September 30, 2010

Zacuto Announces EVF Viewfinder, Redrock Micro EVF May Have Less Resolution than Claimed

Hot on the heels of Redrock announcing their microEVF, Zacuto has announced a similar HDMI viewfinder, the Z-finder EVF. Both promise to allow filmmakers to operate their DSLR much more like a real video/film camera thanks to positional flexibility. But while neither are available yet, in terms of pricing and specifications, there are some important questions:

First of all, Redrock claims their viewfinder will have "better resolution than the RED BOMB EVF," which is 1280x720. Redrock's official page lists the microEVF as having 1.2 million pixels, which would indeed make it higher-resolution than the $3200 RED equivalent (1280x720 works out to be 922k pixels). Meanwhile the Zacuto will have a resolution of 800x480, which works out to be 384k pixels. This means the Zacuto offers 32% of the resolution of the Redrock. Or does it? Redrock may be misstating their resolution by a factor of three, as 1.2 million dots is not the same thing as 1.2 million pixels. "Dots" counts each pixel as three (one each for red, green, and blue). Which, you'll notice, works out perfectly to 800x480: 384k pixels X 3 = 1.152 million (rounded up to 1.2).

If you're shooting on a 5D Mark II or some of the other DSLRs that drop to 480p during shooting, this difference in resolution might not be noticeable. But if you're spending money on a viewfinder, you want it to work with you next camera as well -- and while your next camera might have its own viewfinder (for example, if you get this Sony or this Panasonic), you might still find yourself needing a EVF if you find yourself shooting on RED in the future. Either way it's always a good idea to buy products that are going to last more than one generation.

When both of these viewfinders are out in the wild, there will surely be plenty of differences in terms of image quality, viewing options (e.g., how the different focus assist functions compare) and build quality. So: we'll see. If Redrock's claims are true -- that their viewfinder has 1.2 million pixels -- it's hard to see why one would buy the Zacuto. But that's a big "if."

Here's Zacuto's launch video:

The Zacuto EVF will be available in February 2011.


  • Actual 16×9 screen
  • 800×480 resolution
  • .087 dot pitch
  • Focus Assist
  • Iris Assist
  • HDMI loop through
  • Operates off Canon LP-E6 Camera battery (1/2 day power)
  • Includes a hot shoe mount or optional articulating arm kit.
  • Can mount to other manufacturer's rig (RedRock, Cinevate, Letus, etc.) via 1/4 20 screw, 15mm rod or articulating arm
  • All Z-Finder models snap on and off the EVF and can be used interchangeably between the camera screen or EVF screen
  • Includes mini HDMI cable
  • Professional grade construction
  • 12 volt external power

What do you think?

Link: Z-Finder EVF

[via Cheesycam]

Your Comment


No, you're not missing anything. Redrock's is clearly the better deal. To be honest, I have great respect for Zacuto when it comes to their teaching abilities regarding DSLR video, but when it comes down to actually purchasing something from them, I'm never able to justify the higher price (and that extends to the Z-Finder as well).

September 30, 2010 at 3:31PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


That is not correct. If his resolution is in fact 1280x720 (and we don't know this because the panel has not been disclosed) from his saying 1.2M dots I'm going to assume the .45" Micron chip (which in fact is virtually the same resolution as ours) but that 1/2 chip will need to be magnified 6 to 9x with optics to get it to the size that is the right size for viewing. That will magnify the dots. I'm only magnifying my screen 2.5 - 3x that minimizes the amplification of the dots. Many things go into the grading of the overall picture quality (dot pitch, screen size, chip size & magnification), it's not quite as simplistic as screen size. Digital guru Gary Adcock will be discussing resolution and all of these things mentioned above in our continuing series showing the development of our Zacuto Z-Finder EVF product from inception to delivery.

September 30, 2010 at 4:52PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


my guess is that it is 1280x960, which is about 1.2Mpix, and about the best resolution I could ask for right now in a viewfinder:
* it's HD
* it stays HD when the input is 16:9
* it stays HD when the input is 3:2 (wouldn't happen with a 1280x720 viewfinder)
* it stays HD when the input is 4:3 (wouldn't happen with a 1280x720 viewfinder)

although you're right: they could be playing the 1pix=3dots rtrick, which would be very nasty indeed

that shouldn't be the case, though, as they said "more resolution than a RED BOMB", and that is 1280x720

October 1, 2010 at 5:21AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


Well Brain Green of asked Red Rock's Brian Valente to clarify the 1.2M dots spec on the 27th Sept:

"1.2 million dots" - Brian, can you clarify?

As I understand it, the Red one is a legitimate 1280x720. Are you saying your EVF is higher-than-720p res? Or are you using the individual red/green/blue count, which is a common thing for LCD manufacturers to quote, but isn't the same thing at all, and would mean that it's half-720p res? 800 x 480 x 3 = about 1.2 million pixels, but it sure isn't in the same league as 1280x720, obviously"

But Brain skipped answering that question:

September 30, 2010 at 5:18PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


Aha! Very interesting, guys. As I say in the post, when these viewfinders actually hit the market, "we’ll see." But if the Redrock is indeed 800x480 then their claim that it's higher resolution than the RED is a joke.

September 30, 2010 at 5:24PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

Ryan Koo

> Your blog title is "Zacuto Announces EVF viewfinder with 70% less resolution than the Redrock Micro".

Redrock are still to confirm their 1.2 million dots claim. As you rightly said, both products aren't out yet, so we'll have to wait and see.

September 30, 2010 at 9:35PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


I don´t get in this kind of discussions but I have my opinion.About having a EVF If the Atomos Ninja becomes a reality I would actually prefer havng a monitor that at the same time has s a recording feature. The EVF problem I solved almost one year ago using the MOVIETUBE PR from Kinematic. I got the whole package. Expensive? True. But most of my professional jobs (commercials and feature films) I had to use it. People demanding external monitors and sometimes more than one...I could not tell the director please could you use the eyepiece? Also I couldn´t be the only one looking at what I was shooting. Even if we get a EVF we still need to have feeds to external monitors and as far as I know MOVIETUBE PR is the only one that does it. On my own productions I use the Z-finder which is in my opinion the only finder I can use. (I have hoodloupe 2.0 and LCDVF that are totally useless to me). On the EVF side FULL solution is the MOVIETUBE PR. I can´t see other choice.

October 1, 2010 at 8:22AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

Augusto Alves d...

This whole EVF battle is getting ridiculous... Kind of like the prices. I hope someone inventive comes out of Asia with a product that does the same as these but for a fraction of the price.

Both the Zacuto entry and the RR entry seem fine for "now" but have little eye towards future adaptation. Perhaps because they know that the rabid DSLR community will pay for it regardless. It's high time folks started demanding more for less.

On a side note, as an film guy (i.e. someone who has worked with all the high-end motion picture gear) why don't any of these EVFs have the equivalent of a ground glass? I like to be able to see the guidelines for my aspect ratio of choice.

October 2, 2010 at 8:37PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


Neil, you might just have your wish, there's a new contender from EL technologies featuring an iPhone which looks really really interesting. There's a promo video up on vimeo now

Could this be what we've been looking for?

October 4, 2010 at 3:36AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


I think there's a big mix up between number of pixels (red, green, blue) and actual resolution. We'll see the truth when both products are released...

October 7, 2010 at 4:10PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


Zacuto EVF vs RR. It's all vapor until you have it in your hands. Specs aside, I've seen SD TV sets that blow away 1080p TV's in terms of picture quality. Remember those CRT Sony HD Sony monitors in color correction rooms. None of them were 1080p but blow away any 1080p out there today.

At least with Zacuto, a human picks up the phone and if you don't like it, they'll refund it no questions asked.

November 16, 2010 at 4:27AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM