how inaccurate they really are, like the 20mm setting is actually closer to a 30mm. The Mark versions seem great, but sadly out of my price range.

Can anyone gimme some tips as to the best brands, etc. I really need a fast tool to communicate with my DP regarding lens choices, framing and angle; plus I would like the chance to explore without stepping on the camera crews toes and asking them for the camera all the time. I'd also like it for pre-prod, so an adapter finder doesn't really suit my needs. I work on a variety of formatts, s16mm, 35mm, HDV, HD and now the Red One. I would also like to get one where I can adjust the aspect ratio, although if it comes down to it that is one option I can live without.

Any help would be much appreciated,

Thanks


I can tell which one NOT to buy. The Birns & Sawyer Mini is terrible. I purchased it through the ASC a fwe years ago and the curtains for for aspect ratios fell into the lens housing. I returned it, got another one, and whadya know, same thing happened to the new one. Pure crap. It seems the ASC is now selling the Cavasion viewfinders like you mention. Not sure if they switched because of the poor quality of B&S, but none the less, stay away.
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#3 Ryan McGregor

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 11:59 AM

I own the Cavision Micro finder and I have found it to be pretty accurate for Super 16mm, 1/2" and 1/3" video as well as some 35mm. I got it because it was the best deal, $200US from B&H (link below), but have had absolutely no complaints with it. Only thing might be that the viewing area is a lot smaller than say a Mark V, but that's the price difference. Every director I have worked with loves the finder immediately.

http://www.bhphotovi..._.html#features
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#4 Matthew Jankes

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 03:15 AM

I can tell which one NOT to buy. The Birns & Sawyer Mini is terrible. I purchased it through the ASC a fwe years ago and the curtains for for aspect ratios fell into the lens housing. I returned it, got another one, and whadya know, same thing happened to the new one. Pure crap. It seems the ASC is now selling the Cavasion viewfinders like you mention. Not sure if they switched because of the poor quality of B&S, but none the less, stay away.


Thanx for the advice, I'll prob go with the Cavasion cause it its not perfect at least I haven't spent an arm and a leg on it...
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Glidecam

Willys Widgets

Rig Wheels Passport

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

FJS International, LLC

Opal

Aerial Filmworks

Tai Audio

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

CineTape

Abel Cine

Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc