Lenser Viewfinder Simulator is a cost effective app that has a wide array of professional lens and camera systems for fast reference framing.
There’s always the need to share references compositions of a project – Discussions with the Director, a starting point for storyboard artists, references for Art and Lighting departments; it’s only natural that something as instant and ubiquitous as a smartphone would serve a suitable platform for sharing this information.
It’s why Viewfinder Simulator apps are popular nowadays – take some quick snaps on your phone – send to all.
Lenser approaches Viewfinder Simulation approaches from a cost-effective and easy-of-use angle.
At the time of writing, the £4.99 / $4.99 / € 5.49 price tag is considerably cheaper than other popular Viewfinder Simulator apps.
Having downloaded Lenser and having a quick play, I can see that it is indeed very easy to use.
A settings page gives you three main options – pick you camera, pick you lenses, pick your aspect ratio and you’re good to go.
You also have a second aspect ratio to act as an overlay guide (useful if you’re shooting Spherical lenses and are cropping to 2.35:1 in post for example).
In Viewfinder mode you can quickly swipe through focal lengths within your lens package, there’s an overlay on the bottom providing spec of the lens including max T stop and close focus.
You can set up some favourite camera packages to switch between for quick comparison, as well as leave out a particular focal length in the swipe function (if you don’t have access to a full set of lenses).
There’s a great body of professional camera formats and lens packages (listed below). It’s nice to see the mindfield of different RED sensors and formats in there in a concise manner.
How accurate is it?
I did a fast and loose test with in house kit to see how accurate the app is on an iPhone Plus.
The Lenser app is designed by DP Spenser T. Nottage for the professional market, so is missing smaller mirrorless camera systems and stills lenses.
I was able to match the RED Dragon camera format, but had to match my Milvus lenses to ZEISS CP2s instead.
Accuracy is pretty good. It certainly does the job for getting things in the same ballpark.
I would never advise anybody trusting a viewfinder app down to the pixel, so in this regard Lenser certainly does it’s job.
Lenser proudly claims a clean user interface. I would agree, everything is easy to access and simple, images are saved straight to your Camera Roll, making it easy to export images.
The camera integration is maybe something for development; it seems sometimes it auto exposes, other times it doesn’t. Same with focus (although I state this after only a couple of minutes trial, maybe I need time to understand it better).
Full list of compatible camera and lens formats can be found below:
This is an ongoing list, and the Lenser website suggests that requests for certain missing packages are always welcome.
Available on iOS devices, found here.