I recently made this video where I showed you how to use the Blackmagic URSA Viewfinder with any camera. It involves a few parts including a 4K recorder for signal processing. In this article I’ll discuss how the same great EVF could be used with the Canon C300 mark II camera.
Why the Blackmagic URSA Viewfinder? It’s a great OLED viewfinder that gives you a nice high resolution 1080p image with nice optics and a diopter adjustment and it is kind of affordable for the quality it gives us.
Unfortunately it was made specifically for the Blackmagic URSA and Blackmagic URSA Mini cameras. Unlike the Sony FS7, luckily it works pretty well with the Canon C300 mark II.
There are a few requirements to use this EVF:
The URSA Viewfinder needs an SDI 1080p source.
You will need some way to power the URSA Viewfinder with a 12V female 4-pin XLR.
Unlike most other cameras, like the original C300, FS7 or a7S that output an interlaced signal, the Canon C300 mark II outputs 1080p. Also the camera has a nice mounting point that can be used for the viewfinder. All we need is a power source. Here is one suggestion how to do it:
This is a very basic modification, meant to show you that it’s easy to make the URSA Viewfinder work. I’m sure you’ll find a better way to install that v-mount battery than my quick and dirty one.
To mount the viewfinder we can use the C300 mark II’s top plate. There are several threads and we can simply use two 1/4″ screws and some plastic washers to secure it. This way however this is only limited forward / backward adjustment. If you want to get more play to adjust the viewfinder position you could get the Blackmagic EVF shoe, but it is part of the URSA Mini Shouldermount kit and doesn’t give you the correct mounting holes that match the C300.
To use the C300 LCD unit I simply added a cold-shoe to the top of the URSA Viewfinder. That’s it.
The SDI cable of the viewfinder needs a small SDI extension, as it is too short by a few centimetres.
Blackmagic URSA Viewfinder
[UPDATE Dec 2015]: Switronix C300 mark II V-Mount Plate – This new accessory will power the camera and the EVF.
Lanparte VBP-02 V-Mount Plate – Of course other multi-power battery plates will also work.
12V D-Tap to 4-Pin XLR cable – cable that powers the EVF. (Lanparte 4-Pin Female XLR Adaptor – Converts a 12v miniplug (v-mount plate) to 4-pin XLR.)
V-Mount Battery – This is the cheapest one I found, maybe not the best. It can be charged with the Lanparte plate which includes an AC adaptor.
SDI extension cableCold Shoe with 3/8″ screw – This mounts on top of the Viewfinder to give you a cold shoe space for the C300 LCD.
Cable Ties – to arrange the cables.
1/4-20″ 1-inch (25mm) screws – Two of those screws will attach the Viewfinder to the cage.
large nylon washers for 1/4″ screws – Get some nylon washers so that the Viewfinder sits nicely and the Viewfinder isn’t damaged. You’ll also need an allen-key for those as well.
Total cost: $2000,00 (including battery)
Is this worth it? You will have to decide. As an alternative to other, more expensive EVF’s the Blackmagic Viewfinder surprised me with great quality and it was easy to focus. On the other hand it has almost no internal functions and the new Zacuto Gratical X is another very good option. Together with the practical Zacuto Axis Mini attachment it comes down to the same price exactly.
The original C300 & C100
The Lanparte VBP-02 V-Mount Plate includes a cable that powers the C100 / C300 / C500 directly with 8.4V. This of course is very convenient if you own one of those cameras, so you can power the whole system with a single battery.
Unfortunately the original C300 outputs an interlaced signal so the modification with the URSA Viewfinder won’t work, just like on the Sony FS7.