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XIT Professional LCD Viewfinder Loupe Mini Review

XIT Professional LCD Viewfinder Loupe
By Sean Setters
 
I recently picked up an XIT Professional LCD Viewfinder Loupe from B&H. I generally shoot outdoors under bright, sunny skies and thought I might find a viewfinder loupe to be advantageous. As it turns out, "advantageous" is an understatement – I consider a loupe to be an essential tool now that I have used one.
 
Benefits of using a loupe:

  • A loupe allows you to easily review the images on your LCD by eliminating the sun's glare from the screen. The image is displayed in a dark environment, so a constant brightness can be used on the LCD screen. This consistency allows you to get a better idea of what your images will look like without necessarily having to check the histogram for a questionably exposed image (although that's always a good idea).
  • Some loupes (like the XIT) show a magnified view of your LCD. This allows you to more easily check for critical focus.
  • A viewfinder loupe is great for DSLR video. The loupe not only helps you with focus, but it also helps you gain another point of contact with the camera aiding in stabilization.

Drawbacks of using a loupe:

  • Generally, a viewfinder loupe is either affixed to the camera (via a strap or bracket) or is simply worn by the photographer and placed over the LCD screen when needed (like the well-known Hoodman's HoodLoupes). Many people find it difficult to position the loupe perfectly over the LCD and hold it there for optimal viewing. When using semi-permanently affixed loupe for still photography, you either have to use Live View for shooting or you must remove the loupe until you're ready to review the images. Neither of the scenerios seem ideal to me.
  • The optics can become scratched without careful storage.

The XIT Professional LCD Viewfinder Loupe solves the complexity of positioning, attaching and releasing the loupe by using a thin magnetic mounting plate glued to your camera that allows you to quickly and conveniently attach and release the loupe.
 
That said, neither Bryan nor I like the idea of gluing something to our cameras – it makes us both cringe just a bit. Bryan doesn't even like to use screen protectors. However, I like having something on my screen to protect it from scratches. That's why I already had a GGS 3rd Generation Optical Glass Screen Protector on my 5D Mark II. The GGS screen protector isn't glued to your screen. Instead, it fits over the eyepiece and extends downward to cover both the eyepiece and the LCD screen. The fit and finish are so good that it looks like a part of the camera; I rarely notice that it's there.
 
So why is the screen protector important? It allows you to attach the XIT Viewfinder Loup's mounting plate to the screen protector instead of the camera, thus keeping your camera glue-free.

XIT Professional Viewfinder Loupe Review Close-Up Mount

The only downside I have experienced with using the screen protector + mounting plate combo is that if you inadvertently pull on the loupe while it's attached, stray light can get under the screen protector when viewing the LCD. Applying a small amount of pressure (pushing the loupe toward the camera) easily solves this problem.
 
I love having a loupe when shooting under the bright sun. The inexpensive XIT Professional 3" LCD Viewfinder Loupe has earned a permanent place in my camera bag. I don't have any experience with other viewfinder loupes, but there are others you may want to consider (like the Hoodman Hoodloupe). Keep in mind you'll need to find a viewfinder loupe that is the appropriate size for your camera's LCD screen.

Posted: 5/7/2013 8:19:02 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
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