The Panasonic GH4 has a great EVF, but a terrible eyecup. Is the G-Cup the solution you’ve been looking for?
The GH4’s high-resolution electronic viewfinder (EVF), lets you put your eye right up to the camera when shooting video, making it one of the few hybrid cameras that you can actually use like a dedicated video camera without resorting to bulky loupes on the LCD screen.
Unfortunately, the GH4’s EVF doesn’t have a proper eyecup, preventing you from fully immersing yourself in what you’re shooting. The paltry rubber bumper around the EVF doesn’t block out external light and it’s far from comfortable when shooting for long periods.
Miller & Schneider’s new G-Cup is the first (and only) eyecup tailor-made for the Panasonic GH4’s EVF. The G-Cup lets you ditch the bumper and replace it with a real eyecup for the EVF.
Miller & Schneider sent over the G-Cup and I’ve been shooting with it to see how well it performs in actual production. It is a solid eyecup, though there couple things that may keep it from being a perfect fit for some shooters.
Just the Stats Ma’am
- Compatibility: Panasonic GH4 / Panasonic GH3
- Shape: Circular
- Material: Rubber
- Price: $34.95 (product info)
Before we dive in, here’s a quick refresher on the key features a good eyecup needs to have:
- Blocks light — first and foremost, an eyecup needs to block out external light so that you can view the EVF’s image without any distractions.
- Comfortable — a comfortable eyecup allows you to shoot all day without fatigue.
- Firm yet Flexible — a good eyecup provides an additional point of contact with the camera, improving stability. However, an overly-firm eyecup will give you headaches, so it also needs to be supple and flexible.
- Full Visibility — the eyecup must provide a full view of the EVF from edge to edge. There should be no vignetting, nor should it push your eye further away from the already-small EVF.
- Compatible with Eyeglasses — the eyecup should be able to accommodate those wearing glasses and still be comfortable and effectively seal out light.
- Simple Setup — the eyecup should be easy to mount when shooting with the EVF, but also quick to remove when you do not need it.
Further Reading: Eyecup Essentials: Why You Need a Real Eyecup for the Panasonic GH4
Installation: A Complete Replacement
The G-Cup isn’t Miller & Schneider’s first time at the eyecup rodeo. They previously created the C-Cup— an eyecup for the Canon C100.
However, while the C-Cup fit over the C100’s EVF housing, the G-Cup actually replaces the GH4’s existing rubber bumper. The G-Cup features a plastic bracket that slides right into grooves on the camera that hold the original bumper.
As a result, installation is dead simple:
- Slide off rubber bumper
- Slide on G-Cup
- Optional: Throw original bumper into a dark corner of a pitch black room in that abandoned house in the middle of the forest at the edge of town (you know the one).
The G-Cup is securely attached to the GH4 thanks to the custom-designed bracket, so you don’t have to worry about losing the eyecup if camera is bumped. That said, the G-Cup does have a tighter fit than the original bumper, so you’ll need to use a bit of pressure to push it all the way down.
Also, I disable this feature, but if you use the GH4’s automatic EVF/monitor switching, you’ll be happy to hear that the G-Cup is fully compatible with the eye sensor below the EVF.
A Good Seal
Thanks its wide circular shape and flexible rubber, the G-Cup does an excellent job of sealing out external light. When you put your face up to the G-Cup, your eye is in complete darkness and only the EVF is visible, allowing you fully focus on what you’re shooting.
The G-Cup’s symmetrical shape also means that it seals out light equally well for right-eye and left-eye shooters.
Like a Pillow for Your Eye
I’ve tested several eyecups with the GH4, some of which were so firm and uncomfortable that they gave me a headache within minutes. Thankfully, the G-Cup is very comfortable.
The outer edge of the G-Cup is rounded and feathered to a soft edge to minimize any harsh pressure when you press the eyecup against your face.
The G-Cup’s rubber is soft and flexes easily, so it readily conforms to the contours of your face, rather than fighting against you.
Visibility: A Bit Dark Around the Edges
The G-Cup’s wide shape is great for blocking out light and providing a comfortable fit, but it also may reduce visibility for some shooters.
The main issue stems from how far the G-Cup protrudes from the rear of the camera. With the GH4’s original bumper, your eye is basically right up against the EVF, allowing you to easily view the image from edge to edge.
By contrast, the G-Cup pushes your face almost 1.5 inches away from the EVF.
This might not sound like a lot, but this additional distance from the small EVF is enough to make it difficult to see the entire screen at a glance.
The effect is similar to looking at the EVF through a keyhole, where you need to move your head to “look around” to see different portions of the image. You can simulate what this is like by positioning the GH4’s EVF 1.5 inches away from your eye to see if this is an issue for you.
The G-Cup is quite flexible, so you can push your face into the G-Cup to bring the EVF closer to your eye. This allows you to see more of the screen, but it may not be enough to see the entire screen. Also, the additional pressure against your face makes using the eyecup less comfortable, especially if you wear glasses.
The inner part of the G-Cup that borders the screen may also be too small, as there is a noticeable amount of vignetting around the image. At first, I thought the vignetting was due to the lens I was using, but quickly discovered that the G-Cup was causing it. This made it difficult to accurately evaluate the image during shooting.
Visibility would be much improved if the G-Cup were shortened a bit, allowing your eye to get closer to the EVF. In fact, though I hate to lose the G-Cup’s comfortable rounded edge, I may be cutting some material off the eyecup soon to see how much of a difference it makes.
The G-Cup’s wide outer edge does overlap the GH4’s flip-out OLED screen a bit, but it doesn’t cause any problems with accessibility. The G-Cup is so flexible that it simply bends out of the way when opening the screen.
When closing the screen, the G-Cup’s bottom edge is easily moved out of the way of the screen with a single finger.
A Near Perfect Fit
There are a lot of things to love about the G-Cup. It’s well-made, installs in seconds, completely seals out light, and is also very comfortable.
The visibility and vignetting issues are really the only things stopping me from using the G-Cup as much as I would like to, so I would love to see revised version of the G-Cup that resolves these issues.
With these issues out of the way, the G-Cup could be the perfect eyecup for the GH4 EVF.
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