The Hoodman HoodLoupe is an accessory that once used cannot be left at home. I was so taken with it that I decided to write a Hoodman Hoodloupe review! It’s a must for the serious landscape photographer. Here’s why…
What is the Hoodman HoodLoupe?
In landscape photography, focus is absolutely vital. You need to control it 100%. The viewfinder is too small, at least for my eyes, and autofocus yields variable results. As you get more expert in this genre of photography you realise that there is pretty exact science to working the depth of field and the point of focus you need to work the photograph.
On an english day, I’ll use live view on my Canon 5D to magnify the view by a factor of 10. That gives me a level of control that the viewfinder simply can’t offer. But that’s England, where the sun never shines! When the sun shines, you can’t see the LCD Screen properly. So you end up crouched over the camera, shading it with anything that comes to hand and still, you can’t get it just the way you need to. This, and most of the rest of the world is where you need to think about another solution.
The Hoodman Hoodloupe is a light blocking attachment that covers the LCD screen and allows you to look through a comfortable and well designed eyepiece to see the LCD screen as if in a darkened room. Watch out, there are plenty of poor imitations of this on the market, don’t buy cheap, buy well.
Why is the HoodLoupe Better?
The HoodLoupe is made from high class materials. The optics are excellent, + 3 Diopter, modular design so that you can use it with 3.2 inch and 3.0 inch LCD’s, removable eye guard that can be rotated to suit left or right eye. It can be bought separately i.e.. Base, Loupe and Eyecup or as a kit including a baseplate made of milled black anodized aluminum, with an on board hex tool, anti-twist bars, and two 1/4 20 tripod mount holes.
How to Use the HoodLoupe
The base plate attaches to the camera via the socket normally used for the tripod adapter. Two adjustable twist bars fit to the front of the camera, ensuring the rigidity of the whole structure. The loupe base can be adjusted with the hex tool to make sure no light enters the loupe. Once fitted to the camera, the base plate attaches to your tripod adapter in the normal way i.e. You screw the adapter into the tripod mount hole and clip onto the tripod head.
Alternatively, you can ditch the baseplate and simply hold the loupe to the back of the camera or temporarily attach it using the elasticated mounting cords which you can buy as an extra. The benefit here is that the setup is much more flexible, so if you want to grab a quick shot off the tripod, then that’s easy to do. The loupe comes with a lanyard so that you can wear it around your neck and use it only when you really need it. The diopter adjustment is quite stiff, but that is a good thing, once set it doesn’t tend to roam.
I’d been toying with the idea of using a loupe for a long time, years in fact. In the UK you can just about get along without one, but one summer in Spain convinced me of the value. The light is completely different and the LCD is simply not an option. The factor that really tipped me into buying it though was infrared photography. Unlike landscape photography which is better done during the golden hour just before sunset or architectural photography which is often done during the blue hour just after sunset, infrared photography really comes alive in the bright sunshine. This is the the when the LCD screen simply isn’t an option.
I bought mine direct from Hoodman USA. Watch out for import duty, but you’ll still pay less than you will from a UK supplier.