The previous blog detailed characteristics of digital cameras that have an effect on camera stabilization. One is ultrazooms on compact cameras with a range of 60x or more. This extreme zoom makes it very difficult to hand hold video that is not shaky and nausea inducing. Zooming in that far requires a fast shutter speed to avoid camera shake when shooting stills in low light. At such extreme zoom range, night photos are nearly impossible without camera stabilization.
Eyepiece Viewfinders Are Disappearing
Another casualty of the digital age is the eyepiece viewfinder. The DSLR is the only camera today that has an optical eyepiece viewfinder. All others have an electronic eyepiece viewfinder if there is one at all. Most still cameras and all video camcorders have abandoned the eyepiece viewfinder in favor of the LCD monitor.
Monitors work fine most of the time but they are difficult to see in bright daylight. And the mechanics of holding the camera a foot or more from your face and watching a three inch screen is different from holding the camera up to your eye. With the camera held against your face, your head, eye and camera move together as one. This makes it easier to concentrate on what you are shooting and follow fast action. It is not as easy to do while holding the camera at arm’s length and watching a three-inch monitor in bright sunlight. I once tried shooting the Blue Angels with a camcorder and got mostly sky and clouds while searching for the fast moving jets in the monitor.
Add a Hood or Magnifying Loupe
One approach to the problem of camera monitors in bright sunlight is to add a hood to shade the monitor and make it easier to see. A variety of these are available for camcorders from Hoodman. This solves the bright light problem but does not bring the monitor closer to your eye.
A better, though more expensive solution is the HoodLoupe for 3.2-inch monitors. These include a magnifying glass and can be held up to the eye. Models range in price from about eighty to one hundred dollars and can be equipped with a strap to attach them to the camera. The HoodLoupe turns the monitor into an eyepiece viewfinder, making it easier to see and follow fast action.
Small cameras with an extreme zoom range can benefit from the improved grip and stabilization that HandlePod provides. Add a sun shade hood or a loupe to create an eyepiece viewfinder and following the action of your child’s soccer game becomes smooth, easy and jitter free.