DSLR Photography Tips for People with Glasses

Lots of us wear glasses to correct issues with our vision. This can cause problems and become annoying when trying to take pictures. Glasses can make difficult for some people to get their eye close enough to the viewfinder to be able to get a good view of what you are shooting. Here are some things that you can do to help and possibly alleviate the issue altogether.


Diopter Adjustment

DSLR cameras have what’s called an adjustable diopter. The diopter is part of the lens that you look through via the camera’s viewfinder. You can adjust the diopter to help focus and sharpen the image that you see through the viewfinder. Depending on the severity of your vision problem that your glasses help to correct, you may be able to remove your glasses when you shoot and adjust your camera’s diopter to your eyesight so that everything appears clear to you through the viewfinder.

A “Positive” adjustment to the diopter will do the same thing that reading glasses do. A “Negative” change to the diopter will do what glasses do for someone with myopia. Basically, if you have trouble seeing distance then use the “Minus” diopter setting. If you have trouble reading a book or with things up close, then you’ll want to use the “Plus” diopter setting. Canon cameras typically have a diopter adjustment that ranges from -3 to +1.

Addon Diopter Lens

There are optional diopter/viewfinder lenses available from Canon as well as other brands, that can take it from a -4 to +3 diopter. If you were to purchase an addon diopter that was -2 and add it to a camera whose built-in diopter had a range of -3 to +1, then adding the -2 diopter would essentially give you a range of -5 to +1. Most manufacturers also sell optional diopters where you simply remove the rubber piece (eyecup) around your viewfinder and the new diopter will attache in its place.

Nikon provides a chart to help users match their prescription with the appropriate diopter addon (see chart below):

Nikon eyepiece correction system
Nikon correction lens+3+2+10-1-2-3-4-5


Large Eyecup

You can get a large eyecup for your camera that attaches to your existing eyepiece and it makes the rubber portion larger so that it covers the lens of your eyeglasses. It’s fairly simple and straightforward and seems to work well for a lot of photographers that wear glasses.

Here is one on Amazon that many people recommend: http://www.amazon.com/Hoodman-Glasses-Hoodeye-Eyepiece-Cameras/dp/B007NKPSFW 

Extended Eyepieces

Another option to try is an eyepiece extender. This is an add-on that attaches to the existing eyepiece on your camera. It basically functions by allowing you to get your face further away from the body of your camper. This is really helpful if you’re an eyeglass wearer.

Eyepiece Extender: https://www.amazon.com/Canon-EP-EX15-Eyepiece-Extender-Cameras/dp/B0000AQI9E

Remove the Rubber around Viewfinder

One thing that some photographers have found that works nicely while still wearing glasses is to simply remove the rubber eyecup around the camera’s viewfinder. Doing this will allow your eye to get closer to the viewfinders lens. Usually, the problem with wearing glasses is that it’s difficult to get your eye close enough to the viewfinder lens, which makes it difficult to see what you are photographing. Removing the rubber seems to do the trick for a lot of people.

Change Your Frames

If you really want to continue to wear your glasses and use your camera’s viewfinder, one thing you can try is to change the type of glasses you have. Instead of using glasses with an ultra-light wire frame, you can try switching to a heavier/stiffer metal frame. This will allow your glasses to sit a little closer to your face and use slightly thinner lenses.

Try Flip-Up Frames

There are a few frame manufacturers for eyeglasses that make frames that allow you to flip up one or both of the lenses. This can make things a lot easier while taking pictures if you currently have to take off your glasses to shoot and then put them back on to look at your subject or your LCD screen. With these types of frames, you can simply flip up one lens while you shoot and still keep your glasses on the whole time.

One manufacturer that makes these types of frames is Scheyden. They make the frames to fit both sunglass lenses and prescription lenses. Here is a link to their website: https://scheyden.com/CF_ClassicFlipUp.php

Progressive No Line Bifocals

Progressive No line bifocals, also known as progressive lenses don’t have the line in them that traditional bifocals have. Progressives lenses let you see close-up and far away, as well as everything in between a lot better than regular lined bifocals do. This can help photographers immensely as you can find a happy medium while looking through your camera’s viewfinder or at the LCD screen and not get frustrated by the line in your bifocals, or the drastic transition in between views with traditional bifocals. If you want to continue to wear glasses, as opposed to contacts, while shooting, definitely give these a try. Many photographers swear by them.

One Eye Open or Both?

Some eyeglass wearers have said that they had trouble seeing through their viewfinder clearly while closing one eye. I think to most of us closing one eye while we shoot is a natural thing to do. If this is the same thing that’s happening to you, try looking through the viewfinder while keeping both eyes open. I know it sounds weird and it may take a little getting used to, but this seems to work wonders for a lot of people.

Use “Live View” (rear LCD screen)

Another option that I have personally used myself when I don’t feel like looking through the viewfinder is to turn on the “Live View” feature and use the cameras LCD screen instead. This works really well whether you are wearing glasses or contacts. The only downside to using the LCD screen to shoot is if you are shooting outside and it’s fairly bright out. To help solve this issue, you can get an LCD Hood or a HoodLoupe like the ones below:

LCD Hood: https://www.amazon.com/Shield-Camcorder-Screens-Altura-Photo/dp/B01KMWMWFG

HoodLoupe: https://www.amazon.com/Hoodman-H32MB-HoodLoupe-Outdoor-Screens/dp/B074N4Z4J1/

Use Contacts Instead of Glasses

Some photographers find that it’s easiest to ditch their glasses all together when they are going to be shooting. This allows them to use their camera as is and not have to make any special adjustments or tweaks to their camera. It’s still nice to have an alternate solution for those days when you just don’t feel like wearing contacts or your eyes are feeling a bit irritated.

Multifocal Contact Lenses

Bifocal contact lenses have the same ability as bifocal glasses do, by having two different lens functions, allowing you to see near and far. But there’s another type of contact lens that has a multifocal design like progressive bifocals, that gradually change in power and they are called Multifocal Contact Lenses. Many photographers say this is the way to go because it allows you to use your camera as normal without the need for any modifications.

Last but not Least…Go to your Eye Doctor

If nothing else seems to work for you, make an appointment with your eye doctor and bring your camera with you. Most optometrists will work with you and your prescription to create a lens that will function well with your camera. They can even show to the spot on your lenses to line up with your camera’s viewfinder to get the optimal position.

Related Questions

Can I add a Larger LCD Screen to my DSLR Camera? Yes, by using an HDMI connection from your camera, you can connect it to 7” screen for both Live View and playback of images that you’ve taken. Many of these screens can actually mount to your DSLR or video camera, making it a very useful tool to use while shooting. Many of them come with a hood to help shade it while shooting outdoors or in a brightly lit area. Here is the one that we recommend: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078GSPV1W

Are there any Devices that can Help me with Focusing? As a matter of fact, there are! Recently there have been a few devices hitting the market that add a wireless transmitter to your camera and give you the ability to wirelessly control focus, zoom, view “Live View”, adjust aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. They also let you control exposure bracketing, HDR, timers and time-lapse. You are able to control and view all of this via a smartphone, tablet or computer. This can be very helpful for people with vision problems, even Astigmatism. You can check out one of the latest models here: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1281339-REG/tether_tools_cawts03_case_air_wireless_tethering.html


1 thought on “DSLR Photography Tips for People with Glasses”

  1. Very helpful note.
    What about wearing polarized lenses on top of your prescribed lenses? I think that would help at seeing the lcd screen in sun light.
    What do you think?


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