Basics - Adjusting Viewfinder Dioptres

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Most of us (myself included until recently) when we look through our viewfinder (be it with your left or right eye) assume that it is set up ok and the focus through it is fine. However this may not be the case. If you are interested in using manual focus at anytime then it may be advisable to follow the steps below and adjust your dioptre.

Most cameras viewfinders can be adjusted through a range of dioptres, the range may be vary through different brands or even models of camera in a single brand but -2 (minus 2) to +1 (plus one) is a common range.

Firstly let me just say I don?t know how to do the physical adjustments for each camera, please refer to your user manual for this (I?m not even certain that your camera will have this facility but if it does these steps will help the actual adjustment). My own Canon has a small wheel in the top right hand corner of the viewfinder.

The adjustment Process

You might think that you look through the viewfinder focus on a subject and then follow your cameras instructions to adjust the dioptre for your eyes, right? Well, no, you are wrong I?m afraid. If you adjust for this you may well be adjusting to be out of focus, you need to be focusing your eyes on the internal display that you see through your viewfinder.

Point your camera at a neutral single coloured object (a white wall is ideal), adjust the lens focus until it is totally out of focus (this helps alleviate any distractions) and place the diopter control all the way to one extreme of focus (either way is fine), you are now ready to start the adjustments.

Focus your eye on the internal display. By this I mean your focus indicators (the small squares, crosses, circles whatever your camera uses to identify where to focus), light meter (the lines below any image seen through the viewfinder), or anything that is displayed by the camera that is not affected by focusing the camera lens. This is the area you want to get into focus.

Once you are looking at the right spots, start to move the dioptre control one click at a time, and rock back and forth between each step a few times to make sure you are happy which is giving the sharper focus (it?s a bit like being in an opticians where they ask you to say which is sharper), you want to do this until you reach the ultimate sharp setting, some adjustments may look small others you will notice a huge difference, but once adjusted correctly hopefully you will be pleased.

Important Note:

Please note, adjusting the Dioptre will NOT affect autofocus; this is only going to help you when using manual focus.

Ashley Beolens