Steve's Digicams
Hardware Reviews

Williams & Associates
Xtend-a-ViewTM Pro LCD Shade

Posted 8/22/00

Today's modern digital cameras and their color LCD screens are great when you use them indoors but what happens when you use them outdoors?  You, guessed it -- next to worthless unless you shield the screen.   As long as you're shielding the screen why not magnify the view too.   Now you can use macro mode on those flowers or use that big telephoto lens that used to be impossible to focus.

Xtend-a-View LCD Shade

Williams & Associates has updated their Xtend-a-View LCD sunshade and magnifier loupe and is now offering the Xtend-a-View Pro TM  a rugged, precision optical device. The body is machined aluminum and the eyepiece is a 2X custom ground glass element.

Shown above is the $22.00 Xtend-a-View Pro plus the optional $5.00 Eyecup, cover and leash. (Coolpix 990 not included, sorry).

Xtend-a-View LCD Shade

The Xtend-a-View Pro attaches with the included self-adhesive velcro strips and can be easily removed when not needed.

Xtend-a-View LCD Shade

The Xtend-a-View Pro is a perfect fit on the Nikon Coolpix 990 and also works on many other digicams, there's a complete list of compatible cameras on the bottom of this page.

To check if Xtend-a-View Pro will fit your camera:

  1. Take the measurements of the LCD. It should be within the 1.56 x 1.5 inch size of Xtend-a-View.
  2. Measure from the bottom of the LCD to the bottom of the top buttons if there are any. This must be at least 1.75 inches.
  3. And finally, measure between the right side of any buttons to the left of the LCD and the left edge of the LCD itself. This must be be greater than 1/4 inch. If it's within these dimensions, Xtend-a-View will work for you.

    Xtend-a-View LCD Shade

    Just as important as being able to see the LCD in the sunlight is the ability to access all those buttons located around the screen. As you can see, all of the Coolpix 990's buttons are easy to get to.

    Xtend-a-View LCD Shade

    Once the Xtend-a-View Pro is on your camera it now becomes the digital equivalent of an SLR camera. You can put your eye right up to it and use the LCD for framing which is much more accurate than the optical viewfinder, especially when doing macro shots or using add-on lenses.

    Other Goodies

    Williams & Associates also has the Extend-a-Lens attachment for Kodak DC260 and DC265 cameras that allows you to add 49mm filters and lenses. The Xtend-a-Bracket that lets you add a camera strap to any digital camera with a tripod socket. There's an optional flash bracket with a shoe mount too. And they also have a larger version of the Xtend-a-View made for those big LCD screens on the Sony Mavica cameras.

    Check out all their fine products at the PhotoSolve website.

    Use of Xtend-a-View - Cautionary Warning

    One of our readers emailed me to let me know that he had destroyed (literally) the LCD screen on his Coolpix 990 when using the Xtend-a-View magnifier. Here's what he had to say:
      "Last week I was photographing my daughter's soccer game with my 990 and 2X converter, using the loupe to view the screen. Between shots I would drop the camera down from my eye to watch the game, leaving the loupe looking straight into the sky. The sun was directly overhead and during a short (a few minutes) period of no picture taking, the loupe effectively focused the sun onto the LCD screen and basically destroyed it. Melted plastic window, melted silicon LCD behind it. Very traumatic!! It only took a very short time to do a lot of damage as I enjoyed my daughter's game."
    So it will definitely pay to purchase the optional eyecup cover to prevent this from happening to you -- or make sure it never ends up pointing towards the sun !

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    Steve's Conclusion

    It's inexpensive, small and durable and perfectly shields the bright light off of your LCD. The 2x eyepiece allows you to critically compose your shot and focus those lenses like the EagleEye OpticZoom and the Kenko 8x32.   To be honest, I wouldn't even try to use those lenses without it.

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