Left eye for steadier camera?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by olliesteiner, Jan 19, 2005.

  1. I know that I habitually shoot with the left eye to the finder, but I
    do this so automatically that I couldn't say exactly why. Is it habit
    alone, or brain function as I've sometimes heard, or is there some
    other reason that factors into this? So I got out the M6TTL and tried
    to see what it would feel like to use the other eye...maybe I could
    discover the reason for my left eye choice by doing this. As
    expected, it felt awkward, but by switching back and forth I think I
    found the reason for my choice: When I place my left eye by the
    finder, I press my nose against the camera. This gives the camera a
    three point, rather than two point, support. The three point support
    (left hand cradles lens, right hand holds right side of camera, with
    index finger on shutter release, back of camera pressed against nose)
    seems to allow a steadier hold. When I try right eyed shooting it
    feels like I'm depriving myself of a substantial steadiness advantage.
    Those of you who already shoot left eyed: Do you also press the
    camera against your nose for steadiness? Right eyed shooters: When
    you try the left eyed/ nose press posture: Do you feel any advantage
    in increased steadiness?
  2. Left eye and a clip on meter and short strap held tight is good for 1/8 sec. Hold breath just befor shooting and keep elbows down tight.
    If you get really good, fire between hearbeats.

    I am left eye dominent, and right handed. Can`t use a shotgun worth beans, but a rifle or pistol are ok. But the Leica is the best.
  3. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    do you shoot with one eye closed? i shoot with both eyes open and my right eye would then be blocked by the camera/hands. but i use an slr too. guess i'm wierd.
  4. Just like most people are either predominantly left or right handed, and when walking down stairs, either right or left footed, you have a dominant eye. In your case, (and mine) the left eye. Don't try and change it, you'll make yourself crazy. There is no difference in camera steadiness that I've been able to discern shooting this way for over 20 years, (with or without a tripod). <G>
  5. By nature I often want to bring an M camera to my right eye. I am left eye dominate, however, and I've trained myself to use my left eye while shooting for several reasons. First, by using my left I'm able to get my eye closer to the eyepiece than by using the right. Must be how my face it constructed. Since I wear glasses every little bit helps to see the framelines since M's don't have much in the way of eye relief. Shooting with my left eye allows me to keep my right eye open since the camera acts as a blind. I have to close my left eye while shooting with my right eye which can get tiring after a while. At the angle the camera is to my face while left-eyed shooting I can still advance the camera with two short strokes without out moving me left eye away from the eyepiece.
  6. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    Ronald I'm exactly the same way I was born with a left handed gene and got retrained in school to be right handed. But I have always been left ye dominate.

    over the years I found some draw backs Shotguns and archery suck. Being able to switch hit very very well was a big plus. My nose seams to fit where my thumb is suppoed to on the back of my Canon T-90's. I shoot as well right handed as left handed.

    And since I spent 14 years making my living as a Custom Knifemaker the blades I ground always had a very very good symmetry. When I shattered my right thumb in a racing bicycle accident within a week I could print well enough for my high school teachers to read my school work.

    When we went to England I managed to drive quite well with almost no real adjustment problems. Of course the first round about in Germany was a bit scary as my wife screamed your going the wrong way LOL.

    Stick with what you are. It's worked so far hasn't it.
  7. Left handers are sinister.
  8. This is how you should use your Leica, it is why it built that way round to suit proper right handed (dextrous) people ... click here
  9. I don't really mean the above. I am left handed/left eyed myself.

    I was just pointing out a couple of the anti left-handed bias that still exists in our language. (And obviously existed in your school because they trained you to be right handed)

    Sinister (From the Latin for left)
    Dextrous (From the latin for right)

    Gauche (clumsy, tasteless, also French for left)
    Adroit (capable, skillful, also from French for right)

    Luckily I escaped being forced to be right handed by school by just a few years. (They used to beat it out of you with repeated thwacks over the offending hand with the cane in my brothers time at school just 9 years before I went.)
  10. I am left eyed, right handed, shooting left eyed is a bit steadier and no need to close the right eye. The real problem could be winding on whithout moving the camera. Never bothered me, never done it.
  11. But don't u guys find that if u should with your left eye:
    1) You don't get to use both eyes
    2) You will need to lower your camera to wind or risk gorging out your right eye with the
    winding crank?
  12. Mark -- I may be your opposite. I am left-handed, but I think I was trained that way by my
    parents...both are lefties. I write left-handed, but I play most sports right handed just for
    convenience. Using a camera though, my left eye looks through the finder. I can do both,
    but prefer left eye. As for Ollie's question, I do smoosh my nose into the back of the
    camera. I actually do use a leather half case, and there is a noticeable wear mark right
    where my nose hits it...I had not thought that it might increase stability, but I usually find
    that I can get acceptable shots at 1/8th, but I am still young (26), and I have steady hands,
    so it might just be that. I do use the identical three point support method though.
  13. For almost 15 years of shooting with SLR's I was always a left-eye shooter
    meaning my face entirely hidden behind the camera. I guess I had always
    just assumed that since I'm left-handed, I must also be left-eye dominant. I
    never really thought about it.

    But then I bought a RF, first a Bessa R, then an R2, and then shortly thereafter
    an M6TTL. It just seemed like a sin (not to mention somehow awkward) to
    shoot left-eyed so I started training myself to use my right eye.

    Well, strange thing happened. After a very short while shooting with my right
    eye with the M just seemed completely natural. So much so that when I
    picked up my SRL again after a couple of months of non-use, I instinctivly
    raised it to my right eye! This seemed to odd that I started to seriously
    investigate things and found that my right eye actually did seem a little

    Moral? Don't be afraid to experiment with something new. BTW, I also can't
    use a mouse with the left hand to save my life.
  14. You mean your suppose to put your eye up to that glass thingy?? they dindnt tell me that when they sold it to me.
  15. The viewfinder placement out on the left side on an M is great for us left-eyers. It was a whole lot worse using a Nikon SLR.
  16. I heard the new M8 will have a cut out for your nose. This makes up for the digi back on the R being extra thick.
  17. I have always used my right eye to view through a camera. With my Pentaxes or the R8, using the left eye would mean the advance lever would be in my right eye. With the Rolleiflex using my left eye would mean I'd punch myself in the right eye as I worked the advance crank. With the Leica M using my right eye permits my nose to go alongside the left end of the camera so I can get my eye much closer to the finder. Using my left eye, since I can only squash my nose so far, I end up looking at a slant into the finder. I don't know what eye is dominant, this is more about ergonomics to me.
  18. I'm dominant in my left eye, but I've been trying to use my right eye with the Bessa because the rubberized covering on the back picks up my nose prints! I've since reverted to the left eye again, just keeping the lower half of the case on the camera. It really is more stabile. A couple of times with the 10D my nose inadvertently twiddled the jog wheel on the back, changing the exposure compensation..gotta be careful or switch the wheel to off. Or get my nose bobbed. I prefer the optical viewfinder on my digicam too because of the increased stability of resting it against my face.
  19. I agree that I feel more steady using my (dominant) left eye.

    When you view with the left eye the camera lens is centered at the midline of your head, at the center of your binocular visual field. Using the right eye the lens is off to the right side of your head. Parallax error is therefore much more accentuated with right eyed viewing where the lens takes in the point of view of your right ear.

    If viewing with the right eye I must close my left eye because of the .72x minification (except, of course, with M3, 1.25x magnifier, etc). This is tiring and when I open my left eye again I sometimes get an afterimage having stared at the bright red back of my closed eyelid in the sunlight! With left eyed viewing my right eye can stay open since it is blocked by the camera body - no unilateral squinting.

    My Digilux 2 rear LCD screen has lots of nose grease marks however. I agree that I can get my right eye closer to the eyepiece making frame lines more visable.
  20. I keep both eyes open, but use the right. Lock your elbows in
    your gut and you can easily shoot at 1/15th second and on good
    days I can shoot at 1/8th of a second, which is one of the great
    reasons to own a rangefinder to begin with.
  21. I am right-handed, generally use my right eye for the camera but I use my left hand for my
    mouse. My wife is left-handed but uses her right hand and eye for her camera, mouse and

    You can buy left-handed cameras but they are a cheapy compact type, the ones I've seen,
  22. I was mainly a reflex user and used to shoot with right eye.
    I've noticed that I tend to shoot with left eye with rangefinder and with right eye a SLR. However if the the SLR has a winder I tend to shoot with left eye, and I shoot mostly with right eye with a Retina IIa or a Canonet. I also tend to find old style winding knob as convenient as winding lever. Why ?

    Well my answer is :

    * My left eye works obviously better (I wear glasses, and my astigmatism can't be fully corrected on the right),

    * I like to feel the camera touching my nose, it's possible with both eyes on reflex as the viewfinder is on the middle it's only possible with left eye on many rangefinder as the finder is on the left.

    * I also like be able to cock the shutter while keeping my eye on the viewfinder.
  23. If you are left-eye dominant, that means you are right-brain dominant. That, in turn, means you tend to be artistic and intuitive: good qualities for a photographer. So don't fight it. You don't want to wind up as a right-eye-dominant photographer fit for nothing but forensics or cookie-cutter portraitature. :)

    BTW, if you are left-eye dominant and right-handed, that gives you an advantage in hitting a baseball. And so does being right-eye dominant and left-handed. In either case, your dominant eye is toward the pitcher. Another advantage for a hitter is eyes that are set far apart. Look at Babe Ruth or Pete Rose or Reggie Jackson. It's actually too bad that Jesse Jackson didn't go into baseball: with those goggles, he'd have killer depth perception and could make an honest living instead of shaking down corporations.
  24. <4020.net>
    As a child I had amblyopia in my right eye. It was detected late, and by then I had a permanent 50% vision loss in my right eye.
    Meaning it's left eye for me or not at all. Don't notice if this makes me hold the (Leica M) any steadier though. Strongly doubt it. Steady hands must play a more important part.
    [OT] I'm certain the amblyopia has made me a better photographer though. Most children go through their childhood oblivious to their surroundings. Me, I spent a whole year with a patch over a left or right eye (changed every month). Every time the patch was swapped, I thrown into a new world of "what in the hell am I looking at?" for days at a time. So I was forced to really, really look at things. Something most 6yr olds definitely don't do :?)
    Interestingly, Canadian photojournalist and LUG'ger Ted Grant also had this condition as a child. Unlike me he unforutnately received no treatment, resulting in almost complete vision loss in his right eye by the time he was a teenager (apparently he can only see coloured blobs with it). Why wasn't it treated? Because his school (in the 1930s) felt he would be picked on by the other kids if he wore an eye-patch and looked different.
    Kind of like this list, no? :?)
  25. Left eye dominant and agree that it gives you that third extra
    contact point for stability. I keep the other eye open as well as it
    causes less facial muscle tension.
  26. I am right handed and also right eye dominant but some years ago developed astigmatism in my right eye and had to begin shooting left-eyed. At first it seemed terribly awkward but soon came to feel natural and now, because of the advantages of shooting this way - I'd never go back to shooting right-eyed even if I could. With an SLR, shooting left-eyed makes my left arm slightly more vertical which makes it easier to support the weight of a heavy lens. Think about that. It's true. Because the eyepiece in my rangefinders are all placed near the left edge of the camera, shooting left-eyed centers the camera on my forehead. I definitely believe that the camera is supported better against my nose and forehead this way than it is sticking out into empty space as it would be if shooting right-eyed. I have na old Canonet which is a bit too short, an M7 which is a bit too long, and an old Olympus SP 35 which is exactly the right length so that my right hand presses comfortably against the right side of my face as I look through the viewfinder and this gives me an absolutely rock solid shooting platform. I'm only 5 foot 7. Wish my Leica fit me as well as the Olympus. I may be wrong but I really believe that the main reason I can use my rangefinders at slower shutter speeds is actually because of this three point stability (forehead, nose, and right hand pressed against my right cheek) while shooting left eyed and that this is even more important to creating a stable platform than is the reduction of internal movement in the rangefinders.
  27. I shot with the left eye for awhile. In doing so, I can keep both eyes open. The camera is centred over my face(forms a tripod with my arms) then. People don't know where Im aiming. And I sweat less since I squint less (less blurry left eye after a roll).

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