Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tired of Using Rubber Bands to Attach Your Hoodman Loupe?- Here's a DIY Alternative

The Hoodman Loupe is a great accessory for any DSLR owner, whether shooting stills or video. The +3/-3 diopter makes it very friendly to those of us with less then perfect eyesight. Priced around $80, it is also one of the least expensive LCD view finders available today. It's failing is that it doesn't come with a method to mount it to your LCD screen, and the after market mounting options are less then satisfactory.

If you already own a Hoodman Loupe, or are thinking of purchasing one, fear not, here is my step by step tutorial, along with detailed instructions, on how to modify your Hoodman Loupe to securely mount to your camera, while still being able to remove it quickly. In the video I attach the finished loupe to a Canon Rebel T2i/550D, but it should work the same for nearly any camera with a 3 inch LCD screen.

Below is the detailed step by step instructions, as well as a parts list

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Items you will need for this build:
Delkin 3" universal LCD pop- up shade- $10
Hoodman Loupe 3.0- $80

Tools used in this build:
Dremel rotary tool
Cutting disk for Dremel
Grinding wheel or sandpaper/file
Box cutter or dry wall knife
Two part Epoxy

  1. Once you have removed the pop-up shade from the packaging, you'll want to start by seperating the mounting bracket with built in protective screen (stays on the camera) from the pop-up shade plate. Gently move the two pieces in opposing directions (the shade section to the left, and the bracket to the right). Set the mounting bracket to the side, you'll come back to that later on.
  2. Your going to start by removing the shade flaps from the base plate. To do this, first tape down the inner, spring loaded flaps, otherwise they tend to get in the way. Start by removing the larger cover flap. Gently push the larger flap toward one corner, twisting slightly, and it should pop right out. Next your going to remove the smaller spring loaded flaps. If you look carefully, you will see that the hinges they sit in are slotted, so these flaps remove quite easily. All you need to do is push the corner in the slotted hinge out away from the center of the shade frame.
  3. Once you've removed the shade flaps, grab your loupe. If you look at the inside of the edge which makes contact with the LCD of your camera, you'll notice a seam where the outer rubber coating joins the inner plastic shell of the loupe. Using the back side of a box cutter, slowly and carefully start separating that outer rubber from the plastic. You want to try preserve the rubber shell, as it will come in handy later on. As always, be careful when working with sharp tools.
  4. Now that you've peeled back the rubber, go ahead and clean off and glue residue or pieces of rubber left behind. You can use a knife, sandpaper, or your fingers for this. With the clean plastic of the loupe expose, you'll want to take the shade frame, and see how the loupe fits into it. You'll notice that the width of the loupe fits into the shade frame perfectly, however, it is slightly too tall to make clean contact. Your now going to modify the loupe to fit cleanly and securely into the shade frame.
  5. What you want to do is grind, cut, or file down the longer sides of the loupe only as far as the line created in the molding process. If your unsure of where this line is, see the video above, I point it out. Slowly start removing plastic from the longer side of the loupe. Remember, it's not a race. If you go to fast, and cut too deep, it will be very hard to correct later on. You want to try and get those longer sides as smooth and flat as possible, as it will make for a flush contact with the shade frame.
  6. Once you have the longer sides flat and smoother, you will need to trim the shorter sides slightly. You want to remove the rounded corners of the short sides. In the same slow fashion as you removed plastic from the long sides, remove the rounded corners until they line up with the V shaped contour of the loupe body. Again, I point this out in the above video.
  7. You will also need to make some minor modifications to the shade plate. Set the loupe aside and grab the shade plate. Remember the little hinges that held the spring loaded flaps? Those are what you will be removing. They are a little more difficult to remove because the spacing is tight, so again, go slow, and do your best not to damage the surrounding frame. Be extremely careful when doing this, as it is easy to slip and catch a finger with a knife or grinder.
  8. Once you are satisfied with the modifications, it's time to see how they fit together. Carefully place the loupe into the shade frame, and make sure the loupe is making a sturdy, even contact all around. If it is not fitting into the frame evenly and securely, you may need to make additional modifications. To make sure the loupe is making flush contact with the shade frame, attach the mounting bracket from early and place the build against a dark surface, flat surface as if you were putting it against your LCD screen. Look through the view finder and see if there is any light leaking in. Don't worry about the notch cut into the shade frame, as much of that will be covered by the rubber shell of the loupe, and the glue holding the loupe to the shade frame. Once your satisfied, remove the mounting bracket and set it aside. You are almost ready to glue it all together.
  9. Before gluing, do one last final check of how the loupe is seated into the shade frame. You want to ensure it is making good contact, because once it's glue, it's not coming apart. If needed, make additional modifications. Once your happy with the fit, separate the loupe from the shade frame. I used a 5 minute set two part epoxy. The longer set epoxy will give you time to make final position adjustments before the glue starts to cure.
  10. Mix a generous portion of the two part epoxy, and apply a liberal coating to all the edges of the loupe. Carefully place the loupe into the shade frame, and ensure the edges of the loupe line up with the edges of the shade frame. Apply another generous coating of epoxy to the seam formed at the union of the shade frame and the loupe. The more glue the better. It will help to fill in any of the cracks that were leaking light, and will make for a stronger bond. The glue dries clear, and excess can be sanded down later on.
  11. Once you have glued the loupe to the shade frame, take too small rubber bands and wrap them around the loupe and frame from top to bottom as shown in the video. Once the rubber bands are in place, again, check to make sure the frame is lining up correctly with the loupe. Now set this in a dry safe place on top of a sheet of wax paper. Should any excess glue drip down, it will not stick to the wax paper. Let the glue cure for the full 24 hours.
  12. While you're waiting for the glue to cure, grab the mounting bracket, and your DSLR. Wipe the LCD screen on your camera free of any finger prints and dust, this will make for a stronger bond with the mounting plate. Remove the plastic from the inside of the mounting bracket, and again remove any dust or finger prints. Remember, once this is attached to the camera, it's not going to come off too easily, so make sure those screens are clean. Remove the wax paper from the adhesive strips on the mounting plate and carefully lay it over your cameras LCD, ensuring it is lined up properly. Once you are sure it is lined up properly, press down firmly.
  13. By now you should have the mounting bracket attached to your camera, and you have let the glue set on the loupe for 24 hours. Now it's time to see if all your hard work has paid off. Remove the rubber bands from the loupe and pull the rubber shell down over the seam between the shade frame and the loupe. This will help keep light from spilling in through any cracks you may not have covered up. Carefully attach the loupe to the mounting bracket. If you feel like your forcing it, check to make there isn't any excess glue in the way. If there is, sand it down.
  14. Once you have the loupe attached to your camera, again, look through the view finder and see if there is any light peaking in. If there is, don't worry, you can get modeling putty from a hobby shop, or bonding putty from a hardware store to fill in the gaps.
  15. Once your happy with the fit and finish of your loupe, flip on the camera, sit back and bask in the glory of a job well done. You've just taken an $80 Hoodman Loupe and a $10 Pop-Up shade and made a LCD viewfinder similar to models selling for double, triple, and even quadriple the price.


  1. Great Idea, thanks for the post, I'm going to give this a try

  2. The information is only good if you share it. Let me know how it works out for you.

  3. Great solution to an annoying problem. I used an Xacto knife instead of a dremel, and it worked perfectly. Greatly appreciate the post. Smush49

  4. Thanks, I'm glad it worked out for you. I found using a knife to be a bit faster and also more controlled. If your not familiar with using a dremel, things can go wrong in a hurry.

  5. Hey David, thanks for this! Worked brilliantly - such a great, simple way to turn the Hoodman from cool to awesome.

    1. No problem Dan, I'm glad you found it helpful. Thanks for reading and watching.

  6. Have you tried attaching small magnets to the loupe? Or is the Delkin not metal?