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Thread: Left eye dominance

  1. #1
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    Default Left eye dominance

    Most people, it seems, are either left-eye-dominant (LED) or right-eye-dominant (RED). If youíre LED then you will intuitively try to use an SLR camera by looking through the viewfinder out of the left eye. Iím LED and have always struggled to feel comfortable with a camera, and always wondered how other people can find them intuitive, and Iíve always wondered why if they are so uncomfortable the evolution of the camera didnít take another form. The trouble for us LEDís is that the viewfinder is on the left side of the camera body, so when the left eye is pressed to the viewfinder then the vision through the right eye is obscured by the camera body and the right hand as it reaches for the shutter button. Further, you have to look through the viewfinder at an angle which is more oblique to the camera body because the face and nose are pressed against the unyielding camera body. This automatically makes it less intuitive to line up against a subject, and means that more of the subject is seen by peripheral vision then by central vision.

    For REDís the situation is a lot better. The body of the camera is largely to the right side of the face. This means the left eye can be kept open when tracking an image (though most users will want to close it before taking the image when an uncluttered view is required), the face can be aligned more perpendicular to the subject, and your nose is not squished up against the controls. Presumably RED's are the majority of the population and cameras are largely designed to accommodate them.

    Iíve done web searches and found plenty of comment by people on this issue but mostly they are talking compact cameras or standard lenses. Naturally, they mostly conclude itís not really a big problem. However where it does become a big problem is when doing flight shots and when using long lenses. Itís a problem with flight shots because you cant track the bird without moving the camera away from your face Ė and naturally its easy to miss the shot when you are repeatedly moving the camera to and away from your face as the bird is closing in. It becomes a problem with long lenses because getting the subject in view becomes incrementally harder as the lens gets longer and the field of view gets narrower. This is naturally exacerbated if the ergonomic relationship between you and the camera is compromised, for example by having your head turned further sideways or a greater reliance on peripheral vision.

    Iím curious to get some more information on this Ė particularly other peopleís experiences. What Iím wanting is answers to these questions:

    1. how many of you are left eye dominant
    2. if you are an LED, have you thought about this, and if so do you find it an issue.
    3. have you tried to train yourself to use the right eye.
    4. If you are RED, do you keep both eyes open when taking photos, tracking moving birds, or whenever.
    5. If you are RED, do you (this is what I anticipate) track with your eye to the viewfinder, keep both eyes open but concentrate more on the vision through the left eye, and then close the left eye moments before taking the photos while concentrating on the uncluttered vision through the right eye.

    Cheers, and thanks for responding
    Arron
    www.patonga.me : botany, wildlife, fishing, check it out

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Left eye dominance

    LED like you Arron Never had a problem with it and never felt like I needed my other eye to track a bird in flight or anything like that. I did find that I needed an eye piece extender so that my face was'nt so hard against the camera. This is just an extra piece of plastic that gives me another 5-6mm clearance from the camera. I have found that I am pretty good at getting the flying bird in frame on the first go with my 400mm. 600mm is a different story though :roll: Good subject, be interested to hear any responses

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    Default Re: Left eye dominance

    LED as well, never noticed it as a problem, I found I could easily train myself to keep both eyes open and just take notice of what I want to look at and can't say I've noticed a problem with obstruction to the right eye when using it. Just tried it out and found swapping from eye to eye doesn't work so well with my right eye to the camera though.

    I've had a fair bit of practice using astronomical telescopes and the standard there is to keep both eyes open so the eyes are more relaxed, a bit easier then as in the dark there is less to attract the other eyes attention.
    Chris Ross
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    Default Re: Left eye dominance

    I'm also LED and have never really experienced any problems with it mainly because I rarely do in-flight images so don't need to track things so much. Tried using my right eye a number of times but it just feels completely awkward and unnatural.

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    Default Re: Left eye dominance

    I use my right eye to look through the viewfinder and I keep my left eye open, though my left eye is slightly stronger than my right one.

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    Default Re: Left eye dominance

    I'm right eye dominant.

    Usually close my left eye when shooting. However I can individually focus both eyes seperately and use this to rest my viewfinder eye if i've been busy waiting for a bird to do something interesting instead of just standing still. This allows me to observe the view in the viewfinder plus look around at anything possibly out of frame (but never when doing flight shots). You can train yourself to focus seperately. I had to do it when patroling at night in East Timor using a head mounted night vision (ninox) monocle because with one eye your depth perception is pretty bad and to be able to use the Ninox and a normal night adjusted eye prevented you from crashing into most things and falling down

    I track through the viewfinder only.

    Just wish my eyes could focus together normally then I could toss these darn glasses.
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    Default Re: Left eye dominance

    I'm LED, I close my right eye, and it has never bothered me
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Left eye dominance

    I'm right eye dominant and ALWAYS close my left eye

    Jude

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Left eye dominance

    thanks for the response guys. Seems no-one else has really spent much time with this issue.

    Anyway, yesterday afternoon I went down to the flying fox colony at Parramatta for some flight shots. I naturally tried to learn to use my right eye through the viewfinder while using my left to watch the action and look out for approaching bats. It worked pretty well - in fact I'd say the flight shots improved over the LED stuff manyfold after about 15 mins, though it took about 2 hours to get comfortable with it.

    My favourite shot was the one attached. I know the technics arent very good - there is no choice but to shoot into the light as access is limited along the riverbanks - but I liked this one's attitude.

    Arron
    www.patonga.me : botany, wildlife, fishing, check it out

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Left eye dominance

    I am left-eye dominant, but it is never really a problem for me. I don't know any better, I suppose. I can't use one eye with the camera and one separately, so it doesn't make any difference I guess. Interesting, never thought of it like that.
    Tobias Hayashi
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Left eye dominance

    Another interesting conversation... To tell the truth, I can't remember if I'm LED or RED... it feels like months since I last took a photo! I'll pay attention when i next have a chance though..
    Cheers

    Cameron

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Left eye dominance

    A very interesting topic (& its only taken me 3 months to come across it)
    I'm amazed by how many people on the forum actually are left eye dominant - more so by those REDs amongst us that keep their left eye shut when shooting.
    I'd be absolutely lost if I couldnt track my subject from 'around the camera' @ the same time with my left eye, especially when using long lens.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Left eye dominance

    Pretty sure I'm right eye dominant. Which is fine, except for the fact that I my mum bought me LED binoculars some time ago when she bought some for me as a gift, so I don't really enjoy using them. I diddn't realyise what it was at the time that was doing it, but I'm pretty sure it's what causing my issues with them. Otherwise, using a camera, I struggle a little to track and look through the viewfinder, but I am getting better at it, it certainly helps a lot with flight shots when I get the technique right.

    Love that bat image too
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Left eye dominance

    Another LED here, and I often close my right eye when shooting. I also find being LED is advantageous in some instances as I can use my face to assist in steadying the camera when not using a tripod/monopod (which is 99% of the time!)

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Left eye dominance

    Yep, I am LED as well, seems to be more common than I thought. I keep my right eye open while I am shooting.

    Brett

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