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Diopter Adjustment

A reader asks, “Help! I think I did something bad to my digital camera. When I look through my eyepiece viewfinder, everything is blurry. It looks fine on the LCD screen, but the viewfinder image is way out of focus. Is it repair time?”

Actually, sounds like you’re lucky!

Your camera probably has a small dial or slider right next to, above, or below the viewfinder. That’s a diopter adjustment. It actually controls the focus of the viewfinder (not the lens).

This handy little device allows you to adjust the camera’s viewfinder so the image you see through it looks nice and sharp. Since everyone’s eyes (and any prescriptions that go with them) tend to be a little different, this is put in place to help compensate.

In fact, many eyeglass wearers can adjust their diopters so they don’t even need glasses on when they glance through the viewfinder (great for bifocals or trifocals).

To (finally) answer the question, it sounds like the dial was turned all the way one direction or the other. It really doesn’t take much persuasion to get ’em to turn; a rub against a sleeve is usually sufficient. Good news is that the fix is amazingly simple.

To adjust your diopter, place your finger on it and look through the viewfinder. Depending on the camera, you may need to focus it on a nearby object.

Next, move the dial as you look through the viewfinder. When the image is sharp, stop turning. Easy huh?

So, if you have a diopter adjustment on your camera, be sure to give it a spin next time you have the camera out. You may find that fuzzy viewfinder isn’t so fuzzy after all.

Oh, PLEASE NOTE adjusting this has absolutely no effect on the actual focus of your photos! It only gives you a better view!

~ Steve