Review of the Portkeys LEYE II (HDMI)
If you regularly watch my BTS videos you already know I rarely use tilted screens or monitors when I am operating. For photography I love the viewfinder… and for video too…
The last Electronic View Finder I had in my hands didn’t do it for me. So I was reluctant to make yet another review of another affordable EVF. But I still find it interesting to see where things go, and if for us broke creators there are brands out there that create tools with us in mind. So Let's take a closer look at the Portkeys LEYE II
I’ve worked with different EVFs in the past and most of the ones I enjoyed working with were way off budget for me. The latest one I had was from Kinefinity for their latest MAVO 6K. I truly enjoyed it but at over 1999 Euros, this is something I definitely can't afford right now. I guess that you get what you pay for!
But the thing is if you strip it down to the bare essentials, and if you make a simplified EVF aimed at content creators. Not every project needs the speed of an SDI connection. Is it really hard to get something stripped down, affordable and worth using?
Here is the Portkeys LEYE II at a glance:
Display: 2.4-inch LCD, 1440x900 Resolution
8 bit Color Depth
ARRI Positioning Nato Rail & 1/4 Threaded Hole
Red Oak Diopter Swivel +8D~-3D Adjustable diopter
Supports DCI 4K HDMI
DC Power 7~24V
or CanonLP- E6 Battery (Not Included)
It’s small, it’s light, you can attach it almost anywhere without worrying about breaking the hot shoe of your camera. Because basically this is what this is, I believe it is aimed at all you DSLR, DSLM users that want to have a decent EVF for your video rigs.
The viewfinder has an HDMI input and can support up to 4K30p video. The 2.4″ Screen size LCD EVF has a 1440x900 effective resolution with 8bit Color Depth, and 300nit Brightness.
You now have at your disposal, focus peaking, zebra, waveform, histogram, and vectorscope functions… and more. The diopter of LEYE is adjustable from -3 to +8, which for people like me who don't see much without glasses allows us to operate the camera without them.
I power it with an LP6 battery, because I have a lot of them laying around. I tested it quickly with the CANON R3, the CANON R5 and Fujifilm GFX100s. It is really easy to use, I didn’t have to dive much into the manual to make it work. I surprisingly used it more than I thought I would for some of my recent YouTube videos.
The resolution is pretty good at this price, and the different options do help you nail your focus and exposure. Given the price point, and my bad history with affordable EVFs I was pleasantly surprised. It is actually a useful tool for anyone out there in need of a compact EVF for their mirrorless cameras, or any cameras who has a HDMI output.
It is hard to complain when we look at the price. At around 399 Euros here in France, they managed to make a good entry level EVF.
The only thing I noticed that I wasn’t happy about is the round sponge eye mask. That sponge mask is supposed to prevent direct sunlight from burning the LCD screen, and probably there to make the eyepiece more comfortable too. The thing is… it looks cheap and fragile. This part alone straight out the box makes the EVF look bad in my opinion, and Portkeys would have made a better decision choosing a different material for this. I am not sure this will stand the test of time to be honest, and maybe this is why they included an extra sponge in the package. It’s a shame because the EVF in itself is well made, and I am sure a lot of people will find it useful especially in situations where using a screen is impossible. Portkeys doesn't only make EVFs, they actually also make monitors… and more! If you are on a tight budget, be sure to check them out, it might be worth your time: Portkeys.com