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Affordable Director's Finder


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I might shoot S35 between 9.8mm and 480mm.

S16 between 5.5mm and 240mm.

2x anamorphic on 35mm at 50mm and 75mm.

And 4 perf 35mm between 18mm and 135mm

Full frame would be nice but not necessary. Mostly interested in S16 an S35.

Is there an affordable director's finder that works for all this?

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Usually the traditional director's viewfinder covers a 10 to 1 focal length range. Anything out of that range involves using either mounting the shooting lens on a director viewfinder or you could use a digital stills camera and use a "crop factor" or a focal length equivalency table.

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Thanks, Brian. Any recommendations? I see the Sigma fp is being touted as a directors finder but my needs are actually pretty primitive. I just want something small I can walk around with that shows framing.

I guess my only concern is I have a 16mm S35 lens and 9.5mm S16 lens I use sometimes but most directors finders seem to max out around 18mm S35 and 10mm S16. The ultra wide and ultra long stuff is not so important. 

Edited by M Joel W
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12 hours ago, M Joel W said:

I guess my only concern is I have a 16mm S35 lens and 9.5mm S16 lens I use sometimes but most directors finders seem to max out around 18mm S35 and 10mm S16. 

I’ve never found director’s viewfinders to be accurate enough to reliably tell the difference between 16mm & 18mm, let alone 9.5mm & 10mm. Unless you’re using a proper finder with a lens attached, they are a guide, at best.

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2 hours ago, Stuart Brereton said:

I’ve never found director’s viewfinders to be accurate enough to reliably tell the difference between 16mm & 18mm, let alone 9.5mm & 10mm. Unless you’re using a proper finder with a lens attached, they are a guide, at best.

Thanks, anything in particular you recommend? 

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15 hours ago, Stuart Brereton said:

I have one that looks a lot like this:

https://opteka.com/products/optdvfs

I haven't used it in years. If I need a finder, I use Artemis or Cadrage on my phone.

I agree with Stuart and Dom, I used to have a cheapo Kish finder like that as well, gave it away a long time ago. It wasn’t very accurate to begin with, and now with all the different camera formats out there, it would be totally useless. Also, I think you will find over time that you’ll get very good as estimating focal lengths by eye if you stick to one camera and prime lenses.

Now, a director’s finder with a camera-specific ground glass and PL mount is a whole ‘nother thing and very valuable for scouting, especially if you’re working with a director who is very specific about composition. I find it can really boost their confidence that you share their vision and make the shooting day run more efficiently. But that’s more of a rental item.

 

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17 hours ago, M Joel W said:

Thanks, all. What do you do for wide angle on the Artemis? It seems it only goes to 22mm, not that wide? 

Apps like Artemis are restricted by the focal length of the phone camera lens, and just show a border around the image when you select a focal length wider than they can show.

Honestly, I rarely use a viewfinder at all, particularly not for wide angle shots. The widest lens we carry is an 18mm, and it hardly ever gets used. One of the benefits of shooting with primes over zooms is that you quickly get used to specific focal lengths, and don’t need a viewfinder so much.

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There are companies that make wide angle adapters for your mobile device’s lens. If you know the magnification factor (0.5x, 0.7x, etc.) then you can estimate what the focal length should be.

Really though, I’m in the same camp as Stuart. Usually, you’re just trying to figure out if you need to rent a wider or longer lens that your usual package for a particular shot with a cheap viewfinder, not trying to line up a super-specific composition. And after a few times using that focal length with a particular camera, it just becomes intuitive. 

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On 12/22/2020 at 8:34 AM, M Joel W said:

Thanks, Brian. Any recommendations? I see the Sigma fp is being touted as a directors finder but my needs are actually pretty primitive. I just want something small I can walk around with that shows framing.

I came to this thread to say exactly this, mentioning a Sigma fp!
It is already super ultra compact as a camera. 

But if you don't care about mounting a lens on it, and just want the smallest possible, why not just use your phone with an app?

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