A few weeks ago, Varavon sent us a copy of their Pro Viewfinder for Canon HDSLRs – which has a unique property the others don't have – the ability to flip down the ‘loupe' and to view the LCD from above the HDSLR, giving a top down view for those low angle shots. Having the ability to use the viewfinder in two ways gives nice flexibility. Down a bit, you'll find our video overview as well.
When I first put the viewfinder up to my eye, I was very impressed with the optics. I'm not an optics expert and I don't have the ability to test this against other viewfinder's optics, but the view was clear, you could see the entire LCD without obstruction and it was comfortable to use.
The Pro Viewfinder has a 3x enlargement. Some others have 2-3x — I'm not really sure which is better (if it really matters – you may have a preference and it would be good for you to try several if you can).
We were able to go outside and use the mirror assembly to view the camera's LCD even in bright sunlight which is an advantage. The only disadvantage to that is you do have to be viewing from above. Obviously, if you want to be viewing from the back, the loupe will do the same thing but you've got to have your eye up against it to see the LCD.
There's also one other nice option, you can remove the loupe and just use the whole thing as a shade for your LCD in bright sunlight – you can see that in the video that we've added at the bottom.
Here's Varavon's little video:
Here's the video I put together showing how you set up and use the Pro Viewfinder: (I used the iPhone and iMovie for the iPhone – my first time trying to use this set up – learned a few things and the next one will be better).
Pros and Cons!
- light weight
- very quick attach/detatch
- comes with a nice case
- Easily view LCD outside in sunlight when looking thru mirror assembly
- The loupe is removable so you can use it just as an LCD sunshade outdoors
- View from top of camera
- large tightening screws makes attachment easy
- excellent visibility of the screen and the diopter adjustment worked well
- several different connecting plates – make sure you order the right one
- It is bigger than other viewfinders but doesn't cover up camera buttons
- my wife thought the eyecup was way too big – I thought it was ok. It is larger than most.
- like all viewfinders (except the Zacuto Z-finder with it's sticky attachment plate), it won't attach to a camera with a battery grip.
Having the ability to use this in two different modes gives it a definite leg up on the other viewfinders on the market. It's quick release plate is very easy to attach and detach and when it is detached, the plate itself doesn't get in your way or extend out of the back of the camera – we liked that a lot when wanting to shoot stills.
I think first impressions will be that this looks a bit ugly as compared to the other sleek viewfinders on the market – but the build of the unit is strong and having the dual use capability will get you past the unattractiveness of the block shaped body of the unit. And additionally, with the ability to remove the loupe, you have the ability to have a nice LCD sunshade, rounding out some functionality that other viewfinders don't have.
If you haven't been to our planet5D Review site, we do have it set up for you to put in your own reviews of HDSLR products – visit the Varavon Pro review page
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(Photo credit: snap from the video)