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Old Apr 28, 2004, 9:08 PM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 21
Default closeups w compact digital camera LCD in bright sun

I shot some closeup/macro during a sunny day on a bright sandy ocean beach which would certainly be one of the worst situations for using a compact digital camera LCD viewfinder. And indeed I could barely make anything out including the displayed image or status information even though I just bought a new camera with improved LCD optics.

My new camera is a tiny compact 4mp Pentax 4Si bought in part because it has a decent macro function which my 2 year old DimageX did not. I used the tiny DimageX while skiing frequently so was quite aware of difficulty using LCD screens in the sunny outdoors. And have been using camcorders with LCDs outdoors since they were invented which has like issues. My shooting at the beach amounted to pointing the lens towards whatever prospective target and hoping my aim was adequate. Was using a Benbo Treker with Novaflex Mini Ballhead so getting the camera in approximate position and stable was easy. One obvious solution is to buy a digital SLR camera since one can then look at any image directly through the lens. (For those who are not aware of the issue, one cannot use a non-SLR camera viewfinder on close ups due to increasing parallax between the viewfinder and image sensor with decreasing target distance. However I need the camera to be shirt pocketable for information and social subjects so no SLR. Thus I came up with an improvement I'll relate herein.

I have several cameras, one of which is a 4x5. When I dealt with the ground glass viewing with dark cloth issue, instead of buying a dark cloth like most everyone else I came up with a cheap custom solution which made use out of a pair of black lycra bike shorts in XXL grande size. Thus have applied a similar solution for viewing my LCD screen. Nice things about lycra are it is elastic and has a tight thus dark weave. I use one of the leg ends to squeeze around my little camera and the waste end to put my head into. Both ends have been reduced to maximize a snug elastic fit. The actual size necessary for my camera was about half the leg diameter which worked out well because the other resulting hole allows my fingers to come up through and work the several 4Si buttons. I won't go into the boring details of construction since the details of what I did would only work for the model I use and my head size. Another thing I did borrow from my 4x5 gear work is the use of +3.00 diopter reading glasses. Those reading glasses allow focussed vision from 8 to 10 inches away from the LCD screen which was the exact distance necessary with my head in the hood. Whole hoodee thing folds up into pants pocket sized wad.

So after making the above I went outside, set up some closeup shots, and was quite pleased with the results. Yes now I can readily use the LCD screen of my compact digital camera outside even at the beach on a sunny day. I can't say the same about using it while skiing down the ski slopes though haha. -David
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