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Review: Lightroom 4 Preset System by SLR Lounge



**This will also work on Lightroom 5 and Creative Cloud (CC)**

Overview : The Lightroom 4 Presets System & Digital DVD by SLR Lounge is a collection of 216 Presets including 189 Develop Presets, 27 Brush Presets, and a nearly 6 hour digital DVD featuring over 40 video tutorials to teach you how to get the most from this powerful system!

We are confident that this is the best Lightroom 4 Preset System available. It is designed to not only be powerful enough to create any effect, but also intuitive enough to achieve them in just a few clicks saving you boat loads of time!

We polled Lightroom 4 Preset System users asking what they would have expected to pay for this system. Answers ranged from $250 – $500+. We want all of our products to not only be incredible, but also a strong value. So we are making the SLR Lounge Lightroom 4 Preset System + Downloadable Digital DVD available for only $99!

Currently, Post Production Pye can cull, organize, and post produce at the rate of nearly 1,500 images with just a mouse and keyboard, and 1,800 images per hour with simply a mouse, programmable keyboard, and the SLR Lounge Lightroom 4 Preset System.

Note: The digital download includes large exercise files and HD video files which add up to several gigabytes. For those with slower internet connections, this may require long download times. In these situations, we suggest that you let the downloads run overnight or you simply purchase the physical copy.

Features :
  • Basic Color Correction & Faux HDR Processing
  • Vintage Fades and Washes
  • Black and White and Antique Efects
  • Tilt Shift and Toy Camera Special Effects
  • Detail Enhancing & Portrait Retouching

Quality/Usability : This review is based off of the digital download (7.41 gigabytes).

All photographers these days use Adobe Lightroom (or similar software) for all post-processing of images. There are presets that are already included with the program or there are some that are available to download for free and some that you will need to pay for. The ones that are included are usually useless. You can even make your own if you have the time.


You can purchase the DVD but if you're purchasing the digital files and downloading off of SLR Lounge's server, the combined file size is a whopping 7.41GB! The files are all in a .zip file are once extracted, each folder comes with its own specific instructions on how to use the files and how to install the presets into Lightroom. The installation is very easy and even comes with a video explaining more in depth on how to install the new presets.

Once you have purchased/downloaded the presets, installation is pretty easy and straight-foward. It even comes with a PDF explaining more in depth on how to install the new presets.

Installing the LR4 Preset System :

Windows & Mac Users – To install the presets, you simply need to copy the CONTENTS of each folder in your download to the Develop Presets folder and Local Adjustment Presets folder in Lightroom 4. To do so, follow these steps :
  1. OPEN LIGHTROOM 4
  2. ENTER PREFERENCES – Go to Edit > Preferences (press CTRL + , on Windows, CMD + , on Mac OSX)
  3. SHOW LIGHTROOM PRESETS FOLDER – Click on the Presets Tab and then click the Show Lightroom Presets Folder button as shown in the image below.
  4. INSTALL CONTENTS FROM DOWNLOAD – Note, Mac OSX’s “REPLACE” folder function will actually replace the existing content of a folder with the new folder rather than simply merging the two folders together. So, don’t change the name of the download folders and copy the entire folder into the Lightroom folder as it will replace any existing presets you may have. So for Windows and OSX users, install by simply entering the Lightroom folder as shown below:
    1. Enter the Lightroom Folder
    2. Enter the Develop Presets Folder
    3. Drag and drop in the Develop Presets CONTENT Only – Now you simply drag and drop in the develop presets from WITHIN the 01 - Place CONTENTS Into LR4 Develop Presets Folder directly into the Develop Presets folder on your computer as shown below. This means that you are directly copying the 00_MY MIXOLOGY through 07_SPECIAL EFFECTS into the Develop Presets.
      folder
    4. Enter the Local Adjustment Presets Folder – Now go back to the Lightroom Preferences folder and enter the Local Adjustment Presets folder, we are going to do the same thing, this time with our Local Adjustment (brush/filter) presets.
    5. Drag and drop in the Local Adjustment Presets CONTENT Only – Now you simply drag and drop in the local adjustment presets from the 02 - Place CONTENTS Into LR4 Local Adjustment Presets Folder directly into the Local Adjustment Presets folder on your computer
  5. CLOSE AND RE-OPEN LIGHTROOM – Installation is now complete. Simply close and re-open Lightroom 4 and you should see your newly installed Lightroom 4 Preset System! The Develop Presets will be available on the left panel inside of the Develop Module, while the Brush and Graduated Filter Presets will be available when selecting the Brushes/Graduated Filters from the Local Area Adjustments panel on the right panel of the Develop Module.
Updating the Lightroom 4 Preset System :

Windows & Mac Users – Periodically SLR Lounge will be releasing updates to the Lightroom 4 Preset System to fix bugs, add additional features and refine existing features based on user feedback. You can watch the Installing Updates Video Tutorial in Chapter 1, or you can follow the instructions below. Because updates can contain organizational and naming changes, we need to remove the existing Lightroom 4 Preset System installation prior to dragging and dropping in the new files (otherwise, you will have some duplicate presets where names have changed).
  1. SHOW LIGHTROOM PRESET FOLDER - Access the Lightroom 4 Preset Folders the same way you did in Step 3 of the Installation Instructions above. This time, enter the Lightroom folder containing two folders with our preset installation, 1) the Develop Presets folder and 2) the Local Adjustment Preset folder. First, enter the Develop Presets folder
  2. DELETE EXISTING LR4 PRESET SYSTEM FILES – With the exception of Mixologies in your 00 MY MIXOLOGY folder that you have customized and created yourself, you want to remove all of the additional Develop Presets. I recommend deleting all your 00 MY MIXOLOGY presets with the exception of the Mixologies that you created.
  3. ENTER LOCAL AREA ADJUSTMENT PRESETS FOLDER – Now back out to the root Lightroom Preset Folder and go into the Local Adjustment Presets folder
  4. DELETE LR4 PRESET SYSTEM LOCAL AREA ADJUSTMENT PRESETS – Delete all of the local area adjustment presets from the LR4 Preset System. Be careful not to delete your custom presets or other presets you may have installed that aren’t a part of the SLR Lounge Lightroom 4 Preset System. In our example, we only use the SLR Lounge LR4 Preset System, so we have selected everything for deletion
  5. INSTALL PRESETS FROM UPDATE – Now, simply follow steps 3 – 5 as shown above in the Installing the Lightroom 4 Preset System Section to install the updated preset files. Remember that if you kept existing MY MIXOLOGY presets in the MY MIXOLOGY folder, then you will need to copy the new MY MIXOLOGY content into the existing MY MIXOLOGY folder so that OSX doesn’t replace the entire folder.
  6. REORGANIZE MY MIXOLOGY FOLDER – If you kept your entire 00 MY MIXOLOGY folder, then you will want to open Lightroom 4 and reorganize your 00 MY MIXOLOGY folder to remove any duplicate or unwanted presets. All presets that have identical names to the new update will be replaced, while presets with names that might have changed in the update will remain (causing duplicates). The other option to avoid this step is to delete all existing Mixologies except for the custom Mixologies that you have created on your own as mentioned in Step 2 above.
So what is included with the presets?

189 Develop Presets – From 1-Click Mixologies, to Base Adjustments, to every type of curve (vintage, poppy, etc) you can imagine, to Color Toning and Special Effects; this system has everything you need to pull off virtually any look and effect within just a couple of clicks!
27 Brush Presets - For advanced retouch and detail enhancing, included are 26 Brush Presets that will help you retouch skin, enhance eyes, enhance backgrounds, and more!
28 Mixologies - Included are 28 One-Click Mixology Presets which include some of our favorite go-to studio effects, as well as some awesome creative effects and examples. Each built with the LR4 Preset System.
Preset System Digital DVD Download - Included in your purchase is the LR4 Preset System Digital DVD which contains 44 HD tutorials teaching you everything you need to know about the Lightroom 4 Preset System. From installation and updating, to how we created each and every Mixology, to advanced effects and retouching.
Ongoing Mixologies and Tutorials - SLR Lounge will constantly be releasing new Mixology recipes and tutorials showing you how to get the most from your LR4 Preset System! Simply follow them on Facebook and on the SLR Lounge Lightroom Page to see the latest and greatest!


Rather than the presets being all over the place, they were actually all organized. Click "Apply Setting" and adjust exposure, detail, etc. accordingly. There will be minor tweaking as it will not be perfect for all pictures. What I liked about the presets is that they were stackable. So you can actually choose different presets and they won't jeopardize each other. With the standard presets that were preloaded onto the software, it can get a little wonky and mess up your image. So no more having to go into Develop mode and dragging the slider for Highlights/Shadow; Lights/Darks; Clarity; etc. A few simple clicks and you'll get your designed settings. Time is crucial when you're editing 200+ images.

The Lightroom 4 Preset System currently features a total of six categories of effects. You probably won't be using all these categories as every photographer has their own style.

Mixologies, Base Adjustments, Color Curves and Special Effects
The mixology will get the most use. It takes your plain RAW file to a fully edited image within 3-7 clicks of the mouse. The standard presets are OK as it is a nice starting point for base adjustments as it brightens, sharpens and boosts up the contrast on your images.

Presets usually have a odd naming convention which required you to click through each preset to find which one you want to apply. With the Lightroom 4 Preset System, SLR Lounge has named their presets that are straight-forward, easy to remember and user-friendly.

The possibilities are endless with the amount of adjustments you can do to the base adjustments, color curves, color toning and special effects on your images. There are 5 categories for the Color Curves: bright washes, neutral washes, neutral punches, vintage punches and dark washes. The Special Effect group comes with some vignette, border and grain presets and the Color Toning comes with some color combination presets that helps put the finishing touches on the coloring of your images.


Brushes
The Lightroom 4 Preset System features 27 brush presets that you can use quite easily on a variety of images. If you're the type of person that wants to use Lightroom to do all your work instead of bringing images into Adobe Photoshop, the brushes are also organized.

Tutorials
For tutorials, I suggest finding a day or two where you won't be disrupted or have things to do. Each tutorial video ranges between 5 to 10 minutes long. Take the time to sit down and watch the tutorials one by one so that you can listen and learn from the tutorials as they would be helpful to you in knowing more about each presets. SLR Lounge includes images used in the tutorial so you can follow along. Pye takes each image and explains step-by-step the exact formulas he used to create each effect. Sample images ranges from wedding to portrait to landscape.

Below are some samples. [left is original; right is post processed with SLR Lounge presets]


Conclusion : Overall, the Lightroom 4 Preset System by SLR Lounge is a must for any photographer. It has all the presets you would need to post process. No unique names for each preset. The presets are titled appropriately so it's easy to find. Within a few clicks, you can get the image looking how you want it to look without having to fiddle with all the sliders.

All updates for Lightroom 4 are free. However, when a new version of Lightroom is released, you will have to purchase new presets for that new Lightroom version. However, users that purchased the Lightroom 4 Preset System will be rewarded, as their upgrade price will be significantly lower than new purchases.




Manufacturer: SLR Lounge
Site: Buy from SLR Lounge (Digital Download) / Buy from Amazon Prime (Physical DVD) / Buy from SLR Lounge (Digital & Physical)
Price: $99.00

Press Release: Sigma Announces 18-35 f/1.8 DC HSM Art for APS-C



RONKONKOMA, NY, Apr. 18, 2013 — Sigma Corporation of America (www.sigmaphoto.com), a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider for some of the world’s most impressive lines of lenses, cameras and flashes, today announced the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens, the market’s first zoom lens to achieve a maximum aperture F1.8 throughout the entire zoom range.

This revolutionary, wide aperture, standard zoom lens is created for DSLR cameras with APS-C size sensors, which translates to a focal range of 27-52.5mm on a 35mm camera. With a minimum focusing distance of 11 inches, and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.3, the 18-35mm is ideal for landscapes, portraits, still-life, studio, close-up and casual photography.


“Exceptionally fast apertures were previously unavailable in zoom lenses, so photographers turned to several prime lenses in a session to get bright images at various focal lengths. We’re incredibly excited to be the first manufacturer to bring the F1.8 standard zoom to the market and to provide photographers with a new level of creativity and convenience, with the outstanding image quality at the core of the new Sigma Global Vision,” said Mark Amir-Hamzeh, president of Sigma Corporation of America.

Amir-Hamzeh added that because developing a large aperture wide angle zoom lens can prove to be technologically and optically challenging, often resulting in various distortions, aberrations and field curvature, Sigma has tapped into its long history as a lens pioneer to overcome those issues in this new generation lens.

“Our experience with the wide angle designs of our 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 II DG HSM and our 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM, and our research and development in our Aizu factory have prepared us for this technological advancement,” he said. “Our wide, glass-molded aspherical lens and the incorporation of Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass have optimized power distribution of the optical elements and compensated for various aberrations, as well as curvature of field at the widest angle. We’re extremely proud of this achievement.”

The 18-35mm is the latest addition to the company’s company’s Art line of lenses, designed under the new Global Vision. The Global Vision lenses have a sleek new design with the manufacturing year stamped on the barrel, and are categorized by use into one of three groups: Art, Contemporary and Sports. The Art category delivers high-level artistic expression through sophisticated and abundant expressive power.

The new 18-35mm lens incorporates Sigma’s improved AF/MF switch and the use of Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) compound material, which has a high affinity to metal parts, consistently performs well at extreme temperatures, and reduces the size and weight of the lens. It is also compatible with Sigma’s new USB Dock, which will be available in coming months, enabling photographers to update lens firmware and adjust focus parameters from their computers.

Convenient handling is achieved with internal focusing and zooming, which prevents changes to the size of the lens. Additionally, the front part of the lens does not rotate, so special filters like circular polarizers can be used.

The 18-35mm lens’ Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting and provides sharp and high contrast images, even in backlit conditions. The petal-type hood that is supplied with the lens will provide extra protection from flare and ghosting. Sigma’s Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) ensures a silent, high-speed AF function and the optimized auto focus algorithm results in smooth focusing and full-time manual focusing capability. Lastly, the nine-blade, rounded diaphragm creates an attractive, round bokeh at large-aperture settings.

Source: Sigma

Press Release: Peak Design Launches Pro Team



Industry-leading adventure photographers now using Capture®, Leash® and Cuff® in the field

San Francisco, CA (April 5, 2013) — Peak Design, the camera accessory brand known for their innovative gear and several huge Kickstarter successes, now has a crew of top-notch professional photographers standing behind their products. The Peak Design Pro Team will be officially launched on Monday, April 15, via a week-long giveaway that will give enthusiasts a chance to win original prints from the Pro Team, along with the new Leash® and Cuff® camera strap products from Peak Design.

The Pro Team consists of some of the most recognizable names in mountaineering, surfing, snow sports, motorsports, wedding and portrait photography:

Juliet Lemon (UK) – Award-winning wedding, portrait and motorsports photographer.
Simon Pollock (Australia) – Music, wedding & portrait photographer, member of ThinkTank team.
Chris Burkard (USA) – Surfer Magazine staff photographer, co-authored “The California Surf Project”
John Rourke (UK) – LeMans motorsports photographer, founder of Adrenal Media.
Tero Repo (Switzerland) – Shoots for North Face & Olympic snowboarder Xavier De Le Rue.
Carli Davidson (USA) – Animal portrait photographer, creator of award-winning SHAKE series.
Alexandre Buisse (France) – Award-winning commercial mountain & climbing photographer and author.

In addition to using Peak Design’s Capture®, Leash® and Cuff® products in the field, these professionals will be aiding Peak Design in future product development through their feedback and testing of prototypes. Pro Team members were intentionally selected from a variety of genres – many of which involving extreme sports and environments – in order to prove the versatility and durability of Peak Design products.

“We want folks from all backgrounds of photography – from beginners and hobbyists all the way up to pros – to know that our products are designed to hold up to any environment and any kind of physical activity,” says Peter Dering, Peak Design founder and head engineer. “We couldn’t be more excited to have this incredible group of photographers on our team, ensuring that we continue to make even better gear.”

Peak Design Pro Giveaway Details
The public will have the opportunity to win high-resolution poster-size prints of original photos taken by the Peak Design Pro Team, as well as the company’s latest products, Leash® and Cuff®. Contest details are as follows:
  • Timing: Monday, April 15 to Monday, April 22
  • To Enter: Details will be posted on Peak Design’s Facebook Page (facebook.com/peakdesignltd) for the duration of the contest.
  • Contact: For questions relating to this promotion, please contact Adam Saraceno at adam.saraceno@peakdesignltd.com.
Peak Design Coupon Code Amazon TrekPak Custom SLR

Deal: Canon EOS 60D 18.0MP DSLR + 70-300mm Lens $860 at Amazon



Amazon has the Canon EOS 60D 18.0MP DSLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body only) for $661. Add camera to cart, then add the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens ($499) separately to cart to reach $1160 - $300 off with coupon code SFAD8JYK = $860 with free shipping. Select Amazon.com as merchant for all items.
  • 18.0 MP CMOS, DIGIC 4 Imaging Processor, up to ISO 6400
  • Vari-angle 3.0" LCD, SD/SDHC/SDXC, Live View Shooting
  • 1080p HD Movie Capture, HDMI output, 3.5" mic input

Review: STAR Photo PT-324 4-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod


Review: STAR PT-324 4-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod

Overview : The STAR PT-324 4-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod is a sturdy but lightweight large-size professional tripod that is perfect for indoor/outdoor shooting. It weighs only 3.7 lbs and is able to support up to 37 lbs photo gear. With the reverse folding legs (with folding length 20"), it can be easily to pack in carry-on bags and backpacks. The latest generation of 8-layers carbon fiber tubing makes tripods 60% stronger than conventional carbon fiber tripods.

Many other features make the PT-324 an ideal tripod for photographers. One leg can be disassembled and attached with center column as a monopod in a minute. The improved anti-dust lock and twists make tripods easily and preciously to adjust. A foam grip assists the photographer to easily grab and carry around. The central column can be disassembled in one minute and convert the tripod to macro photography. The hook under center column allows attaching the ballast for added stability in windy conditions. The included foot spikes work great at loose ground.

Features :
  • 8x layer latest generation carbon fiber, 60% stronger
  • Weights only 3.7 lbs.
  • Supports up to 27 lbs.
  • 69.6" maximum with center column extended
  • 57.8" maximum with column retracted
  • Easily convert to a monopod
  • Included foot spikes for loose ground
  • Comes with a soft bag for convenient transport and storage

Quality/Usability : I've been using a Dolica AX620B100 for quite some time and although it was really affordable and worked well, it was time to upgrade to something that was a little more sturdier and lighter in weight. Star Photo USA is an aftermarket Chinese manufacturer. They aren't as big as Manfrotto or other big name companies but after seeing them at PhotoPlus Expo 2012 and seeing their products, it looked promising.


Included with the STAR PT-324 Carbon Fiber Tripod is a tripod, storage bag, shoulder strap, manual and two tools. The instruction manual doesn't tell you much except for the basic information on how to use the tripod. Since it's an overseas products, there's bound to be typos.


The STAR PT-324 comes with a soft bag for convenient transport and storage. The outside has a zippered pocket which you can store business cards or documents. One each end of the bag are hooks that lets you connect a shoulder strap to it. There are also two nylon handles and on one of the handles, it has a padded velcroed closure strap to keep both handles together for easier transporting. The interior also has a zippered compartment for additional items. There's also a little flap to prevent the zipper from scratching your tripod. With the tripod placed inside the bag, there are enough space for a ball head or video fluid head when it's mounted to the tripod.


High-end tripod these days are made of carbon fiber material. Carbon fiber are very durable, won't corrode and very light weight. The STAR PT-324 is made of the latest generation of 8-layers carbon fiber tubing which makes the tripod 60% stronger than conventional carbon fiber tripods.

The twist lock didn't require much twisting before you can extend the legs. According to the manufacturer, the twist lock are anti-dust so you don't have to worry about the twist lock not working or getting stuck because of particles stuck inside.


The upper portion of the tripod is made of durable aluminum material. Each leg of the tripod can be adjusted to three different supporting angles which can meet various request of shooting angles. To adjust to different angles, press the angle-adjuster with your finger while pulling the tripod leg to your desired angle. The tool that is included is used to tighten the screws on the tripod leg in the event that it feels loose.


The tripod weighs only 3.7 lbs. and can support up to 27 lbs. The height of the tripod is a maximum of 69.6" with center column extended and a maximum of 57.8" with column retracted. At it's tallest height with all legs extended, the tripod was sturdy.


The tripod foot is screwed in and made of durable rubber. Mine didn't include metal foot spikes that allow you to dig into loose ground for additional traction but they are suppose to be included.


Like all tripods, there is a hook on the bottom of the center column that lets you attach a sandbag or your backpack to give additional stability. With the bottom of the center mount removed, you can flip the center column and insert it from the bottom of the tripod. Now, you can have your camera hanging upside down if you need a lower shot. A quicker option if you need to get low ground shots is to lift the tripod legs all the way up and turn the tripod upside down.


What I like about the ¼-20 ball head screen is that you can remove the base and screw and flip it around to unveil a ⅜ inch mount for Video Fluid heads. This tripod can accommodate both types without having to deal with additional parts.

Conclusion : Overall, the STAR PT-324 4-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod is on par with other carbon fiber tripods. There are multiple angles the tripod can be placed. I like the fact that both ⅜ and ¼ is available on the screw mount. The manufacturer claimed that the tripod can turn into a monopod but nothing was stated in the manual and I've tried unscrewing every leg possible and nothing would unscrew. Looking at the pictures online, the leg that does come off has a longer foam handle grip on the leg. With the PT-324, all the tripod legs have the same length foam handle grip.

I also didn't received the spiked foot. It doesn't bother me as I won't be using it at all.




Manufacturer: STAR Photo
Site: Buy from Amazon
Price: $429.99


Deal: Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT Flash $485 at Abes of Maine



Abes of Maine has the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT Flash for Canon Digital SLR Cameras for $500 - $15 off with coupon code LOYALTY15 drops it to $485 with free shipping. Features wireless radio control, bounce and swivel head, white balance correction filters and a guide number of 60.

Use Mr. Rebates and get an additional 2% cashback rebate. This saves you an additional $10 making it $475! For more information on how to use Mr. Rebates, click HERE.

Deal: 1-Year Magazine Photography Subs for $5: Outdoor Photographer, more



DiscountMags discounts a selection of 1-year photography magazine subscriptions to $4.99. The deals:

Outdoor Photographer Magazine 1-Year Subscription (10 issues)
Popular Photography Magazine 1-Year Subscription (12 issues)
Digital Photo Magazine 1-Year Subscription (7 issues)

Of note, you can purchase up to a 3-year subscription at this per-year price for each of these magazines.

Deal: Canon U.S.A. EOS Camera, Lens and Speedlite Rebates Available




Canon's new rebate program is now available that started on April 14, 2013. A bunch of lenses and cameras are part of the rebate program.

Review: VARAVON Multi Finder Uni LCD Viewfinder


Review: VARAVON Multi Finder Uni LCD Viewfinder

Overview : The Multi Finder UNI optical viewfinder is a necessary tool for shooting sharp and stable video with DSLR cameras. Whether shooting handheld or on a tripod, this turns a camera's 3 to 3 1/2 inch LCD screen into a clear, easy-to-focus viewfinder that lets you see your image in magnified detail even under the brightest sunlight. The Multi Finder UNI provides an extra degree of handling comfort and a crucial point of contact—between camera and eye—that adds stability to any handheld video.

Works as a magnifying viewfinder, a low angle finder and a sunshade.

The new Multi Finder has more adjustments side to side, forward and back, as well as up and down to fit DSLRs from Canon and Nikon. The entire loupe can be removed to leave behind a sunshade, or remove the entire LCD Multi Finder with the quick release baseplate.

Features :
  • New designed Multi Plate and adjustable Up/Down body.
  • Adaptable to all kind of DSLR.
  • Easy to install, easy to maintain.
  • Take your filming to the new level with VARAVON MultiFinder!

Quality/Usability : Shooting video with a DSLR camera is starting to become more popular among videographers, amateurs, professionals and even studios. It's crucial that your subject or scene is in focus as well as being able to see without having to squint or be limited to a viewing size. That's where viewfinders come into play. Rather than view your subject through the small viewfinder on your camera, this lets you use the live view mode via LCD screen on your camera as your viewfinder. A view finder also adds additional stability.


The Varavon Multi Finder Uni LCD Viewfinder comes well packed. It's covered in plastic zip-lock bags and protected with styrofoam that is shaped exactly for the multi finder.


The Multi Finder measures 7.9 inches in length (with plate attached; 4.8 inches without), 3.5 inches in height and 3.8 inches in width. The total weight for the view finder weighs in at 1lb.


The view finder accommodates 3.5 inch LCD screen and the height can be adjusted up or down. To adjust the height, use the allen key and loose the screw on the side of the view finder. Adjust it to the height and once it's correct, tighten the side screw. Now slide your view finder over your LCD screen. The back side of the LCD screen finder that touches the LCD screen has a rubber border all around the edge. This prevents any scratches to your LCD screen. I have a GGS Screen Protector and the Varavon Multi Finder Uni worked well with it.

Also underneath the view finder, there are three sets of bolts. This allows you to move the bracket left or right in the event that you need to shift the view finder.


The viewfinder doesn't really work well with grips attached to cameras. On a Canon 5D Mark III and OEM BG-E11 grip, the height of the view finder was at it extended height and it wasn't as secure nor was there really much support.


A great feature about the universal base plate is that it is adjustable. It can accommodate multiple cameras. You can slide the bracket left or right and the screw up or down. This all depends on what camera you use and where the tripod screw mount is located.

Align the center of the plate with the center of your camera screen. Once it is aligned, move the screw plate over the tripod screw mount and hand tighten with the red dial. You can also use the wrench to tighten it even more. Once the universal plate is in place, you can now attach the view finder. There are also two brackets that helps locks the plate in place so it does not shift forward and back.

Since the plate is not a quick release plate for any tripods, there are two (2) screw holes towards the front of the plate that allows you to attach any quick release plates that you may want to use.


On the loupe optics, there is a dial. This dial allows you to adjust the focus. It's kind of like the dial on your camera view finder that lets you change the diopter.

 

There are also two levers on the side. This open/closes the cover. If the lever is up, the screen cover is up (closed). If the lever is down, the screen cover is down (open). When it's open, you're able to insert the view finder or just use it as a sunshade.


To remove the optic, there is a locking lever underneath it. Lift the top cover and press the locking lever down and slide the optic out and put the cover back down. To insert the optics into the multi finder, simply lift the top cover and slide the optic on to the grooves until you hear it click into place.

  

Other than the usual straight view finder, the unique feature on the Varavon Multi Finder products is it’s ability to achieve low angle shots by use of specially aligned mirrors. The optics can be removed if you need to use it as a simple sunshade and the quick release system makes it easy to remove the entire view finder. You can remove the optics even if you're doing low angle shots but that is a personal preference.

Varavon claims that the their Multi Finder will not produce ghost phenomenon because it uses a Front Surface Mirror. With the Front Surface Mirror, the reflector is on top of the glass rather than the glass being on top of the reflector like a normal mirror.


Conclusion : Overall, the VARAVON Multi Finder Uni LCD Viewfinder works on all if not most DSLR cameras. Varavon sells the Multi Finder specifically for the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Nikon D800 for a MSRP of $310. Not only do they cost more than the Uni version, but if you ever decide to upgrade your camera, the Multi Finder Uni probably won't work with your new camera. The Uni not only works with cameras only, but it also works with cameras with battery grips. But from our usage on a 5D3, the view finder was extended to it's tallest and wasn't as secure.

We were able to see the full LCD screen without any displays being cut off in our view. This is crucial as no one should be shifting their head or eyes while recording just to see the displays on the LCD screen.

The Multi Finder Uni is bit pricey compared to other view finders on the market but you get three items in one. You get a regular view finder, sunshade and low angle finder.




Manufacturer: Varavon
Site: Buy from B&H Photo
Price: $295.00
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