Deity Mira Viewfinder for the C300/C500
A couple of years ago, while we were preparing for an international shoot, Sony factories in the far east suffered terrible devastation and all production of HDCAM tapes ceased. When the news broke, every major production and post production house in the world immediately started panic buying tapes and stockpiling them. Overnight, smaller production companies like ours faced disaster – no tapes available – anywhere in the world.
Our Broadcaster clients have strict technical requirements for what formats can be used for field capture and delivery of a completed show. And as an HDCAM only house – with some $200,000 invested in HDCAM equipment – we found ourselves up the proverbial creek.
A couple weeks later, some ‘suppliers’ started cropping up…an HDCAM field tape that normally cost $28 was available – for $200. Master tapes for delivery were going for $1000 instead of $120.
So – we retooled completely. A Sony F3 liked to a nano flash recording at 220mbps on CF cards, mounted on a bastardized rig. Then a year later, the C300 came out and we were able to source one of the first available in the US for use on a series we shot last year.
Cameras like the C300 and F3 are capable of stunning image quality in the documentary world. They are also an absolute pain in the **** to use for the rough and tumble of documentary work. Their form factor requires rigs for shoulder mounting – none of which are ever as robust as a big body broadcast style camera of old.
But the big issue has always been the viewfinder options. I miss the stunning quality of the Sony C30W that worked with the HDCAM cameras. Until yesterday the best compromise for us had been the Zacuto viewfinder – but this brought mounting arms, adaptors, extra batteries, naff HDMI connections and picture quality that was usable but not particularly good. And it was far from cheap.
The Deity Mira is more a loupe than a viewfinder – it clips onto the Canon C300/C500 screen but still allows the full motion of the screen – and works for shoulder mounted configurations. Most of all – it allows viewing of the excellent waveform display when in use – something that couldn’t be achieved with the Zacuto even when outputting onscreen displays via the HDMI port.
I took it out in the field yesterday when filming a ‘wild west horse show’ here in Florida (cowboys originated in Florida, not Texas, and the state has a fantastic farming history).
Even in the intense sunshine of the Florida early summer, the DM allowed full use of the camera without glare or light leaks and – finally – made for an excellent quality viewfinder in use.
I can’t recommend it highly enough.
There really isn’t much else to say about it – it fits well, is really nicely made and takes full advantage of the high quality display of the C300.
It is the first accessory for these small body cameras that I have felt was worth the asking price (don’t get me started on Zacuto pricing for rig components).
One drawback – in the minimal configuration in the pictures here, you can’t rotate the vf around from top mounted to side mounted without putting some strain on the screen hinge – I don’t like doing that so usually slip the whole screen/mic assembly off the camera body, rotate the screen for shoulder mount use and then slip back into its cold shoe.
And yes, I did get it covered in dust – camera still needs a clean.
I got mine from Abelcine in New York – they were in stock – but check with Deity Mira for your local supplier – they responded to my emailed questions within 24 hours and were very helpful.