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Need diopter adjustment help

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Isoterica, May 9, 2013.

  1. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    I am getting old people eyes and have noticing that my shots are becoming less and less successful-- as in less sharp. Several months ago I fiddled with the diopter while sitting in a car [this is how little I know] waiting as my husband put gas in it. Hey I adjusted until it seemed clear through the viewfinder. I must have got it right because my success ratio wasn't bad, the fails I attributed to shaky hands or whatever seemed reasonable. But it's gotten worse and I just figured my eyes are too bad for the camera.

    Anyway I go to the camera store today and am testing a lens on my camera, a manual zeiss lens, and I can't pull off one clear shot and mention it to the sales person. He asks me if my diopter is adjusted and then he tells me how to do it more properly. Set the camera on a tripod and using autofocus, set your focus, then adjust your diopter without bumping the camera, until you see clearly. Maybe because it is overcast and even occasionally drizzling out I am not seeming to get good results yet. Do I need high contrasts to get it just right? Focused on the neighbors garage across the street, on bird cage bars, on the truck headlamp.. even changed lenses. I'm missing something or I need to give up this hobby due to eyesight

    Camera is my Canon XSi, lens currently on it is the 28mm 1.8, I also have an eyecup extender on the back, the EP-EX15. My first adjustments were made with the eyecup off, the second time I put it on and used the tip of a toothpick to turn the diopter wheel. LCD reviews look bad so on the computer I don't expect pixel peeping to help. I'm seriously about ready to sell it ALL. Help?
     
  2. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    So, you are not using AF? If you are, then the diopter adjustment should not be necessary for the camera to focus properly.

    Another thought: sell the XSi stuff and get a camera that has a larger OVF, like a Pentax K30 (which I mention only because I know it as a lower-priced camera with a "premium" OVF, unlike most other entry-level DSLR's).
     
  3. trisberg

    trisberg SC Veteran

    251
    Jul 5, 2011
    New Hampshire
    Agree with Yeats, if you are using AF the diopter adjustment doesn't matter. The LCD reviews are pretty much useless for determining sharpness, you need to load the images on a computer for this.

    If you plan on using manual focus, the standard screen of the XSi is difficult to use even with good eyes/perfect diopter adjustment. I've used the KatzEye split image focus screen and it is a little easier, but still not great due to the small size of the viewfinder image.

    When you adjust the diopter, just look at the numbers shown at the bottom of the viewfinder - if they are sharp the diopter is adjusted properly.

    -Thomas
     
  4. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    I was told to use autofocus to make sure that the lens was in focus on a subject and then to adjust my diopter so that what I see is sharp matching the assumed accuracy of the lens. I do not use autofocus all of the time, particularly in macro and macro comprises at least 75% of my shots.

    I'll just go back at it again, maybe when it is brighter outside. Selling my gear was a remark based on frustration though if I can't make it work for me I will find another hobby because I'm not getting any satisfaction out of my images.
     
  5. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    I have this odd problem when I use MF for macro focusing and also with really thin DOF... I often lean forward slightly as I press the shutter button, resulting in a slightly OOF image, or an incorrectly-focused image.
     
  6. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    A tripod will alleviate camera movement and you can us shutter lock-up to aid with vibration, for depressing the shutter button, use a remote. Mine is wireless so not even a cord wiggles against the camera. Oh and live view sometimes is a godsend, I have watched via live view as bees flew into my frame and captured them alighting or even pollinating the flowers though admittedly I am just as happy shooting a rusty gear or watch innards :)

    If you are going handheld, then you expect to botch some shots. However, if you stabilize your stance and support the camera properly while using auto focus you can sometimes get good results. And sometimes blur on the macro level is even pretty.
     
  7. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    I just mentioned my issue thinking that perhaps you are doing something similar... most of my macro stuff is done at non-tripod-friendly angles, so I wind of taking multiple shots in the hopes that one is satisfactory... spray & pray! :biggrin:

    Since I no longer have a DSLR, everything is "live view", lol. I loooove my Pentax K-01's focus peaking, makes MF so much easier.
     
  8. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    The focusing error was reproducible when I really studied what was going on at the camera store. I half pressed the shutter button down to achieve a focus lock and then I looked from the focal point to what I was really seeing through the viewfinder and it wasn't sharp. The same slight turn of the lens to correct this tells me the diopter needs adjusting just as the salesman said. I tried it a few times, I just haven't gotten it yet. That was what I was looking for when I made this post, advice on how to adjust the diopter properly.
     
  9. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    I periodically find that my left eye (the one I normally use to focus with, with the OVF) refuses to behave, so I switch eyes. My right is actually in better shape and I should use it all the time... Have you tried changing eyes? Or, perhaps getting a Katzeye might help? Alternatively perhaps what you were seeing at the store was an indication of a hardware issue, rather than your eyes, of a failure to adjust properly. Is it the same with all lenses?
     
  10. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie
    This thread got me thinking since much of my macro stuff has been very disappointing of late. I've become lazy and have been leaving my tripod behind and attempting hand held shots, except when I use my Kern Paillard 150mm and extension tubes. I've just done some testing having adjusted the evf diopter adjustment to what I consider a satisfactory setting (I suffer from astigmatism and wear varifocal glasses). With the diopter adjusted I focussed on a small flower head with the camera (GH2) tripod mounted using the evf for a series of shots and then the rear screen for another series of shots using the self timer. I've found no noticeable difference in my focussing success between using the evf with correctly adjusted diopter and the rear screen.

    My tests were done indoors, so no effects from our current blustery wind. There would seem to be no short cut to successful macro, tripod mounted, time delayed or remote operated shutter and small aperture to achieve a satisfactory depth of field. My past experience has of course taught me those lessons before :redface: , I just needed reminding that there are no short cuts and that care and dedication are required to get the best from macro.

    Barrie
     
  11. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    I read two different method for adjusting.

    One here: Using Diopter Adjustment

    One here: Best way to set diopter? - FM Forums

    Since the first didn't work [though it could have been due to the dull, overcast weather] I tried the second. We shall see later when I have time how well it worked and yes Sue I actually switched eyes and though there was no difference between them when looking through the viewfinder, it was a good idea and it was comforting to know that I am seeing the same out of each one. And yes it was the same when I switched lenses. It's been happening gradually over time, crept up on me.. and trying a new lens it [really * I * ] was as dysfunctional, though it's not the lenses. Now if this doesn't work after I get back to test it, it's probably the camera.
     
  12. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    I am betting on this. Your eyes dont both go bung at the same time, and nor do lenses. Ergo, its a hardware issue, especially if it was OK in the past. These things can break/not function the way they ought to... camera stores just don't want to know, usually (though I must confess my local is pretty good)
     
  13. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    The only error in logic there as I pondered over it too is that if autofocus works.. it isn't the camera. I'm going out today to play just a little. Still under the weather but I think I need some fresh air. Then maybe I'll see how my adjustments fared. Hope it's not all a loss ;)
     
  14. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    Sorry, I wasnt clear. The diopter adjuster itself must be faulty, is what I was thinking.
     
  15. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    Oooh ok, that could be too. We shall see, thanks Sue.
     
  16. lcsolla

    lcsolla SC Regular

    109
    Sep 5, 2011
    Lisbon, Portugal
    Luis Castro e Solla
    Maybe there are a lot of youngsters in this group. I am fifty-seven, and have had to use reading-glasses since my early forties (I spend eight hours a day reading, but most people get to it sometime around fifty). Camera makers seem not to care too much about this part of the population. Yet it is a growing and very significant part of their market. In the old days I had a lot of trouble finding a correction lens for my trustworthy Nikon FM2. With digital compacts, looking at a scene without glasses, than putting them to check what I got on the screen, then taking them out again, only to bring them back to check a setting, is mildly tiring to say the least. Computers have special modes with big letters - why can't compacts have them? my Panasonic LX7 and GF2, which I love, have such small lettering that I sometimes think they were meant to be looked at with a loupe - or just by teen-agers. Same for the lettering on the outside of the cameras and lenses. And I wish camera-makers take a lesson from design and the dreaded ransom-note effect: why use four or five different fonts in a camera, instead of just one? (I am not looking only at Canon).
     
  17. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    I'm 63 and diabetic, so my eyes are just mad. Sometimes they work (if my BGLs are under control) and sometimes they don't (if BGLs are all over the shop, or if I am tired, etc). I do have to make adjustments to the diopter on a regular basis, which is why those Fuji cameras with no adjustment are out, for me. Can't afford to buy multiple addons to accommodate my crazy eyes.
     
  18. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    Being tired makes a big difference. I found that even trying to focus on the computer screen. My husband, the sweety, has called me his 29 year old wife for the last twenty years :D My camera testing will be postponed though. And-- I might actually have to buy something else. Was in the ER last night and have double eye infection and am now hoping that I got meds in time that my eyesight won't be permanently damaged but until I turn some kind of corner, I blindly [thank you Windows for Control+ magnification options!]--wait. And for the next heads up if I say anything odd in the next week or so, that's if I'm here much at all, I blame it on pain meds and apologize in advance lol.
     
  19. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    awwww :(
    :grouphug:
     
  20. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    Still magnifying the screen 3x over but at least it hasn't gotten worse, a small blessing but I'll take it. I'm missing all the spring blooms though :(