Give Your DSLR a Square Aspect Ratio Viewfinder Using Some Tape


Photographer Maciej Pietuszynski has posted a (hopefully tongue-in-cheek) step-by-step tutorial over on his blog on how he was able to give his Canon 40D a square aspect ratio viewfinder by applying some tape to his focusing screen.

It could be a funny prank for convincing people that you have some kind of special, limited-edition DSLR, but be warned: focusing screens are extremely susceptible to dust and scratches. Unless you want to risk messing up the viewfinder of your camera, you might want to refrain from doing this mod yourself.

Change The View [maciekpp via DIYPhotography]

  • Desiree Byrd

    …or you could just use the crop tool. I would never harm my camera in such a way!

  • Anurag Sharma

    Somebody please tell him about Photoshop.

  • Joey Duncan

    The blog even makes fun of doing it and pretty much advises against it……………. I can understand why you would want to do this “in camera” but still….. given instagram aspect ratio is not that great to begin with, it is “square” after all. I go out of my way to avoid squared up images…..

  • James

    Good thought, and better idea, haha

  • deni

    Yeah. What’s the point. It doesn’t make sense at all.

  • Beny Baskoro Jatisari

    it doesn’t affect to your photo, maybe he just want to feel “the square” on his viewfinder?

  • Ian Lindo

    In before a bunch of angry comments about cropping in post…whoops already too late.

  • Porter

    Hope this is a joke.


    Genius! (???)

  • Ballsy McBalls

    If he had balls he’d put tape on the sensor, too.

  • Dazam

    I don’t understand why so many people here care so much about how some other person modded their camera. Live and let live I say.

  • Ozzie Alfonso

    Unless I missed a point, this is a totally pointless article. C’mon PetaPixel, start publishing useful information!

  • TSY87

    Nikon pro cameras can black out the viewfinder to square crop.

  • Geoff

    I wouldn’t do it this way since it will affect the metering if you use matrix, center-weighted or full area. Better off with an etched focusing screen from e.g. Brightscreen. These will show crop marks for popular aspect ratios other than native. I use one that shows 4×5/8×10 on my 5D Mk II. Canon even used to make their own versions for 5D classic and other cameras. Another reason why I haven’t upgraded to the Mk III — no interchangeable focusing screen in that model.

  • Matthew Palmer

    What a stupid idea. Aren’t we supposed to be keeping tools and foreign bodies out of the camera optics and yet someone thinks this is a good idea? Will it be heart shapes on Valentines day? I have had my focussing screen scratched on a Canon 7d, its not a good thing to happen

  • asdfasdf

    This is the stupidest thing ever

  • CF Salicath

    That is actually a good idea. Yes, you can just crop the picture in post (and you will have to anyways) but this hack enables you to compose the picture in 1:1 there and then. Many people like working in 1:1, but hardly any pro cameras have viewfinders for it. In the analogue era lots of them did, now you need to get an EVIL.

  • 9inchnail

    Too mainstream

  • 9inchnail

    There would have to be useful information in the first place. Since PP is primarily reposting other sites’ articles, those would have to publish something interesting which they rarely do.

  • 9inchnail

    No. You have to live according to MY rules and mindset. There is no alternative. Deal with it.

  • Jjjustinnn

    Wow, can’t wait for him to do 16:9!

  • Maciekpp

    Hi, camera is still workin and is in the same condition like before this mode, tape is easly removable and my point is why that post upset so many people…and yes i know PS, PSE, post is more about instaddict people but not many of you get it.

  • Manish

    Will the result differ from the cropped image?

  • slvrscoobie

    a: He still need to crop in post, tape wont affect his images..
    b: you can do this with liveview on the 5DIII.. and no viewfinder destruction…

  • KelBel

    I agree. I’ve never been able to shoot 1:1 {cropping it afterward} on a 35mm. It’s like I need to see it in 1:1 to compose a good 1:1 shot

  • KelBel

    I think it’s cool; It’s like, “I wish I would have thought it” so, that’s for sharing. :)

  • Samuel

    Surely as this is only on the focusing screen the photos captured by the sensor would still be the same and all this does is change the viewfinder image. Surely an easier way would just be to modify the eye cup to square format ?

    would save having to take anything out or putting anything on the screen? or am i missing something.

  • Scott Eric Williams

    nice way to void your warranty

  • maciekpp

    This mod is not for people who take everything too seriously… and no i dont trash my camera i still in the same shape like before mod, is just bit of tape. This camera is 5 year old and is not expensive anymore. Abuse what i get now because of that post is on own way funny… i shot pictures in the rain, on the beach, i shot with detached lensens (freelensing) work with my cameras in minus 20 in the snow. I mod my dslr’s my lenses and i am not afraid to do that. Camera is not a temple is just a tool to work for us not we for them… that really sad how people react on bit of tape and word Instagram…

  • nab111

    I usually just use a tiny hammer and a glass chisel to carve the sensor into whatever shape I want. So far i have a square one and one that was meant to be square but turned out more like a triangle.

  • Ariel Caudis

    Too much instagram

  • Karl

    Instagram aspect ratio? Man… ever heard of 6×6 medium format? Rolleiflex TLR? I can assure you those things were there pretty long time before Instagram.

  • Karl

    Or maybe a kind of thin adapter you put between the lens and the body so you get both viewfinder and liveview in square format.

    Then, you would compose AND shoot in square format with just having to crop the black sides.

  • Mark Penrice

    I’m assuming this is a joke…

    …because, if it isn’t, well…….. hasn’t he spotted that most decent cameras come with a range of selectable aspect ratios now? Certainly 16:9, 3:2, 4:3 and 1:1 are all fairly commonly listed options.

    Or is this to get rid of overshine from things that are just outside of the 1:1 frame and wouldn’t be seen but would still cause glare with digital cropping, but can be more easily obscured by doing it physically?

    (Just spotted that a related link is talking about how Olympus have patented “adjustable aspect ratio” sensors, which got me to thinking about why you might even do this…)