Smart Z-Finder adds a pro-level viewfinder to existing smartphones
With smartphone cameras getting better and better, it's increasingly difficult to justify buying a standalone video camera … although phones still lack a good eyecup-type viewfinder. Chicago-based film-making equipment company Zacuto is out to change that, with its Smart Z-Finder.
First of all, what's wrong with just looking directly at a smartphone's screen? Well, for one thing, the images on that screen can be very difficult to see under direct sunlight or in other brightly-lit environments. Additionally, farsighted people who aren't wearing their glasses typically have to hold the phone far from their eyes in order to focus on it.
That's where the Z-Finder comes in.
Users start by attaching an included aluminum frame (called the bridge) to their smartphone – that frame can be adjusted to fit virtually any phone with a screen size between 6.1 and 6.7 inches, with or without a case. Magnets within the frame subsequently allow the main viewfinder to be quickly and easily popped on and off.
The viewfinder itself consists of an ambient-light-blocking ABS body, with an anti-fog rubber-cupped eyepiece at the user end. An adjustment ring on the eyepiece is utilized to focus its diopter to each user's vision – optional drop-in diopters are available for people who require a higher degree of vision correction.
Importantly, the bottom of the viewfinder is open, so users can still reach in and access the phone's touchscreen controls. Additionally, a hand strap on the side of the device allows it and the phone to be held more naturally, like a camcorder. It's also worth noting that threaded holes on the bridge can be used to mount the rig on a tripod, or to attach optional extras such as an accessory rail, pistol grip, shoulder stock or lens-flare-blocking flag.
Should you be interested, the Smart Z-Finder is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. Assuming it reaches production, a pledge of US$299 will get you one – the planned retail price is $499.
It's demonstrated in the following video.