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Prasad Kumar

Director's Viewfinder - necessary?

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I am planning to buy Director's viewfinder. This is the one I am going for. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/195356-REG/Alan_Gordon_Enterprises_1000_01_Mark_Vb_Director_s_Viewfinder.html

 

As I am a student, I can get the student discount, around 75 dollars less. So far I have used the viewfinder only once and I liked it. My friends are using iPhone apps and told me that the apps pretty much function the same as viewfinder and they cost only $30.

 

* Is it worth buying actual viewfinders over apps? Are there any big difference?

 

* I am also considering the other options - micro and mini viewfinders which is one-fourth of the price of actual viewfinders.

 

Actual:

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/195356-REG/Alan_Gordon_Enterprises_1000_01_Mark_Vb_Director_s_Viewfinder.html

 

Micro:

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/292697-REG/Birns_Sawyer_162128_Director_s_Micro_Viewfinder.html

 

Mini:

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/607336-REG/Alan_Gordon_Enterprises_1000_03_MINIPOC_Mini_Director_s_Viewfinder.html

 

All three viewfinders cover varying film standards and video formats. Big one have more aspect ratios and focal length ranges than the micro/mini. But the price is almost 4 times the micro/mini. Any disadvantages in using micro/mini over the big one?

 

* One of my senior who graduated and now working in indie films told me that other than location scouting, directors rarely used the viewfinder these days as there is a HD monitor while shooting and directors just look at that to give the framing adjustments. (Looked like even for location scouting, only very few directors used it, others just took still pictures.) Is it worth buying a viewfinder for shooting in digital?

 

* If I buy one, can I use the viewfinder for any digital cameras?

 

Thanks.

 

 

 

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The Alan Gordon is a widely used viewfinder, but expensive. The mini and micros are not particularly accurate, and not worth the money. I would buy an app like Artemis.

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Hello!

 

I have two different questions :

 

Are there director's viewfinders that actually have a zoom lense ? Because the ones i got to use at school only seem to have a prime lens with some cache system.

So the longer the focal length mark, the more they "hide" the image, the smaller the image you're looking at through the viewfinder (the wording isn't great sorry)

So a zoom viewfinder, if it exists (and not counting the ones where you mount the cine lenses) would have a constant image size through the focal range ?

 

And are there viewfinders that allow for wide angle preview ? The ones I know stop at 18 in S35 when I'd like them to stop at 10.

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I've never seen a Director's finder with a zoom. The easiest option might get yourself a cheap APS-C camera and a zoom lens that covers the range you need. It won't be entirely accurate, but close enough.

 

You can get a Canon t2i and a 28-135mm zoom for less than $400 US. That's less than an Alan Gordon will cost you.

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Hi Prasad. Since you are a student, I'm just curious as to why you feel this is an item you need in your arsenal, right now...

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Although I don't use it constantly, I think that a Director's viewfinder such a Mark V is a great tool as a student and as a cinematographer.

 

First of all, as a student you start getting to know the difference between a 40mm and a 75mm (for example) and you are seeing that difference in a viewfinder, with nothing around you but your eye looking through it.

 

You are also seeing what the light does within the frame with your eye, not through a monitor.

 

As the Alan Gordon ones work as a zoom, you can zoom in and zoom out until you like the frame.

It is also a very good device to practice your operational skills! It is smaller than a camera and way more discreet.

 

I like using it on recces because it gives everybody a sense of doing something else than taking photos with the phone.

 

You can also block a scene with it without moving the camera!

 

I'd say that if you can find a cheap Mark V on ebay, go for it, I got my one years ago for €200! And I have been using it since!

 

Again, I also like the big director's viewfinders where you can attach a lens and record on the video village what you are going to do next.

 

On the other hand, I would also recommend buying Artemis as it is a very useful app.

 

Have a good day!

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I sold my Alan Gordon DVF a few years back after having it for a decade. I thought I'd miss it, but between Artemis and a standard APS-C DSLR, I really haven't regretted the decision, and I've been able to use the pics from both to show clients the shots without dragging them through the set. On most big sets, you usually see a DSLR with a PL mount used as a DVF as well.

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Although I don't use it constantly, I think that a Director's viewfinder such a Mark V is a great tool as a student and as a cinematographer.

 

First of all, as a student you start getting to know the difference between a 40mm and a 75mm (for example) and you are seeing that difference in a viewfinder, with nothing around you but your eye looking through it.

 

I've never used one but when you put it that way, it makes a lot of since.

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For tech scouting I'll use a DSLR with a zoom lens but on the day I really like a microfinder cause you can wear it and it's light and not something you need to "worry about" if you put it down etc. It's cheap. Just don't buy a cavision one. They're awful. I had to rebuild mine 4 times cause it just keeps falling apart.

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By all means, do what you feel like is best for you. But to me I think you could invest that money elsewhere (like lighting gear) and get much more out of it.

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