After my last photo trip, I decided it was time to check into getting an LCD viewfinder for the Canon T3i. A great feature of the T3i is the swivel screen and I use it all the time. The problem is on a bright day it can be really hard to see the LCD. Kind of tough when you want to check your composition and camera settings. After looking online and reading about LCD viewfinders on photography forums, I decided to buy a recommended viewfinder off eBay.
My last purchase off eBay went smooth so I thought what the heck, I’ll order it. The price was pretty good, about $15 and shipped from China. Ordering went smooth, but getting the viewfinder was another story. After the delivery date passed I contacted the seller through eBay. No response. I had to wait another four days for a response. The response was the package was shipped.
I replied back that I wanted a refund and that the lack of professionalism of the seller was unacceptable. Wanting to get an LCD viewfinder, I turned to the one website that has never let me down. Amazon. I ordered a more expensive LCD viewfinder than the eBay version. The Swi-View LCDVF LCD Viewfinder from carrying Speed costs about $33 and you get a few extras that don’t come with the cheap eBay version.
Both of the viewfinders are magnifiers as well. The major difference between the LCD-V3 from eBay and the Carry Speed viewfinder is how they attach to the camera. Both are magnetic so they are easily used and removed. The LCD-V3 from eBay has a frame that screws in your tripod mount and the viewfinder sticks to it by use of magnets. The Swi-Viewview finder has two ways you can use it. One way is a wrap around velco cradle that is used when the viewfinder is open. The second way is to attach one of the two thin metal frames to the LCD. The frames have double-sided tape and seem to hold very well.
The downside of attaching the metal frame is you will lose the ability to close the LCD screen all way. Something I have noticed when using my camera does not only do I use the swivel LCD all the time, I rarely flip it shut with the LCD inward.
I tend to leave the LCD facing out since I look at it so much. For this reason, I decided to use the stick on the metal frame and use the Swi-View LCDVF LCD Viewfinder. The Swi-View also has a neck strap that is great for when you’re not using it.
Both viewfinders are roughly the same size, but the rubber eyepiece on the Swi-View is a bit larger and better shaped to fit over the eye. I wear eyeglasses and found no problems with the rubber eyepiece.
I didn’t plan on ending up with two viewfinders, I thought I would be getting a refund from the eBay seller. Ironically the viewfinders arrived the very same day from the post office. The eBay one took nearly a month and the Amazon(Carry Speed) took 3 days.
Depending on how you want to magnetically attach them to your camera will dictate on which one you want to get. I use my LCD in various angles all the time so I think I would have ended up disappointed with the eBay LCD-V3 since it has a frame that screws into the tripod mount, I would not be able to open the LCD screen when I wanted.
The eBay experience was a joke but led me to get the Carry Speed viewfinder. I’m keeping the eBay viewfinder as a backup or I’ll give it away to friends and family that get a Canon it’ll work on. The Carry Speed viewfinder is more expensive but worth it. You get the soft velcro viewfinder LCD wrap, two metal frames, and a convenient quick release neck strap. I recommend the Swi-View LCDVF LCD Viewfinder over the cheap eBay version.