The ClearViewer Optical Viewfinder: A Cure for the Two-Handed Wobble

For years this simple truth has dogged me. There are two problems with digital cameras that lack viewfinders.

For years this simple truth has dogged me. There are two problems with digital cameras that lack viewfinders (or have poorly designed ones). First, the photographer inherently lacks stability. She has to do what I call the “two-handed wobble.” To accomplish this unnatural position, most hold the camera a foot or two away from the face, focus on the shot, and hope that the camera has a good anti-shake feature. Second, compact or mirrorless cameras are virtually impossible to use effectively in bright sunlight. At best, photographers see only a hazy representation of their scene. And while mirrorless cameras like the Sony Alpha a6500 have EVFs (electronic viewfinders) they are often right-eye prejudiced. They put them on the left side of the camera body! (What were they thinking? Try using it with your left eye and your nose sets off the touchscreen.) Also, they add unnecessary weight to the camera design.

Products like the HoodLoupe and ClearViewer are designed to correct the situation. I reviewed the HoodLoupe several years back. As good as it is, it does not work well with cameras that use touchscreens, which are now dominating the market. You must to remove the device each time you want to tap your touch-screen. And many loupes aren’t designed to stay attached.

This is not the case with ClearViewer. This compact magnifier not only allows you to bring your eye 5.5 centimeters (about 2 inches) from your LCD and see your entire scene in focus, it also lets you do it with or without glasses. (I wouldn’t expect it to work both ways, but it does.) In addition, if you push it lightly against your glasses or eye socket, you can add a level of stability to your focusing, preventing the dreaded two-handed wobble. “Oh I can get good results using just two hands,” says the adventurous skeptic. Well, so can I, so can anyone. But we can get far better results with more stability. It’s simple physics.

Two models of this product feature two different attachment methods: one clamps to the hot shoe and the other screws into to the tripod socket. Also, the ClearViewer comes in different options, the standard lens suitable for cameras with small LCD screens, and the premium lens, preferable for a screen larger than 2.5″, like my Canon EOS-M. The premium lens was the first Clearviewer I received. See the website for more information about options available.

How well does this product block ambient or direct sunlight? Not badly, if you know the technique. Inthe inventor’s words: “Much of the ambient light that would cause reflections or glare on the screen will be blocked by your head being right up to the camera. If there’s any glare from the side, it can be blocked easily by your free hand.” This is not marketing hype. I tried it on a sunny day and it works just fine.

Each Clearviewer is custom fit to your camera. Gary will modify the tool when you place an order. That’s why I got the second Clearviewer. He designed it for my Canon G7X Mark II, a compact bridge camera, and the results were good. 

This is an impressive product, well worth the money. It is a great invention and will serve you well with both your small and large cameras.

For more information:

ClearViewer (

Peter Bates (

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Author: Peter Bates

Peter Bates is a writer and photographer living in Florida. He is the administrator of this blog and runs the blog The Bodega Project.

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