Varavon’s Pro Viewfinder + our review of this HDSLR viewfinder with a unique low angle view option

by planetmitch5 Comments

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.


Redrock Micro


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:

PRO FINDER [VARAVON] from varavon on Vimeo.

Pro Finder + LOUPE-MINI - VARAVON


ikan


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!

Pros:

  • light weight
  • very quick attach/detatch
  • strong
  • 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

Cons:

  • 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.

Summary

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.

And lastly, the $363 price point won't break your bank either. Overall, the Varavon Pro Viewfinder is a good unit if you don't mind the shape.

Other Reviews

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

Blogger's Disclaimer: Varavon is a sponsor of planet5D – tho that doesn't prevent us from speaking our mind

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(Photo credit: snap from the video)

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Comments

  1. I bought this viewfinder and I would never leave home without it. It is almost as good as the Zacuto and way better than the Hoodman loupe. It now lives in my camera bag and gets a lot of use. The ability to look down and see your subject, even in bright sunlight is of enormous benefit. If I lost it tomorrow I would replace it immediately.

  2. Thanks for the info, Mitch! I saw this viewfinder at the DV Expo, and liked the versatility they built into it. If I didn’t already use a Z-Finder, I would have taken a much closer look.

    I did pick up Varavon’s other product offering while at the show, their slider. I’ve only used it on one shoot so far (our Field Trippin’ episode covering the 2010 Formula Drift finals), but I really like it. It’s well built and is priced very competitively.

    Cheers!

    Druu
    Bite Me TV
    www.bitemetv.net

  3. Mitch, the Varavon Pro Finder is not made out of metal as you say in the video – it’s plastic, but a very, very sturdy kind of plastic.

    It is generally a very well-built product, that’s a big advantage over many other viewfinders.

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