Camera Parts

What is a viewfinder diopter lens?

Written by Gail Bjork

If your camera has a built-in diopter lens, carefully adjusting it will improve the clarity and sharpness of the viewfinder.

DiopterSome digital cameras have a diopter adjustment that helps improve the clarity of the viewfinder. By adjusting a dial,  lever or knob located near the viewfinder, sharpness and focus changes. Since the diopter is connected only to the viewfinder, the focus of the camera lens itself is not changed nor does it affect autofocus.

You may be able focus the viewfinder to match to your eyesight, be it near or farsightedness. In some cases, you may not have to wear eyeglasses when using the camera.

As the dial is rotated, the viewfinder image comes in and out of focus. Make sure the camera lens is focused before making any adjustment. Make adjustments while actually looking through the viewfinder until the scene is sharpest.

Preferably, if your camera has focus brackets, keep your eye on them until they come into sharp focus. Remember, it’s the viewfinder that you want matched to your eyesight.

A word of caution

Be careful not to stick your finger in an eye while making diopter adjustments!

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.

9 Comments

  • Moshe, Check if your camera accepts an Eyepiece Cup that attaches to and extends from the viewfinder. Then you can buy and insert a diopter correction lens. An optician can tell you the strength of the lens you need. The problem, though, is that you already have a diopter lens built into your camera so you will probably have to set it at zero. Discuss this with an optician. The people at B&H Photo can be very helpful too.

  • the diopter league/scala is too short for me
    is it possible to find a glass to be coupling to the viewfinder???

  • I have been told by my optician that you can get these (in strengths similar to reader glasses) but haven’t been able to find one yet.

  • Peter, I’m unaware of clear screen covers that come in different magnification strengths. Perhaps a local optician can custom make one. However, I have a ClearViewer and it improves viewing tremendously. It’s something you may want to consider.

  • Hi, I wear glasses for reading only.  When looking at a viewing screen on a digicam (not a SLR type viewfinder) the subject or image is out of focus.  Is it possible to buy clear screen covers in different strengths that make the image appear sharp without wearing glasses?