A closer look
One of the most useful gadgets in my camera bag is my loupe. It's a simple thing, but aren't those often the best? Place it over your camera screen and look through the eyepiece et voilà, a clear, sharp (hopefully!), magnified image.
So what is so useful about it?
Well, from a practical point of view, the hood shades the screen cutting out the glare which normally makes it almost impossible to review images on sunny days (yes, mirrorless camera owners, I know you don't have that problem!).
It's the magnification that makes all the difference though. How often do we see what looks like a masterpiece on the back of the camera, only to be disappointed with the full size version on the computer screen? The 2x magnification allows us to check not only focus and sharpness but also the composition, scanning the edges of the frame for any distracting elements we may have missed while looking through the viewfinder. We can of course magnify the image even further on the camera screen, which is fine for checking focus and sharpness, but we then have to scroll around the image checking each part, not so good for an overall look at the composition. The loupe allows us to see a magnified version of the whole thing at once so we no longer have to wait until we get home to spot any problems (we can be disappointed on the spot!).
The loupe (or viewfinder as they call it) I use is a relatively cheap Matin M-6926 which has 2x magnification and a diopter which can be adjusted from -5 to +3 for those who wear glasses (or for those like me who would be wearing glasses if they remembered them, which could be why I need this in the first place!). It comes with a lanyard for hanging it around your neck and a cheap and nasty pouch which went straight in the bin. Hoodman make a more expensive version with a better pouch (and possibly higher magnification?) but I was loathe to spend 2-3 times more on something so basic, I've only owned this one a few months, so as far as build quality and durability go it's still early days, but optically I have no complaints.
Anyway, this is starting to sound like a review or even an advert and it isn't intended as either, it is after all just a simple lens that magnifies the camera's screen so there's not much to actually review. The thing is, I get asked so often by workshop clients where to get one from, that I thought I'd post a handy link. So if that's why you are here... Amazon