The Wrong Way to Adjust the Diopter on Your Camera’s Viewfinder


Most high-end cameras come with diopters that allow photographers to calibrate the viewfinder to match their eyesight. Adjusting the diopter is easy: simply stare through the camera while turning the little dial or knob found next to your viewfinder (the one with the +/-). Once the scene is sharp (assuming the lens is focused), you’re done!

Apparently one of the dangers of diopter adjustment—for some camera owners at least—is accidentally stabbing your eyeball with your finger.

San Francisco-based event photographer Ezra Ekman of Shot in the Act was flipping through his Nikon D800 owner’s manual recently when he came across the gem of a warning seen above. Ekman writes,

Nikon warning to D800 owners, buried in the owners manual: incorrect diopter adjustment could cause eye damage! Be careful, kids! It saddens me that this kind of warning becomes necessary. I wonder who sued who?

In case you’ve never used it before, here’s what the diopter adjustment control looks like on the Nikon D800:


Other photographers are chiming in with their own “Nikon protips” over in the Reddit thread started by Ekman. redditorium warns, “When holding the camera, be careful not to smash it into your face repeatedly.”

NoDogNo says, “WARNING: Do not place viewfinder under eyelids. Do not use viewfinder to clean eyes. Placing viewfinder inside eye may lead to injury.” Phrosty12 suggests, “Choking Hazard! Do not place lens in mouth.”

Feel free to leave a comment below with your own “Nikon owner’s manual warning” for the amusement benefit of other photographers. We’ll feature the most hilarious helpful ones.

Image credit: Nikon D800 owners manual photo by Ezra Ekman

  • Adam

    I don’t care who you are or what you’re doing – if someone has to go out of their way to warn you not to put your own finger in your own eye, you’re doing something wrong.

  • judo

    nikon users… jaja

  • Paul Weiss

    When using the camera to photograph your pet lion, do not dangle raw meat from the lens. Consuming raw or undercooked meat can lead to food borne illnesses.

  • Wolfgang Zimmerman

    I think it’s a legitimate warning. Easy to get carried away, pro or non-pro. Can’t do any harm. Better a photog with both eyes than one.

  • James Donahue

    These warnings on Nikon Camera diopters have been around for years. More people need to read there owners manual.

  • James Donahue

    Tell that to a Lion

  • Jonathan Maniago

    Warning: This camera will automatically shut down when carnivorous wildlife is present within a 20-meter radius. Failure to move away within 5 seconds will automatically trigger the card formatting system. Fleeing in the opposite direction is highly advised.

  • AnalogMachine

    … and it was in my old D7000 Manual too!! :D

  • Alessandro Aimonetto

    nah, dumbass american users who open lawsuits for dumb rerasons…like “warning: HOT!” on mcdonald’s coffe

  • Julian

    I’m not sure where you are from but I won’t judge everyone there based on your statement. The rotten ronnies suit was overturned on appeal. I’m Canadian btw.

  • lidocaineus

    Also please stop using this as an example of dumb and/or spurious lawsuits. If you actually look at the case, it’s clear that the coffee was close to boiling and gave the woman severe burns; if it had been brewed at the proper temperature it would’ve just been a mess.

  • incendiary

    ouch! I bought my D7000 in January. Now it’s old :( lol

  • Dragomir

    yeah, sure. and while photographing a hungry wild lion don’t try to adjust your diopter, it’s dangerous, you may poke yourself in the eye.

  • Angelgreg

    Do not use Sensor cleaner for eye drops.

  • Aleksandar

    I have read same thing in manual, and actually my brother poked his eye when moving wheel on diopter so it happens. But win is “Choking Hazard! Do not place lens in mouth.” How d heck someone get an idea to put lens in his mouth.

  • jas

    Is that the only dumb ass American law suit, I doubt it

  • jas

    If you needed 2 eyes cameras would have 2 view finders… a 2 eyed photographer is overkill

  • minifigguy

    Warning: Attaching a battery grip on your DSLR may result in electric shocks.

  • lidocaineus

    What part of “stop using this an example” is unclear?

  • Stewart M

    Its in the D7000 manual as well! SM

  • lidocaineus

    No, it should be prepared at the right temperature, and you should stop using this example as the typical knee-jerk response to spurious lawsuits. You should also realize the United States is hardly #1 in quanity of spurious lawsuits, civil or otherwise.

    But don’t let logic get in your way. America is big and stupid and fat! Yeah!

  • Brett

    FYI: The hot coffee thing was no joke:

  • Big_Mack1

    Warning! Tightening the strap around your neck too much may result in loss of blood flow to the brain and/or strangulation…

    Warning! Dropping the camera on the ground may crack the lens or may damage the camera case.

    Warning! Looking at the flash at a very close distance may result in permanent eye damage and/or blindness.


  • wahid roshan surya

    all these jokes about stupidity… all the while i thought photographers are one group who are supposed to be smart and sharp-sighted… oh, well, me and my assumptions…