Best finder for farsighted person

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Policar, Dec 18, 2011.

  1. Policar, Dec 18, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2011

    Policar macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    We're looking for a digital camera for someone who has very poor close vision. She's switching from a 35mm point and shoot (which worked well for her) and an entry-level film SLR (which did not).

    My fear is that, even with the diopter, her eyes couldn't focus well on a dSLR's ground glass. Especially the ****** pentamirrors in the Canon Rebels, for instance. The image is tiny, dim, and requires good vision to confirm focus. Even I can't figure out to get the focus zones to work consistently or get the camera to focus reliably in subdued light and I've got a 17-55mm IS on it. That's a good lens known for focusing reliably!

    I don't really like point and shoots and my worry with them is that the small LCD and tiny buttons would be no better for someone without great eyes or motor control. Especially since she mostly wants to do nature photography, which requires bright daylight. And as soon as a mode dial is accidentally switched, it's over. This is someone who is extremely non-technical (but who has a good eye).

    How about a rangefinder? I personally love rangefinders and maybe this is just me hoping to get my hands on a Fuji X100 occasionally (though the Mamiya 7 is my real dream camera), but does the rangefinder allow easier use for those who are farsighted? I know you still have to line up the image, but shouldn't the image itself exist in the distance?

    Also, we need a camera that's very easy to use. It's being given to someone who has spent 10 years with OSX and still can't close a window or use google so complicated menus! Must have a great auto mode and no tiny buttons.

    Any ideas? I want the entire process to be about one thing: composition. No menus, no cluttered finders, no superfluous modes. After all, composition trumps all else and it's her strength.

    Are there any easy to use point and shoot cameras with optical finders and low shutter lag? Are any of them intuitive? I don't want a mode dial that can be set wrong and then change how the camera works. I want it to be simple!

    Of course she wants everything (low light, zoom, portability, high resolution, etc.) but none of that will matter relative to ease of use and quality of finder for someone farsighted. Price is not THAT important, but after she just got a 17'' macbook pro I don't know if $1000 cameras are in the cards unless it's like the greatest thing ever. Otherwise I would recommend a Leica M9, not that I've used them but I love how Leica's rangefinders feel.

  2. gangzoom macrumors member

    Aug 8, 2007
    If she got on fine with a 35mm point and shoot why not just get her a low end point and shoot which has a optical view finder like the old fashioned film camera? The Canon PowerShot G12 comes to mind.

    I know nothing about rangefinders, but doesn't the Leica M9 cost $5000>, surely thats not a good recommendation for someone isn't professional photographer (unless she has $$$ to burn)
  3. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Not sure about the viewfinder focusing optics of an SLR, but I thought once that the image projected into the eye is actually focused far out or at infinity? I don't nkow maybe someone can confirm/deny this.

    Anyway, if her vision is that bad I think it's also possible to get custom viewfinder eyecups that include additional dopter adjustment, so you can get one made for her vision perscription?

    Otherwise what if she just uses the DSLR with her glasses on? I know some people do it this way but others prefer to use their naked eye, and have dopter adjustment compensate for their vision.

    Lastly, if her vision really is that bad, maybe I would stay away from manual focus setups. Things like rangefinders, or MF glass. If your vision is poor, you are probably better off using the AF unit in a camera and not your own vision. Unless she can really take her time and use LiveView on a tripod or something. Modern AF systems work faster and more accurately than even people who have good/perfect vision. IMHO unless you have a lot of time to burn (again like using LV and a tripod), it takes perfect vision and a lot of experience/practice to reliably outperform modern AF systems.

    If your lens isn't focusing reliably with your camera, then something is probably amiss and you either need to adjust it yourself (if your camera has that option) or send it in to get aligned/calibrated.
  4. jtara macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2009
    Rangefinder. Simple, bright viewfinder, not dependent on the primary lens. Precise focusing mechanism that does not depend on recognizing edge sharpness.

    Of course, auto-focus lessens the need for a precise focusing mechanism. So, focus is only an issue for more creative shots.

    I believe there are much cheaper alternative than the Leica.

    As another person suggested, the cheapest alternative would be an autofocus camera with an optical viewfinder, no need for the rangefinder if you are using autofocus. The optical viewfinder will be so much better than an LCD screen.
  5. Bonch macrumors 6502


    May 28, 2005
    +1. It's a no brainer.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Well then don't buy a Canon Rebel. Buy one of the Nikons with a solid prism. Most all cameras are set up to the ground glass is one meter distant from the eye. Worst case is she has to shoot with glasses.

    Get a fast lens. An f/2.8 at least. Each f-stop doubles the light in the viewfinder. Also the shallow DOF makes focus easier.
  7. Policar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    Thanks everyone, I think we'll get an autofocus point and shoot with an optical viewfinder. Are there any without the extra scene dial settings? While I drool like crazy over the Fuji X100, it's probably overkill in this case. Going to give both a try.

    I'll let her try on my digital rebels but I'm guessing it's not the best choice. The ground glass and diopter put the focal plane pretty close to your eye.

    How I miss the elegance of the Nikon F! Such a huge, gorgeous finder. The Mamiya 7....drooling.

    Anyhow, thanks again!

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