If you've ever had problems viewing your camera's rear LCD when photographing outside in bright sunlight, this review is for you. The Hoodloupe by Hoodman is sold as a "glare free LCD viewing loupe", and is an attempt at solving this issue.
Included in the (easy to open) package is the loupe itself, a lanyard for carrying the loupe around your neck, and a padded vinyl carry case.
The device itself is basically as you would expect; an empty body with a lens at the viewing end and open at the LCD end. The body is made from stiff plastic, but with an outer rubber coating that makes the loupe easy to grip and makes sure it doesn't slip (or even worse, leave marks) when pressed up against your LCD.
Usefully, the viewing lens includes a +/- 3 diopter adjustment so the loupe can be tailored to your eyesight. I'm a glasses wearer even when shooting, and found that once adjusted correctly, the eyepoint was high enough to allow full view of a 3.0 inch LCD as found on Nikon's newer DSLRs. The size of the loupe itself means that it will work just fine on cameras with smaller LCDs (eg D5100), but with a slight control overlap that could be annoying. An option accessory is available to allow the loupe to fit 4 inch screens, but is currently unnecessary.
The supplied lanyard is pretty lightweight but strong enough to hold the loupe fairly securely, and includes a quick-release catch allowing the loupe to be detached without removing the lanyard itself. If you don't wish to use the lanyard at all, it can be completely removed by slipping its soft rubber attachment ring over the eyepiece. There has obviously been some good thought put into this design.
The carry case is a nice touch, with the loupe fitting snugly and securely. I may end up leaving this at home, as it does add a little bulk.
So, how well does it work? In a word, brilliantly. Outside in bright sunlight, I was practically unable to judge composition etc without the loupe. Bringing it into play, however, gave me a perfectly bright, large and usable display - even in the brightest sunshine. There is no distortion to speak of, and illumination is completely even. On 3-inch LCDs the loupe is a perfect fit without fouling any buttons, and the rubber end means no slipping.
It provides a 1:1 image, so the size you see is as if you were holding a 3-inch LCD up about 4 inches in front of your eye, but in perfect focus thanks to the integrated optics.
If I had any complaints, it would be that the loupe itself is a little heavy and can swing around on the lanyard in an unwieldy fashion if worn around the neck. An inconvenience worth living with.
The Hoodloupe can be purchased from Amazon, and is currently $79.95: Hoodman H-LPP3 HoodLoupe 3.0 Professional 3-Inch Screen Loupe
- Does exactly what it says on the box
- Well designed and constructed
- Diopter adjustment
- A little heavy and can be unwieldy when worn
- Somewhat expensive, but no other real option
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