I have always used the left eye to look at the viewfinder of my dslr. I am right-handed, and wear glasses (even when using the camera, I am rather stronly myopic and relatively mildy astigmatic). I am able to keep my right eye open or closed when looking with the left eye through the viewfinder (actually, I am much more capable in closing only the right eye than the left eye, like if my "eyelids muscles" are stronger on the right hand side).

By doing some simple test from the web (which, as we know, is a serious and undoubtable source of information), it turns out that I am right eyed (namely, objects move when I close the left eye, and "stay put" when I close the right eye).

And now for the question: I would like to try to use the right eye to use a "rangefinder" style viewfinder. This would let me keep the left eye open and not covered by the camera. The idea came to me after the recommendation by David Hobby in his review of the X100s. The only trouble is that... I find this very awkward (I am trying it with the X100s, too, and not with a dslr). I must "aim" for the viewfinder otherwise the eye would miss it! This never happened to me (that I can recall) with the left eye. If I make the conscious effort to place the eye towards the viewfinder, I can look just fine but I find that I have more difficulty in "looking at the whole viewfinder".

Is this a normal case of changing the long-held habit, and will go away if I stick with it? Is my interpretation of the right-eyedness test wrong ? How can I learn to shoot with "the other" eye?

P.S.: the next time that I will go to my optician I will ask him, as far as I know he never found out issues with my field of view or lateral perception, etc.

  • Update: by learning to shoot with the other eye, I have achieved at last the added benefit of learning to close both eyes independently. It only took me 32 years... one's never too old to learn :-)
    – Francesco
    Aug 6, 2013 at 19:34

2 Answers 2


How can I learn to shoot with "the other" eye?

Lots and lots of practice. It sounds like you have a head start if you are used to using your left eye but are actually right eye dominant.

I also recommend that you practice shooting with both eyes open. This post has a lot of great information: How can one learn to shoot with both eyes open, and what are the advantages?

  • I'm not a native speaker, what do you mean with having a "head start if ...."? do you mean that since I am already using my "not dominant" eye I should be able to "learn" quickly? I am already able to shoot with both eyes open, but with a dslr is less useful since the pentaprism/viewfinder is central and so the camera occludes, partially, the view.
    – Francesco
    May 29, 2013 at 12:57
  • Yes, I did mean that you should be able to learn quickly. May 29, 2013 at 22:49
  • 1
    And practice did the trick. It took a couple of days, but now I pick the right eye by default, and I am easily able to shoot with both eyes open. So if someone finds in my same position, it takes some hours/days of practicing, so don't give up at the first trial even if it seems "strange".
    – Francesco
    Aug 6, 2013 at 19:33

Personally, the first thing I would do is retry the test. Based on the difficulties you are describing, it sounds like it could be incorrect. The most reliable test for determining which eye is dominant is very simple. Choose an object at distance directly in front of you. Form a square with your fingers from both hands at arms length to encompass the object. While focused on the object. Move your hands backwards towards your head. You should naturally end up following it all the way back to either the left or right eye based on which eye is dominant. It is important to choose an object you can enclose entirely and that is directly in front of you as objects off to the side have a higher chance of being on that eye. This is the same kind of test that is used when determining eye dominance for firearm marksmanship.

As far as retraining if you are in-fact dominant in the other eye. It should really come fairly naturally with practice. If it is causing you more problems then, it may not be worth the effort. The point of using the dominant eye is that it should make you more accurate, more comfortable and able to see better. If it is having the opposite effect, then it is being counter productive.

  • Thanks for the suggestion. I tried it again and I followed up to the right eye. I have also consciously steered the hand to go to the left eye and it "exits" from the hand. I wonder if my difficulties come from a worsening in my sight (eg more astygmatic as I get older).
    – Francesco
    May 29, 2013 at 14:08

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