Ever been out in the field chasing images far away from your cozy office chair and large, well calibrated, color corrected monitor?  You search all day, find a perfect shot then blaze back to camp or the hotel for some post processing.  You work hard and get the image just like you want it to look then press the button…and recoil in horror when you see the result online.  “That’s not my image!  The compression must have killed it!”  While it’s true that web compression can rob an image of it’s brilliant qualities, more often than not in this situation it’s only part of the problem.  The culprit….your laptop.

We’ve all seen what happens when you get too high or low or too far left or right of the center point of your laptop screen.  It gets lighter or darker or goes all the way to a posterized view.  Ultimately, if you’re not at exactly the right angle for the screen any outputs will be different from what you see when you’re editing the images.  Trouble is, often the conditions we use the laptops under are far from ideal and it may be virtually impossible to determine what is the proper viewing angle.

But wait!  There is hope.  Pictured at the top of this blog is a simple little device that will, at the very least, make adjusting your laptop screen’s angle repeatable.  I got one a few weeks ago and so far it’s the best $15 I’ve spent in quite some time.  It’s the Viewing Angle Gauge from Acratech, Inc.  You know Acratech, they make the goofy looking ballheads that my photographer buddies rave about.

Best part is that it’s as simple to use as it looks.  The most difficult part is finding the center line of your laptop screen (and they give you a foolproof method for doing that in the instructions).  Just velcro this thing to the edge of your screen, line up the pointer with the alignment slot, and Voila, you have the perfect viewing angle for your screen.  I’ve been using it for a couple of months now and have found the results to be a great improvement over what I was previously doing as far as repeatability.

So check one out here http://www.acratech.net .  I promise, you’ll say it’s the best $15 you’ve spent in a while.