Opt-X Pro LCD Optical Viewer
UPDATE 9/24/2004 This company is no longer in business.
Digital cameras are great, we all love the ability to instantly review our pictures in the field with the color LCD but ... it's worthless if you can't see it due to high ambient light levels.
Enter the Opt-XTM LCD Optical Viewer from the folks at Technical Innovations. Opt-X is a combination LCD shade and magnifying eyepiece built around a unique and collapsible bellows design.
Shown in this review is the Opt-X Pro Plus model which includes the stainless steel tripod screw on the bottom that allows the camera and the Opt-X viewer to be attached to a tripod if desired. The Opt-X Pro model is currently available for Nikon Coolpix 950, 990 and 995; Olympus C-2020 thru C-3040 (probably the new C-4040 as well); Canon PowerShot G1 (probably the new G2 as well); Kodak DC4800; Sony DSC-S75 (probably the new S85 as well).
The Opt-X Pro Plus sells for $115 and attaches to the camera's tripod socket unlike most all the other LCD shade/viewers that require the use of self-adhesive velcro strips. This is the model for the Nikon cameras and the tripod screw is slotted to allow it to fit all three Coolpix models properly.
The Opt-X Pro model sells for $100 and the Opt-X-AMatuer model sells for $75. The differences are that the AMateur model does use velcro to attach to the camera. The Pro model uses the camera's tripod socket but does not allow the camera and the Opt-X Pro to be mounted on a tripod -- the Opt-X Pro Plus does allow tripod mounting.
The Opt-X Pro Plus shown here on the Nikon Coolpix 990. Note that access to the battery compartment is not inhibited.
With the Opt-X viewer properly lined up with the color LCD on the Nikon 990 it does make it a litle difficult to access the three buttons underneath of the LCD and it does hinder the easy use of the 4-way selector on the right side.
There are allen head set screws that allow the Opt-X Pro and Pro Plus viewers to be properly lined up with the camera's LCD screen. You can adjust the mounting distance backwards and forwards as well as up and down.
Actual operation is quite simple. Attach the viewer to the camera and then pull the bellows-like viewer back away from the LCD until a clear view is seen. The bellows are made of Delrin which is pliable to allow it to fold and unfold easily but it stays put at whatever distance you extend it to. Because of this adjustability it works as well for folks with eyeglasses as those that don't wear them.
Magnified LCD Viewers - Cautionary WarningOne of our readers emailed me to let me know that he had destroyed (literally) the LCD screen on his Coolpix 990 when using a LCD viewer/magnifier. Here's what he had to say:
I give the Opt-X Pro Plus LCD Viewer a rating of 4 (out of a possible 5) digicams!
It's expensive compared to the other LCD shades out there and it does hinder the easy operation of several buttons and controls on the Nikon 990 to some extent. (It may work 100% on other cameras, I have only used the Nikon model).
It is however a very effective LCD shade and I'm sure that many folks would be more than happy to use it on their cameras. It is built out of aluminum, stainless steel and Delrin and seems to be very durable. It folds inward for easy storage and can be quickly removed from the camera.
The bottom line is that Technical Innovations offers a complete money back guarantee so you have little to lose (shipping charges) if you don't like it.