Carry Speed VF-4 Universal LCD View Finder - Initial Review and User Experience

All above Carry Speed VF-4 Universal LCD View Finder with Panasonic G6 and 14-140mm lens.

My Carry Speed VF-4 Universal LCD View Finder arrived yesterday and I've had an opportunity to check it out for video and stills. First impressions are very positive. Its very light to begin with but actually feels pretty well made (however see*). I've tried it on all my cameras and it is a bit fiddly to fit. There are adjustments up and down and side to side to get it to sit right over the live view screen, but it didn't take me long to figure it out. It gives a magnified view of the screen and with the eyecup fitted gives a very large image. It is a screen so its not the same quality as using a good EVF, but this is more than made up for by the size of the image you see.

This is it fitted onto my GH3 + Grip.

This is still very light. It is big obviously, but still very comfortable to hold and use.

The eyecup and the ability to brace against my face gives extra stability. For the first time I actually considered using the zoom at its longest end. Its not perfect, but as you can see below with a video test I shot. It does open this possibility up.

This added stability also works for still images as well. Combined with the OIS in the 14-140mm lens, it gives the option to keep at low ISO settings.

Having tried it with different cameras today and used it for video and stills, I must say that its a very impressive viewfinder. I've tried Zacuto and Hoodman before and this is certainly a cheap option, The whole thing, with the extension bracket which makes fitting a lot easier, cost me £145. It is a different experience looking at the live view screen through a loupe, and I must admit it was nicer than I thought. Looking through it with one eye and closing the other, the image is huge and much easier to look around and see if the composition is right than with an EVF. 

Since it can be used on small cameras as well as DSLR's it would give a viewfinder option for cameras without an EVF, though it does obviously change the nature of a small camera, turning it into a much bigger one. However it certainly won't make it a much heavier one.

I like the stability and for me its a much better option than holding out the camera in front of me. If you shoot video, then at the price its well worth a try. It is also useful for stills, for people who would get the benefit from the enlarged view. I'll be coming back to it, but as a preliminary conclusion I would definitely give it a recommendation. *My only concern is how sturdy is it, and how much taking off and reassembling it would take. The screws are mostly plastic and they are already showing some wear from using the Allen key (supplied) to fit it and take it apart. However, once I settle on one camera to use it with, I imagine they will remain in one position all the time. 

More as and when I use it.

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.

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