I want to use the video feature on my DSLR, but when it’s bright and I’m outside, I can’t see the screen on the back of the camera in order to change my manual focus.
possible solution: $375
I can buy a Zacuto Z-find attachment for my camera. The low end model is around $285 and the pro model is around $385. My money tree hasn’t started blooming yet, so let’s move on.
On weekends I run tech with, well, and bunch of techie people at work. I told them my problem and how I thought I could make one of these for free. I mean really, all I need is for it to be dark so I can see the screen. My idea was to get some cardboard and duct tape and make a cute little hood, similar in size to the expensive pro thing. I was challenged by Aaron who said, “You can’t do that, what will you use for the glass? You can’t do that without glass.” He later joked that I would have a paper towel tube taped to the camera. So he was right, I did need some magnifying glass to pull this off. The expensive pro thing is just a glorified loupe, and I’m pretty sure I still have at least one of those from my film photography days. I also have motivation now that someone challenged me that it cannot be done.
the solution: $0
Yes, I said $0. I decided to do a MacGyver on this. Even if I wanted to buy the pro thing, I can’t because I’m doing my one year of no retail shopping. Here’s the step by step process I used to design and create my free… oh, it needs a name, doesn’t it? Hmmm, how about eyePEACE? (the penny-wise everlasting adaptable cone-shaped eyepiece) Eye feel much peace that I did not spend $300.
step 1: find stuff
I dug through my garage to see what raw materials I could find. Not only did I find my loupe, I found 2 of them and a magnifying glass. (sometimes if pays to be a pack-rat) Here’s my list of materials and it’s all stuff I already own, and in some cases, about to recycle:
- magnifying glass
- duct tape
- a cream cheese container
- a piece of junk mail
- a black t-shirt
- an oversized hairband
If you don’t have everything you need, check out a thrift store or freecycle, or better yet, post your need as your Facebook status update. Other people have junk too, and in most cases, would be happy to part with it.
step 2: start fabricating
Now it’s time to start making your eyePEACE. I had to test the 3 options I had for the glass, the small loupe did not work, as it was a x8 and too powerful. The large loupe was x5 and worked, but it’s a little big. The cheapo magnifying glass that is actually a kids toy works perfect. During testing, I realized it needed to be a certain distance from the camera to be effective. That’s where the cream cheese container comes in. It’s the perfect distance from the camera and provides the structural support needed.
step 3: laugh
The nice thing about paying for the fancy pro thing is that it looks professional. The eyePEACE is actually going to look quite dorky, for lack of a better word. So finish fabricating, but you’re going to need a sense of humor here. Also, I’m using colored duct tape, but you could use black and it really won’t look so bad. Right now, it looks like a giant eyeball!
I cut a hole in the container and taped the glass onto the top of it. I took some black t-shirt fabric and taped it onto the large open piece to mold to the camera, keeping extraneous light out. Then I made the piece of junk mail into a cone and taped around the glass, cut it to fit the contour of my face, then added some tape and t-shirt fabric for comfort.
Now… how to attach it to the camera? Hairband!
step 4: admire your work
Now I was testing this many times through the process, and everything worked great, but will it work? I don’t know yet, and it looks completely ridiculous, but if not I’m out no money, only a little time. Honestly, I can’t wait for the strange looks and people wondering what kind of weird contraption I have. It’s a work of art!
step 5: test and modify
Well, I tested it and it works perfectly. (Aaron… :P) No modification needed, and wow, that never happens. I should have some great DSLR videos posted soon. Maybe before I take it out, I’ll add the eyePEACE name and a logo on the side. LOL