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Taking photographs with spectacles

Brilliant photos or successful snapshots are no problem for wearers of spectacles

When taking pictures, every photographer naturally tries to look as closely as possible through the viewfinder in order to get the best shot. This is not possible for wearers of spectacles. Nevertheless, taking great pictures is still not a problem while wearing spectacles, if you pay attention to a few things.

Some people like to take pictures of atmospheric landscapes, while others prefer to take portrait pictures of people. Photography is one of the best-loved hobbies in the world. As a wearer of spectacles one often has to make a difficult choice: should I take photos with or without my spectacles? For everyone who takes pictures with a smartphone or a simple digital camera this is not a question. You simply look at the display and press the button. With modern digital single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras it is possible to take photographs both with and without spectacles.

Cameras with correction lenses

With a digital SLR camera the dioptre of the viewfinder can be optimally adjusted for the photographer's own vision. Approximately 90 per cent of all people who wear spectacles then get along just fine without them. However, purchasing a so-called correction lens is really only worth it if your vision is strongly impaired – by a dioptre greater than 6. The correction lens is screwed onto the viewfinder and makes it possible for you to see clearly through it without spectacles.

Many digital SLR cameras are also equipped with a LiveView function. The rear display shows directly what the digital sensor sees and what is saved as a photo when the shutter button is pressed. For a final check that the picture is in focus, you can zoom in on the subject with the magnification function. That gives you the security that you have photographed the subject perfectly. Many compact and mirrorless system cameras have only such a display for viewing the subject. In bright sunlight, however, these displays are at a significant disadvantage in comparison to a viewfinder. And only the photographer with a viewfinder will have a clear and glare-free view through the lens.

People with presbyopia have a real advantage when photographing without spectacles. It's true they can no longer see close-up very well and have to hold the newspaper as far away as possible in order to be able to read it. However, since the refractive power of the viewfinder is calibrated so that objects at a distance of one meter are in focus, the sight problem is thus rectified. You can see clearly and sharply and there is nothing to prevent you from taking a great picture.

With the camera to the optician

If you prefer to leave your spectacles on, this will take some getting used to. People who take photographs usually try to look as closely as possible through the viewfinder of the camera and at some point the spectacle lenses get in the way. And so a further problem occurs: since the eye cannot get so close, slight limitations in your field of vision can be the result. The middle distance is in focus, but the periphery is somewhat blurry. A special prism from a specialist retailer can help with this. It ensures sharp vision even in the periphery. Wearers of progressive lenses will also need a bit of practice. They will first have to find the area of the spectacles through which they can see best when taking photographs. Tip: If you are buying a new pair of spectacles and plan on regularly taking photos while wearing them, you should take your camera with you when you see your optician.

Better mineral glass and a good coating

If you regularly take photographs with spectacles on your nose, you should remember that the surface of your spectacles suffers when it comes into contact with the viewfinder. Depending on the material it is possible that after time scratches will appear on your spectacle lenses, in particular with insufficiently protected plastic spectacle lenses. Many camera manufacturers offer especially soft rubber eyecups. As a wearer of spectacles you should pay particular attention to this. Plastic lenses are much more robust today than they were a few years ago, but the lenses can still suffer. If you frequently take photographs while wearing your spectacles, you should consider wearing more robust glass lenses or ask your optician for a good hard coating for your spectacles.