Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Fogging Eyepieces


Recently I was working on a documentary with a SRII. Down here in Louisiana between the heat and the humidity in summer I sweat a lot.

My problem is after rolling for 30 sec my eyepeice would fog up to the extent I could barely see the subject. This was a continous problem during the day. There is a chamois on the eyepeice. Can you use antifogging solution on the eyepeice without damaging the coatings? This really was a pain and now I have 4 more days of shooting.

What else can I do?

Joseph T McDonnell III
Avid Editor
New Orleans, La


You need to go out and get a small piece of plastic tubing 2 to 3mm in diameter, 6 or 7cm long. Maybe from a lab supply, or even a aquarium supply store. Tape one end of the tube under the chamois so when your eye is up against the eyepiece it makes a seal, be careful not to let the tube get crimped or blocked. Put the other end in your mouth, and draw the humid air out of the by either sucking or blowing (both work but it varies due to outside conditions...cold, warm, humid.)

Works like a charm and you don't need to put any harsh chemicals near your most precious of commodities.


Richard W. Gretzinger
Director of Photography

Ah, you need a suck tube.

Go get a pop-rivet, and remove the "nail" from it. You'll have left a little funnel, only flat, that has a hole through the center. Punch a hole in your eyecup (best on the lower right) and insert the rivet piece.

Get a short piece of tubing (I used aquarium tubing, with a little black paint at the top to prevent light leak into the eyecup). While shooting, suck on the tube occasionally, and you'll be fog free.

It really works!

Jeff "suck on this" Kreines

What work best for me is the heated eyepiece.

It's simple and easy and work in cold weather (I'm from Montreal) and in very hot and humid weather

Ronald Plante c.s.c.Montreal DP

We got ours years ago at Alan Gordon Enterprises. It is a "single speed" model--no temperature control. Works perfectly in all ordinary conditions, hot or cold, we've encountered, but it doesn't get hot enough to work in sub-freezing temperatures.

Never figured out why Arri finders always fog up for me (16M, SRII.) Eclair NPR and ACL (even the English one) rarely fog up for me, except on a few occasions requiring continuous takes of 8 or 10 minutes.

Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614

Yes the rubber part itself is replaceable and shouldn't be that expensive. However, don't "slit" the eyecup. Get yourself a hnd held leather punch, and punch the hole, otherwise the constant flexing of the eye cup may cause it to rip along the slit. A nice round hole, and there will be no way for it to rip. As for the end in the eyecup, I usually just melt that sort of like a mushroom, and that holds it in place, a little tape ring on the outside of the tubing, and it locks in place.

Try to get Black tubing if possible (dark red), or you will have to paint (sharpie) the end inside the eyecup, so it doesn't act as a light pipe - can be distracting.

Remember Suck, don't blow.

Steven Gladstone
Cinematographer - Gladstone Films
Cinematography Mailing List - Listmum
Better off Broadcast (B.O.B.)
New York, U.S.A.


Thanks for all the great tips. The camera is locally owned so I don't think the owner would buy a heater. It's in the upper 90's with 100% humidity and I need a heater? Like it's not hot enough already! All kidding aside the suck tube sounds like the best route. If I have to slit the rubber eyecup is this a cheap item I could replace after I'm finished?

Thanks for all the help.

Joseph T McDonnell III
Avid Editor
New Orleans, LA

Yes. But it's not a slit -- a little round hole. I used a small drill to make it neat. The owner may like it -- make him/her their own sucktube (give them their own rivet, too).

Ask for $10/day off on the rental for your ingeniousness...

Jeff "haggler" Kreines

Fogging Eyepiece :

Two other options, if your camera doesn't have an eyepiece heater:

1. Bausch & Lomb makes a tiny aerosol spray (about the size of a lipstick container) called STAT-BAN, available in eyeglass stores and some rental houses. One brief spray of this stuff into the eyepiece every few hours will keep the fog away. Let air-dry, or wipe with lens tissue, after spraying. Don't put your eye to the eyepiece immediately after spraying, as the alcohol in the spray will not have evaporated yet.

2. A drop of liquid dishwashing soap, or even a tiny smear of Chapstick, applied to lens tissue and rubbed on the eyepiece will also keep it from fogging. Keep rubbing with the lens tissue until every visible trace of the stuff is gone, and an invisible layer will still be there, preventing fogging.

Best wishes -

Doug Hart
First Camera Assistant, NYC

There is one more simple method that I know of to avoid a fogged eyepiece.

Take your filter swatchbook and search for the clear filter or UV filter.

If there's not one in there you could also try the 1/8 CTB or CTO. Cut the filter to match the metal part of your eyepiece, take some rubbercement or very easy removeable glue. Be careful for the glass and glue the filter in the eyepiece on the metal. Very simple, worked always good for me.

Although I prefer a good heated eyepiece.

Good luck

Herman Verschuur
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Just thought i would add another solution to these many fine suggestions.

I was shooting a job in Nashville a few years back and my fabulous first ac (I believe his name is David Trinkle) rigged a great and simple eyepiece "heater" for my Aaton XTR PROD. He simply wrapped a hand warmer that you would use in your ski gloves around the viewing tube and held it in place with a wrist band (the ones basketball players use). It worked great!

Since then I have told my ac's here in la to do the same and i have been "fog free" ever since. No heater and batteries to worry about. No liquid substances to rub on. No sucking (or blowing for that matter). And best of all, it lasts all day. The only caution I might have for you is that it gets pretty darn hot at times. Don't know if the camera folks recommend this practice but it has saved my bacon many times over.


Curt Apduhan
The World At Large

Before you do any punching in the rubber eyecup. Go out to your local auto parts store and pick up "RainX", about $5 a bottle. It prevents fogging and is very effective. I don't recommend placing it on anything other than your eyepiece and your car windows, doesn't seem to leave a permanent effect on the glass, although it is fairly long-term (about 2 months fog free). I haven't tested it in extreme winter conditions however it worked well in San Francisco.

Take care,

Illya Friedman
IA 600 AC
Van Nuys, CA

In hot humid conditions use a "scuba stick", this has many names and is a rectangular stick of wax-like material that you apply to the glass surface and polish off with a clean dry cloth. It is normally intended to keep your mask from fogging. They are
usually red or green, come in a plastic tube and are cheap and easy to find.

In the cold use an eyepiece heater, preferably one that does not work with a thermostat as these tend to be terribly unreliable.

Scott MacDonald
National Manager, Digital Systems
Panavision Canada


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