Critical focus control

Willy photographed with the Hoodman Loupe...waiting for the Zacuto Z-finder...

I am a huge fan of Canon’s wide-aperture lenses. As an example of the ability of this lens to throw the background into a beautiful color mush (known technically as “bokeh”) I present this shot of Willy taken with the Canon 50mm 1.2 L lens. Willy is the creative balloon artist featured recently. It’s almost impossible to get a critically-sharp image without using the Hoodman Loupe. But I’m really looking forward to getting the Zacuto Z-finder (I’ve got mine on order, it won’t be long I’m told). The Z-finder is a 3x magnification loupe that attaches to the back of the viewfinder…just activate Canon’s live view function, change the focus point to where the eyes are and then use the zoom button to magnify 10x to achieve the sharp focus. Without the Z-finder or other loupe, being able to get exact focus is impossible.

Mandy at Zacuto was kind enough a few months back to show me their version 1 of the Z-finder. I was knocked out by how cool it was and by all reports the version 2 is even better and is fast becoming the must-have device for not just shooting video, but for the critical focus application mentioned here. Not only is the Z-finder well-adapted to shooting and focusing video, I’ll be using it for focus and also for more discreet photography in situations where the shutter sound is just too loud. To enter this semi-stealth mode, enable live view, use the Z-finder for focusing and take pictures without the normal clunk of the shutter. I can’t wait!

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