Viewfinder for Video

Over the last two years I’ve been shooting more video with my cameras, finding it to be both challenging and fun. It’s definitely a different way to tell stories, and as such requires some different equipment. The cameras and lenses are no problem, but because all of the framing and focusing will be done using the LCD on the back of the camera, you need to be able to see that clearly. And that means a magnified finder.  The challenge is finding one that’s both good and won’t break the bank. I think I’ve found just that.

 

I first became acquainted with CarrySpeed while looking for a cross-chest strap I could use easily with my Arca-Swiss tripod heads. Their FS-Slim and FS-Pro straps do that with their mounting plate, and I’ve quickly become a fan of them. More recently I learned they also sell a magnified LCD viewfinder (the VF-4). As I mentioned before, these are a must for shooting video, but tend to run from $300-$1000. CarrySpeed’s was under $200 (on sale now, more on that at the bottom), and in addition to looking well-designed, also had an Arca-Swiss compatible plate built into it

After a few months of using one, I’ve got to say I’m very pleased. The design uses a plate mounted on the bottom of the camera with a slot. That slot lets you quickly and easily mount or remove the finder. Which means I can transition from shooting stills to video with no hassle. And I as mentioned before, because the plate is Arca-Swiss compatible, I can also easily mount the camera to my stills or video tripods/monopod, a must when shooting video. Finally, because I’d normally have an Arca-Swiss plate on the bottom of my camera, I wouldn’t need to carry two plates and take time to switch them.

The Arca-Swiss baseplate is slotted, so the finder can be easily removed. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

The Arca-Swiss baseplate is slotted, so the finder can be easily removed by simply loosening the locking screw. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

Because of that, it's easy to transition from video to stills and back, and the mounting place doesn't get in the way. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

Because of that, it’s easy to transition from video to stills and back, and the mounting place doesn’t get in the way. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

Another challenge when shopping for a viewfinder is matching the finder to the camera you’ll use. Because different models of cameras often have LCDs in different sizes and positions on the camera, it was important to me that the finder be adjustable. The CarrySpeed does that, and I can make those adjustments on the fly.

Since the plate uses an Arca-Swiss design, it's easy to use with my current tripods and monopods. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

Since the plate uses and Arca-Swiss design, it’s easy to use with my current tripods and monopods. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

The viewfinder has a comfortable eyecup and a diopter to adjust the focus to your eyesight. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

The viewfinder has a comfortable eyecup and a diopter to adjust the focus to your eyesight. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, one of the reasons you need a finder is to be able to focus carefully. The CarrySpeed finder both magnifies the image and allows you to adjust its focus (like a camera’s diopter). And if you want to view the LCD without the eyecup, it’s designed to easily flip up out of the way without having to remove it.

I’ve saved the best for last. Normally priced at $179.99, it’s currently on sale, until Oct. 28, for $99.99. Click here for the deal. CarrySpeed’s own website is currently down as it’s being re-built, but should be back soon.

(Note: if you want to use this finder on a camera with a battery grip – built-in or accessory – you’ll also need the “Extension Bracket” to raise it to the LCD on those cameras. That’s an added $25)