I have been shooting photographs since I was a little 10 year old, many moons ago. And finally, in 2001, I was happy to say goodbye to film. I haven’t missed it one bit in all these years. The advantages of digital are just too overwhelming.
There are many things that I take with me on every shoot, no matter if it’s an outdoor shoot, studio shoot or a travel shoot out of the country. But the one piece of equipment that I cannot live without is my 4X loupe to view my images on the LCD screen. My favorite is made by Peak and is the 4X loupe that comes with a string, I use this loupe and have it around my neck every time I shoot.
© Scott Stulberg
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This loupe fits over the cameras LCD screen very nicely whether it’s a 2 inch or even a 2 and a half inch LCD. This is the loupe I have used for over 5 years.
Just as you always used an 8X loupe to view your slides on a slide table, why not bring that idea to digital photography. But an 8X loupe doesn’t work well with an LCD display. It shows the image too large and with too many black pixels from the LCD screen. A 4X loupe works the best but make sure the black piece is on the bottom of the loupe and not the clear plastic one(they all come with both pieces). The black piece is designed for viewing slides and the clear one is for viewing proof sheets. And make sure also that you use gaffers tape or some other tape on the bottom of the loupe so you do not scratch your LCD screen.
Many people think that that the magnify option that zooms in and out on many cameras is a good way to check focus and that is partly true. But it does nothing for composition or exposure or if you just want to see how the image feels. The zoom feature only magnifies part of the image. The 4X loupe magnifies the entire image and is nothing short of remarkable for helping you see your images clearer and bigger and if there is anything wrong in the image.
There is also another great advantage of using an 4X loupe in the field. Dust.. I can check to see if I have dust on the sensor so easily with a loupe. Try that with the naked eye. Just point the camera up to the sky or a plain, one color surface and take a test shot with a large aperture, such as f16 or above. Then use the loupe on your LCD to check for dust. If you try this technique once, you could save tons of time in editing out those dust spots in Photoshop later.
Another great thing about a loupe is when I want to show the image to the people that I am shooting, especially kids and people from around the world. You should see their faces when I give them the loupe and they put it up to their eyes and see their faces magnified. It is priceless sometimes.