Zacuto turns to mobile creators with its new Smart Z-Finder viewfinder for smartphones
Zacuto, the company famous for its high-end (and expensive) cinema rig accessories has turned to smartphones with their latest release, the Smart Z-Finder. As with many of Zacuto’s more popular products over the years, this one’s a viewfinder. Except it’s not for cinema cameras or even mirrorless cameras. This one takes aim at mobile creators. It’s designed for smartphones.
A first of its kind, the Zacuto Smart Z-Finder allows you to film with a smartphone in a way that feels a little more like a “real camera”, allowing you to fill your view with the screen while blocking out external distractions. It’s compatible with most smartphones on the market and allows for both horizontal or vertical filming. It’s currently running on Kickstarter.
Zacuto announced that they were going to start turning towards smartphones at the beginning of September with new products and teased the new viewfinder in a press release. The fact that even camera manufacturers are saying that smartphones will beat DSLRs and mirrorless cameras in terms of image quality within a few years seems to have played a big part in their decision to target mobile creators.
The Smart Z-Finder is the first of those smartphone products and brings a better filming experience to those cameras that are always in our pockets. It provides Arca Swiss mounting capability for popping on a tripod, quick access to the touchscreen, and an adjustable diopter for use with or without glasses. There are also optional diopters available for extreme eye correction. The large eyecup allows you to view your screen unhindered from the surrounding environment, eliminating distractions, reflections and glare.
The Smart Z-Finder is compatible with an array of cases, filters and lenses, such as those from BeastGrip, Moment and Sandmarc. It’s also fairly modular, allowing you to use it in a number of different ways depending on your needs. It’s an interesting idea and it seems that Zacuto has given it all of the attention that they normally give to their other viewfinders for larger cameras. Of course, it also comes with that Zacuto price tag. Even the reduced Kickstarter prices are going to be too rich for some. And they’re 40% off the regular price when they go retail.
There are three packages available. There’s the basic Smart Z-Finder for $299 which comes with a bridge, hand strap and three anti-fog discs. The Director’s Bundle includes all of the above along with an accessory rail and a “Directors Grip” and costs $379. Finally, there’s the Cinematographer’s Bundle which includes everything in the Director’s Bundle along with a shoulder Stock and Brow for $465. Once the three bundles go retail, they will be priced at $499, $629 and $775 respectively.
For more information or to back the project for yourself, head on over to Kickstarter. Items are expected to start shipping in February 2023.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.