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12-05-2012, 10:58 PM   #1
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"Perfect Viewfinder" mini-review

I've been looking for a means of adapting my dinosaur cerebral cortex, evolved exclusively to deal with optical-through-the-lens viewfiinders, to the necessity of using the rear screen sometimes (video, live view with magnification for critical manual focusing, etc.). And the problem is significantly worsened by my even-more-dinosaur-aged eyes -- now with free presbyopia (inability to macro-focus)! The rear screen is a real pain to use in sunlight, or when I've forgotten my reading glasses, or when I don't feel like holding the camera at arm's length!

Products like the HoodLoupe from Hoodman seem to be well-thought-of, but are undeniably spendy.

So now we get to watch a rerun of an old familiar film, Enter The Chinese Knockoff. The GGS "Perfect Foldable Viewfinder", available through CowboyStudio as well as other vendors, seems to offer the same functionality at a crazy-low price of ~ US$65. And so far I've found it to be a perfectly workable solution.

What you get is a loupe with a generously-sized, swiveling eyecup, the aforementioned 3X magnifier with diopter adjustment, a lanyard, and a stick-on frame with a transparent interior that self-adheres over your rear screen.

The frame protrudes a few millimeters from the back of the camera, but does not materially interfere with button-pushing on my K7, and serves as a screen protector as well. There are notches top and bottom into which the hood portion of the hood/loupe assembly snaps, with a flexing latch button for disengaging it.

In use, I found the loupe an absolute godsend. I have no trouble whatever seeing to the very edges of the screen, the magnification is perfectly set to make the image as large as possible without cropping or eyestrain. The eyecup seals decently and works pretty well even with glasses. I found myself running the diopter adjustment to the limit, although I'm not all that farsighted (I use 1.25 reading glasses, if memory serves). So folks with more-severe presbyopia might need readers to see the screen. Of course, if your eyes are that bad you'll need readers just to run the camera controls...and remember the eyecup's fine with glasses.

The loupe portion hinges upwards and can lie atop the hood part, serving as a very effective ambient-light hood if you don't need magnification -- for example, if you want to show someone else images or videos in sunlight. As other reviewers have commented, the hinge is not exactly over-engineered, or perhaps it's more precise to say it isn't over-specced. It serves perfectly well and doesn't look as if it would wear out in normal use, but given the relative dimensions of the loupe, hood, and hinge, I've made a mental note to be very careful with how I treat that assembly.

There's an attach point on the whole thing for a (supplied) lanyard, in case you want to keep it handy but off the camera. Me, I'd just stow it in my bag, but YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).

All in all, I'm exceedingly satisfied, and (with the caveat about durability under rough treatment) would have no hesitation recommending the product. In particular, it makes shooting video with the K-7 a real joy.

Amazon (as of 5 Dec 2012)

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12-05-2012, 11:05 PM   #2
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PS: Sorry about that last photo's quality -- to take a picture of my camera, I had to resort to my cell phone! The other two were shot with a another knockoff, the O-Photo adapter that routes light from your hot-shoe flash into a ring-flash form factor, inside a small folding light tent (Fotodiox, $20!) onto which an ancient Vivitar 283 was optically slaved. (Hey, I blew all my bucks on the K-7, since then it's been manual-focus M-series lenses like the 50 f/4 macro used here, 30-year-old flashes, and el cheapo accessories all the way!)
12-05-2012, 11:09 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by fewayne Quote
(Hey, I blew all my bucks on the K-7, since then it's been manual-focus M-series lenses like the 50 f/4 macro used here, 30-year-old flashes, and el cheapo accessories all the way!)
Nothing wrong with that, I spent 4 years with manual lenses and flashes on a K100D. I got some money saved up to do a major upgrade and chose the best body I could afford because I already had great glass. I've got a couple Vivitar 285HV flashes and a Yongnuo YN-560, they make quick bursts of light just like the new ones do, no reason to go with a fancy flash if you don't have fancy needs.
12-06-2012, 12:07 AM   #4
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Interesting product and thanks for the write up.

How does it attach to the rear-LCD of the camera - does it just clip on somehow, or do you need to glue something to the rear LCD as the attachment point?

12-06-2012, 07:21 AM   #5
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The latter -- I didn't get a photo of the frame/screen before I attached it to the camera. It has pressure-sensitive adhesive, so you don't have to drip goo on your DSLR! The frame does not interfere with viewing the screen; I suppose you might lose a few degrees of off-axis viewing. (Rabben sabbit frazzem cell phone picked the near edge of the camera to focus on, but this shows the dimensions reasonably well.)
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12-06-2012, 09:58 AM   #6
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Aha. Now I understand.
Thanks for the pic.
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