We’ve fitted GGS or similar toughened laminated glass screen protectors to our Sony bodies ever since way back in 2011, we were the first Alpha web resource to publish information about NEX screen delamination and how to repair a deteriorated LCD using one of these great products.
Of course it wasn’t a cover glass, just a plastic surface layer. But if you fit a GGS, Larmor or similar ultrathin glass protector the moment you get your new Sony Alpha body (whether mirrorless or SLT, compact or bridge) you don’t need to mess with the original, risk your warranty, or risk anything at all. The new Generation 5 Larmor has a silicon adhesive which clings instantly, bubble-free, yet peels off safely using just a fingernail under a corner. It permits all touch screen operations, all screen folding including A99/77 and RX10 series reverse foldaway, and for around £10/$15 is an essential for your new camera.
Now there’s a new version which comes with a magnetic black surround and accepts a folding screen shade which just pops on to this. We paid £15.95 from ukhighland photographic on eBay, post free, VAT receipt given.
But before looking at it, let’s see why the original plain glass Afunta (not GGS as Afunta was all we could find) screen didn’t last for ever. Here’s how our A7RIII arrived back in December 2017. It’s an odd pair of tiny gouges in the plastic coating in the bottom left corner, really annoying in a new product, but when you take delivery of one of the first in the country – no sending it back just for this!
When the Afunta screen was fitted, this corner never adhered. A year has been spent with one corner looking lifted (though it has never caused anything except mild annoyance).
The Larmor Gen 5 has a black surround, which this screen did not. Afunta provides two screens in a box, but ours lifted off ‘as new’ and could be used again on any screen of this size (the GGS cover sheet went straight on to it to keep dust off the silicon, and the Afunta went into the Larmor packaging which is excellent but was surprisingly… dusty!).
Fitting the Larmor took a minute. The slight pattern visible here disappeared in a few minutes along with the bottom right corner bubble. The tiny bit of bubble bottom left has remained, probably because of the underlying rat-gnawing mark. The matt black surround is the magnetic secret, but like all close-range modern magnetic devices, it’s so limited in the reach of its powerful field that the camera electronics are unaffected.
The folding sunshade or viewing hood is pretty basic but given that it is effectively almost free (adding no more than £5) its lack of auto-fold-down or a pop-up magnifier like old reflex hoods is hardly a minus point.
Movie makers who like to use the rear screen will find it good, because it fits well in movie mode, landscape conventional composition and hold.
The Sony articulated screen, one of the least inspired designs (but good enough for Nikon to copy in the Z series), does this when you use maximum waist-level and forward tilt. Apart from being an almost useless viewing angle with the camera’s eyepiece getting in the way, it obviously can’t handle the Larmor shade. Even aimed directly up, it tended to knock the shade off its magnetic rail positioning.
Hands up all who like the fully folding screens of Olympus, Sony A99 and A77 and more which can be reversed – almost like this! The folded Larmor shade can stop your screen flashing light signals by mistake. It does little else, as the glass protector is tough. But you can use it like this.
And here is how you can use it with the screen angled up when shooting on a copy stand, holding the camera overhead, microscope, macro or similar positions. Because the shade is magnetic, you just turn it round. And it can work the other way too, it does just clear the eyepiece. Our sunshade lives in a pocket of the backpack, because it tends to get knocked off in the bag and is not needed most of the time. One day no doubt there will be a situation where it helps, and it’s there. This protector was bought for the glass, not for the folding hood, but actually tracking down the right GGS/Larmor glass was not easy and this one was positively labelled as A7RIII compatible. It used to be simpler – see our first review of GGS glass protectors.
– David Kilpatrick