View Full Version : 3.5" Screen Hood review

05-25-2006, 01:24 PM

As you all know by now the 3.5Ē flip out screen on all the DVX/HVX series of camcorders is an extremely useful and versatile viewfinder for framing and focusing if used properly. And if you have used it in open daylight you may also know that itís practically useless in that situation. Of course you can always go to the EVF (Electronic View Finder) but that limits your mobility and camera placement by requiring you to always have your eye to the EVF. Luckily there is a solution, in the form of a screen hood/shade. Four manufactures currently produce a 3.5Ē screen hood, Hoodman ($24), Panasonic/Kata ($24.95), Cantury Optics ($48.95) and now Cinetactics ($27.50).

Granted these arenít bank breaking prices but this particular accessory can be one of the most useful if not troublesome pieces of kit since a good one can make filming in bright light so much easier and a bad design can make you leave it in the bag on all but the sunniest of days.

For this review I will be covering the Hoodman H400 and the new Cinetactics Screen Hoodie Ls40.
I omitted the other two because I personally feel from handling them at various shows they are less than ideal solutions. The Panasonic/Kata hood is lightweight but lacks sufficient bottom surface to allow for proper reflection blocking. The Century is certainly capable of controlling the light and reflections but is rigid and doesnít fold down plus it's heavy so your screen canít stay at itís assigned angle, defeating the versility of the LCD altogether. If you are a great supporter of either of these two products please chime in.


That leaves us with the Hoodman and the new Cinetactics. Iíve been using the Hoodman since the OG DVX100. And for the most part it has done the job admirably if a bit in-elegantly. The fold over design gives it an almost non-existent storage profile, although the elastic compression straps that secures the hood end up flopping around.
The Cinetactics is thicker and comes with itís own pouch and ring for securing. This is a trade off I like because the pouch protects and secures the hood, keeping it from opening and the Velcro from catching on an already Velcro covered interior on my Portabrace. Build quality is excellent. The durable nylon is edged by a rubber like material that fends off bumps and wear. The Hoodman is sturdy but lacks the refined touches around the edges. The elastic is also starting to loose itís bounce, albeit four years after purchase, so that aintí bad. One departure by Cinetactics is the way it attaches, instead of elastic or Velcro on the screen, it uses a rubberized strap that fastens to the top of the hood using Velcro. This method avoids the possibility of elastic wearing out.

http://evingrant.com/hoods/hoodietop.jpg http://evingrant.com/hoods/hoodmanbottom.jpg

Probably the most innovative thing that Cinetactics has done is create a kind of ďbarn doorĒ in the design of the Hoodie that lets you narrow the opening thus cutting off much more extraneous light. As efficient as these hoods are this makes it even easier to see a good contrasty image in any lighting condition.

Thereís not much else to say, my conclusion is that if space is your paramount concern then the Hoodman does a perfectly good job with a very minimal profile, but if youíre a sucker for a great design and willing to tote just a smidgen of extra material around the Cinetactics is the belle of the ball.


05-25-2006, 01:50 PM
Good to have the two compared--I agree, of the four, these are the ones I wanted. Thanks evinsky! Looks like I'll pick up the Cinetactics, since I always wished for just such improvements--and at virtually the same price.

05-25-2006, 11:31 PM
Yeah, I've been looking at getting one of these for a while. Looks like it's the cinetatics for me.

05-26-2006, 04:59 PM

05-26-2006, 05:00 PM
cost for the hood ??

05-26-2006, 09:20 PM
It's in the first paragraph. Read.

05-27-2006, 03:21 AM
Petrol also produce a 3.5" hood: PMH-2.



Pro Gressive
05-29-2006, 02:05 PM
Awesome review mate. Thanks for putting in the work, from all of us here at DVXuser.com ;)

matt s.
05-30-2006, 03:01 AM
thanks for this review! i was about to order the hoodman but now went with the cinetactics.

Erik Olson
05-30-2006, 05:03 AM

My only concern with the CineTactics is the thickness around the back of the LCD with that velcro flap. The much-improved holding power comes at a minor cost - you can't lock the viewfinder into the 1st AC position for side viewing.

With the Hoodman, which I currently use on HVR, DVX and HVX, the sad flimsy elastic is so thin that you can actually lock the LCD at 90 degrees.

If that isn't an issue, then I'd say that the CineTactics build quality would make it the hands-down winner for sure.


05-30-2006, 05:07 AM
An additional screen shade option comes from camera bellows, a UK company connected with (possibly owned by) Lee Filter.


The correct size to fit a DVX/HVX or any other 3.5in Diagonal flip out LCD is VSS3 (not listed here but available on order). Here are a couple of more detailed pics.


That bellow is very well made: sturdy yet lightweight and unobtrusive. It folds flat on the screen and you can almost close the LCD completely against the camera with the shade on. Any change to the depth or orientation of the rig is made in a snap: the bellow folds easily and stay in place. Its ability to take uneven shapes is of great help in many situations where selective shading is needed.

I own both the Hoodman and the Camera Bellows and I have found different usages for each one. Having said that, the Cinetactics looks great and I'm gonna get one for sure.


05-30-2006, 09:35 AM
Evin perfect timing. I was just looking to get one of these before my trip to Central America.

05-31-2006, 11:34 AM
excellent! just ordered the cinetactics....i've been putting it off for months, but the review closed the deal for me..

12-27-2007, 10:17 AM
Just a FYI!

Since the writing of this article, the cinetactics hoodie had dropped in price!


What was once $45 is now only $27.

Happy Shopping! :thumbup:

01-03-2008, 12:00 PM
The Panasonic hood you mentioned is not made by Kata, it is made by Petrol. I have it and it's great! I owned the Hoodman previously but it was just a little too small for the 3.5" screen and I was not able to view the entire LCD (which basically made it useless). It also didn't secure to the screen very nicely and slipped all over the place. I gave it away.
The Panasonic/Petrol hood is excellent as it is extremely lightweight, is easy to attach and secures to the screen well, folds up very flat and is easy to store, allows viewing of the entire LCD, and in the brightest sunlight, has no light spill. I highly recommend it. And, at $24.95 it won't break the bank.


http://www.petrolbags.com/ PMH-2

01-08-2008, 05:55 PM
The hoods reviewed here look impressive, but for those of you who enjoy making things and saving your cash check out the following link:


I made one of these out of sturdy cardboard that is 5 inches long, fully collapsible and I got to drink the fine beer that came in the sturdy cardboard box. Win, win, win!