Discovering the Eyepiece Cover

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Cameras today meter a scene using Through-The-Lens (TTL) technology. This means that it measures the intensity of light as it enters the camera through the lens. The problem is that there are two ways for light to enter your camera. One is through the lens and the other is through the eyepiece.

Excess light can enter the camera’s viewfinder if you take a shot with your eye away from it, like when you shoot with the camera on a tripod. This may wreak havoc on the camera’s metering system since it will think that there is more light than there actually is. It can produce an underexposed photo.

There are ways to avoid this. The most obvious solution is by learning to shoot in manual mode and not relying on the camera to expose for every shot. For Canon most DSLR users, you can use the eyepiece cover. (I’m not sure if this is available with Nikon cameras. Thanks, Charlie!)


Most DSLRs come with a rubber patch that you can attach to cover the viewfinder. This is especially helpful when you use a camera’s Live View extensively since your eye will be away from it. You simply have to remove the existing eyepiece on the viewfinder so you can slide in this rubber thingamajig.


It’s not a critical piece of equipment for everyday use (or at all, really), but if your camera came with it, might as well know what it’s for.


Okay, it’s pretty dumb. You can accomplish the same thing by covering the viewfinder with a black piece of cloth or even your thumb. It takes less time than fumbling around with these tiny things. But still, you can’t help but think, Heeey. Nifty! It’s nice knowing what the little things do.

Related Reading:
When to Use Exposure Compensation
Going Manual: Learning Exposure Basics
Understanding Camera Exposure Modes

If you haven’t yet, don’t forget to join the photography book giveaway. It closes 11:59PM today, EDT. Happy Wednesday, all.

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