Letus Direct sent us one of their “Hawk” viewfinders a few weeks ago to evaluate and we're happy to report it works quite well and has plenty of configuration options to fit your different rig needs (different models of the Talon Kits). The video has been released as a podcast on iTunes as well.
My wife and I both have used the Hawk. She's working on a video/stills project for a local hospital and was quite pleased to have the Hawk to check focus and to help stabilize the camera. She was using my Manfrotto 685b monopod (which I absolutely LOVE by the way) and having the viewfinder helped her just get that extra bit of ‘steady' that she was looking for.
My style is a bit different from hers (at least for the things I'm working on right now) as I'm shooting more stills than I am shooting video and I much prefer to shoot my stills looking thru the normal viewfinder on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II as opposed to using the live view – and that's because I dislike the delay that you get when you shoot in live view and you press the shutter button and wait for the camera to switch over to normal stills processing and then back to live view.
And in my scenario, I absolutely must have a quick release system that is very “quick”. I have used one of the Zacuto Z-finders and have preferred the sticky frame methodology over the other viewfinders I've tried – it is very quick to get those z-finders off and on – until now – the Letus quick release rocks! (Note: I found out you can still use the sticky frames on the new Zacuto Z-Finder models)
But after getting the updated Hawk with their new quick release, I can say that this is now my preferred quick release over the sticky frames. The design of the Hawk quick release is simple and very effective. This is a great system! Have a look at the video below to see how it works.
The version of the Hawk that we've been testing came as the Letus Talon K2 and it comes with a quick release plate – which works well, if you're using an entire rig assembly. However, for our scenario, we didn't need all of that and so we ended up configuring it just as the Hawk attached to the back of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II.
Here's our video overview of the Letus Direct Hawk:
Pros and Cons!
- light weight
- compact and strong (we tested the carbon fiber version)
- excellent visibility of the screen and the diopter adjustment worked well
- The letus quick release mechanism is the best I've seen
- lots of configurations to choose from (including an aluminum version and an aluminum 3:2 version that is good for the T2i)
- The rubber gasket to protect the LCD comes off easily
The model we tested didn't have the quick release and it needs it!The unit now comes with the quick release
- planetMitch had a bit of trouble with fogging at times and his wife didn't – tho it quickly went away when he removed his hot head from the viewfinder (even just breaking the ‘seal' between the rubber cup and his head cleared it)
The Letus Direct Hawk is one of the top HDSLR viewfinders on the market. The new quick release makes this simple and easy to remove and reattach. This brings back the joy I had with the sticky plate style we liked so much on the Z-finder. There are two magnification levels to select from and you can pick either the carbon fiber or aluminum models. The optics are made by Letus and they're awesome. The biggest negative I had was the mounting system and that's been solved with the quick release. Now if they could only get that rubber gasket to stay on better!
With the different options you have and with the Letus Talon kits, you should be able to find a way to mount this to your rig.
Blogger's Disclaimer: Letus Direct is a paid sponsor of planet5D but that doesn't mean we don't express our honest opinion of their products
(Photo credit: snap from the Letus Direct site)