I've been pretty successful thus far in my ongoing quest to find the most unusual accessories here at Macworld/iWorld 2013, what with products like the BowBlade catching my eye. Today I ran across a little doodad called the Daylight Viewfinder, which is an optical viewfinder -- the kind you'll find on DSLR cameras and the like -- that sticks to your iPhone or iPod touch screen and lets you see what you're shooting even if the sun's washing out your display.
Launched in late December of last year, the Daylight Viewfinder was designed for use in settings where you're going to be battling the sun's rays, such as at the beach or while hiking. The lightweight device attaches to your display using strong suction -- there's no chance of it coming off unintentionally -- and telescopes out, so you don't have to put your eye right up against your screen. A soft rubber eyepiece helps to block out all external light.
The Daylight Viewfinder works with a free app of the same name available on the App Store. When you fire it up, it displays a thick white circle indicating where to attach the viewfinder on your screen. In terms of controls, it features a shutter button, flash control and toggle for switching between still photo and view mode. It also offers a digital zoom and a means to access your camera roll.
While looking through the viewfinder, you see a display very similar to that of a hand-held view camera. Since the accessory is enlarging it optically, the actual view is pretty low-res, but it gets the job done. Since you can't look at your device's display to change settings while you're peering into the viewfinder, the app uses a unique tap-and-lift interface, where you have to tap your screen, drag your finger -- represented by a circle -- to the option you want and release. It takes a little getting used to, but it's a clever approach to an obvious problem with the setup.
We tried the Daylight Viewfinder outside of the Moscone Center in a setting that would normally have prevented us from getting a good view of what we were shooting and came away impressed. We've not sure about how often we'd find ourselves using the accessory day-to-day, but those who have frequent run-ins with wash-out and glare might think the US$29.95 price tag is worth it.
The Daylight Viewfinder is available for order directly from its makers or at Macworld/iWorld for the reduced price of $22.99