Wednesday, 14 October 2009

MacBook & Laptop Screen Shade (Mini) Group Test

The screen shade is fast becoming the essential accessory for anyone using a MacBook or laptop with a glossy screen either outside on location or inside where there's a problem with bright lights and reflections. A screen shade will allow you to view your images and accurately assess colour and exposure without distraction from unwanted reflections. As well as a screen shade I also recommend wearing dark clothing to reduce reflections and aid accurate viewing. Wearing a red top could well cause you to adjust your colour balance in the wrong direction, but that's a another story.

HoodMAC Sun Shade for 13 – 17 inch MacBooks – Hoodman
As I would expect with any Hoodman product, the HoodMAC Sun Shade is well designed and versatile. Whilst it doesn't afford the all-round weather protection of the other products in this mini group test, this is the ideal product for use in the office as a sun shade or to give you privacy when working on a crowded commuter train or plane. It can be adjusted for 13 to 17 inch screens. Folded, it's compact enough to tuck in a pocket of your carry case.


The HoodMAC comes in its' own pouch and measures approx. 240 x 240 mm (9 ½ in x 9 ½ in) folded. Open, W 340 x H 250 x D 330 mm (13.3 x 10 x 13 in). Adjustment for different screen sizes is via press studs/poppers.

For more information visit the Hoodman website
UK suppliers: Newpro & Canford Professional Audio & Video Equipment
UK RRP £35.00

Pixel Sunscreen V2.0 – Think Tank Photo
This the the largest screen shade on test, not only when open, but also when folded. It accommodate MacBooks or laptops up to 17” screen size. It is feature packed and includes head cover for extreme sunlight; side and back opens for cable routing; inside pockets for accessories etc, I use them for external hard drives and card readers; a clip to hang bits of paper; non- slip material inside and out; padded rest at front; integral pocket for transit.


The Pixel Sunscreen 2.0 is 355 x 25 mm (14 x 1 in) folded for transit and W 370 x H 560 x D 495 mm (14.5 x 22 x 19.5 in) and weighs 540 g (1.2 lbs)

For more information visit: The Think Tank Photo Website
UK suppliers: Visit the Snapperstuff website for UK resellers
UK RRP IRO £56.00

iCap 15+- Dr Roubanis Associates
The iCap 15+ is a simple yet functional design. It is a favourite of sports shooters due to its' water-resistant coating, which also reflects some sunlight, reducing the probability of over-heating. An another advantage of the exterior coating is it makes the shade almost totally opaque. For very bright conditions (on the beach at St Trop!) there are additional flaps around the opening. There is a slot at the back for cable routing. In case of high wind, there are loops on the underside for fastening to whatever you're resting on.


The iCap 15+ measures approx. 210 x 30 mm (8 ¼ x 1 in) when folded and W 380 x H 410 x D 500 mm (15 x 16 x 20.3 in) open.

For more information and to purchase visit: The iCap online shop
Price: Approx. 50 Euros

The screen shades in their carry cases

All of the shades tested are constructed around the pop-up reflector principle – fabric stretched over spring steel frame. If you're used to folding a collapsible reflector you'll have little trouble stowing any of these products. One feature I do like on the The Pixel Sunscreen 2.0 is the addition of printed thumbs showing you where to hold the shade when folding!
These are all very good products and given the choice I'd opt for the The Pixel Sunscreen 2.0, even though I did get some strange looks from people when shooting the image of me hiding under the dark cloth!

If you're a sports shooter or doing anything vaguely involving weather I'd opt for the iCap 15+, mainly due to the exterior coating and water resistance, especially in the UK.

The HoodMAC is ideal for executives and client meetings, mainly because of its size and look.

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