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Director’s viewfinder, need advice


Andreas Haglund
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I’m looking at buying a directors viewfinder, not the cheapest and probably not the most expensive one available.

I don’t know too much about cameras, so bear with me. On the side of many of the ones I’ve looked at I’ve seen setting for selecting negative format; 16/35/S16. I’m looking for one that will give the correct image for modern digital cameras, what do I look for then? And will I need to know the censor size of the camera I’m using to get the settings right?

Very great full for advice, thanks.

 

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Viewfinder apps are really very very useful and you should have one either way.

however, I really like using my Birns and Sawyer viewfinder, for the same reason I operate with my eye on a viewfinder. The Alan Gordon one is very nice, but I find it’s image is a little smaller.

Keep in mind the optical viewfinders will not have a setting for micro 4/3 or any other newer sensor sizes    

 

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Thanks for the replies, I also like the idea of an optical viewfinder.

I should probably learn more about sensors. The Alan Gordon mini says this: “The finder is now set for Super 35 and this setting is also true for the following digital camera sensors: ARRI Alexa, Sony F35 PL, Sony F65, Red Epic-X, Red Scarlet, Red One, Canon 7D and the Phantom HD Gold.”

Is this also the case for the Birns and Sawyer viewfinder? What is micro 4/3 and what cameras uses it?

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Micro 4/3 is a camera sensor size, it's smaller than super 35 you mentioned. It's used mostly by mirrorless cameras that have a focus on video. I believe the reason that this is the case is because the smaller sensor is easier to cool. Thus they can fit more processing hardware in the body and thus deliver a better codec. It appears that they are mostly used by panasonic, olympus and maybe fujifilm (correct me if I'm wrong).

But to make matters more confusing, micro 4/3 also refers to a lense mount. For the micro 4/3 sensor, thus you'll hear both micro 4/3 camera and lense. The advantages to micro 4/3 lens is the fact that it allows other tradition lens mount lens to be adapted to it, and that it allows for some really innovative designs (i.e anamorphic lens for micro 4/3 can cost a fraction the price as for a more traditional mount).

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Thanks that’s very clear.

I’m taking an early weekend without screens and will think about different options. Just realized neither Alan Gordon or Birns and Sawyer seems to have a setting for 1.66:1 aspect ratio, which would be a priority for me, so I might continue to look around next week.

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I have the model iiiB, which has 1.66 aspect.  They are fairly available on the used market if you need an older model for that aspect ratio

I don’t have my Alan Gordon with me at the moment, but I’m pretty sure that also has 1.66

Edited by JB Earl
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9 hours ago, Andreas Haglund said:

ARRI Alexa, Sony F35 PL, Sony F65, Red Epic-X, Red Scarlet, Red One, Canon 7D and the Phantom HD Gold.”

These are pretty old cameras and Alan Gordon only considering the S35 versions of the Alexa, but the LF/65 won't work with the optical. Plus not every digital sensor is the exact size while a phone app can actually take that into account. I highly recommend going the route of an app. 🙂

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  • 2 weeks later...

Does anyone know if you can get an optical director's viewfinder that has 2.20:1 aspect ratio? There was a model by Cavision that has 2.20 but it doesn't seem to be available anywhere at the moment. Alternative is of course an app but I'd also like to play around with an optical viewfinder.

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20 hours ago, Jon O'Brien said:

Does anyone know if you can get an optical director's viewfinder that has 2.20:1 aspect ratio? There was a model by Cavision that has 2.20 but it doesn't seem to be available anywhere at the moment. Alternative is of course an app but I'd also like to play around with an optical viewfinder.

I have one of those little ‘zoomfinders’. It has a range of different aspect ratios, but I wouldn’t describe them as being particularly accurate. For a start, they use an adjustable hard mask to change the AR, which is, of course, very out of focus when you look through it. They are an approximation at best. I think you’d see very little difference between 2.20:1 and 2.40:1

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3 hours ago, Stuart Brereton said:

I have one of those little ‘zoomfinders’. It has a range of different aspect ratios, but I wouldn’t describe them as being particularly accurate. For a start, they use an adjustable hard mask to change the AR, which is, of course, very out of focus when you look through it. They are an approximation at best. I think you’d see very little difference between 2.20:1 and 2.40:1

I didn't know that Stuart. Thank you.

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