I Can See Clearly Now – Dioptric Adjustment

The other day I was taking some pictures for the new book when I noticed that things just weren’t looking sharp.  I’m not talking about the images coming out of the camera, rather the actual scene I was looking at through the viewfinder.  At first I thought it was the lens focus but all of my images looked razor sharp on the LCD and again in my computer.  Then the thought hit me, maybe it’s not the camera, maybe it’s me.

In the past year or so my reading vision has begun to deteriorate.  Yes, it’s true. I am one of those people that now needs to hold things further and further away to see them clearly (luckily I have long arms).  I have resorted to wearing reading glasses for really small text but the thought never occurred to me that it would effect my view through the camera.  Sure enough, I made a minor adjustment to the viewfinder diopter and everything snapped into crisp focus once again.

Here’s a quick and easy way for you to check your diopter adjustment as told to me by my friend Anne Cahill from Nikon NPS.

♦ Locate the diopter adjustment for your DSLR.  It’s usually somewhere near the viewfinder and is either a slide or knob.
♦ Remove your lens from the camera.
♦ Now look through the camera and point it to a blank, light colored wall.
♦ Adjust the diopter until the auto-focus points and other markings that appear in the middle of the viewfinder appear sharp.

You should definitely consider doing this if you shoot while wearing glasses or your vision is changing.  Also, your knob or adjustment slider might just get moved over time so check it out and see what you’ve been missing.

Have a great weekend!

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  • http://www.visualrealia.com Andy

    Excellent tip… I’ll definitely do this this weekend.

  • http://www.flowingcolor.com Alberto

    Hey bud I’m going through the same thing (33yo) if your eye get irritated while doing photo editing try these things; Gunnar computer glasses


    I bought a pair a week ago… and they really helped! how old are you btw?

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  • William

    Yeah, I had that same issue several years ago. I told people that I only wore glasses for things up close. Only problem up close kept getting farther and farther away. Now you are going to have to check that little wheel before every shoot to make sure it is in the same place it was on the last shoot. It has a tendency to move during normal use.

  • http://www.kentoneyphoto.com Ken Toney

    Now I’m going to have to apologize to my wife. I accused her of messing with my cameras (all three that I use regularly) and now I realize it was my eye sight. I had to get new glasses about the same time, crap.

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  • http://slingload.blogspot.com Mike

    Does adjusting the viewfinder diopter have any impact on the focus of the actual pictures you take? Does it trick you into thinking something is in focus when it really is not?

  • http://digitalcarolina.blogspot.com/ Carolina

    Thank you Jeff!
    Finally someone was able to explain me how to adjust the Dioptric Adjustment. You did it in a very clear way.

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