DIY Tutorial: How To Make An LCD Viewfinder

 

Sarang Naik takes you through a step-by-step tutorial for making a viewfinder for your camera’s LCD screen.

All photographers face an annoying problem when shooting outdoors– because of the sun’s bright light, it becomes almost impossible to review the images on the camera’s LCD screen. An LCD viewfinder or an LCD Loupe help to solve that problem. Their design is quite simple– a light-tight box the size of the screen with an eye piece. LCD Loupes also have a glass element to magnify and focus on the image.

A Hoodman LCD Loupe

A Hoodman LCD Loupe

Now to buy one of these, you will probably have to shell out anywhere between Rs. 3000 to Rs.10,000. If you don’t wish to spend that much, then you can easily make one yourself. I will show you how in a few easy steps. Note that I have not used any glass element in my viewfinder to keep things simple and because I personally find it redundant. So let’s begin:

Things You Will Need:
1. To make the box, I have used a black corrugated plastic sheet. The cost is Rs. 90 for a large sheet. If you can’t find one, then a cardboard sheet will do the job as well. You can also use any plastic container if it is the same size as the LCD screen. Look for anything lying around your house that you can recycle.

2. An eyecup. I used the eyecup of a broken plastic telescope.

3. Adhesive tape or glue to hold the parts together, brown tape to make it sturdier and black electrical tape to cushion the edges.

4. Measuring scale, cutter and pencil. Also, something pointed, such as a compass for step 3.

Step 1: Measure the LCD Screen Dimensions
Measure the exact length and breadth of your screen with the scale. I have a Canon EOS 500D and its LCD screen is 6 cm by 4.5 cm. After some trial and error, I finalised the dimensions for my DIY viewfinder: width 6 cm, breadth 5.5 cm and height 11 cm.

Make sure the height of the viewfinder is such that your eye can focus properly on the image. If it is too short, then you will have trouble focusing.

Step 2: Cut the Parts
Properly measure out and cut the parts from the sheet. You should end up with three parts as shown in the image below:

Step 3: Cut a Hole For the Viewfinder
Cut a hole the shape of your eyecup on the top part of the viewfinder. For cutting a perfect circular hole, first mark the circle on the sheet. Now, using a compass, pierce as many small holes along its circumference as possible. Then join these holes using the cutter and you will have a pretty smoothly cut hole.

Step 4: Tape It Up!
Instead of using glue, here’s what I did– I first used some adhesive tape to join the parts together. Then I used lots of brown tape to make it strong and rock solid. The black plastic is a little translucent, so the brown tape also helps to cut any light leakage.

 

 

 

Step 5: Soften the Base
This is to avoid scratching the screen with the base of the viewfinder. Properly tape up all the pointed and rough edges. You can also use a rubber gasket or the padding used for headphones.

 

And that’s it! Your DIY Camera LCD Viewfinder is ready in five easy steps and its dirt cheap too.

What More Can You Do:

1. Make an LCD Loupe. Buy a small magnifying lens or use one from a pair of cheap binoculars or a toy telescope. Make sure you fine-tune the position of the lens before you glue it to the eyepiece.

2. Use a sturdy pair of rubber bands to hold the viewfinder snug to the LCD screen.

If you have any ideas of your own or any queries regarding this tutorial, let me know in the comments.

Tags: accessories, Camera Accesories, DIY, DIY accessories, DIY LCD Loupe, DIY Tutorial: How To Make An LCD Viewfinder, DIY Viewfinder, Do It Yourself, handmade, Hoodman Loupe, Sarang Naik, step-by-step, tutorials