A little while back I was given the opportunity to try out a Zacuto Gratical viewfinder along with other parts of the Zacuto Recoil rig range. I had heard nothing but praise for the Gratical from other users, so I wanted to try one for myself. As a user of the Sony F5 and FS7 I was interested to see if, as I suspected having the ability to add LUT’s in the viewfinder would get around some of those cameras own LUT limitations.
What I wasn’t really expecting was to be totally blown away by the quality of the image! Sony’s viewfinders aren’t bad and I have been using them successfully for years, but the Gratical really took my breath away. Not only is it very high contrast, which is to be expected from an OLED panel, but it is also bright and remarkably sharp. I think a lot of the sharpness comes from the design and construction of the eyepiece which is very good indeed. The Gratical really is the first viewfinder that I have used where I didn’t feel the need to use peaking for day to day focus.
The use of a 4:3 OLED panel allows the Gratical to display a 16:9 image across the upper part of the screen while showing the waveform and vectorscope below, so the screen image is un-cluttered. As well as 16:9 the Gratical can display a wide range of other aspect ratios and also includes the ability to de-squeeze all the common anamorphic formats.
So what about the LUT capabilities? Well they really are very good. You can apply a LUT to the viewfinder image as well as the signal that is passed through the viewfinder independently. This gives you amazing flexibility, allowing you to monitor one LUT in the VF while sending a different LUT to the producer or director. There are built in LUT’s for the majority of the current log equipped cameras plus you can load your own LUT’s into it via USB, what more could you want.
All in all the Gratical is a great addition to almost any video camera. You will need to think about how you are going to power it, either via a Canon battery attached to the unit itself or by an external power supply, maybe something like a D-Tap or make use of the hirose on the F5/F55 or on the back of the FS7’s extension unit. Then you will need to mount it, but at least there are plenty of very secure mounting options, including Zacuto’s own very nice recoil system.
It’s not a cheap viewfinder, there are many cheaper viewfinders that offer many of the features of the Gratical, but none of the other ones I have tried have the beautiful image quality of the Gratical.