Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Zacuto EVF Arrives

As expected the NAB 2011 wish list is slowly being whittled down one item at a time. It started with the Dana Dolly which we reviewed in a prior posting, and today we received our new Zacuto EVF Flip. Zacuto has only been shipping EVFs since the beginning of June and already many reviews have been posted web wide, so I'm not looking to duplicate efforts but merely touch on a few key issues. This post assumes that you are here because you are already familiar with this product, but if you are not, be sure to check out the plethora of information available at Zacuto's web site including an 8 episode series that goes into extreme technical detail on the EVF.

So what is it that we the consumers need to know about this product following its heavily hyped debut. Well for me, opening the box was reminiscent of opening a brand new Apple product, in that it is carefully packed with tons of smalls bonus items in a sleek layout. Kudos for presentation. The build quality seems pretty robust but it doesn't live up to the hype. I suppose I was expecting something that felt a bit tougher, but time will tell on how it holds up. The menu structure is superb, everything is easy to find and within minutes I customized the EVF to our 7D and was shooting away.

Let me touch on the screen and custom scaling profiles. This screen rivals the iPhone4 but just falls short, however it definitely helps make pulling focus much easier. The preset camera profiles are perfect. By simply selecting your camera, you get a full screen image cropping off the extra information that typically fills the back of the Canon 7D and 5D. Finally, looking at the DSLR image feels right as if using a real video camera, about time! And let me add one extra shot in the arm to Zacuto for minimizing drop out when switching to record mode, the drop out which can be seconds on other systems is nearly unnoticeable on the EVF, this is huge for me.

Alright, since Zacuto isn't a sponsor of our site I guess I'll share the aspects of the EVF that were a fail. My biggest complaint is with the hot shoe 1/4" 20 mount. The mount does not seem to be strong enough to support the weight of the EVF and loop and repeatedly loosens itself even with ginger handling. Another aspect which I have seen referenced on other reviews surrounds the in built peaking feature. I was looking forward to this function, but unfortunately the peaking really only sharpens the entire image and does not aid in focusing. Lastly, and I hope this is only a fluke, but our EVF arrived with about 6 hot or dead pixels on the screen. To Zacuto's credit they have addressed the problem and will be sending out a replacement, but I expected more after their months of rigorous quality testing.

Overal thoughts on this product are high. Not everything has met the hype but most things don't. I feel that the EVF will have a prominent place in our everyday shooting and will surely make life a little easier. To anyone still on the fence about taking the jump, I say that you definitely get a lot of bang for the buck, and compared to other professional EVFs and LCDs on the market Zacuto is surely at the front of the pack.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dana Dolly Review

In a past blog posting from NAB 2011 I wrote about several smaller equipment companies who manufacture memorable products, one of which included the topic of this post, the Dana Dolly. First impressions of the small dolly kit were high so Brumar Films decided to pick up one of its own. An impromptu video shoot led us to a local ball field where we put the dolly through its paces and were able to get a real world feel for setup and operation. Check out the video below for a detailed look at the Dana Dolly kit, footage from the shoot, and our final thoughts.

Local crews in Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York can now rent the Dana Dolly at www.BrumarFilms.com