Saturday, May 23, 2015

Gadgets & Gizmos

Like many I’m attracted to technology and gadgets, although, also like others I try and not buy everything. However, the time comes when my bank account gives way and use St Amazon to get some ‘bright shinny thing’.

This post is about one of my recent purchases.

As those who read my posts know, I’m a dedicated Magic Lantern based photographer. That is I use ML’s additional functionality to enhance the quality of my digital my captures, eg: focus and exposure setting. However, the ‘downside’ of ML is the fact you need to rely on the Live View screen, as this is where the ML enhancements are displayed – and nowhere else; and, as any LV user knows, the LV screen is nearly useless in bright sunshine, even if it articulates. Compound this with ‘old eyes’ and you’re in trouble.

Up until now I have made good use of a Hoodman Collapsible Hoodloupe.

This cheap technology allows me to clearly read the ML-enhanced LV in the brightest of conditions. However, things get more complicated when I’m shooting at some ‘difficult’ angle or position. For example, if I’ve placed my camera a foot off the ground on a small tripod: BTW the one I use is the FotoPro FPH-53P
There is no way I can easily get down to use my Hoodman if I’m using the FPH-53P on the groud: say, to adjust my composition and ML or camera settings.

My immediate ‘techy’ thought was to buy an HDMI monitor, as the ML enhanced LV screen is fed out of the Canon HDMI port (great for reviewing ML on your TV), however, looking at options told me two stories. First, cheap (under $200) meant questionable quality; and good quality meant (very) expensive. Also, the thought of ‘mucking’ about with HDMI cables and a 5in (say) HDMI monitor wasn’t that attractive. And, of course, if I went this route I would still have sun glare to manage.

What I really wanted was something like an old box camera had: a flip up viewer that allowed you to look down on the image you were capturing.
So, after much reviewing, I opted for the Varavon Multi Finder.

Although a little bit more than I was expecting to pay, the quality is just about there, as is the functionality. I can use the ‘viewing loupe’ in three different ways: straight through in a simple sun shield mode; with the additional eye piece; and looking down through mirrors to see a normal view of the LV screen. In addition, the loupe is solidly attached and easily removed from the camera.

Would I use this all the time? Of course not, however, I consider it a great addition to my ML-based workflow. I can now see the ML information on the brightest of days and even when the camera is ‘on the ground’. In addition, if I ever do get into videography, the Varavon will be a great asset.

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