The Hoodman Cinema Kit is a rather affordable alternative to the popular Zacuto Z-Finder for all the HDSLR enthusiasts on a budget. The kit comes with a HoodLoupe 3.0, a HoodEye 3.0 eyecup and Cinema Strap bungees for securing the HoodLoupe to an HDSLR’s LCD.
The HoodLoupe 3.0 does a very good job of providing a glare-free, magnified view of your LCD, which helps you achieve critical focus when shooting video. Attaching the HoodLoupe to the camera with the included bungee straps works better than expected. I think this is primarily due to the rubberized surface of the HoodLoupe’s frame. While the Zacuto Z-Finder has a hard plastic frame, which requires either a sticky frame to attach to your camera or the new Pro-series plate for attaching via your camera’s tripod mount, the HoodLoupe’s rubberized coating provides enough grip to make it usable with only bungees. (See Z-Finder review)
I would still prefer a more robust attachment method than the bungee cords and friction. I really liked Zacuto’s frame that stuck on your camera with 3M tape, which was unfortunately discontinued as the main Z-Finder configuration. The downside to the Z-Finder frame, of course, is that you have to semi-permanently mount something on your camera’s LCD. That leaves the upside to HoodLoupe’s configuration the ability to relatively quickly add/remove the HoodLoupe from your camera without any other permanent attachment. (That said, Zacuto has solved this predicament as well in it’s latest iteration of the Z-Finder.
The included eyecup does a good job of blocking external light from your peripheral view. I even found it user-friendly while wearing glasses.
The down side to the eyecup is that it can sometimes be difficult to adjust without making inadvertent diopter adjustments at the same time. But really, this is something that takes a minimum amount of getting used to until you figure out how to adjust it without fudging the diopter.
Of course, the big attraction for the Hoodman Cinema Kit is the price.
The Hoodman Cinema Kit (about $115) currently costs less than a third of the price of the top-end Z-Finder Pro (about $375). That’s a significant difference for the hobby filmmaker on a budget. Even the low-end Z-Finder Jr. will set you back around $250.
If you need the best viewfinder for your HDSLR, I would definitely recommend going for the Zacuto Z-Finder. However, if you just need something that works good enough, then the Hoodman Cinema Kit is a great alternative (and a much cheaper one as well) that gets you where you need to go – just without quite the refinement of the Zacuto gear.
The Hoodman Cinema Kit HoodLoupe 3.0 is available from Photography Bay’s trusted retail partner, B&H Photo, at the following link:
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