ZigView S2; Add Live View, Intervalometer, And Motion Sensing To Your D-SLR With This Compact Device

Granted, when hand holding my Canon EOS 5D D-SLR, I prefer to use the optical viewfinder for the utmost stability. But there are many times when I'd be just as happy to view the subject on the LCD--except, of course, that this camera, unlike newer models, lacks a live view display.

Well, I've found just the device that gives my 5D that capability (calling it a Digital Viewfinder), and then some. The ZigView S2 from Seculine (and available through Argraph) is one of the cleverest gadgets to come down the pike in a very long time. It offers an integrated intervalometer to help you capture a stream of events as stills and motion sensing to help with those fleeting moments that, till now, may have eluded capture. And there are a couple of other features you may find useful as well.

Some Assembly Required
You can't simply slide the ZigView onto the camera eyepiece right away. First, you order the ZigView with the correct eyepiece adapter for your D-SLR (from a choice of three designed to fit most popular models). Then you have to attach that adapter to the main body of the device with the aid of four tiny screws. The ZigView comes with a special screwdriver and extra screws, because they are easy to lose--but once attached, it should remain that way. Then slide off the accessory eyecup from the camera eyepiece and slide this over the eyepiece in its stead.

There is one more thing. You may find that the data area in the camera viewfinder is blocked by this new eyepiece. There are three spacers designed to correct this problem. After wrangling those tiny screws through a spacer, I decided I'd do better without it. The problem is that the ZigView display seems to shrink the image, so the data was nearly impossible to read. I preferred instead to simply refer to the LCD panel on top of the camera to verify all my data. And I chose to fill the ZigView display with the image by stretching it out all the way to the edges (a function of the general setup). Somewhere along the way, you'll need to recharge the lithium ion battery. One full charge is enough for at least an hour and a half of continued use.

(Top): The contrasting tones, resulting from ripples in the water, were enough to trigger the ZigView S2's motion sensor, even without a duck swimming past. The camera was on a tripod. (Above): With the camera on a tripod and focused in the direction of the turtle, the ZigView S2's Motion Sensing mode waited for the duck to swim by before triggering the camera. A resounding success!
All Photos © 2007, Jack Neubart, All Rights Reserved

Live View Monitor & Interface
When you're walking around, hold the camera away from your chest to prevent the ZigView from becoming dislodged after a bump or two against your body. I initially opted to view the monitor image in color. That, I later learned, works better with
close-ups and is less successful where there's lots of detail in the scene, so I opted for the Black and White Viewing mode at these times. What I really would have liked is a punchier screen. And maybe a hood to shade it. (Part of the problem appears to be the fact that you're looking through two finders--this plus the camera's.)

The display monitor flips up or down and swivels. There is some restriction to the movement, so be methodical to prevent damage. If the image appears upside down, briefly hit the Power button alongside the display to correct it. At the opposite end of this row of buttons is an Escape button. In between are Up/Down Cursor/Data buttons and an Enter/Execute button. The Enter/Execute button is the one used to initiate a process, such as to begin motion sensing. In Live View mode, repeatedly holding down the Enter/Execute key will cycle through 10 different Compositional Style modes, which can be a real boost for more dynamic picture-making. In other modes, it opens an on-screen menu with a host of parameters that give you ultimate control over practically every nuance in this device. For playback, you'll have to resort to the camera's monitor.

The buttons can sometimes be problematical and unresponsive, and I occasionally found myself repeatedly hitting a button until something happened. Perhaps there's a trick to it that I didn't get. Still, I'd like them to be more responsive.

(Top): The main menu indicating the diverse modes, from live view to motion sensing. (Above): The motion sensing setup screen lets you tweak settings to suit any subject and situation. Monitor activity so you'll know what works and what doesn't, and then save the settings for later.