What would you want to change in photography if you were vision impaired?

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David M. Anglin
David M. Anglin Senior Member • Posts: 1,142
What would you want to change in photography if you were vision impaired?
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I have started to post this thread a couple of times and held off because I was not sure how it would be received. I decided to post to this forum since I use Canon gear and have seen a few posts where people mention vision issues. There are a lot of ways that our society defines blindness, but I am going to use the US IRS definition (I have never taken the deduction) for this exercise, basically 0 vision in one eye and 20/200 or worse with best optical correction in the second eye. I have been dead on target with this definition of blindness since birth and I am over 60. You may ask "are there blind photographers" and the answer is yes. There are blind photographers who have been published including a book "The Blind Photographer" that was released in 2016. The photography you find with a search for "blind photographers" will cover the gaunt from painstaking attempts to capture the world as "normals" to almost abstract representations of how the blind world may appear to the photographer. I got into photography during college because it was fun, challenging and everyone told me it wasn't the right hobby for someone with my vision. I started with models, landscapes and of course moved to wildlife because it is more challenging. It helps that I grew up in Oklahoma helping a friend with a cattle ranch where I developed a love of the outdoors and animals. I tend to adhere to the Walt Disney philosophy "if you can dream it, you can do it".

I believe most camera companies lag behind in using the their shiny new cameras with computer processors to address accessibility. Almost every electronic device today has embraced some level of accommodation for sight, sound or mobility into their devices. What I would like to do is collect input and write a letter to Canon (I may even copy Nikon) to pass along some feedback. Sony and others may have already addressed some of these issues but I did not see it in the couple of Sony's and Panasonics that I owned. I have not investigated alternative DSLR's since I have used Canon for a large part of my photo life and didn't want to rock the boat. I am only trying to address the vision part of the accessibility issues today and have two questions:

  1. Do you have tricks, techniques, tools to help you work around DSLR limitations related to your vision
  2. What would you have vendors change about their current crop of camera to make it easier for vision impaired (or those loosing eyesight with aging) to better see, compose and capture images.

Here are some of my comments to the questions above (best way I can explain my vision is that I do not have depth perception and would need a 10-12 x binocular to see the subject at the same size as a person with 20/20 vision. Glasses only correct a slight blurriness which can be done with the camera diopter)

  1. Current workarounds (Coming from 1dxII & 5dIV)
    1. Zoom where function is provided, most beneficial with image review
    2. Partner with a non-photographer that knows your problem and can help with spotting wildlife and notices those electric lines in your beautiful landscape.
    3. Carry a magnifying glass on a cord around your neck for quick access to read a screen or setting
    4. Carry an 8x or 10x monocular for looking at scenics, wildlife etc. Anyone want to buy 1/2 a binocular since I only use one side?
    5. Use zoom lenses to zoom in on a subject and then back off for composition. This will let you get a good look at the subject before you shoot. I tried the external magnifiers and they are too dark and have limited field of view.
    6. Thoroughly know your camera and preprogram as much as possible so you are not changing individual settings. Use C1,C2, C3 to their full effect.
    7. Organize the camera bag where everything has a defined location.
    8. Setup the rear INFO screens to only display critical information you need to review/change your settings. Get rid of any fields you use on an infrequent basis. Use Custom Quick Control to build a custom INFO display if necessary.
    9. Turn off any viewfinder information you don't need or can't read. I can't ready any of the information in the viewfinder, so I turn off everything I can to eliminate distractions. I can see the AF point displays
    10. Use your cameras diopter adjustment if it will help you avoid having to use glasses while looking through the viewfinder.
    11. Stay away from the phrase "looks good as far as I can see" when the driver asked if the road is clear for a turn. Some blind guy humor!
  2. What I would like to change. Some of these may be easier/possible with the new mirrorles
    1. User configurable color, density and brightness for locked AF point displays on all cameras
    2. Brighter, longer lasting markings on all camera dials, buttons and information, etc.
    3. Mirrorless - Zoom button for the EVF that lets you do a user definable zoom 2x, 4x, etc. I wish it was possible to add a magnify switch for current DSLR design to magnify the DSLR OVF.
    4. Mirrorless - Bigger, brighter viewfinders without lag
    5. Bigger, brighter alignment marks for lenses and bodies. Maybe a raised area on the lens so you can feel the alignment point in dark conditions. I don't know brail, so it can be a simple raised line.
    6. User selectable fonts, font size, color and density (Bold).
    7. 2-3 background color options
    8. Higher resolution rear displays - brighter, sharper, etc OLED?
    9. Selectable audio prompt

I am going to stop with these and see what others might propose. I may not be raising an issue that affects most people, but I know a lot of baby boomers who are experiencing a loss of visual acuity. Photography gets in your blood and I know I want to continue my attempts to create art until I can no longer lift the camera.

Very interested in any feedback you may have on the two questions.

 David M. Anglin's gear list:David M. Anglin's gear list
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS M5 Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS II USM Canon Extender EF 1.4x III +7 more
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