A new director's viewfinder eyes itself on large format filmmaking.
The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon is strong today. After wondering if traditional director's viewfinders are still commonplace among filmmakers, Lindsey Optics rolls out its new Large Format Viewfinder (LF) that touts a range of Super 35 to Alexa 65.
The LF Viewfinder is designed around interchangeable modules that allow for tool-free format changes. To change out one of three included modules, all it takes is a simple push of the viewfinder's red button and the module slides out and back in to place. The 3 modules that come with the viewfinder are what you might expect. One for large format, a second for full-frame, and a third for Super 35. The large format does not have a lens inside the module, the full-frame has a single lens, and the Super 35 has two lenses inside the module to help with focus.
Based on the photo alone, the look of the LF Viewfinder is different than the large format viewfinders from Optima Magnus or Love High Speed. It's more of a vertical design instead of a horizontal one, and the release says, the handle is made from oak and "offers a firm and comfortable grip."
Similar to the Optima Mangus Full Frame Viewfinder, the LF Viewfinder does have an adjustable pivot knob on its handle to find the proper balance depending on the size of the lens attached. While the 2 viewfinders sit around the same $10K price point, a notable difference between the2 is that the Optima Magnus can create custom frame lines using acetate slides for its ground glass. I'm not sure how much I'd use the feature, but if I'd happen to be shooting an uncommon aspect ratio it's great knowing it's an option.
Rounding out the details of the LF Viewfinder, it has an LPL lens mount and includes an LPL to PL adapter. From there, you can adapt PL to just about any lens mount necessary. The eyepiece provides diopter adjustment from -4 to +4 to adjust sharpness. If needed, the handle extension can be completely removed when using smaller, compact lenses. When doing so, the viewfinder connects directly to the handle for a smaller footprint. The LF Viewfinder also comes with 3 ground glass and it features 1/4-20" mounting points located on the base of the viewfinder, handle extension, and the wooden handle.
When talking to Dwight Lindsey of Lindsey Optics by phone, he said the idea behind the LF Viewfinder was to create something for filmmakers without any electronics getting in the way. And he's right, when using smartphones as viewfinders it can influence the contrast and sharpness of an image. When you just want to see exactly what a lens sees, a traditional viewfinder is the way to go. More info about the LF Viewfinder can be found over at Lindsey Optics.