I wear prescription glasses. They really get in the way when taking pictures. I am aware of the diopter adjustment that some cameras have. Is this diopter aid equivalent to reading glasses?

  • You need to describe better what "really get in the way" means. I take pictures with glasses on all the time and don't feel they get in the way significantly. – Olin Lathrop Jan 1 '14 at 12:54
  • I wear contacts most of the time, but when trying to shoot when wearing glasses I know exactly what he means. I can't get as close to the viewfinder as I prefer. – Michael C Jan 1 '14 at 20:54
  • @Michael: Then you need a better viewfinder. – Olin Lathrop Jan 3 '14 at 20:01
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    @OlinLathrop That's been true of every camera I've ever used (which is a fairly varied bunch, including classic film cameras, all of who's viewfinders I found better than even the top tier DSLRs of today) except for a couple of waist level Med Formats. I just prefer to shoot with contacts in my eyes. It is impossible to get as close to any viewfinder with glasses on as you can get to the same viewfinder without glasses on unless you can place your eyeglass lenses flush onto your cornea (which means they are contact lenses). – Michael C Jan 4 '14 at 2:00

Positive diopter adjustments have the same effect as reading glasses do. Negative diopter adjustments have the same effect as glasses for someone with myopia. My Canon 5D Mark II has a built-in diopter adjustment that ranges from -3 to +1. Other optional lenses are available from Canon that range from -4 to +3 diopters. If you, for instance, add an optional -2 diopter eyepiece to my 5DII, then the internal adjustment would allow a range of -5 to -1 diopters. Most DSLR camera manufacturers also offer such lenses that attach to the rear of the optical viewfinder for at least some of their cameras.

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I wear glasses too, but don't find it much of a problem.

If you don't have much astigmatism and your correction is not too extreme, you could adjust the focus of the viewfinder to your uncorrected eye. This is usually called something like a "diopter" setting. However, then you won't be able to see the scene properly when not looking thru the camera. I keep my glasses on, which correct my vision for distance viewing. Camera viewfinders are usually adjusted for distance viewing too (the image appears at infinity), so there is no problem.

About the only real issue with glasses is that you can't get your eye as close to the viewfinder. You need a viewfinder with a more narrow view angle so that all of it can be seen with the eye back a bit. Camera manufacturers are well aware of this. Nikon used to have options for "high eyepoint", but nowadays most cameras come that way standard. It doesn't really detract from using the camer without glasses.

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  • Are you saying that using diopter the image would look like the focus has been set to infinity? – angel rojas Jan 2 '14 at 2:53
  • @ange: There is no such thing as "the diopter". In general, the optics of viewfinders are such that the image in the viewfinder appears at inifinity to your eye. In other words, your eye has to focus as it would looking at distance objects to see the viewfinder image clearly. This has nothing to do with how the main lens is focused or how close or far the subject is in the actual picture. Some viewfinders have a focus adjustment, sometimes calibrated in diopter, that changes the focus of the viewfinder as if you were putting different glasses between your eye and the viewfinder eyepiece. – Olin Lathrop Jan 3 '14 at 20:07

My solution to glasses getting in the way of using the camera was to eventually change my glasses. Instead of ultra-light titanium wire frames I now wear heavier and stiffer metal frames that sit slightly closer to my face, and have smaller (but still quite practical) lenses. Not only is it now easier to see the information in the viewfinder, my glasses are less likely to be knocked askew by contact with an errant eyepiece.

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Yes, a positive diopter adjustment is exactly equal to reading glasses. The negative side is the opposite, for nearsightedness.

If the diopter built into the camera isn't sufficient, you may have some other options: see Are there any alternate eyepieces for people with glasses? for some options.

If possible, wearing contacts is really the nicest, but of course that doesn't help everyone. Of course, sometimes the reason contacts aren't an option is that the vision problem is severe astigmatism, and the diopter doesn't do anything for you there either. In that case, you may try mashing your glasses to the viewfinder anyway (I do this in a pinch, and with a viewfinder with a nice eye point it works out okay), or, you may consider adapting your photography habits to use a rear LCD screen -- DSLR "live view" or a mirrorless camera.

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    Well, yes and no. the "+" side of the diopter adjustment is the same as reading glasses; the "-" side is the same as distance vision glasses for myopics. In my case, all the way "-" is good without glasses (I'm severely myopic) and all the way "+" is good with (I'm also old). But that's nitpicking (as I so often do) and you're getting an up anyway. – user2719 Jan 1 '14 at 5:48
  • Yeah, it's New Year's. I'll expand tomorrow. :) – Please Read My Profile Jan 1 '14 at 5:50
  • I'm short sighted - so wear the opposite of reading glasses (as per stan rogers). The dioptre adjustment works for me although im only a -2 prescription (which is relatively weak) and i have to have it all the way - side. so i dont think anyone who with a strong prescription would get away with it. Of course the available amount of adjustment is camera dependent, but i have found this to be the case on all of my Nikons. – Digital Lightcraft Jan 1 '14 at 9:14
  • I have fairly severe astigmatism and wear Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) contact lenses that correct my astigmatism much better than any eyeglasses do. They do so because the surface of the lenses are spherical and the space between the back of the lens and the cornea is filled by tears on the eye that are roughly the same density/diffraction index as the material the lenses are made of. – Michael C Jan 1 '14 at 18:34
  • @MichaelClark "Severe" was probably the wrong word. I have slight astigmatism, and my glasses correct for it but my contacts don't, because it would have been more expensive. I suppose a rewording of the post is in order. – Please Read My Profile Jan 1 '14 at 18:39

One thing I did was to remove the little rectangular rubber part around the viewfinder (on my Canon DSLR bodies. I assume other manufacturers have something similar). This lets me jam my eyeglass-covered face a little bit closer to the viewfinder, so that I can see more of the viewfinder. It's not a total solution but it's an improvement.

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