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.
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.
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.
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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