The Blackmagic URSA Viewfinder Works on a Canon C300 Mark II

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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:

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:

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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.

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Mounting

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.

Parts needed

Powering

Other stuff

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.

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 Mateo Cano Gómez Reply
Mateo Cano Gómez November 20, 2015

Will it work with the original blackmagic cinema camera??

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 20, 2015

Good question, we don’t have one in house. Will try when we get our hands on one though.

Oscar Goldman Reply
Oscar Goldman November 21, 2015

“Unfortunately the original C300 outputs an interlaced signal”

Holy shit, Canon is just clueless. Unbelievable. Their “digital cinema” camera was saddled with a 1930s CRT hack!

Claire McHardy Reply
Claire McHardy November 23, 2015

If i had the 702 small HD monitor and a C100 mk 1… ok i know its asking allot… but would it work comming out of the SDI of the 702 using the internal HDMI to SDI conversion of that monitor ?

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 24, 2015

Probably not, they usually don’t convert interlaced to progressive. They might do psf, but it has the same issues as interlaced.

 Keith Gresham Reply
Keith Gresham March 27, 2016

I would like to pair the Ursa Viewfinder with a BMPCC. Would either of these two converters work?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/857473-REG/Blackmagic_Design_CONVBATT_HS_HDMI_to_SDI_Battery.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1044816-REG/blackmagic_design_convmbhs24k_mini_converter_hdmi.html

The BMPCC has a 1080p output signal.

Keith

Reply
Pieter Bollen August 22, 2016

Do all the viewfinder focus & exposure tools work when attached to the c300MKII?