Why DrawLUCY Outperforms All Other Modern Camera Lucidas: A Comprehensive Analysis

Why DrawLUCY Outperforms All Other Modern Camera Lucidas: A Comprehensive Analysis

When I first started building camera lucidas in my garage back in 2005, the landscape was pretty barren. The only competition was another garage innovator and a UK-based company, both of which have since vanished. My mission has always been to build the best drawing tool possible, inspired by the time-tested technologies of the old masters. Today, as DrawLUCY has become a global name, it's worth pausing to compare it with other modern camera lucidas that have popped up. 

A Reluctant Critique

Initially, I was reluctant to release a blog post like this. I respect anyone’s effort to innovate in a field I’m passionate about. Take NEOLUCIDA, for example. Their initial product was essentially a “prism on a stick.” It was affordable, even if not very effective. Post-Kickstarter, they outsourced to China and rolled out NEOLUCIDA XL, which appeared to mimic our LUCY flex. These moves, especially the inflated prices, prompted me to speak out to prevent people from getting fooled into buying inferior products.

By the Numbers

Let's talk about price vs. image size, a critical factor that determines the scope of your art. Here's a quick rundown:

NeoLucida: 49.5 sq in, $62.00 NeoLucida XL: 127.5 sq in, $92.00 LUCY mini: 216 sq in, $59.00 LUCY flex: 513 sq in, $97.00 LUCY pro: 740 sq in, $267.00

In terms of size and other factors highlighted in the video, the LUCY pro is unparalleled. Cheaper might be okay if you're getting what you pay for, but be cautious of inferior products priced as if they're comparable. The NEOLUCIDA XL tries to position itself alongside the LUCY flex but falls way short. Even our smallest, most affordable model, the LUCY mini, outperforms both NEOLUCIDAs, while costing less.

Additional Advantages

DrawLUCY models are not only built in the USA with top-quality materials but also feature smart, well-thought-out designs. Each model offers adjustable brightness through optical filters: LUCY flex and LUCY pro have two filters for four levels, while LUCY mini has one for two levels. Plus, DrawLUCY devices use high-quality half-silvered mirrors for brighter images. As a bonus, the entire DrawLUCY line is compatible with the Photo Enlarger accessory, opening up a whole new world of creative possibilities.

Design Flaws

Besides its small image, inflated price, and being made with cheap plastic, the NEOLUCIDA XL has a major design flaw: its open sides allow light to interfere with the image as you're drawing. Additionally, if you try to remove the filter to use it, the head falls apart. It also retains the same small, flimsy arm and clamp as the original NEOLUCIDA, which can't adequately support the larger head. The original NEOLUCIDA uses a historical prism design, but these prisms are difficult to use and the images hard to see, making it tough to draw from. Years ago, when I was experimenting in my garage, I found these prisms performed so poorly that I chose not to include them in my devices. Opting for a "prism on a stick" would have been cheaper, but that was a compromise I wasn't willing to make.

And NEOLUCIDA's problems are unfortunately getting worse rather than better with a new Kickstarter project launching the NEOLUCIDA PLUS. The NEOLUCIDA PLUS is a redesign of the original NEOLUCIDA that adds features addressing non-issues, while maintaining the tiny, nearly postcard-sized and difficult-to-use image. At now an even more inflated price than before.

Final Thoughts

In closing, I really do appreciate everyone's attempts at inventing or reinventing something. Everyone has something valuable to contribute. The only reason I've taken a more critical tone is that there's a line of camera lucidas positioning themselves as comparable to the DrawLUCY line when they clearly are not, and I don't think that's honest. NEOLUCIDA isn't transparent about the shortcomings of their devices; they don't even list the image size on their website. That's like a TV company not disclosing the screen size. So I picked up my camera to show everything side-by-side, aiming to give people the info they need to make the best choice for creating art with a tool rooted in the techniques of the old masters.

What do you think?

We would love to hear from anyone who has used both the LUCY and the NEOLUCIDA. Please tell us what you think in the comment section below.


Learn more about DrawLUCY camera lucidas HERE

Comments 9

Pamela Griffith on

What is the largest projection size? How much will it cost?

DrawLUCY on

@Nick Yes, the image size of the LUCY is adjustable. So, even though we’re discussing its maximum size, you can make the image as small as you want with any of the LUCY models.

DrawLUCY on

@Norma Wilson Yes, the LUCY can project an image onto anything, including cookies. A significant advantage of using the LUCY over an electric projector is that an electric projector generates heat, which can melt frosting. In contrast, the LUCY reflects an image without using electricity or producing heat.

Nick on

Hi, are image sizes adjustable? Im wondering if i buy the lucy flex, can I still get the same size images as I can get on the smaller one? Thanks

Norma Wilson on

I need an affordable projector for cookie decorating. Would this be a good choice ?

dail Marie Jordan on

I ve been searcing for a camera outfit, and had decided long ago to purchase your pro. I love to paint, don’t love to spend time drawing. I just got a job and so in a month or so I’m going to buy your outfit.
Thank you for explaining the chinese modle, I wouldn’t have bought it anyway. I only buy American.

Holly Christian on

I own all of your Lucy’s. I love them all. My first was in about 2016/2017. As improvements, size, cases etc. have evolved, I have always bought the new. It saves so much time. Once you get the hang of it’s mind opening. Edison was a hustler who hired geniuses. He hired all of the best minds out there like Tesla, than proceeded to rip off his engineers ideas. Getting patents on their designs. Assuming you have patents and copyrights. If so I would sue that other company. Edison got away with sometimes just ripping off the work. He was always fighting lawsuits. He won most of them because he had deep pockets and he underpaid his engineers so much because he knew they couldn’t afford the 10+years in court. Tesla died defeated and broke right before the court decided Edison had ripped him off. Sue those bastards!!! If you read Wikipedia, even though Tesla was dead, he is credited, if my memory is correct for alternating electrical current. Edison was just a hustler. For anyone out there buy the Lucy, you will love it!!!

DrawLUCY on

@Curtis Vernon, We just made a new video to help you choose the right LUCY for you: https://youtu.be/9Gviijhy6UM
But in general, unless you need the huge image, the LUCY flex works great for most people.

Curtis Vernon on

Which Lucy do you recommend. It seems that most like the pro but it is more pricey. I would like to get a tool like this but I am unsure. Thank you

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