Concept: 2 out of 5
Execution: 1 out of 5
Yeah, but: It's a classic.
The Long Version: The Hoodman Hoodloupe, patent US 7,386,229 B2 and 7,034,877, was the first thing I thought about when I needed to use my D800's live view for manually focusing a lens when outdoors. And why not? It's been around forever – I remember seeing ads for it back in the days of actual print magazines, so it must be good to still be on the market.
The Hoodman Hoodloupe is very slightly misnamed: it is a hood, but loupes typically offer magnification, which the Hoodman doesn't. Instead it has a diopter correction eyepiece and sturdy sides that block out stray light, making the camera's LCD easier to see by cutting out glare and distractions. It is used like a loupe, however, being hand-held and moved into place each time it's needed.
The Hoodloupe is clearly an idea that predates the era of SLR cameras that capture video, and the mirrorless revolution that followed it. The need to see the camera LCD clearly in any light was once the exclusive difficulty of photographers using tripods and seeking critical sharpness as they leisurely take photos of churches and mountains. If that's all that it's asked to do then the Hoodloupe performs well, but there's a new generation of video-inspired LCD magnifiers out there that have surpassed it for all-around use.
The Hoodman does still have some advantages over most of the newer products on the market: it's well-built, simple, small, and comparatively inexpensive. Even today it would be a good choice for anyone making a pilgrimage to the great tripod-holes of the American midwest or west coast. If this is something that's on your bucket list then consider picking one up – mine's available for $40, tax and shipping included.
last updated 6 june 2014