Many of us that have been photographing for any length of time have built up our basic camera gear that we feel is essential to having for shooting what we love to shoot. That is most of us have the essentials of the large hardware component of our hobby – the camera, lenses, flash, tripod, etc. But no matter how long we have been photographing for a living, or for the joy of it, most of us are intrigued by the constantly evolving and development of peripherals or ‘gadgets’ if you will, that could enhance our photography experience.
One of these gadgets we will look at is the Canon Right Angle Finder C. The fact that I call this a ‘gadget’ in no way undermines the usefulness of this little device.
Firstly, and most importantly, the reason for having one of these in your gear bag is that it allows you to see through your viewfinder for composing and focusing on your subject from a comfortable position, that would not be possible, or at least be extremely inconvenient, doing it the conventional way.
For example, many photographers love shooting from low to the ground, that offers a more interesting perspective for a variety of subjects. Shooting from low to the ground requires, at the least, getting on your knees, or even your belly to do so. Framing and composing the image while in this position is at the very least, uncomfortable. If you are not a spring chicken anymore, you know it is with some grunting and complaining, to resume standing up after you’ve taken your shot.
With the Canon Angle Finder C, this becomes much easier to accomplish. I have used the angle finder quite nicely with my Gorillapod tripod, when shooting landscapes from low to the ground.
For those that like to photograph children, it is much easier with the angle finder to be at their ‘eye level’, which makes for the best ‘natural looking’ composition for these kinds of shots in my opinion, rather than shooting ‘down’ on them.
Macro photography is another area where having the angle finder is indispensable. Obviously, doing macro work often means being low to the ground. But there is another feature on the Canon angle finder that comes in extremely handy. It is the ability to flip the optics from 1.25x magnification to 2.5x. This magnified view of your subject is great when you are using manual focus, as it allows you to be ‘tack sharp’ in your focusing. Some photographers use the cameras ‘live view’ to achieve the same result, but if you need to conserve your battery this is a great alternative. Also, using ‘live view’ when conditions are bright, may not be the best, with the angle finder you can look through the eye cup and have a clearer view as this blocks out most of the light.
Other situations that the angle finder would have practical value is for those that do astrophotography, and in situations where you may run out of space shooting in confined areas, i.e. interior architecture or objects where your camera may be backed up to a wall, making it impossible to get ‘behind’ the camera to look through the viewfinder.
Some of these situations, we may not run into very often, but this is where having the solution can easily fit into your bag, without compromising on weight and space concerns.
The Canon Angle Finder C comes with in a nice little pouch, and has 2 viewfinder attachments (metal in construction) that will fit any EOS camera. All you have to do is slide off the eyepiece that’s on your cameras viewfinder, and slide on the angle finder. It makes a nice solid connection. The eye piece also turns on one plane, with detentes (soft stops) at 45 degrees.
When you attach it to the camera, you then must focus the diopter ring until everything is in sharp focus. In the 1.25x position, you will be able to view the entire viewfinder, including the information the camera displays at the bottom of the viewfinder. If you switch to the 2.5x position, you must readjust the diopter for sharp focus, and on my full frame camera, all 4 sides of the viewfinder are trimmed back. This would be what you would want to use if you are using manual focus, especially for macro photography.
Should I buy Canon or a third party angle finder? The Canon Angle Finder C is solidly constructed with good optics. There are after-market varieties available, but with Canon, you know what quality you can expect to get with their products, and if you ever want to resell your gear, you will get a much better return with OEM equipment. As with anything you buy, do your research, and go check it out at your local camera outlet, before spending your hard earned money.
In conclusion, having the Canon Angle Finder C as part of your gear will add another dimension to your photography. When you confront situations that will present viewfinder challenges, and certainly if your joints are not as forgiving as they used to be to get up and down, you will be glad for this little ‘gadget’ in your bag.