Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Viewfinder Diopters

Hi All,

It hasn't escaped me that the viewfinder diopters on professional video cameras have rather limited range of adjustment as compared to "F" cameras. Not meaning to start another brush fire here at all. I have used both Panasonic and Sony Kit and have found them both lacking
in this area.

For those of you who haven't discovered this problem, I'll be patient. I am farsighted in my right eye and use reading glasses but otherwise I am fine sight wise. I find that most video cameras are just a hair short of adjustment range for me and I hate to wear glasses when shooting because I really don't need them for anything else. Any really creative solutions for this?

I took apart a Betacam VF tonight and discovered there was a screw in clear to prevent crud from falling into the VF. Might there be any mild diopters that could replace this clear and give range in the desired direction?

Mark Smith DP
Oh Seven Films Inc.

To solve your diopter problem go to a still photo shop and get a diopter in the proper size to be taped into the eyepiece cup. Hydroflex don't have adjustable eyepieces so I used this system to solve the same problem there.

Marty Mullin
Los Angeles

I second the suggestion that others offer about having a prescription eyepiece diopter made to increase the range of the VF adaptor in the direction you need. While you're at it you can also correct for any astigmatism in your right eye if you come up with a reasonable method to orient the "upness" of your adaptor lens when you mount it. Also make certain that you know which side of the adaptor lens faces your eye and which goes to the VF.

Pete Fasciano
Fellow, Advance Development
Co-founder, Avid Technology

Lasik surgery is probably the cheapest route.

Carlos Acosta
Modern Movie Machines
Broadcast Equipment Rental
High Definition Rentals

>Lasik surgery is probably the cheapest route.

And a good way to end a career!!!


> And a good way to end a career!!!

My vision went from 20-400++ (off the chart) to 20-15 (better than perfect).

Being in the HD business, It helped my career significantly. The diopter on most video cameras wasn't even close, so I had to operate with glasses as contacts were not available.

Carlos Acosta

Carlos Acosta wrote:

>Lasik surgery is probably the cheapest route.

I'm amazed that eye surgery would be cheaper than getting a diopter made.

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

Steven Gladstone wrote:

>I'm amazed that eye surgery would be cheaper than getting a diopter >made.

It probably is if you get custom made lenses, but the optical flat in the viewfinder is a Series 7. So it should not be a problem to get a proxar to fit. The fine-tuning can then be made with the finders more limited adjustment.

Steve Golden, DP/International Cinematographers’ Guild
Chicago, IL 60607

Carlos Acosta wrote :

>Lasik surgery is probably the cheapest route.

I recently had Lasik done using the new Wavefront system (I had been waiting for FDA approval of this before progressing). Even though my vision has always been 20/15 corrected, I had to wear cumbersome glasses to get there due to -7.75 diopters of spherical and 2.75 diopters of cylinder (astigmatism). I elected to correct to -1.5 diopters of spherical (with Plano cylinder) since I prefer to wear light glasses and simply remove them for reading or close-up work.

Of course, it helped that I do all the IT work for my ophthalmologist’s office and have known him for decades <grin>!

Tom Tcimpidis

>I'm amazed that eye surgery would be cheaper than getting a diopter >made

I had a diopter made decades ago, about 1984. For a Sony Betacam because, as noted on this list, the "adjustment" range just didn't cut it. Took the viewfinder off the video camera and carried it in to my eye doctor.

We disassembled the ocular section, he held the diopter in his hand and made a few measurements. Said he'd place an order (it's just another eyeglass lens to him) and a week later I picked it up from his office and "popped" it into the Sony eyepiece. Worked like a champ.

Total fee for the project? $25 for the new diopter and $35 for the office visit.

Beat that with surgery.

Jim Furrer, Director of Photography
Denver Center for the Performing Arts
USA based

>Total fee for the project? $25 for the new diopter and $35 for the office >visit.

No one uses contact lenses? My eyesight is pretty bad, I have -4.75 in eacheye, half way to legally blind oi yay! All I do when I shoot is use my contact lenses. Both on Film and Video Cameras. Works perfect for me, plus I don't have to take my glasses off every time I want to look into the viewfinder.

Total fee for this project: $40 for contacts + 10 seconds saved each time I want to look in the viewfinder (don't need to take off and put away my glasses).

Vinit Borrison
Student DP
Toronto, On

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