One digital camera accessory you should never be without


posted Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 10:09 AM EDT


The other day my iPhone rang and when I took it out of my camera bag, to my shock and dismay, there on the screen was a telltale row of white lines and a starburst spot. Somehow, something had hit the phone's screen hard enough to shatter it. Quickly I took out my DSLR and breathed a sigh of relief when I saw it was unharmed.

This event reminded me just how vulnerable the LCD and LED screens of my electronic gear really are. Whether you have a point and shoot or a high-end DSLR, the most important accessory for it, in my opinion, is a screen protector. For just a few dollars of preventative medicine, you can save yourself from hundreds of dollars in repairs.

Screen protectors are made of special hardened glass or layers of plastic and designed to completely cover your camera display. They protect fragile surfaces from fingerprints, scratches and abrasions, and the slightly more expensive glass ones absorb the tough hits that can cause costly damage. I say this out of personal experience; I have gone through four of them in just the last year. Unfortunately, glass screen protectors are not usually stocked by small camera shops, so you'll need to check out a big box store or shop for them online. You should be able to find them in a variety of sizes (they're identified by their diagonal length) at web retailers such as Adorama, B&H Photo and eBay. I buy them three at a time; they run $4 to $10 a piece, including shipping.

Installing a screen protector is (almost literally) a snap. You simply remove the paper backing, lay it over the camera monitor and then gently press it in place. The adhesive is very strong and holds the protector firmly. Yet if you need to remove it, just slip a credit card under its edge and it should lift right off.


Glass screen protectors are inexpensive and easy to apply to your camera's LCD monitor.