Making Your Own $5 Fuji X-Pro1 Diopter
It’s easy to make a diopter to fit the X-Pro1. It only takes about 15 minutes once you have all the required items assembled and the TOTAL cost can be as little as $5 + tax versus the Fuji diopter (about $15) or Voigtlander (more than $15.) The small $15 investment would not be a big deal if it were not for the fact they seem to be so easily lost.
– $5 plastic reading glasses with your correct diopter adjustment. These will be good for making 4 diopters if you lose one!
– “fine” pointed Sharpie marker;
– good scissors;
– nail file, emery board or fine-grit sandpaper (optional);
– the original Neutral Diopter eyepiece for the Fuji X-Pro1
– a 19mm eyepiece screw-in RING* from an old Nikon F, FA, FE, FE-2, FM, FM-2, F2, or F3 with DE-2 Finder (NOT F3HP);
– non-cellulose paper towel or cleaning cloth;
– a handy wastebasket.
– Optional: a little fingernail polish or Copydex carpet glue.
If you do not know what diopter strength** you need (-1, -2, -3, +1, +2, +3) either call your optometrist for your records or, when you go to buy the $5 pair of reading glasses you will need for this 15 minute project, try the numerous pairs on display. I went to a pharmacy so I could use an aspirin box (with all that small type) as my “reading chart.” You will also need to determine which eye you are consistently using for the viewfinder (if each eye has a different correction.) I have read that the focusing distance for the Fuji X-Pro1 Hybrid Multi Viewfinder is about 1 meter/3 feet but I simply used a diopter strength that I could use to read the aspirin box label at a normal, comfortable reading distance. It seems to work for the EVF.
Do you need to take the native diopter strength of the XP1 Hybrid Multi Viewfinder into account? Mercifully, NO! -- Unlike one must do with Nikons (and Canons, apparently.)
Buy the flattest-surfaced reading glasses, in your diopter strength, that you can find. A deeply concave/convex surface will take up too much depth in the Hybrid Multi Viewfinder window. And, oh… make sure they are plastic lenses. You will have to cut them.
Now that you have bought your reading glasses we are ready.
Pop out one of the plastic reading lenses. Holding the lens over the camera Hybrid Multi Viewfinder outline the circular opening onto the lens with the Sharpie. The tendency will be to use the center of the lens, but use whatever part is the flattest. This process can be frustrating as the plastic lens will slide around as you draw the circle. You can tape the lens into place. The important thing here is to NOT get marker ink inside the circle, that is, the eventual viewing part. It does not matter how sloppy your circled lines are outside the diameter as this will be cut away.
You are ready to cut out your circular diopter. If you have drawn near one end of the lens you can start your scissors cutting here. If you drew your circle in the center you may have to trim away excess from one side. NOTE: It is far better to cut your circular piece a bit too-small rather than a circle too-big (as long as it is not so small it rattles around or drops out of the center hole in the Nikon eyepiece.) If your lenses are acrylic the plastic will chip away as you cut around the circle. Cut while holding the lens inside a waste basket as little chips of plastic will fly everywhere! Further refining of the shape is possible with sharp scissors.
Wipe away any plastic grit from your diopter (I washed mine) and see if your circular, home-made diopter will drop into the Fuji X-Pro1 Hybrid Multi Viewfinder. Do not force your diopter as you might ruin the threads in the camera’s Hybrid Multi Viewfinder window. If it fits nicely you may now use an emery file or fine grit sandpaper to smooth the edges. Afterward, wash the diopter with soapy water and dry it with a cloth. NOTE: Cellulose-based paper towels will scratch the soft plastic of your new diopter just as it does your plastic eyeglasses!
If your diopter is a little bowed out in a concave/convex shape that’s OK as long as it seats far enough into the Hybrid Multi Viewfinder window. How far is far enough? You have to be able to screw the original (or Nikon) eyepiece into the Hybrid Multi Viewfinder far enough so it seats firmly, holding your new custom product in place. NOTE: if your diopter is bowed, insert it with the bulge away from you, just as it was in the reading glasses.
I have read that a little fingernail polish or Copydex carpet glue on one-side of the eyepiece threads will cement it just enough to keep it from working loose – and, yet, allow the set-up to be unscrewed whenever necessary. Many Fuji owners report losing the original, plastic eyepiece as it works loose from friction on their clothes. (Hence the active market in Nikon replacements! NOTE: original Nikon eyepieces are METAL and will certainly scratch your expensive, plastic, designer eyewear if used w/o the rubber cup! After-market plastic ones are available but these are pretty rough too.
ASIDE: If you use the Nikon rubber eyecup with your eyepiece assembly (so as to be able to keep your prescription glasses on and NOT have to resort to a diopter) you will, I think, want to cut away the right half inch of the cup (JUST the flanging part – NOT the part that fits into the circular, threaded eyepiece!) This permits the useful automatic switching between the rear LCD and the Electronic ViewFinder that is built into the Fuji X-Pro1 system. The two little sensors are just to the right of the eyepiece and mostly do not operate correctly with a full rubber eyecup installed. I have trimmed mine down about one-half of its depth, as well, so it doesn’t stick out so much. This rubber eyecup is a really geeky look that detracts from the overall look of the camera but saves my plastic eyeglass lenses when I choose to go without using my diopter. If you are going to do this trimming buy yourself one of the inexpensive after-market Chinese rubber eyecups instead of cutting the more expensive Nikon one. You can buy several Chinese ones for the price of a single one manufactured by Nikon (which may be Chinese, as well!)
This work-around suits my set-up fine and also serves to keep dirt out of the Hybrid Multi Viewfinder. I think, by the by, that the original eyepiece that comes with the Fuji X-Pro1 has glass/plastic in it’s center. If you use this original in my home-made set-up you will now have THREE pieces of glass/plastic in the viewfinder. It seems like overkill that probably robs some clarity from the already small view. That’s why, after not receiving one with my camera, I just bought a Nikon replacement. It is empty of any central optic.
* Nikon diopters will work with the Fuji X-Pro1 but they retail for US$22 and you have to fiddle with figuring out which diopter is the exact one you need (you cannot use the raw diopter number you get from your optician or by testing reading glasses.) After you lose one or two of these you’ll be trying my home-made option here.
* The Fuji techs have made the in-focus distance for the EVF different than the one when you use the OFV. Perhaps I am missing some scientific principle here, but why not make these focusing distances the same? The result is that you will have to make a choice as to your diopter strength depending upon which viewfinder you use most often --- OR, make one diopter for each and then have to swap them out for viewing from one viewfinder to the other. I think this impractical unless your shooting is slow and deliberate, perhaps as in a studio. Also, you will have to come up with a system for marking one home-made diopter lest they get mixed up. (Rimming one with red fingernail polish is an idea.)
All Text & Images © 2015 Wilbur Norman. All Rights Reserved.