Varicam LT reviews: Panasonic viewfinder vs Zacuto Eye, Varicam LT vs Amira/Alexa Mini vs C300II

 

28-12-2016

Panasonic viewfinder vs Zacuto Eye

Like most owner-operators, I don´t like to waste money on gear. That´s why I use the Zacuto eye instead of Panasonic´s AU-VCVF10 Varicam viewfinder.

 






What I don´t like about the Panasonic viewfinder:

- 6000.- price label for already outdated 720p.
- much bulkier than the Zacuto
- strong pincushion distortion and weak edge sharpness when zooming to biggest image.
- viewfinder attachment is not flexible and long enough for my needs, Zacuto axis offers a much wider range of positions

What I don´t like about the Zacuto:

- does not work with 50p output from camera
- has a couple of bugs, eg. does not show audio levels. I need to update the firmware though.

The Zacuto Eye is fine, but will be shortlived - I expect a 1080p version very soon, similar to Canon´s C700 viewfinder.

Kudos to Panasonic that they give us the Zacuto option.



Varicam LT vs Arri vs Canon C300II vs... 8 other cameras

 

October 2016 I was part of a team testing 11 different cameras for two days in Berlin, from Amira and Varicam LT, Red Raven, FS7 down to Sony A6300.

The Varicam LT for my eyes beat them all by a considerable margin if monitored in UHD, and of course at ISO5000. The Amira still has better slomo and the at least theoretical advantage of 3.2K 50p in ProResHQ instead of a lighter codec as the Varicam. Arri needs to provide better 4K and dual native ISOs. Varicam´s prerecord of 3s at all frame rates is great, Amira has a meagre 0.9s at 200 frames. C300II was the most puzzling disappointment, the firmware update has introduced strong noise reduction coupled with in camera sharpening, and there is no convincing lut that easily gives image quality the way Panasonic and Arri and even Sony provide with their luts.

Test results will be published soon.