The idea is to use a magnifier lens for contact sheet glue together with a folding sun shade. The main goal is to keep a pro look and also to have something able to work in a industrial environment. Also, all the item should be available and should be cheaper than the “pro” one’s!
When I wrote this post, only few possible expensive model were available, now, you can easily found something without all the bothering diy step.
This lens is design to reduce deformation on the corner of the picture. The cost is about rmb 900. The support is in metal but some other version are available in plastic. The 5 time magnifier is perfect for a 5DII or 7D and make the screen amazingly huge. The second lens can rotate to adjust focus for people wearing glass. The main problem with this design is that you need to do it for each camera family as a 5D back is different from a 7D back. Here I used it for canon family, but Sony or Nikon are possible too, as soon as the folding sun shade is available. This is the first step before moving to a real EVF.
With the lens, you have 2 bases (one transparent, one black), so, you can do 2 kits with one lens set. This base will be trimmed to fit the sun shade.
Here is the folding Sun Shade, easy to install on the camera’s viewfinder (cost about rmb 150). Of course, you could also put the lens directly to the camera back by it with the bottom scree and a small piece of metal to hold it, but i wanted to keep this hole free for other use. On the picture the sun shade has been removed already
This rubber ring is a shock absorber for lens, costing about rmb 20. There is a metal ring inside to be removed. You need a 55 or 58 mm diameter’s one.
Here is the main part of the job: trimming. Be aware of your rotating speed as the plastic is melting very fast with the drill speed. It’s very easy to polish with a file. It took me about one hour to finish it. You have to trim the full height of the lens holder as well as the actual screen is behind a 1 mm thick piece of transparent protective plastic on the dslr. You can even cut more as it’s easy to adjust it with the rotating lens after all. The focusing deep of field is short.
I add some adhesive black velvet to avoid any internal reflections.
The two part are glued with a glue named “Resist-a-tout” from Patex in France. It’s the perfect glue as it keep a bit soft even dry and so avoid to break in case of strong shock. It’s also easy to cut later on to make it a bit less messy.
To clip on a 5DII, you need to remove the viewfinder by pushing it to the top and replace it with this assembly.
On this picture taken with a 7D, the picture look stretched as i can’t put my camera too deep inside, but your eye will see something almost straight. that the same remark about the left upper corner.
Bottom line: You can easly focus without any external preview screen and shoot holding the camera with your hands (better to to this with a 50mm than a 400mm).