So many people jot notes in threads and posts on their favorite photography internet sites making it plain to the world they want an articulating LCD built into their DSLR cameras. Very few companies have appeased them and the flat built-in LCD is the order of the day.
Aputure hopes to change that by providing a remote LCD that brings an interesting assortment of features that include:
- LCD viewing monitor that slips onto the camera’s hot shoe.
- Swings up and down for holding the camera high or low.
- Swivels around so you can see LCD from the front side of the camera.
- Has remote button to fire camera’s shutter including a focus half-press.
- Has extra long accessory cord so you can fire the camera remotely from far away
By adding Aputure onto the camera you can realize a wide variety of wishes many of us have for the LCD on the back of the camera with this remote LCD screen.
When I received my UPS package with the new Aputure in it, it arrived with the Aputure LCD screen body, a USB connector, a set of wires correctly selected for my brand of camera that connects to the AV out port and the control port, a hot shoe stand for the Aputure LCD, an extension wire for remote control shooting and the instruction sheet.
The instructions are not the best around and hopefully they will be updated. If you are an English speaking person you can clearly see there was a poor struggling soul doing their best to translate from one language to another and hopefully the instructions will be refined so people can understand a little better their choices at hand. Putting that aside though, the Aputure is a fun and neat gizmo to have.
The overall package is small enough to make it convenient to have it along with you. Once opened though most folks will probably stash the important parts in their camera bag and unless on a trip, leave the unused parts home.
Here is the Aputure LCD before I unpacked it:
The heart of the Aputure LCD unit looks like this:
It is designed to work with DSLR cameras that have the LiveView feature and the wires that come with it are used to support focusing and triggering the focus and shutter of the camera. Mine was the model for my D3X camera, but I also tried it on an older Canon XTI using only the AV out port and it worked fine. Of course I wasn’t able to fire the Canon’s shutter like I could the Nikon, but I did get to hold the camera at all kinds of angles and even take some pictures of myself by flipping the LCD forward.
In my wedding work and even pleasure photography I often like to hold the camera high above my head, aim and hope for the best. With the Aputure, I can actually see the live LCD screen and fire the camera accurately. If I put the camera on a monopod and go up high I can hold the Aputure in my hand and see what the camera is seeing and fire the camera (with the proper wiring set applied) from the red button on the Aputure right from my hand with the camera hovering high above me.
And while either sitting on the camera or off, the LCD will spin around so you can be in front of the camera and see what is going on:
And from behind you get to see both LCD screens, the one on the camera naturally doesn’t come off or angle up or down, and it doesn’t turn forward like the Aputure does so the Aputure adds a lot of function to the mix. This is great for out in the field or for studio work where the camera can be in one spot and you are free to move about and fire at will.
I have to give Aputure a thumbs up.
Besides being fun to use, it opened up opportunities on my DSLR to do things I have been wanting to do for a long time. Aputure is a very useful remote LCD screen and I can see it being a useful tool for getting perspectives in my shooting that are difficult to get or I have been ignoring those perspectives altogether like shooting remotely, putting the camera in high or low positioning and still being able to see what the heck I am shooting, and being able to stand in front of the camera and doing those all important Facebook and YouTube shots
This item, or one similar to it, is really a must have for DSLR Video. If you ever plan on doing video with your camera, an articulating display will be a huge help in ensuring you see what you are doing, steadying the camera and, minimizing arm strain.
The instructions, as I already mentioned, need to be done better so they are friendlier. I found my unit kept shutting off like on a timer and that annoyed me a lot. I checked the instructions and found nothing mentioning it, but when digging around I found a feature that saves the battery by shutting the LCD screen it down. After deactivating that feature in the menu selections I was home free and had a great time taking pictures from all kinds of angle.
The screen’s resolution is 230,000 pixels and I wish it was more, but the AV-out port for most cameras doesn’t support the higher resolutions even if you wanted them to do so. Battery life was good. After the initial charging I went a whole day of shooting and continued the next morning and the battery was still a happy camper. You charge up Aputure by plugging it into a powered USB port. You can use your own USB connection or use the supplied power cable to USB transformer and charge it off your house current. It was easy and took a few hours the first time around.
Where to Buy:
Aputure can be found at the www.photoxgear.com web site and is priced at $199.95. It is compatible with select Canon and Nikon cameras. If you are looking for the full functionality of an LCD powered remote control for your camera along with the convenience of an articulating screen this is definitely something to put on your list of things to check out.
Peter Gregg is a freelance writer and inventor of A Better Bounce Card flash diffusion systems for camera hot shoe flash units. Visit his site at www.abetterbouncecard.com