Hoodman specialise in creating products that will improve a photographer's view of LCD displays in bright light. They often employ a kind of 'Innovation's Catalogue' approach, to their portfolio of ideas so simple you wonder how you ever lived without them. The Hoodloupe is no exception, and is designed to help provide accurate viewing of your camera's LCD display in all conditions.
Hoodman HoodLoupe Specification
- One size fits all cameras
- + or -3 dioptre adjustment
- four lens glass optics
- Rubber non-scratch ends
Priced at a lofty tag of £59.99, the Hoodloupe is clearly aimed at professionals and enthusiastic amateurs with large wads of cash burning holes in their pockets and those who require a precise view of their LCD display in all conditions.
Hoodman HoodLoupe: Features
Anybody who has used a loupe for viewing transparencies will recognise the design on first view. The Hoodman Hoodloupe is basically the same concept, but with the sides blacked out to shield the viewing area from extraneous light and providing ample shading for a camera's LCD display. That is unless you use a Nikon DSLR with the supplied screen protector, then daylight can creep in all the way around the base of the loupe. The concept is that when it's cracking the flags, you can wear the Hoodloupe around your neck with the supplied rubber lanyard, or on your belt using the supplied faux-leather case which isn't all that appealing to the eye. When you wish to view your LCD screen in detail, simply place the Hoodloupe over your screen and look through the eyepiece.
Those with less-than-perfect vision are accommodated with a simple dioptre adjustment, which covers a range of +/-3 dioptres. Unfortunately, those who will still require spectacles will be disappointed to find that the rubber eye cup doesn't fold flat like on most binoculars, which could degrade your viewing experience.
Minimum magnification is employed, apparently to minimise pixelation of the screen when using the Hoodloupe. Unfortunately on a Nikon D200, you can pretty much count the dots, which could be quite useful if you wanted to check the specification of your camera is truthful.
One major design flaw I came across is that the rectangular frame which fits over the screen is only large enough to accommodate a 2.5in display. But as nearly all SLRs released recently have a screen larger than 2.5in, it seems to limit the products use somewhat, that is unless you're only bothered about inspecting the centre portion of the screen.
Hoodman HoodLoupe: Build quality
High quality plastics and soft rubber have been used to construct the Hoodloupe and as a result it feels pretty solid. The supplied rubber lanyard is a little stretchy, which means the loupe has a tendency to bounce about when you walk with it around your neck. After a period of prolonged bouncing, the loupe has a habit of breaking free from it's tether and the rubber material also feels a bit weird against skin.
I think I already mentioned how naff the supplied leather-look PVC case looks. The badly embroidered yellow loupe symbol just cheapens the whole thing. Two ribbed rubber grips are placed on the front and rear of the loupe, allowing you to gain a secure hold of it even after eating greasy chips with your fingers, as I'm sure many photographers do quite often.
The view through the loupe is reasonably clear and sharp when correctly adjusted, although it can take a bit of fine-tuning to get the result you desire. Strong barrel distortion is clearly present, which won't please anyone who likes their lines straight. On a 2.5in screen, it can be a little difficult to see right into the corners as the circular shape of the eyepiece tends to shade the corners of the screen.
Hoodman HoodLoupe: Verdict
Do you have £60 burning a hole in your pocket? Do you have every other photographic accessory you could think of for that amount? Does your camera have a small LCD screen? If the answer to these questions is yes, then the Hoodloupe may be for you.
If I were to spend £60 on an accessory like this, I'd be expecting it to be top-notch. Unfortunately the Hoodloupe has far too many flaws to be ignored.
Hoodman HoodLoupe: Plus points
Image is sharp after careful adjustment
Solid build quality
Hoodman HoodLoupe: Minus points
Supplied case and lanyard are poor
Only covers screens up to 2.5inch
Corners are shaded on a 2.5inch screen
The Hoodman Hoodloupe costs £59.99 and is available from the ePHOTOzine shop here.