Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fujfilm X-T1 screen protection by Expert Shield

Over the years, I've always been in support of having a good screen protector on my digital camera LCD screens. After having spend thousands of dollars/euros on them, a little bit of money for a screen protector is not going to break the bank. I find that camera LCD screens are especially vulnerable to scratches from shirt buttons, zippers, etc...

Having just sold a Nikon D800 body, one of the main concerns of the buyer was if the screen was 100% free of scratches... And yes it was!

Last month, I was contacted by the fine guys at Expert Shield UK, asking if I would be interested in reviewing a pair of their Fujifilm X-T1 screen protectors.

And they couldn't have emailed me at a better time. My X-T1 which was less than two months old, had a "cheap" screen protector which I picked up in a large computer mall in Singapore shortly after I got it. Probably paid just under 10 USD for it and that included the cutting from a larger sheet and the perfect fitting by the attractive Singaporean sales girl. Even though it looked like she did a great job, the little plastic protector did come slightly loose less than two weeks after that. Bummer!

Expert Shield, send me two protectors for the X-T1 to test; one normal and one anti-glare. Unfortunately I only have one X-T1 body so I couldn't do a side by side comparison. 

Both of them fit the screen perfectly. Maybe even a bit too perfect. Given I'm no professional in applying screen protectors, I would even prefer if they would be a tiny bit smaller than the actual screen. This way a very small misalignment would not mean one needs to try again and open the opportunity for dust/bubbles. Having said that, I understand most people probably do not agree with this... 

Putting on screen protectors on any device always makes my heart beat faster. Who knows, it might be an alternative for a workout! LOL. It is never something I look forward to do and that is probably why I thrusted my Singaporean friend in the first place!

Anyway, the process is pretty standard. Place your self comfortably in a relatively dust free and well lit environment. They actually recommend doing it in a "slightly steamy bathroom". Just could picture myself doing it there... 

Here we go; clean the screen with the provided small cloth, partially remove layer 1, lay out the protector on the screen, (starting on the exposed end of course), once in place go out bubble busting using the cloth and a credit card (doesn't have to have any credit on it however! -;) ), once done remove layer 2 and your are done for the day!

Normal or anti-glare, that is the question?
I started with the Normal for a week of shooting and then switched over to the anti-glare one. The latter one has a matt finish and obviously reflects the light differently. 

Having shot in a variety of conditions all the way from 45C bright sun-light in Dubai, getting wet on the beach near Los Angeles to two weeks in Italy with sun and rain, it isn't an easy decision. 

I'm tempted to go for the "normal" Expert Shield protector as I feel the anti-glare one somewhat reduces the contrast on my X-T1 display. Overall the reflections on the screen don't really bother me that much, even in bright sun-light. That's probably why I'm OK with my glossy 15inch MacBook pro screen...

Where and how much?
Expert Shield has screen protectors for all kind of cameras, ranging from the smaller compacts, through most of the new mirror-less bodies to the full Pro DSLR's. Present price for all Fujifilm X series camera screen protectors seems to be standardised at 12.95 USD or 7.95 GBP for European customers. The box includes one protector, a soft cloth and a good explanation how to best apply the film. Orders can be placed directly through their website or through third party sellers like Amazon.

Lastly all Expert Shield protectors come with a life-time warranty against scratches. They've even tested them by running belt sanders over them. Check out this cool video here.

DISCLAIMER: Even though, I'm clearly not affiliated with the company, I can  after extensive 3 week testing, recommend Expert Shield to anybody looking for a high quality camera screen protector!

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