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Nino Film Blog | May 28, 2017

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DigiFinder.pro Viewfinder for DSLRs – Review

DigiFinder.pro Viewfinder for DSLRs – Review

Jump to other DSLR viewfinder reviews:

– Epic DSLR Viewfinder Review & comparison (5 viewfinder solutions)!
– Letus Hawk VF Review (& comparison to Z-Finder)
– Varavon Pro Finder DSLR viewfinder video review

Jump to UPDATE regarding viewfinder eyepiece attachment

I was overwhelmed with response to my “Epic DSLR Viewfinder Review” and it seemed to be of great use for many who are still uncertain about the ever-growing selection of DSLR loupes available. As I said before, it’s certainly the most essential piece of gear you need to be able to use your DSLR for video shooting, especially handheld.

After the success of this initial review of all those viewfinders, I was contacted by several manufacturers of other viewfinders and asked why I didn’t test their product. The answer is simple: B&H Photo & Video supplied me with all the viewfinders they had for review. However of course, I want to make this guide as comprehensive as possible, that’s why I also asked these manufacturers to send me their products. Two of those are Letus with their new Hawk VF viewfinder and LCDVF with their new 3/2 version, specifically designed for the Canon Rebel T2i / 550D. I was promised review units by both manufacturers and expect to receive them shortly – I will immediately share my thoughts when I get my hands on them.

Another viewfinder I had never before heard of was the DigiFinder Pro (or DigiFinder.pro as it’s branded), a German product. It’s quite new on the market and several people asked me to review it. Thanks to Klaus Heinzmann from DigiFinder and Misa Garcia from Jag 35 I got a review unit and was able to use and test it in “real life conditions” on the shoot for a narrative short last week.

Trying the DigiFinder on my 550D/T2i

What’s special about the DigiFinder.pro? The most obvious difference to virtually all the others is the price: at €49.90 / $59.99, no one of the others comes close.

First, let’s look what’s inside the box. It comes with a lanyard, one sticky frame and very good and comprehensive instructions (something which I’ve been missing with many of the competitors’ products; they come in English and German).


The DigiFinder.pro expanded and collapsed

The DigiFinder.pro itself can be telescopically collapsed and expanded, and there are versions for 2.7″, 3.0″ and for 3.0″ 3:2 screens (like needed with the T2i). The diopter adjustment is also made by pulling out the loupe part and locking it into place by turning the scope – a simple and effective solution, the distance to the LCD is simply changed and so no further glass parts are needed for diopter adjustment. The downside is that of course also the magnification factor changes when adjusting the diopter.

It attaches to the camera with a sticky frame, similar to what Zacuto used for its former Z-Finder (and what I still recommend over the baseplate simply due to efficiency – you can get a cheap sticky frame for the new Z-Finders as well). The sticky frame has little hooks that hold the DigiFinder in place, you can put it on and take it off by pushing the scope together a little, which works quite well.

DigiFinder.pro on my 550D/T2i - yes, I only got the 4:3 3.0" version to review, but it worked quite fine!

Let me go through the ups and downs quickly:

The good:

• pricing
• edge-to-edge sharpness
• different versions for different screen sizes
• diopter adjustment
• 2.75x magnification
• size: easy to transport as it’s very small when collapsed
• seems relatively rigid (keeping in mind its price and plasticky feel)
• well-written and easy-to-follow instructions

The not-so-good:

•  eyepiece: it’s small and uncomfortable for longer shootings, and not comparable to the comfort and shielding (from light spill) of the Zacuto Z-Finder‘s or LCDVF’s eye pieces
•  comes with only one sticky frame – you have to order replacement if it comes off or if you need one for an additional camera (it’s quite cheap though, but I think they could have included two like with the LCDVF)
• when you’re using it at its 0 diopter setting, the corners of the image cannot entirely be seen when looking through the viewfinder (at least with the 3.0″ 4:3 version that I tested)
• the diopter expands like a telescope and therefore the magnification factor changes when you adjust the diopter, which is a bit annoying for people who don’t have perfect vision (or contact lenses like me)
• no bag supplied
• of course no lifetime warranty like the Zacuto Z-Finder

I quite like the DigiFinder.pro for what it is, and at $60 / €50 nothing even comes close. But of course this comes with some downsides. I think the most important flaw is the fact that the eye piece doesn’t really shield you from the surroundings and that it is quite uncomfortable if you shoot longer than only a few minutes. They should have taken an example from Zacuto or especially the LCDVF, which has the most comfortable and efficient eye pouch I have ever used on any camera.

Anyway, it’s a solid viewfinder that does what it is supposed to do for casual hand-held shooting, and might be enough for many T2i/550D users who only casually shoot video and don’t want to spend more on the viewfinder. However, I also recommend them to take a look at the LCDVF 3/2, which was specifically designed for the T2i/550D and which I should receive for review shortly (like the Hawk VF as well).

You can buy the DigiFinder.pro for €49.90 directly from the manufacturer in Germany if you’re in Europe, or for $59.99 from Jag35.com if you’re in the US.

Affordable Shoulder Rig

UPDATE August 9, 2010:

Just got a reply from the manufacturer, here’s my translation (from German):

“Thanks for your great review! We have already recognized the problem with the missing eyepiece and are currently working on a tool that will contain an attachable eyepiece (similar to LCDVF). The tool will be ready in about 3 weeks.
The eyepiece will be really exceptionally good, as we will make it fit for right- and left-viewers. The turning will be done through a grid
(?) and is therefore secured against accidental turning (similar to a volume knob on expensive hi-fi systems).
I will send you a sample immediately after we are done.”

The eyepiece will be available ONLY as an optional add-on and will be priced at EUR 19.90. The montage will be easy, while the original DigiFinder.pro will not be changed.”

They have shown me a mock-up 3D drawing of the eyepiece and it looks quite promising indeed.

UPDATE August 11, 2010:

Jared Abrams from Cinema5D.com has done a quick take on the DigiFinder.pro which gives you quite a good idea of what’s inside the box and how it is built:

Affordable Shoulder Rig

UPDATE October 05, 2010:

An exclusive preview of the DigiViewer!

I was in contact with Mr. Wichmann from DigiFinder.de, who very kindly asked for my thoughts on their product during the last months to help them enhance it. Especially the upcoming eyepiece that will sell separately for €19.90 was the focus of our attention (it will be available in the US from Jag35.com, who also sell the DigiFinder.pro, for $25.90).
They really tried to get this right and so he sent me a pre-production unit of the eyepiece. It is very decent and attaches to the DigiFinder like a breeze – very easy to use and attach, and also very easy to take off if you want to put it into your pocket as two smaller pieces.

A preview version of the DigiViewer on a DigiFinder.pro

The size of the eyepiece is just right, it’s large enough to comfortably shield you from your surroundings when you’re monitoring the screen – that might seem self-explanatory, but in fact it’s a problem even several more expensive solutions suffer from. Upon my request, the final versions will also feature a softer rubber for the eyepiece, which to me is crucial to make a viewfinder usable for extended periods of time (that is, everything above 5 minutes). This is also something which some other manufacturers seem to have neglected, and the Zacuto Z-Finder is still king with regards to size and softness of the eyepiece.

For very little money, the DigiFinder.pro plus its separate eyepiece, the DigiViewer, are very good products for any DSLR filmmaker on a budget. For the full review, look above – for a close-up look at the final version of the DigiViewer eyepiece (which I should receive within the coming days), check back on my blog soon!

UPDATE October 17, 2010:

I received the final version of the DigiViewer eyepiece, and as I said in the previous update of this post (look above), the eye cup has been significantly enhanced from the prototype, using a softer rubber that will allow you to use if for much longer periods of time than without.

DigiViewer eye cup for DigiFinder.pro DSLR viewfinder

It’s really comfortable now, and while it is of course no match to much more expensive solutions like the Z-Finder Pro or a Letus Hawk VF, it is a very good piece of gear considering its low price tag. One of the major downsides of the DigiFinder.pro itself is the fact that the edges of the screen get cut off when looking through it in varying degrees, depending on how much you pull the diopter correction tube out. This of course is just a tiny little bit worse with the DigiViewer eye cup attached, but as this is a basic design flaw that is due to the unit’s small lens diameter, I wouldn’t worry too much about it – as I said, for the price, there really is no match.

DigiFinder.pro with DigiViewer eye cup attached

Jump to other DSLR viewfinder reviews:

– Epic DSLR Viewfinder Review & comparison (5 viewfinder solutions)!
– Letus Hawk VF Review (& comparison to Z-Finder)
– Varavon Pro Finder DSLR viewfinder video review

Comments

  1. Fantastic review Nino. When I first looked at this viewfinder the first thing that crossed my mind was the lack of protection for the eye. I was hopping that when you used it somehow it woulkdn’0t be that noticeable. Also, the shape itself of the eye piece, even without the protection obviously isn’t tailored for the eye, its just a circular uncomfortable hard shape. I guess its a good solution for someone that doesn’t shoot for long hours and is on a low budget.

    • Yes, it would be so much better with a proper rubber eye piece!

  2. Ross Webb

    Hi there Nino,
    Thanks for taking the time to publish this. Its very much apprecaited as I’ve just ordered this a week back from jag35.
    Do you think it would be possible to fashion an eye cup out of rubber or similar to make it more comfortable and cut out the extra light?
    Way i see it if thats the biggest (besides the diopter and your contact lens) problem, a few extra dollars for a nice eye cushion still means this could really be a strong competitor and from my short dealings with the manufacturer he really seems to take on board questions,
    Just a few thoughts,
    Ross

    • Yep, I’m in contact with him and suggested it to him already! Let’s see what he says.

  3. Ross, I might be wrong and Nino will correct me on this, but I think its a little bit more then the comfort of a cushion, its also about the angle of the support and its ability to isolate the surroundings.

    • Ross Webb

      Hi Pedro,
      I can’t speak For Nino but I totally agree with you which is why I said in my comment “and cut out the extra light” By which I mean the ambient light coming in from the surroundings. Something the ZFinder does really nicely.
      Either way, for the price it seems like a decent contender. Looking forward to finding out for myself.
      Glad to hear Nino has been in contact with the manufacturer. Hope this issue can get resolved :)
      :-)

  4. Quentin Brown

    Hi Nino,

    Thanks for sharing the review. Two questions:

    1.Do you think that a standard chamois eyepiece as sold at places like the Panavision store would fit it?

    2. I would consider pushing the viewfinder up against my eye to give a further point of stability for the camera when handheld but without a shoulder rig. Looking at the design of this viewfinder I would be worried about it collapsing down to it’s compact position for transportation. Is this a relevant concern or does have enough rigidity when expended for use?

    Quentin.

    • 1. I don’t know, but I don’t think so. You would have to glue it on I guess, the rubber ring is much to small to support an eyepiece like that.

      2. You don’t need to worry about it collapsing when you press your eye against it. It won’t happen. It locks tightly into place when you pull the tube out, and you have to press it on both sides to collapse it to its transportation size again.

      • Quentin Brown

        Great, thanks for the feedback.
        I look forward to your upcoming reviews before making my decision..

  5. Hi Nino,
    thanks for your comprehensive review, it is very helpful. One of my concerns would be that the locking mechanism for the tube/diopter wears out over time and will not lock into place securely anymore. While I understand that you used the product only for a short time, do you feel that that might happen due to the somewhat cheap build?

    • I really don’t think so, the plastic is really rigid and it locks tightly. Although of course I can’t know how you treat your gear :) With normal usage at least, there should be hardly a problem.

  6. dude

    Would it be possible to see this “mock-up 3D drawing”?

    • No, sorry, they explicitly said I’m not allowed to publish it. There’s not much to it though, it’s just a small rubber eyepiece attached to the VF.

      • dude

        Okay. I was just wondering because i also own the digifinder.pro on the 7D and the only downside for me is the eyepiece.

        Lets wait and see..

  7. Neill Silva

    Do you think it would be worth it to buy this, and then spend the extra 20 or so euros for the rubber eyepiece when it comes out, or should I just keep saving and get the Z-finder Jr?

    • That’s up to you. I haven’t used the eyecup for the DigiFinder yet, therefore I can’t say how good it is. It depends on what you need – the DigiFinder won’t last forever, but it’s cheap and reasonably nice for what it costs. The Z-Finder Jr. (used with sticky frames) is much sturdier and will last forever – also because of Zacuto’s lifetime warranty that even covers accidental (!) damage. But there is of course a significant price difference.

  8. Paul

    Hey Nino,

    Just read this morning that there’s a new kid on the block.

    http://www.lightcraftworkshop-shop.com/product/54

    They seem to break out the pieces separately although it seems a bit odd to do so since it seems you really need all 3 pieces. I also can’t tell if this is for something like the 7D or the T2i.

    Your work is never done! 😉

    Paul

    • Hi Paul, thanks for the info – I’ll try to get my hands on one!

  9. good nezs to any ppl interested in the digifinder.pro : there is now an adapted eye-cup called digiviewer!

    to be sold separately for 19,90€ starting on october 4th.

    check : http://www.digifinder.de/DigiViewer/DigiViewer::19.html?XTCsid=q38n3e4aqs39ruubqcltneui80

  10. good news to any ppl interested in the digifinder.pro : there is now an adapted eye-cup called digiviewer!

    to be sold separately for 19,90€ starting on october 4th.

    check : http://www.digifinder.de/DigiViewer/DigiViewer::19.html?XTCsid=q38n3e4aqs39ruubqcltneui80

    • Thierry

      hopefully Nino will get one soon and let us know whether it’s any good…

  11. goldbauch

    The DigiViewer itself is nice, BESIDE ONE FACT:

    You are no longer able to see the very left 5-10% of the image. Annoying. Really annoying

    • goldbauch

      ah, you experienced that yourself. =) sorry

  12. dude

    I’ve bought the new eye cup.
    Two questions:
    1) Is it normal that the eye cup itself (upper part until red part) can be detached from the bottom part?
    2) My diopter adjustment doesnt work very good. Every time i put my eye to the eye cup and put a little pressure on it, it pushes all the way back. Maybe i should contact the Support.

    Would me awesome if i get some feedback.

    • 1) yes
      2) you have to turn the plastic part until it locks! Didn’t get that immediately as well, but it stays in place just fine.

      • I did get a replacement, my digifinder was not locking
        tight. And no extra cost and i didnt have to send the old one to
        them. :) Now it works perfectly.

  13. Will this item fit the Canon 60 D?

    • I think the T2i/550D version should work with it, because its screen has the same shape and size. Although I’m not entirely sure, check with the manufacturer!

  14. I ruined an LCD on my new canon T3i as the frame would not “stay stuck” with the tape, it seems too back heavy… so of course loving the concept i put a drop of super glue in each corner as i have dedicate this dslr to filming so i never planned to use it without this accessory.. well the super clue didn’t hold either.. not sure what to do but love the concept just can’t get it to stay on the camera… Yes i cleaned the lcd thoroughly prior to installation…

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