Screen Protection: Choosing the most reliable film

Posted on by Mike Evans

There are few things I look forward to with less enthusiasm than putting a protective film on the screen of a camera or smartphone. Bubbles, dust, alightment—everything conspires to thwart your best intentions. And, once bubbled or misaligned there is not much you can do other than buy yet another protective film or learn to live with imperfection. 

Over the years I've learned that cheapest isn't always best and I've homed in on one particular brand, Expert Shield UK, because of the relative ease of application, the friendly and colloquial instructions ("before the real jiggery-pokery begins....") and the after sales service. On one occasion, I believe with an M9 screen protection, I made such a pig's dinner of it that I confessed my sins to Expert Shield and was amazed to receive a free replacement. It helps that Expert Shield is a British company, although I have no idea where the protectors are made.

My latest escapade is fitting a protector to the newly acquired Leica D-Lux and, with the assistance of the step-by-step instructions and a handy credit card (to iron out bubbles) I now have a perfect installation. I've learned the importance of rigorously cleaning the camera's screen, using the provided lint-free cloth, and making sure the alignment is absolutely perfect. It helps to have a clean surface and to take things slowly and surely. Expert Shield recommend a slightly steamy environment to minimise dust but I draw the line at fiddling around in the bathroom. With care and careful cleaning I can achieve a dust-free installation.

Although most people start from the left-hand side, usually the shorter dimension, I prefer to work from the top. It is far easier to ensure alignment when working top to bottom because, if the top is straight, the sides will follow. All Expert Shield protectors have two easily removed transit films, clearly marked with tabs as "Step 1" and "Step 2". The first step is to peel away the back protective film and align the edge (in my case the top edge, although you can use the side). Once I'm certain the alignment is right, I quickly peel back the film and press the protector against the glass. 

Once everything looks right, it's a simple matter to pull on the second tab to remove the final film. With the D-Lux installation, as with most I've done, there was the odd bubble. It's important to remove bubbles immediately and a plastic card can be used, with firm pressure, to slowly move the air to the edge of the screen.