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My poor Nex–7 has taken quite a beating over the last year. While I am fairly careful with my cameras generally, I do use them a lot, and I don’t treat them like the fine china. Having said that most of my cameras are in perfect condition. My X100 has a slight ding on the lens cap but that’s about it. Recently though, I was shooting with my Sony, and it had been feeling a bit odd when I was looking through the viewfinder. It was harder to see through it and there was weird reflections going on. I was shooting with it for a full day before I realised that the eyecup was missing.

I had always thought that the eyecup on the Nex–7 was a bit loose (and small), but it never occurred to me that I would loose it, much less, not even notice that I had lost it! I started searching for a replacement and it was going to be hard to get one here to Ireland without spending a ridiculous amount of money on it (relative to the small piece of rubber that was lost). So I decided to make my own using Sugru.

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If you haven’t heard of it before, Sugru is a fairly recent invention that’s actually really cool. It’s a play dough like substance that sets hard into rubber. It cures without having to be baked and it will bond with most glass, plastic and metal. It’s a pretty amazing invention, and what’s more, it was invented here in Ireland. I had actually watched a talk by the young woman who invented it at Ted-X in Dublin a while ago, and I was keen to try it out. This gave me the perfect opportunity.

The material itself comes in a packet with 8 small foil packets inside, each with a small amount of the Sugru. It comes in various colours but I got the black and white pack. Once opened, you can start moulding it straight away. It’s just like blue-tac or play dough, although a bit smellier, and it does leave a residue on your hands (which washes off easily enough). Moulding it into place around the viewfinder was easy enough. I kept the screen down while I was doing it, but I made sure my modification wouldn’t block the screen closing. While I was at it I also formed a little ridge around the movie record button so that it would be less easy to accidentally start recording video when by accident.

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Setting took 24 hours. Now that it’s set it’s become a fairly hard but with some bounce. It is rubber after all. It’s perfectly attached to the camera too. It’s a bit messy looking, but that doesn’t bother me. I’m more interested it the functionality. Trying it out, It actually seems better than the original eyecup. I had made it slightly larger with a bigger circle and it seems to work. The screen has less light leakage, and your face doesn’t need to be as near to the camera. It seems to have worked a treat. I was a bit worried that the bigger cup might affect the eye sensor, but it seems to be fine.

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In the end, the pack of 8 pieces of Sugru cost €15 and I only used one of them (€1.80 worth) to make the eyecup and the fob around the record button. To get a proper Sony replacement was going to cost me €20–30. I know it looks messy but if that doesn’t bother you, it’s a great way to fix something and maybe even make it better. Incidentally, I bought mine in the Trinity Science Gallery shop. They’re a great organisation and they’re doing a lot for science and science education in Ireland, so I have to give them a plug.

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