Camera Bellows is a UK company that makes the bellows for many of the large format cameras that you see around. They also produce bellows hoods for medium and large format cameras and now they have entered the digital camera market with this handy little LCD screen shade.
The shade is designed to stop light hitting the LCD so you can see outside when using the camera's display to compose or review pictures. As LCD sizes vary from camera to camera there are four sizes of the shade made.
DS1 suits LCDs of 1.5in to 1.8in (tested here)
DS2 suits LCDs of 2in
DS3 suits LCDs of 2.25in
DS4 suits LCDs of 2.5in
|The shade is provided with a self adhesive Velcro frame that sticks on around the LCD. Once the frame is in place you can attach the shade with ease. Our version was used on the Pentax Optio 330RS and only just fitted without covering up the mode buttons.
The main problem with using a non dedicated hood is that all cameras vary in where the screen is and what surrounds it. So before buying one it's worth checking that it will fit well. Once the adhesive frame is in place you can attach the hood. It sticks firmly but there's a concern that if you keep taking it on and off that the self adhesive glue will eventually pull off. It certainly stayed firm during our test period.
The other side to the coin is that when you come to change camera and want to reuse the hood you may find getting the frame off impossible without damage and it certainly wouldn't transfer to another camera. Fortunately they are not too expensive!
To ensure you maximise the shield's effect you can extend the bellows. These are made of leather with a rigid concertina style inner which stay where it is when expanded. In the collapsed state the bellows are about 1cm thick and expand out to 6cm without strain.
In use, the hood certainly shields the LCD and cuts down on side reflections, but the main problem is direct mirror-like reflections which cannot be prevented unless you where a hood yourself! On cameras such as the Fuji 2600Z or Nikon Coolpix 950 this is a real problem that the shade doesn't resolve.
On the Pentax Optio that we used here, the benefit was noticeable, because the camera already has a decent screen.
Guide Price 14.99
This shade is one of the better ones around. It's compact extends firmly and is really easy to use. Although it's not an expensive purchase, it would still be worth trying before you buy, given that there are so many shapes and sizes of LCD along with their placement of buttons and anti-reflective effectiveness.