Improving the Viewfinder on a Nikon D810

The Problem with Digital Viewfinders

When I first received my Nikon D810 the first thing I noticed about it was that the viewfinder magnification was different than my F100. Although much better than the EVF in my Olympus OMD 5 mkii, there was something still not right. Digital viewfinders seem to be too distant, if they are optical, and too low resolution, if they are electronic.

 The Joy of Film Viewfinders 

The thing about film cameras, or at least the ones I’ve gravitated to, is that the experience of using the viewfinder is itself a visual joy. The F100 for example, which I have fitted with an eye cup, is truly immersive. You block out the world and it’s like looking at life on a mini movie screen. 

The Solution

To improve the viewfinder on the D810 I fitted it with a DK-17M magnifying screen and a DK-19 eyecup. This combination magnifies the view by 1.2x and blocks stray light out form the corner of your eye. It works well but there are a couple of gotchas. 

One, if you are an eye-glass wearer it can be difficult to see the edges of the frame. Two, if you install the two pieces incorrectly it is very easy for the eyecup to come loose and fall off. 

The first is not as bad as it seems and requires a little movement to see the far edges. I hardly think about it having used it a while. The second is more tricky, but can be avoided. 

I am on eyecup #2 so I’m passing this along. When I first mounted the eyecup and magnifying screen I did not find the instructions that shipped with the items especially clear so I wasn’t completely surprised when I lost the first eyecup. After purchasing the second copy I did some Googling to make sure I didn’t repeat my mistake. 

Here’s what I found: If you do purchase this combo I recommend the following video, which demonstrates very well how the retainer ring fits over the eyecup: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x48H9Bg2CpU 

Also, this blog post on preview is very informative: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/26558579

If you are a Nikon user and feel the viewfinder could be improved, the combo costs less than $50 and is, I believe, a worthwhile upgrade.

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