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Friday, October 1, 2004

Gadget Bag: What A View!

Viewing accessories such as LCD hoods and magnifiers can vastly improve your photographic experience

A right-angle viewfinder is a related accessory generally used for macro photography or in any situation where you need to shoot at unusual angles, such as below your waist or above your head. These L-shaped attachments to an SLR's eyepiece can be used with digital and film cameras and often can be rotated 360 degrees for much flexibility in shooting.

For some photographers, a beneficial feature of the LCD screen is that you can look at it with both eyes, unlike a viewfinder that forces you to use one eye. With some attachments, you'll have to use one eye; with others you can use both.

Some of these accessories attach to your camera using Velcro strips, which are convenient for reliably securing the shade or hood to the back of the camera. The downside is that you have Velcro strips permanently attached to your camera. Also, the strips may interfere with buttons close to the LCD.

Other shades can be put on a camera using one or two elastic straps. Straps are less permanent but not as secure as Velcro, and you risk their shifting or sliding off. Right-angle viewfinders are secured using eyepiece adapters. There also are accessories that have special attachments to fit specific cameras.

Screen-Shades from LEE Filters
shade your LCD screen and eliminate glare. You attach the shade, made of rugged camera bellows material, by applying self-stick Velcro strips to the camera. Removing and replacing the Screen-Shade is quick and easy once these strips are on. Available in various sizes, the shade fits screens that are up to 2.5 inches diagonally. List Price: $19.95.

Screen-Shades also are available with built-in magnifiers to make details in your photos or menu options easier to see. In addition to shading the screen, these accessories magnify it at varying degrees. The lightweight, polycarbonate version magnifies up to 2x and is available in two sizes to fit 1 3/4 and 2-inch screens. The high-quality glass magnifier functions like a loupe and magnifies up to 3x. They're available in four sizes to fit any Screen-Shade. List Price: $29.95 (polycarbonate magnifier); $39.95 (glass magnifier).

The Digital Pursuits Digital Camera LCD Screen Hood from BKA has a silver aluminum finish that matches most digital cameras. Adhesive pads secure the hood in place without harming the camera. Available in two sizes to fit 1.5- and 1.8-inch screens, it folds flat for easy storage after each use. List Price: $19.95.

Hoodman specializes in digital camera hoods and other viewing accessories. The H-DCR rubber hood converts the camera's LCD screen into a viewfinder for improved outdoor viewing without the glare. The hood is strapped in place over the LCD and fits screens of 1.5 to 1.8 inches in size. A 2x magnifier facilitates close focus. List Price: $19.95. Other hoods, such as the H-180 and H-400, fit LCDs that range from 1.5 to 4 inches. List Price: $9.95 to $19.95.

Designed specifically for Nikon's D1, D1x and D1h digital SLRs, Hoodman's H-D1CM 3-in-1 Combo includes a cap, hood and magnifier that fit together. The cap protects your LCD from scratches and dirt, the soft bellowed hood shades your screen, and the 2x magnifier fits in the bellows for easy menu reading. List Price: $49.95.


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