Nidelva river through Trondheim Norway

Nidelva river through Trondheim Norway
by Saaru Lindestokke                

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To be clear, I'm talking about the photographer wearing glasses.

I wear glasses and I find that I continuously need to make sure my glasses are pushed up on my nose and that having things at the wrong angle can distort things. Some things I am wondering about that I would like incorporated into your answers:

  • Do you have trouble looking through the viewfinder?
  • Do you prefer contacts over glasses?
  • Do you find it harder to manually focus?
  • Do you have a special viewfinder? (I think I have seen things online that are the equivalent of a prescription viewfinder?)

locked by John Cavan Jan 3 '14 at 4:24

This question exists because it has historical significance, but it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site, so please do not use it as evidence that you can ask similar questions here. This question and its answers are frozen and cannot be changed. More info: help center.

If your glasses don't stay put on your nose, have them adjusted. They're not supposed to do that. – Blrfl Nov 11 '12 at 12:52
Having glasses? No. Drinking glasses? Yes. Very probably. Don't drink and snap, people :D – matt.nguyen Apr 10 '13 at 15:55
This question appears to be off-topic because it is a survey question which is does not have a single correct answer as written and therefore does not really fit Stack Exchange. – mattdm Jan 1 '14 at 16:38
up vote 23 down vote accepted

I wear glasses, and I'm a good photographer (so I'm told).

Do you have trouble looking through the viewfinder?

No. You get use to it after a while.

Do you prefer contacts over glasses?

I have no preference when taking pictures, however my preference in general is using my contacts.

Do you find it harder to manually focus?

Not because of my vision, but because the default screen does not lend itself well for manual focus. A split focus screen will helps quite a bit.

Do you have a special viewfinder? (I think I have seen things online that are the equivalent of a prescription viewfinder?)

No. Every DSLR body I've used comes with the ability to change the diopter of the viewfinder which may allow you to use your camera without your glasses.

What are the biggest issues with wearing glasses as a photographer and how do you overcome them?

For me, the biggest issue was getting over trying to force the camera's body against my face while wearing glasses. This is extremely uncomfortable. Now I don't use as much pressure, and it's much easier to shoot.

agreed with all above. I wore contacts for about 18 months, then went back to glasses full time. they simply weren't enough of an improvement for the hassles. – chuqui Jan 17 '11 at 8:16
I should also mention that my glasses are so thick that I literally can see through space-time. – Alan Jan 17 '11 at 8:33
It might be worth noting that the diopter adjustment in a viewfinder is for spherical correction only; if you have significant astigmatism, the viewfinder adjustment won't help with that part. – Reid Jan 18 '11 at 13:41
>> No. Every DSLR body I've used comes with the ability to change the diopter of the viewfinder which may allow you to use your camera without your glasses. Excuse the pun, but I completely overlooked this feature for years on my camera. Now I've found it / started using it I find the benefits outweigh continually having to put on/remove my glasses whilst looking through the camera. – Paul Hadfield Jan 18 '11 at 16:50
The diopter adjustment is enough for me to see thru viewfinder without my +1,5 glasses that i need when reading. Even so, i sometimes keep my both eyes open while shooting, using the viewfinder only to frame and actually looking my target with the other eye past the camera. – Esa Paulasto Mar 16 '13 at 6:08

Wearing glasses will not hinder you from becoming nor being a good photographer. What it can do is make it more difficult to operate your camera under certain circumstances. If blind people can be photographers, there isn’t a thing to stop someone who only needs glasses.

In general, I prefer to wear contacts when I shoot with my DSLR, since it’s more comfortable to use the viewfinder without glasses. However, if you use the LCD on the back instead, this isn’t an issue at all.

touché :-). +1 for linking to photos from blind photographers. However, I don't like using the lcd on the back at all... you definitely get less out of the camera/lenses. (e.g. - focusing is slower IMO). – Tom Jan 24 '11 at 14:23
It depends on the camera; the 5DmkII has a secondary AF that doesn’t require dropping the mirror. – ieure Jan 26 '11 at 20:14

I wear glasses and I find that they get in the way of taking photographs, I very often will just let the glasses sit on my forehead while a take the photo through the view finder. Most pro/prosumer cameras will have a little dial that lets you adjust the dioptre of the view finder.

Nikon have a chart that tell you the equivalent adjustment on their cameras for your prescription. I would assume Canon do too.

+1 for the link to the corrections. Thanks. – Tom Jan 24 '11 at 14:20

I am short sighted and have not found this to hinder my photography.

Do you have trouble looking through the viewfinder?

Do you prefer contacts over glasses?

If find that glasses make it harder to get my eye up to the viewfinder, while it is possible to shoot with glasses (either pressing my glasses up to the viewfinder or using the dioptre adjustment on my Canon SLRs) I much prefer wearing contact lenses when using my SLRs, as it allows me to get my eye up to the viewfinder without worrying about the dipotre settings dial having been nudged.

When using compact cameras where there is a screen instead of a viewfinder, either glasses on contacts are fine. I have not used an SLR with "Live View", I imagine this would be the same as a compact.

Do you find it harder to manually focus?

Do you have a special viewfinder? (I think I have seen things online that are the equivalent of a prescription viewfinder?)

As mentionned above I find that a split focus screen greatly aids manual focus, brighter focus screens are also available, they also help manual focussing, but still allow you to see the whole frame.

On a slightly different note, my father is longsighted, his biggest difficulty is that he can focus fine with out his glasses, but he needs to wear his glasses to see the controls on his camera, so is constantly taking them on/off.


At least for me, no, it does not.

I have been shooting for the last two years with glasses on and the diopter correctly adjusted without any issue whatsoever. Some may not like having to put the viewfinder eyecup against the eyeglass lens, but this has never been a problem for me.


I will tack on my personal experience/

I used to just press the camera's viewfinder against my glasses and that worked, BUT:

1) your glasses end up smudged

2) depending on how far or close your glasses are you might not see the full viewfinder or look through it at a strange angle

3) you can get stray light impairing your view due to the gap between the viewfinder and eye caused by the glasses

So, when I got a 5D MK II, my solution was to get a correcting eyepiece from Canon - nowadays I just push my glasses up and look through the viewfinder directly. This still smudges my glasses which I need to clean but I get a good look at the scene.

On the notion of the dioptre control: For those getting old and thus becoming far sighted it is very useful, for the near sighted it is only useful for calibration. The dioptres on Canon cameras go from +3 to -1, so anybody near sighted to actually notice it is out of luck...


You can use the diopter adjustments for optical viewfinders to use them without glasses. I prefer to shoot with both eyes open (dominant eye using the viewfinder, non-dominant eye acting as a spotter). This allows you to frame your subject without tunnel-visioning, though you still lose (or gain) FoV in your dominant eye's side, depending on the lens you use.

This does require that I use the viewfinder with glasses* (which required me to diopter adjust my Canon Rebel T3i right up to the limit! Thankfully that's all I needed). I do smudge up my nose on the LCD. I have one of these in the mail to fix that, though: Canon EP-EX15 II Eyepiece Extended.

I've had glasses most of my life. Contacts do not agree with my eyes. At first I've tried to use optical equipment without my glasses. However, it requires transition time when putting your glasses back on to re-acquire your target: an annoyance at best, and a big no-no in action photography.

I've found it's easiest to use optical equipment with glasses on and a small diopter adjustment for the extra distance to your retina due to your glasses forcing your eyeballs away from the default position. Since you don't need to correct for your vision-your glasses do that-you only need a tiny diopter adjustment. For me, this has with almost everything from cheap tourist binoculars to rifle scopes to astronomical observatories!

*Perhaps a monocle is in order? Bringing classy back!


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