The film tech news arrived at a breakneck pace both before and after the show, with SmallHD announcing the Sidefinder just before NAB opened its doors, an innovative electronic viewfinder that doubles as a full HD field monitor.
This past January, we ran an article concerning the state of resolution for electronic viewfinders (EVFs), which was a sobering answer to those searching for 4K EVFs in a market that doesn't yet have a full HD model.
SmallHD, a subsidiary of the Vitec Group (which also owns Teradek), debuted its 5" full HD on-camera field monitor, the 502, in March of this year. Now it has announced the Sidefinder, a combination EVF and field monitor that uses the full HD 502 as its display. It also features an innovative flip-out design, a smaller footprint than many EVFs on the market and, of course, the requisite film-centric features, like an adjustable diopter and field of view, 3D LUT support, universal mounting via 15mm rod and 1/4" 20 accessory holes, scopes and more.
Okay, now for another sobering truth: the Sidefinder, while employing a full HD display, only exhibits a 1366x768 image through its EVF, which means we're still waiting for the first true full HD electronic viewfinder. But the versatility of the Sidefinder and pro-ready feature set make it an attractive option. Pricing and availability hs been confirmed as $1499 and 'this summer'.
Check out the Sidefinder VIDEO here (sorry, no embed link at this time). And don't miss the full press release from before the show on Page Two!
Full Press Release
Sidefinder—SmallHD’s Breakthrough new Viewfinder and Monitor Combo
Premieres at NAB C9548
Cary, North Carolina: April 7, 2015—SmallHD introduces a ground breaking new concept in affordable on-camera displays. The Sidefinder is a true high definition, fully featured, electronic viewfinder that boasts a groundbreaking benefit: a 5-inch, fold-out, Full HD display for use as a field monitor.
"Our goal for the Sidefinder was a lofty one: create the best EVF on the market, and somehow make it affordable," SmallHD co-founder Wes Phillips explains. "It needed the highest resolution, the biggest diopter range, excellent battery life, minimal size and weight, a huge choice of mounting options and no noticeable lag. This pursuit eventually led us to a rugged design that also includes a 5-inch Full HD flip-out display—an unbelievable bonus. Throw in the software feature set we've created and the Sidefinder becomes two truly cutting edge products for the price of one."
Unparalleled specs and true multifunctional use are just half the story. The real magic of the device is in its compact, ergonomic design. Its patent pending "folded" shape means a footprint smaller than many of today's third party EVF solutions, while offering a much bigger screen boasting more than double the viewing area in most cases. Critically, its shape also allows operators to slide the viewfinder closer to the camera than any other third party EVF, eliminating a common source of neck strain during shoulder mounted operation.
The foundation of the Sidefinder is SmallHD’s powerful new 502 field monitor. Its immense tool set and simple user interface translates directly into the operation of the Sidefinder, while adding several unique settings that may be customized based on user preference, such as an adjustable field-of-view.
"The ideal field-of-view for a viewfinder is a highly polarized topic," comments Dale Backus, SmallHD co-founder and product visionary. "Some want a large field-of-view to achieve accurate focus more quickly, while others prefer it to be smaller so that shot composition is easier and eye strain is minimized. The Sidefinder is the first electronic viewfinder to provide a highly adjustable field-of-view of 20-degrees to 40-degrees so that no preference is left behind."
Shooters also get to choose how they control the Sidefinder. Since the user interface of the 502 field monitor is so simple, it has been transplanted onto a tiny omnidirectional remote that can be mounted right at your fingertips so that camera operators never have to move their hand away from the camera to instantly see focus and exposure tools.
The Sidefinder is also incredibly flexible when it comes to mounting options. Shipping standard with a specialized side-mount bracket, the EVF can be fastened to any camera setup using a 15mm rod system, 1/4-20 based EVF mount, NATO rail clamp, and even an Arri-style Rosette mount.
Using a built-in LP-E6 battery bracket, the Sidefinder accepts power from rechargeable Canon LP-E6 batteries. External power may be provided via D-tap using a regulated LP-E6 adapter cable, or from an AC adapter that also snaps into the monitor's battery plate.
For added versatility, the slimline 502 monitor swiftly detaches from the optical system of the Sidefinder altogether for use as a stand-alone compact monitor on a jib-arm, gimbal rig, slider or other camera support.
Price and availability will be announced at NAB 2015 (SmallHD Booth C9548). For more information on mounting options, software tools, inputs and other cool stuff, visit: