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 Post subject: glasses for photographers
PostPosted: January 29th, 2012, 7:28 am 
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 4:15 am
Posts: 127
Location: Mississippi
I've been wearing progressive bifocals for about 3 years - almost exactly the same amount of time that I've had a DSLR. I have found that my declining vision creates two problems for me. First, I can't manually focus with accuracy. Two examples:

First image was shot focusing manually, as carefully as I could (with my glasses off - trying to focus photos with the glasses on seems a crap shoot, since the lens varies so much with just a mm of head tilt.)

Image

Sucks. Could have been a good shot if it had been in focus.

Second image was letting Nikon and Sigma do the focusing for me. Note that I had good light, a monopod, and still subjects, so the technology wasn't being challenged at all.

Image

I apologize for the use of non-herp photos. Please forgive me.

Obviously, in the field I can rely on autofocus to overcome my lack of decent vision. Autofocus isn't perfect, but it almost always does better than I can do on my own.

But what about in post-processing? When I sit at the computer a slight roll of my chair or a slight tilt of my head makes a big difference in whether I perceive that a photo is in focus or is a throw-away. I'd hate to dump good shots because my eyes don't see that they are, in fact, in focus.

My optometrist recommended that I get a pair of computer glasses to use at the desk, rather than wearing my progressives. But I hate to spend the money, and I'm sure I'll end up leaving them at the office when I need them at home, and vice versa. So I'm wondering if some traditional bifocals would be better than progressives. That way when I'm looking at the computer screen I know for sure that I'm seeing it through the same lens every time, regardless of where I'm sitting. And I would always have them with me, if they were my only glasses. Computer distance is not necessarily reading distance, so maybe I want trifocals.

So, photographers with presbyopia, what glasses work best for you? :crazyeyes:

Thanks!

Frank Hensley


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 Post subject: Re: glasses for photographers
PostPosted: January 29th, 2012, 10:15 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:46 am
Posts: 432
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Frank,

To me the first picture you posted looks like it has some motion blur more than being out of focus. I could be wrong about that, though. At any rate I can definitely feel your pain. I’m at that age where I’ve lost my ability to focus up close, though my distance vision is still quite good. I’ve solved that problem by simply wearing reading glasses when I’m working on a computer or reading. About 1.5 diopters seems to work best for me. I just buy the cheap ones at the drugstore and keep a pair at home, a pair at work, and a pair in the car.

Now as far as focusing a camera, I don’t carry the reading glasses in the field. My camera has a built in diopter adjustment that I have set to match my eyesight. It works well, except that there is no way to lock it in, so I occasionally end up accidentally moving it when I take the camera in and out of my backpack, (Nikon- please give us a way to lock those dam things). There’s another issue involved here though and that is that the viewfinders on today’s DSLs, especially the crop sensor ones, SUCK! If you don’t believe this take a look through the viewfinder of a good 1970’s vintage camera, (the Olympus OM-1 comes to mind), and you’ll see how far down hill viewfinders have come. Today’s viewfinders by comparison are small and dim. Not only that, but since the camera manufacturers assume we are all using AF the focusing screens they put in today’s cameras also SUCK! The old focusing screens were grainy looking, but you could really tell when something was or was not in focus. Today’s screens are designed with materials that are much harder to judge focus on. One option here is to replace the screen with one that is easier to manually focus with. I believe Canon makes such a replacement screen and Katzeye makes them for other brands of camera. I have a Katzeye all matte screen, (you can also get them with split image and microprism focusing aids) and it does help a little.

Another consideration is the focusing throw of the lens you are using. Lenses with a short throw are much quicker to focus, but more difficult to focus accurately whereas the opposite is true for lenses with a long focusing throw. One of the big pluses to most macro lenses is that they usually have long focus throws. Of course you’ve already discovered that just relying on auto focus is often the most viable solution.

Good luck and if you find a really good solution let me know about it!


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 Post subject: Re: glasses for photographers
PostPosted: January 29th, 2012, 11:51 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:37 pm
Posts: 1207
Location: Ft. Smith, Arkansas
Nikon DSLRs have a diopter adjustment dial next to the eyepiece, that you can use to change how your eye perceives the focus as well. Have you tried messing around with that at all? Best way to tell if it's set properly, when you look through the viewfinder, all of the information inside (metering, exif data, and flash icon) should be in sharp focus. If they are not, try moving the wheel to either direction until that stuff is sharp and clear inside.


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 Post subject: Re: glasses for photographers
PostPosted: January 29th, 2012, 12:17 pm 
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 4:15 am
Posts: 127
Location: Mississippi
I recently did a session of cleaning all my lenses etc. and in the process I goofed around with the view finder diopter. I'm not sure what it was set at when I shot the organutans, so I don't know if that might have contributed.

I looked at the exif on the two shots. The autofocus shot was ISO 400 and shutter 1/50s; the manual focus shot was ISO400 and shutter speed 1/5s. Turns out that the shutter was so slow on the MF shot because the sun was going down, and it was an hour later than the AF shot. I didn't realize it had become too dark to shoot with my big lens. So my MF effort DID have motion blur and was not a good comparison to the AF effort. Maybe my eyes are not as bad as I had let myself believe!

I can't use OTC readers easily for post processing because my two eyes are different enough that OTC glasses give me a headache. Gotta stick with prescription lenses.

Thanks for suggesting a change in screens. I do notice the difference in screens and view finder between my Nikon D60 and my old N2000 - which was definitely easier to focus.

-Frank


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 Post subject: Re: glasses for photographers
PostPosted: January 30th, 2012, 5:08 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:14 pm
Posts: 2619
Location: San Antonio, TX
I agree about those diopter adjustments - they need to at least label the 0 point! After I knocked mine out of wack, I looked up in the manual what its range was and counted clicks to get it back to zero (since I use my glasses with my camera).

I also have presbyopia (as will everyone reading this if you are lucky enough to live to get it). Fortunately for me, I was myopic most of my life, so I can simply look around/over my glasses to see things like the image review, camera buttons, etc.. I am losing that as well as my focal point slides further and further away however :( .

I have found that I can focus properly if I wear my glasses when shooting as long as my diopter adjustment is set correctly (zero). I have a pair of distance (single vision) lenses and a pair of progressives. I can and do shoot with both, although mostly with my single vision lenses.

Fortunately, technology has come to the rescue. Autofocus technology is greatly improved over the last 10-20 years and I can pretty much trust my autofocus to get it right on most subjects. I find that manual focusing is less accurate for me most of the time. That wasn't true in the past; I generally got sharper images by manually focusing. I have found that if there is a discrepancy between what I think is sharp and what the camera thinks is sharp (based on the focus sensor it is using), the camera is generally right.

(You have to learn to trust the technology. I feel the same way about shooting in M mode anymore. Camera sensors today are remarkably accurate in predicting exposure. Using M is just more work. I use A or S mode almost entirely, but I know how and when to dial in some exposure or flash compensation.)

The other piece of technology that has helped tremendously is having image review capabilities on a LCD screen. Back in the slide/film days, you took the shot hoping it was sharply focused but found out you were wrong part of the time. Now you can just shoot away and sort it out later.

As for the tiny viewfinders in modern DSLRs, some manufactures/cameras still have very good ones. Mine is big and bright (Sony Alpha 700). However, with most entry level cameras now having LCD preview screens, viewfinders are likely to become smaller and worse on many less expensive cameras.

Chris


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 Post subject: Re: glasses for photographers
PostPosted: January 30th, 2012, 7:14 pm 
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 4:15 am
Posts: 127
Location: Mississippi
Yes, autofocus to the rescue!

What is driving me nuts is that I'll shoot 100's of shots and when I sit down to the computer I want to go through them pretty quickly to pick out the best ones. But if I do, I end up rejecting some just because I think the focus is off. For example, I'll look at a bird picture and naturally the first thing is to see if the eye is in focus. Autofocus might have nailed it, or it might have settled on the bill and left the bird's eye a bit soft. A quick glance at the eye, and I'll dump the shot, but if I tilt my head just a degree or two, suddenly they eye is in focus and it's my stupid progressive lens that has failed me, even though autofocus worked!

I just did a little experiment looking at the screen as I'm typing this, and I think my left lens is off from my right - with my head level, if I get the right eye in focus on the screen, then cover it, the left eye is not in focus. I have to raise my chin a couple degrees to get the left one sharp.... maybe I need to learn to tilt my head to one side when I'm sorting photos! Getting older makes everything harder, dang it!


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