With any DSLR camera, before you head out to do some serious shooting, you’ll need to make a few fine adjustments. In this post, I’m going to talk about one of those adjustments – how to dial in, or “calibrate” the diopter of your camera.
What is the Diopter?
First, I think it might be beneficial to explain what exactly the diopter of your camera is. If you’re new to photography, it’s one of those things that you’ve seen a million times on your camera and, while you were sure it was of the utmost importance, you ignored it. If you still don’t have a clue as to what I’m referring to, please take a quick glance toward the photo at the top of this post. It’s that little dial next to the viewfinder on all DSLR cameras and a good portion of point and shoot cameras.
What’s the Purpose of the Diopter?
The purpose of the diopter is to adjust the image you see in the viewfinder to match your eyesight. If you take a lot of pictures using auto-focus and look through the large LCD screen at the back of your camera, this most likely isn’t a big deal. But if you wear glasses, use manual focus and look through the small viewfinder, adjusting the diopter is of extreme importance. It’s critical to calibrate what your camera sees to what you see because if you don’t, you’ll be taking photos that you think are clear, but that are actually blurry. And I’m sure you can find better things to do than banging your head against the wall the night you decide to flip through all those photos you took days before.
Calibrating the Diopter
This is the part I love. I love it because it’s just so dang easy to make this calibration and once you do, you’ll feel like you just breathed new life into your photography. I suppose I can compare it to finally removing a piece of dust from your eye – something so simple can make you feel so good.
Steps To Make Calibration
1. If you wear glasses, remove them. It’s important to look through the camera’s viewfinder with your uncorrected vision.
2. Set your camera up using a tripod. For later steps, you’ll need a steady camera, so a tripod is perfect. If one isn’t available, you can rest your camera on a desk or a table – anything that will stop the natural sway of photographing freehand.
3. Find a subject to focus on that’s got good contrast on its edges. A street sign or a license plate is a good example. If you’re indoors, perhaps a painting on the wall or a design on something in the kitchen. As long as your subject has some contrast between its shapes, you should be good to go.
4. Set your tripod up a few meters away from your subject. You’ll want to have a nice range between your camera and your subject, but not too much distance. When you focus in, you’ll want to be able to see everything clearly.
5. Use autofocus to focus in on your subject. Autofocus is extremely accurate and reliable, so when you focus in on your subject using it, you can rest assured that what your camera is seeing is clear to it.
6. Adjust your diopter’s dial until what you see is clear. Once your subject is in focus using your camera’s autofocus, while looking through the small viewfinder, turn your diopter adjustment knob back and forth until what you see is absolutely clear. Once you do this, your camera’s viewfinder will be calibrated specifically for your eyes.
See? I told you it was easy. Once you get the hang of customizing your diopter’s setting to your own eyes, you can share your camera with others confidently, knowing you can quickly bring your settings back if need be. Also, if your camera bumps around in your bag and gets whacked out of calibration, you’ll be set back up in no time.
If you’re interested in seeing what others have to say about this topic, I’ve put together some informative posts below. Please feel free to browse through them.
I hope you enjoyed this quick post on how to calibrate the diopter setting on your camera. For more interesting posts on photography, please take a look at our photography tutorials category.