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Under $30 RJ Matte Box / SunShade Review

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When this first came out, there was some animosity towards it, because of its lack of features, and perhaps overly simple looking design. It was coined by some: "the fischer price, matte box"

Well, when i got mine in the mail, i had  a completely different opinion: There is nothing else in this price range that does what this little guy can do. I'm all about perspective, and the first one with this product is that it technically isn't a matte box at all, because it lacks the ability to use square filters. So in essence, it's simply a sun shade, the sole purpose being to block out stray light to prevent flares. Does it do that job? Yes, it does! Does it look as cool as regular matte boxes? No. So let's go into detail...

It has height adjust-ability, which for this price is rather incredible. It's method for doing that isn't all that complicated, but it works all the same, the main limitation for how it adjusts, is that if you have it set very low, you may have to raise it up for it to clear your tripod when taking it off of any slide plate type tripods.

Next up is the hole size, it's small, well not really but you won't fit many if any true cine lenses in it. It was definitely built for photo lenses, specifically, ones with a 77mm front thread or smaller. What i've done is made the hole bigger to accommodate 82mm size lenses, which is just about the largest i ever need to expect. It is after all just thick plastic and a sharp blade or hole saw will do the job.

Then there are the flags, you get all but a bottom flag(never cared for those anyways) and this is where i deduct a number of points: They are attached by simple plastic claws onto plastic tube sort of things. Yes it works, but it's by no means at all wind proof, and every time you put it on or take it off, it feels like the little claw hands might want to snap. This isn't much of an issue for the side flags, as there's no reason to ever take them off, they fold flat for storage. But that brings me to my next deduction: the top flag doesn't fold flat. Seems they could have just made it mount a little farther forward and give it the ability to do so, but they didn't...

And my next point is... well, there's really nothing else to mention about it. That's it really. But the point i want to leave on is this: issues aside, it DOES block light, and does it better than gaff taping your lens, and looks better too. It's pretty small, it's very light, it doesn't get in the way, and costs pitifully little for what it is. The rail block alone is something other manufacturers charge more for, so figure you're getting a rail block, with a sunshade attachment as a bonus. 

It's got a place in my camera bag, And since i originally made this review, it's gone down in price even more, as little as $30! that's just insane, and i do recommend you pick one up since it's such a small investment. 

Added on 2012-12-10 by
Darren Levine

Darren Levine

Stimulus Video

DP/Videographer, Video/Film Editor
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