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    The diopter is that tiny wheel next to the viewfinder… you have to make sure it’s set so that when you look through the viewfinder, the numbers on your light meter look sharp.

    Also, when using autofocus, make sure it’s set to “one shot” focusing rather than “al servo.” One shot means you can select a focus point (this function depends on what camera you’re using) and then lock the focus by depressing the shutter halfway, and then while holding it, you can then recompose your shot. So you can lock it on the person’s eyes, and then move the camera to get the best composition. If you are using al servo, that is specifically for when you have moving subjects- like people moving toward or away from you, so that your camera can select the focus just as you press the shutter. If you accidentally leave it on al servo for a non-moving subject and then try to recompose, you’ll get the camera to focus on the background, throwing your subject out of focus. From viewing your last post, I think that’s what is happening. Check your camera manual to find out how to set your focus points and then how to change it from one shot to al servo. It’s easy to do quickly, once you get the hang of it.



    “@MBC – that brings up a question – is there any way to “lock down” the diopter once you have it right?  It drives me crazy sometimes . . . .”

    As browneyedgirl89 already said, the diopter is that tiny wheel… On a few bodies like the Canon 1D, the diopter is hidden behind the viewfinder bezel.  You take the bezel off, adjust to suit and put the bezel back on.  This effectively locks it since it is completely covered and almost impossible to accidentally move.  On other bodies it is exposed and seems to move every time you touch the camera.  Checking that the grid lines, meter, shutter and aperture numbers, etc. are all sharp is the most effective way I have found to ensure focus. In the days of manual focus lenses and film bodies, there was a split prism in the viewfinder to aid focus, that seems to have been dropped when auto-focus arrived.

    If your eyes are outside “normal” vision, you may be able to purchase a diopter that fits over the viewfinder.  The rubber bumper comes off and a new one goes on, containing a lens.   I believe they work in conjunction with the regular diopter adjustment so you still get some range of adjustment.


    I loved the split prism of my old Pentax camera. I had bought it for my first college photography course where we had to shoot film and develop ourselves. It’s fun to revisit that camera. Reminds me, I have a roll of film in there I need to have scanned/developed. (I now take film to a camera shop that does negative scanning, I’m guessing all film processing is done that way now since there aren’t many darkrooms around right?) The split prism was a great way to focus.

    Does anyone who wears contact lenses have problems with manual focusing? I haven’t noticed myself to, though I usually use autofocus set on one of the focus points. I have heard that even with vision correction it can still be “off.” My vision isn’t terrible but I have to wear contacts (never wear glasses, I hate them). Is this true?


    Riiight!!! I knew my viewfinder can be focused independently from the lens, but I didn’t know what it was called.


    um… I… Don’t use the viewfinder. I actually use the cover provided to cover the viewfinder  and I only use the screen.


    That explains a lot.  First step to take, to improve your photography, stop using the LCD to shoot.


    The only things my LCD is there for are to show a large view of my camera settings (though on my 40D and 5DII it’s also on the top LCD) and to review photos. The LCD is never to trust when taking the photo, because the brightness is often not accurate, especially if you’re trying to view it in a sunny environment.


    I will say I use the LCD for times that I need to shoot really low. I do a lot of pet photography and shooting a dog 6 inches off the ground it’s hard to get an eye level shot on the ground without getting puppy kisses haha. but yea LCDS are awkward to me, to use for any other purpose.


    Blaming the eyesight again.

    ok, step one, getting LASIK. No seriously, I made the appointment. Then I won’t have to use the LCD.


    I just need glasses to read (aging sucks!), so I have no experience with contacts.

    The LCD is great for shots that are really close to the ground or way over your head, either arm’s length or at the end of a monopod.  Sometimes it is also useful for macro work.  Grip is important.  If you can’t brace the camera against your face, it should be on a tripod.  You can’t hold a point & shoot still at arm’s length while trying to compose , focus and shoot.  It is almost impossible with a dSLR.  On a tripod, the only drawback to the LCD is short battery life.  It is a good solution for landscapes facing the sun; it keeps your retina from being damaged by the focused sunlight in the viewfinder.  If you fry the sensor or the shutter, you can always get another camera.

    Don’t trust the LCD when reviewing photos.  It is great for ensuring everyone had their eyes open, or that the person who dodged in front of you just as you released the shutter was either slightly early or late and is not in the photo — or that you have to take another one.  For gauging exposure, learn to read a histogram.


    Cameraclicker, you make sense 😉 I have the sigma 24-70 ( cause seriously nikkors price makes me cry) and just imagining holding that hefty thing plus the camera out and and away makes my wrists hurt and shake!

    Also I too, have been burned with LCD veiwing. Things look much more sharp on a 3 inch screen then on a bigger screen. Although I do admittedly pixel peep a lot haha

Viewing 10 posts - 16 through 25 (of 25 total)
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