Monday, May 10, 2010

Welcome to the great outdoors... Hoodman HoodLoupe Review

I open the door to the studio and step outside. As I mentioned before it's bright outside.

Did I mention, it's
damn bright outside?

Inside, I'm shooting in pretty much darkness so my 150W light bulbs can be visible and accurate without a ton of ambient fill contaminating my WYSIWYG lamps. One step into the afternoon sunlight and I'm looking at
"the sunny 16" rule in full effect.

I'm suddenly presented with 2 new challenges:

1. I can't see my modeling lamps anymore. This is okay since modeling lamps drain my Vagabond II within minutes anyway. Besides, I can always just shoot with ambient or reflectors. Lastly, I can always check the LCD to see if I...

2. You can't see what's being displayed the LCD screen

LOL! Okay, that's troublesome.

On the day we went to the desert, the only way to see anything was getting back into the car and/or pulling a jacket over our heads to see the LCD. Increasing the brightness of the LCD failed me miserably and furthermore altered the perceived exposure. I rely quite a bit on the LCD display to read the histogram (which is more easily visible in broad daylight) because I check the actual picture itself since sometimes
the histogram isn't accurate (particularly when your subject doesn't fill your frame).

Knowing I'd go out again, I scoured The Net for a solution and found Hoodman's HoodLoupe. At $80 a pop, it's the most expensive piece of rubber with 2 pieces of glass that I've ever seen. That being said, it serves a very specific purpose that exceeds its $80 value. The only downside is that it doesn't play nice if you have a screen protector like the Hoodman HoodCap (which I've had for years on my D3) because the plastic leaks light onto the screen. Also the rubber attracts lint and can't easily be cleaned. Lastly, the downside of using the loupe is that you can't keep the loupe attached to the camera because a) there's no way to keep it fixed to the camera b) even if there were a way to keep it fixed to the camera, you'd no longer be able to use the viewfinder so c) it's constantly dangling around your neck.

But it works. And it works well. For that alone, it's worth buying.

Disclaimer: All product pics are taking shoddily with my iPhone. It's more a reflection of the lazy photographer than the iPhone itself. Please don't misjudge the iPhone's camera :)

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