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Nikon D810 Rear LCD with Zacuto Loupe vs Sony-style EVF

Get at B&H Photo: Nikon D810, Zacuto Z-Finder

This is a re-run; the issue keeps coming up in reader emails. B&H Photo has $75 off the 3X Zacuto loupe (recommended).

Nikon D810

Miguel B writes:

How does the Nikon D810 + Zacuto Z-Finder compare to the best EVFs you've used in terms of image quality and usability.

This is more like a Live View question, but usability when your eye is in the loupe can highlight issues like needing to see or find buttons without looking.

DIGLLOYD: Readers know I like an EVF, and I sure wish one were an option on the Nikon D810; it solves focusing issues with manual focus lenses (and autofocus, done right!), it eliminates glare, it eliminates mirror slap (mirror already up), some optional EVFs can flip up for shooting at low or high angles, etc.

These are big advantages and when an EVF is offered together with an optical viewfinder, that’s sweet (the Leica M40 does this, but the Leica EVF is marginally better than toy grade, and no match for the Sony A7 series EVFs).

Eyeglass wearers might find an EVF problematic, but a loupe on a rear LCD much more usable. I’ve heard various comments in this regard (I wear contact lenses and skirt the issue).

The D810 rear LCD is excellent, but more or less useless for composing/shooting without a quality loupe like the Zacuto Z-Finder (at least for me, due to glare and presbyopia, both).

I think I actually prefer the D810 rear LCD with the Zacuto Z-Finder over the Sony A7/A7R/A7s EVF in quality and ease on the eye terms, but the Z-Finder is really only useful on a tripod for me (I simply hold it against the rear LCD, no mounting hardware due to conflict with the L bracket). While it is possible to strap a Z-Finder to the rear LCD in various ways, this has never been viable for me, and it’s awkward at best. Good for a dedicated video rig but that’s a pile o' stuff anyway.

The big strength of the EVF is being built-in with little or no extra bulk, and no extra dangling thing around my neck (the loupe). But the D810 rear LCD seems to deliver better contrast and an image easier on my eyes (with the Zacuto Z-Finder).

At about $375, the Z-Finder is not cheap, but the optics are superb and it is absolutely essential to my work, simply the #1 accessory I use (if I drove 200 miles and forgot it, I’d have to turn around and go get it—no kidding). The Z-Finder comes with a base plate, which is entirely useless for me as it cannot be mounted together with the Really Right Stuff L-bracket I use, but it might be useful for handheld shooting for some shooters.

See also:

Michael Erlewine writes:

I use the D810 with an early Z-Finder, strapped on with their elastic bands
and balls. I strap it right over my L-Bracket and find it easier that way
that trying to hold it there. I need to be able to focus and hold diffusers
at the same time, so straps work best for me.

Believe it or not I have yet to look through the OVF, even once, and I shoot
everyday.. I use it in the field also, but forget the OVF because my work is all close-up.

DIGLLOYD: works well in a studio; I found it unworkable for field use where I also want to be able to use the OVF. But for some work styles, it might work well and/or be preferable to the OVF.

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