The Naked Eye

dsc_2513aNow that’s a spicy title if ever I heard one – I must make sure that the heading image has half-clad cuties in a tiki bar or something. If I can get banned in Boston my career is made…

But bad news – you have been lured into a fraud – there are no morally-questionable ideas in this weblog column today. It’s all about optics. Try to contain your disappointment and read on.

I run two cameras with combined optical/electronic viewfinders situated for my right eye. I also run two more with pure electronic viewfinders – one with that NW corner eyepiece like the first two and one with a centralised viewfinder. To be fair, the centre-position viewfinder is no more difficult to use than the other three. I though that it would be a nuisance as it required my nose to flatten against the LCD screen but this has not been too bad.

The rationale of the three that position the finder as if they were older rangefinder cameras is that the nose will go out to the left of the camera in clean air and the thing will be easier to use.  I avoided the Stein nose, so I am alright anyway. Had I some fault with my right eye I would be in an awkward position with the nose I do possess. In all these cases we are less well served than the people who used the old TLR and 120 film SLR cameras with the look-down finders. They could approach the thing with either eye and as many noses as they cared to use.

One other assumption has also proved to be incorrect – the pure optical viewfinder is less use than one might suppose. I got one of the camera bodies specifically for it as it enables me to watch belly dancers do their stage performances and see the best time to shoot. And electronic finder always delays the sighting image a little from the actual performance and you can miss the peak of a movement. This has worked reasonably well in brightly lit venues but woefully in dim ones – the electronic finder is the view of choice  – even if it means anticipating the shot a little.

It occurs to me that the real problem I have is wanting to see the performance with two eyes – they are pretty girls after all – and having one of those eyes looking at a dim or delayed image while the other sees the direct view. It gets even weirder when a telephoto setting is zoomed in and one image is a fraction of the other. I do fire and hope, but that rarely works on the battlefield either…

I think the answer will be a fixed normal focal length lens, a manual focus setting, and a wire finder attached to the cradle that holds the camera. Then I get to see  the action with both open eyes and just fire when I see it peaking. With a bit of luck I will not have to put aim-off rings on the sight like an anti-aircraft gun…though it would be way cool…



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