Zacuto is positioning itself for the coming era of smartphone filming and is launching a version of its Z-Finder for iPhones and co. The Viewfinder has so far been adapted for many different camera models and is attached to the display like a large, shielded magnifying glass. On the one hand, this changes the form factor of the camera considerably, and on the other hand, it allows for more "immersive" work, because when looking through the oversized viewfinder, the outside world appears shielded and the preview image is emphasized.
Zacuto Smart Z-Finder
The principle remains the same with the Smart Z-Finder, the smartphone is slid onto the viewfinder at the front so that you look through the finder at the display. However, the small camera has also "disappeared" with it, so the Smart Z-Finder has to be somewhat rigged up for useful work. Hand grips and other accessories such as a chest support etc. can be attached via Cold Shoe, Arca-Swiss and 1/4"-20 thread.
In such full gear, it is now hardly recognizable what is being used for filming, namely a cell phone. And that is exactly what is desired, because anyone who arrives at commercial or official filming stations with a smartphone is not taken seriously as a filmmaker (and consequently paid less). This will probably remain the case for a while - Sony's promise that smartphone cameras will offer better image quality than interchangeable lens cameras from 2024 has not yet spread everywhere.
However, Sony's statement mainly referred to the photo sector - it will probably not happen quite as quickly with video, although we can certainly expect great advances in dynamics and bokeh effects soon thanks to multiframe processing and AI functions. Of course, this would not automatically make conventional cameras with larger sensors obsolete, especially since they also offer many advantages in handling.
Zacuto has built a small door into the bottom of its finder, which can be used to reach the phone's touchscreen, but this is not necessarily a comfortable way to operate the camera. The one big advantage that a smartphone always offers over a larger camera, however, namely absolute portability and unobtrusiveness, is again lost with this setup.
Still, we have little doubt that Zacuto will find many takers for its Smart Z finder. The corresponding crowdfunding campaign is to start soon, but no prices are mentioned yet. The finder can be used with smartphones of iPhone-like size, and vertical filming is also supported.