A right angle finder is an L-shaped optical accessory with a mirror or prism mounted at 45 degrees. It attaches to the SLR camera's viewfinder eyepiece allowing you to look downwards into the viewfinder rather than the usual direct view.
Angle finders are ideal for macro photography (or similar situations) where the camera is low to the ground, making it awkward to get a comfortable view while looking directly through the viewfinder. Manufacturers' own brands are often ridiculously expensive (the Pentax one is £370!) so it's good that the accessory market is growing again to include items like this, from independents such as Hoodman.
Hoodman H-RAV specifications
- Fits Canon, Fuji & Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
- Adjustable eyepiece Dioptre
- 1x & 2.5x Viewing
- 360 Degree Rotation
- 5 adaptors for Universal Mounting
- Carry case Included
- Approx dimensions 88x69x38mm
- Weight 113g
Hoodman H-RAV Features
The Hoodman H-RAV is made in China and is similar style to the eBay popular Seagull. It offers 1x and 2.5x viewing magnification, which is switched over on the top of the base. This changes the lens in front of the viewfinder. The eyepiece tube has 360 degrees of rotation, click stopped at 45deg intervals, making it usable in a variety of awkward positions or from different platforms, such as a copy stand or reversed tripod head. The viewfinder tube also has an adjustable dioptre eyepiece, making it suitable for spectacle wearers, and a rubber eye cup to keep extraneous light out of view.
Unlike independently-made right angle finders from the 80s, which had fixed camera mounts, this one has an interchangeable plate and is bundled with five different ones to ensure it fits most of the market's popular SLR cameras, from the likes of Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sony, Konica Minolta and Pentax.
The supplied mounts include a Nikon 22mm rectangle for the D50, D70s, D70, D100, EM, FG, FG20, N50, N55, N60, N65, N70, N75, N80, N2000, N2020, N4004, N4004s, N5005, N6000, N6006 and Pronea 6i, but we discovered it also fits on the Olympus E-300. A Canon 22mm for cameras such as the EOS3/30/33, EOS50D/50E/55.
Nikon round 22mm for the D1, D1H, D1X, D2H, D2X, F3HP, F4, F5, F6, F100, N90, N90s, N8008 and N8008s. Universal 19mm. It doesn't say what this fits but we found it fits snugly on Konica Minolta's Dynax 7D and the Sony Alpha 100 Canon 18mm for models such as Canon EOS10D, EOS20D, EOSD30/D60, EOS300D, EOS350D, EOS400D, EOS10, EOS66, 88/88QD, EOS100, EOS300/300V, EOS500/500N, EOS700/750, EOS850/888, EOS1000N/1000FN, EOS1/1N/1D/1V.
The packaging states it also suits Pentax, but I couldn't get any adaptor to fit on the *ist D, K100D or K10D, the 22mm falling off and the Universal 19mm isn't wide enough.
It's all supplied in a soft pouch case and has a flap with elasticated loops for three plates.
Hoodman H-RAV Build and Performance
While the H-RAV looks as well built as its Nikon or Pentax rivals, it does feel a touch on the flimsy side. It's solid enough, but it's the 360 degrees rotation that feels clunky. The eyepiece adjustment is well lubed and signs of this appear if you rack it to the extended extreme. It also feels a bit too gooey as you adjust. These are just cosmetics though and it's the optical perform that counts.
What we expect is a crystal clear view on the Sony Alpha 100 test camera, using the necessary 19mm plate. We found that although it fits snugly and the brightness and clarity is good, but the camera's protruding back prevents the eye cup from slotting down far enough so you have a strip at the bottom missing from view when set to 1x. Switch to 2.5x and the whole top half is obscured rendering it useless. So that's Sony out of the equation. It was fine on cameras, such as the Olympus E-300 where it fitted correctly.
The plate and attachments are metal unlike some budget models from the likes of Adorama which has plastic plates and feels more flimsy. The metal springs on the plates that grip hold of the finder are thin and easy to bend. One plate was such a lose fit that I had to bend the springs to make them grip. This design is poor if you turn the camera upside down to use it on a reverse column tripod as the weight of the finder let it slip easily out of the adaptor plate. It needs some form of lock.
Hoodman H-RAV Verdict
The Hoodman H-RAV is certainly a cost advantage over any of the camera makers' own products, and the five plate option makes it good if you have a range of cameras or are considering changing brand. The adaptor plates would be better with a locking device and the packaging should state which cameras they fit to avoid any confusion.
If close ups is your area of enjoyment this will make your photography a more comfortable experience and well worth the investment. Just make sure it fits your camera before parting with the cash!
Also, if you have been considering a lower priced one on eBay, make sure it has metal plates. It appears some have cheapy plastic ones, which is one reason why they are cheap.
The Hoodman H-RAV Universal costs £99.99 and is available from here