Giottos Camera Screen Protector Review
I have always been a proponent of keeping my Â cameras looking brand new. Â A big piece of keeping your camera new is protecting the screens. Â This has been an age-old issue that affects all modern, digital cameras from point and shoots to professional SLRs.
I think screen protectors are way overpriced.Â You can pay $10 to $15 for a piece of plastic film smaller than the palm of your hand.Â That just doesn’t seem right.Â Fortunately, I happen to have a box full of old Palm Pilot screen protectors laying around and I usually just cut one of them to the size of my camera’s screens. Â They are durable, scratch resistant and provide decent protection. Â I bought several dozen of these in a single ebay auction, so I didn’t feel ripped off at paying $14.99 for a clear piece of sticky plastic, as many companies charge for their “custom cut” screen protectors.
While at the PMA tradeshow in March ’08, I met with a Giottos distributor named Bill Hodges, who was very enthusiastic about their products. Â Bill showed me an product line that I was not familiar with in the Giottos lineup… the AEGIS Pro Optical Glass Screen Protectors. Â Unlike the simple plastic films you can buy for $10 to $15, these Giottos screen protectors are $24 to $45.Â Now, I have never been comfortable paying $15 for a piece of plastic film smaller than a playing card, so what could possibly make me spend two to three times that amount to protect my camera screens?
To answer that question, let’s look at some specs on this product.
AEGIS SP 80 series
â€¢ Transmission 420~680 nm: Tâ‰¥98%
â€¢ High translucent, optical glass sheet made from Schott glass in Germany.
â€¢ Both sides 12 layers coated,Â from â€œLEYBOLDâ€ Germany
â€¢Â 12 Layers improve LCD backlight transmission while reducing reflections or glare
â€¢ Elite Schott glass protects and clarifies LCD images
â€¢Â Includes Micro-Fiber Cleaning Cloth
â€¢Â Available for digital cameras and DSLRâ€™s including Canon, Nikon and Fujifilm
â€¢Â Adds no significant weight or bulk to the camera body
â€¢Â Resistant to acid and alkali prolonging the life of the LCD
â€¢Â Easily applied using pre attached 3m double sided tape
â€¢Â No air bubbles
â€¢Â Glass surface reaches 8-9 and the elastic pressure is 4kg/cm2 to help it withstand impacts
â€¢Â Removable and replaceable if it gets scratched or damaged
I have found that most LCD screen protectors fall into one of two categories; the plastic stick-on film sheet or the flip-up sun shade housings.Â Stick-on sheets are prone to peeling off, bubbling, and have little to no beneficial optical qualities while LCD hoods/screen shades & covers are bulky and cumbersome while only minimally preserving the LCD image.
TheÂ Giottos AEGIS Glass Screen Protectors are very different from the start. The package has an interesting pull-up transparent tab that has the outline size of the screen protector that you can lay over your camera screen to confirm the size. With 12 layers of Anti-Reflective coating, plus being made of glass, they protect the LCD panel from not only abrasions and scratches , but impact too.Â The multi-layer coating supposedly improves clarity and color quality as well as the life of the LCD.
I picked up two of these screen protectors; one for my Canon 5D Mark II and one for my Canon G9.Â The two models I picked up were obviously different as the screen sizes of the displays on the two cameras are just a little different.Â So, I started with the SP8301L for the 50D and 5D Mark II.
So, enough of all the marketing hype… what is the user experience?Â What is this thing really like?Â Well, first, the application to the camera screen was fairly simple. Â Since it is rigid, it is easy to move around and pre-position.Â There were no air bubbles to worry about, but not just because you are applying a rigid piece of glass, but because the glass is actually suspended above the screen surface by a fraction of a millimeter.Â The only sticky surface is around the edges of the protector, and the thickness of the sticky substrate suspends the glass above the screen.
There is protective plastic on both sides of the glass sheet.Â I cleaned my screen well with a micro-fiber cloth, peeled away the bottom film first, then lined the glass up with the screen.Â My first shot was not perfect, so I used a fingernail to peel it up and re-apllying it.Â Not too challenging.Â Once in place, I rubbed it down with a cloth and peeled away the top protective layer.Â The fit to the 5D II is perfect.
Checking at the final result, it looks great.Â The protective cover has the Giottos logo in the black trim around the outside edge which covers the Canon logo.Â This is the most visible thing you will notice every dayÂ But as you can see by the photo it simply looks like part of the camera.Â The surface of the Schott Glass is a little more reflective than the anti-reflective coating on the original screen surface, but you only notice this when the camera screen is off. Once it is on, the picture is bright and clear.Â I actually find it much easier to see in bright sunlight than it was before the Giottos screen cover was on.
One More Time
Next, I installed my second screen protector over my Canon G9 screen – model SP 8300.Â This was a little tougher as the screen fit was not as perfect as the one for the 5D Mark II.Â The cover for the G9 was actually a couple on millimeters shorter on the vertical dimension than the Canon G9 screen.Â This caused me to lift and re-seat the cover a couple of times to get it to where I could best see the camera’s screen through the glass.Â Now, the end result is absolutely fine and the screen is 100% visible, but the Canon logo at the top is only partially covered.Â This is a very small detail, as I guess I was expecting absolute perfection here.Â However, I am completely happy with the end product.Â With the small body of a camera like the G9, you tend to touch the screen more and it seems more prone to being bumped or scuffed by being laid on the screen, so I think this application is even more crucial than putting it on my pro body.
I have now tested both of my cameras outside in sunlight, in the shade, in the dark, in about every possible situation. Â I have to say that I have no real complaints at all. Â About the only criticism one might have is that the new screen is a bit more reflective than the original surface, but it isn’t bothering me. Â After reading some reviews online, I see that there are various complaints about size, reflectivity and the screen not sticking. Â I have to say that I do not see any of these issues with my two experiences.
The only reason to really put a protector of this sort over your camera’s screen is to protect the original screen and protect the value of your camera.Â Let’s face it… these cameras are electronics.Â In today’s market, electronics are the fastest depreciating item you can buy (outside of a home – but that’s another story).Â To keep the value of your camera, you need to keep it looking new.Â But you don’t want to have to look through some bubbled, misty looking piece of plastic film the whole time you use your camera.Â So, is it worth a little more to invest in a quality piece of glass like this?Â I think so.