Do you have trouble with focusing when looking through your view finder? I have come across this problem with a few photographers who have told me that they always use live view because what they see through the viewfinder is out of focus.  If this sounds familiar to you it might be because you need to adjust your camera’s dioptre (or diopter if you are in the US).

The problem is all our eyes are different, and you need to calibrate your viewfinder to your eyes.  To do this there is a little adjustment wheel next to the view finder.  This is the dioptre control.

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The easiest way to set this is to look through your viewfinder while pointing the camera at a plain wall or blank piece of paper.  It doesn’t matter if the wall is in focus or not… in fact it will be easier if the wall is out of focus.  What I recommend you do is get close to the wall and set your camera to manual focus and focus on infinity – this will put the wall out of focus.

You need to concentrate on the display within the viewfinder – I tend to look at the focus points.

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Left: Dioptre need adjusting.  Right: Dioptre is in focus.

If the focus points look like the image on the left then you need to adjust the dioptre.  Turn the little wheel until they look clear and in focus (as shown on the image on the right).

The dioptre adjustment is typically -1.5 to +1.5 and that will be sufficient for most people, especially if you don’t normally use spectacles or you wear your specs when using your camera.

If however you remove your specs to use your camera you may find you reach the limit of what the dioptre adjustment can achieve and the image still isn’t in focus.  If that happens then, you will need an dioptic adjustment lens for your view finder.  They come in different strengths for either long sighted or short sighted photographers.  If you don’t know what strength adjustment lens you need your optician should be able to tell you.

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