Getting a Better Look

You’ve probably heard me talk about the Hoodman HoodLoupe in the past and what a great tool it is for shooting outdoors.  By sealing the LCD into a light tight environment, the LCD screen can then be easily seen even in the bright sun of the beach.  It’s something that I try not to leave at home if I know I am going to be shooting outdoors.  Now I have an even greater incentive for keeping it close by, in any shooting situation.  It helps me see the screen with my old eyes.

Hoodman Loupe

Just the other day I was shooting on a tripod and the camera was up pretty high, shooting straight down.  I was only able to get about 6 inches above the camera to review my screen when I had one of those defining moments that can truly be depressing…  I couldn’t see the screen clearly!  Yes, my eyes are starting to change and I now need reading glasses to see very small text and objects that are closer than about 12″ from my nose.  It sucks when you realize you are getting old but it was even worse to realize it and not be able to overcome it at the time.  That’s when I dug out my Hoodman HoodLoupe and pressed it to the rear LCD and hit the playback button.  At first I was worried that everything would look soft but then I remembered that the loupe has a diopter adjustment which made it perfect for close inspection of the screen.  Sure enough, a little fine tuning of the top eyepiece on the loupe and my LCD screen was tack sharp from only 2 inches away.  The loupe doesn’t magnify the screen, it simply refocuses so the eye can see it sharply and, just as important, without glare.  I might just have to go as far as attaching it to my camera strap so I can’t ever leave it behind by accident.

Adjusting your Camera

And while I am speaking of diopter adjustments, I got a great tip on correctly adjusting the diopter on my Nikon DSLR from some very smart Nikon Tech Reps the other day.  You probably know that the diopter adjustment is that small knob or slider switch on the side of the camera viewfinder that adjusts the focus of the viewfinder to accommodate folks that wear glasses.  It’s also helpful for those of us whose close-up vision is starting to get a little weak.  What you might not know is that the best way to adjust the diopter setting is without a lens on the camera.  Here’s how it works, take your lens off the camera, turn the camera on (some models do funky things in the viewfinder until they are turned on), point your camera at a white wall, look through the viewfinder and then adjust the diopter until the focus points look sharp.  That’s it, you are all set to replace the lens and take some photos. Apparently having the lens attached when changing the diopter can slightly fool the eye into thinking the screen is sharper than it is.  Removing the lens means that you are only adjusting for the focus screen.   Granted, this isn’t as important if you only use the autofocus but if you ever plan on manually focusing your lens, it can make a huge difference.


That’s a wrap for this Wednesday.  I hope to see you here tomorrow.  🙂


  1. Thanks for the tip on the loupe, Jeff. I’ve seen these referenced many times, but this past weekend was a real bear to see the LCD when shooting portraits in the sun. I’ll have to pick one of these up, and check my diopter as well!


  2. I have used the Hoodman Loupe to read menus at restaurants when I forget my glasses and also to check emails on my Blackberry. Fits really well!


  3. Very cool tip on the diopter too! I bet that same theory applies to Canon gear as well. Hope all is well, and have a happy 4th if I don’t comment again before then! 🙂

  4. William says:

    Yes I’ve gone through that phase of having trouble seeing things up close. Only problem up close seems to keep getting farther and farther away. I adjust my diopter by letting the auto focus work then adjust it until everything looks in focus. That little wheel is always getting turned somehow so its one of the first things I do when shooting is check to see if it still matches my glasses.

  5. Don Simpson says:

    Take this idea one step further and look into a right angle viewer. Not only does it provide a 2X magnification but it allows you to get the camera down at ground level for those dramatic low level shots. At my age of 83 kneeling or getting prone is less and less of an option and without this accessory I would miss many good shots.


  1. Jeff Revell says:

    What a drag it is getting old

  2. Arthur Agin says:

    A good tip from @photowalkpro for setting the Diopter adjustment on an SLR

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