Daniel Haggett

London based Lighting Cameraman / DoP

Here is my video review of the Zacuto recoil rig and their new EVF, the Gratical Eye.  There are more details and pictures below.

The first camera I used professionally was Sony's Betacam SP.  It was well balanced, it sat perfectly on the shoulder, you could zoom in a shoot things far away without wobbling.  Over the years, camera image quality improved, while camera ergonomics went backwards.

After a few years we all found ourselves buying boxes for cameras.  Being able to produce near cinema quality images is nice, but not if your rig is wobbling around on your shoulder and you can't see if the shot is in focus.

This is where Zacuto have stepped in and created something that really works.

Zacuto Recoil Gratical Eye C300 mkii

The recoil rig itself is pretty versatile.  It has a really long plate and can be used with most cameras out there.  Here, I am using it on the Canon C300 mark ii, but it fits nicely on to the Sony Fs7, F5/55 etc.

The Canon C300 range has always been a bit odd ergonomically, at least to my mind.  It is a really top heavy camera, and all of the inputs you would expect to be at the back, like the audio XLRs, are at the front.  Zacuto have managed to sort this out by relocating the LCD module and pushing the Canon side grip forwards.

The recoil rig works much better than I thought it would.  The unit really fits snuggly into the shoulder and makes on the shoulder shooting so much easier.  With my old rig, I would tend not to shoot with lenses longer than 50mm.  Now I put on longer lenses and feel a lot more comfortable.

The quality of the engineering and workmanship on this thing is amazing.  Everything is built to last.  Nothing at all is plastic.  

Zacuto Gratical Eye

The Gratical Eye itself is awesome.  I love how small this thing is.  Zacuto have taken away a few of the extra ports you get with the Gratical HD, to give a much more stripped down model.  The Gratical Eye is powered externally from a D-tap into a lemo connector, and the image comes from an SDI cable, and that is it.  It makes the viewfinder much smaller, and to my mind much better. 

As with all Zacuto EVFs, it comes with an absolute tonne of features, including, LUTS, false colour, peaking, scopes.  The scopes can even be switched between monitoring the LOG footage and the LUT.

The quality of the image is really good.  There have been a few shots, where looking at the LCD monitor I have thought details were being lost in the highlights, and then looked into the Gratical Eye and seen what is really going on, and have been pleased to see detail is still there.

Overall I would say this is a very high quality piece of gear that I can imagine owning for years and even swapping onto new rigs in the future when my current camera becomes obsolete.  Although it certainly isn't cheap, the Gratical Eye is a bargin when you consider the price of a dedidicated EVF from many of the major camera manufacturors.  The beauty of the Gratical Eye being that you can use it on any camera you choose.  As for the recoil rig, you get what you pay for here, its solidly built and will last years.


NB Ethics statement:  If you buy a product from the Zacuto product links above, I receive a small commission. My review of products on my site is based on what I think.  If I thought this product was bad, I would say so.