Zigview S2 Digital Viewfinder Extends Your DSLR’s Utility

zigviews2digitalviewfinder_small.jpg

The Zigview S2 Digital Viewfinder clips onto the optical viewfinder of your DSLR, adding a swiveling live 2.5-inch LCD display that can not only be extended on a cable as a remote, but can also automatically trigger the camera when it detects motion. That makes it possible to mount your camera in odd places or to snap photos of wildlife that might otherwise be sketched out by the presence of a human.

It’s only £230, too, which seems fairly reasonable for the amount of flexibility it would add to your rig. The S2 works on a variety of DSLRs from various brands, including Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, and Fuji. (But not, for some reason, on the entry-level Canon Rebel series, which is what I own.)

While you’re waiting behind a blind to capture your latest snapshot, you could occupy your time by trying to identify bird songs with this Birdsong Scanning Wand, which plays one of 206 bird song sound files when scanned over the corresponding picture the included booklet. It’s $100.

Z2 Catalog Page [Speedgraphic.co.uk via Red Ferret]

Previously: Wingscapes Birdcam Review (Verdict: Sort of Awesome!) [BBG]

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11 Responses to Zigview S2 Digital Viewfinder Extends Your DSLR’s Utility

  1. Atpaw says:

    Re: #8 by SCHMOD:
    “Although a “live” view isn’t theoretically possible with DSLRs in the same manner as it is on a compact point-and-shoot due to the configuration of the mirrors, a few new models are offering a live-view feature by using a second sensor (notably, the Canon 40D)”

    Sorry to correct you, but not only is it theoretically possible to do it in the same manner as a compact P&S, but it has been done several times in the same manner as a P&S.

    The body simply flips the mirror up (blinding the viewfinder and phase-shift AF sensors), opens the shutter and begins ‘looking’ with the main CMOS/CCD sensor, just like a conventional P&S. There is no second sensor, not on the Canon 1D Mk3 and 40D anyway.

    DSLRs with Live View either flip the mirror down momentarily to perform AF, or attempt to do an image-contrast focus like a conventional P&S. Neither live-view-capable Canon does the image-contrast focus; they either flip the mirror momentarily (blinding the CMOS chip for a moment) or the user must manual-focus. The Nikon D300 can image-contrast focus. I’m not sure about the Olympus models with Live View.

    Manual-focus is probably one case where Live View offers a huge advantage over the viewfinder – on Canons, the CMOS can be locally sampled in a 1:1 fashion, where one CMOS pixel becomes one LCD pixel on the 3″ LCD, which makes focussing a big-aperture prime lens incredibly easy; Especially in situations too dark for the autofocus sensors to work (ie: below -1EV).

    Just thought I’d clarify that. >.>

  2. gigarizel says:

    I have been using one of these for about 6 months. Generally I have a positive review, works as advertised and is super handy.

    The criticisms I have of it are that it does not have that pro camera gear feel. The casing is plastic and it feels like it is very delicate. If you get this you will defiantly want to get some kind of hard case for it if you are doing any traveling. I was also a little surprised that there was no wireless option, lots of balloon and RC aerial photographers have wireless systems that are similar.

    I think the screen on this is standard def, too low to do accurate focusing, it is much more useful for framing when your camera is in an awkward position. If you are interested in focus you may want to use a laptop and either the software that shipped w/ your camera for remote capture or something like Breeze Systems DSLR Remote Pro

  3. Anonymous says:

    “Type A For Canon 300D, 350D, 400D, Nikon D50, D70 and D100.” — Canon 300D etc. is the rebel series in its European mask, so should work with that too.

  4. Atpaw says:

    Re: #8;

    Erm, Live View in exactly the same sense as a P&S is not only theoretically possible on a DSLR, it’s been done by Olympus, Canon and Nikon with good success.

    The only difference is that the DSLR has to flip up the mirrors (which results in the viewfinder and phase-detection AF sensors being blinded) whereas a P&S has no mirror and no AF sensor.

    There is no “second sensor” for creating a Live View on any of the DSLRs that do it. In fact, Canon’s CMOS party-piece is that individual pixels (or rows and columns) of the CMOS can be sampled independently, allowing the camera to grab, say, every 10th column and row to reduce the amount of processing needed to display a live view. Or the LCD can display a 1-CMOS-pixel-equals-1-LCD-pixel magnified view of a section of the CMOS image. Makes accurate manual focus MUCH easier than using the viewfinder!

    Locking the mirror in the ‘up’ position is no biggie either; Canon for example has had user-selectable Mirror Lockup mode on their entire DSLR range for several years now.

    There are other advantages to Live View on a DLSR – Realtime remote-viewing and remote-focusing while in “Remote Shooting” mode; And Silent Shooting on the cameras with electronic first curtains and sometimes electronic second curtains makes little more than a P&S-style “click” as the photo is taken.

    I digress.

  5. Skwid says:

    For great justice!

  6. nex says:

    I dislike DSLRs (and to some extent SLRs in general) for the precise reason that generally you can’t do this (view from any angle) with them. Adding this ability is a very nice enhancement to usability. On the other hand, it completely destroys the “looking through the lens” feeling, which for many is the main reason why the got an SLR in the first place. First you get a camera that cannot use its sensor to feed an EVF, unlike cheap bridge cameras (that often have flip/tilt/twist monitors for viewing from practically any angle), then you awkwardy add an additional sensor back in …

    So, I’m not quite sure yet whether I should be delighted about this idea’s brilliance, or disgusted over its stupidity. Not that I wouldn’t buy a product just because it’s stupid :-) In order to make up my mind about whether this product is worth its price, I’d like to know what the resolution is; the linked product page doesn’t say …

  7. Daniel says:

    The Type A version should work with your camera Joel. 300D=Digital Rebel, 350D=Rebel XT, 400D=Rebel XTi. Same camera, just different names for different regions, I believe.

    Seems like a pretty nifty device. I’d like a DSLR with something similar (but more elegant perhaps) built-in. Maybe it could even be wireless?

  8. Joel Johnson says:

    Oh, right you are, guys. I forgot about the 300/350/400 branding thing. Thanks!

  9. schmod says:

    Although a “live” view isn’t theoretically possible with DSLRs in the same manner as it is on a compact point-and-shoot due to the configuration of the mirrors, a few new models are offering a live-view feature by using a second sensor (notably, the Canon 40D)

    That said, one doesn’t lose all that much flexibility by not having the live view…. I generally find that I compose shots far better through a viewfinder anyway.

    It should also be noted that most viewfinders do not capture 100% of the frame, which means that the Zigview likely captures even less, which might be a bad thing depending upon how you look at it.

  10. Andor says:

    :D

    It’s Digital Rebel/Rebel XT/Rebel XTi on US
    300D/350D/400D on Europe
    Kiss Digital/Kiss Digital N/Kiss Digital X on Asia

    I’ve been watching that Zigview for long time, and is very useful when you use the camera in weird positions, like when you do macro, and I think that also when you do ‘astro’, because is so difficult to focus… I should test it…

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