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Thread: Viewfinder Grid

  1. #1

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    Viewfinder Grid

    Hi All

    I've got a quick question about the grids in viewfinders with respect to the rule of thirds. I'm specifically looking at the Nikon grid on a D300 but I guess it is common across all Nikons (I have a D40 at the moment which doesn't have a grid at all). What I see is the viewfinder is divided into quarters both horizontally and vertically - is this in any way related/helpful to the rule of thirds? I was wondering that maybe it was quarters because it might become thirds once the image is later cropped to a 5:4 format but that's probably wrong.

    Would you use this grid other than aligning the picture? Does it have a use for applying thirds or is it more of a distraction. Seems odd that this rule is generally accepted and the manufacturers put a grid on the screen that doesn't meet the rule.

    Pete
    Last edited by PeterL; 18th December 2009 at 01:53 PM.

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    Re: Viewfinder Grid

    The theory says that the intersections of the lines show us the points of maximum importance for the onlooker.The two horizontal lines show us where we have to fix the horizon.For me the presence of these lines in the viewfinder is not so important.
    Hope this opinion was usefully.
    Radu Dinu

  3. #3
    Amberglass's Avatar
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    Re: Viewfinder Grid

    The Rules of Thirds is merely a general guideline in composition but doesn't always have to be applied. After all, rules can be broken to suit the composition. There are way to use the D300's AF points as a ROT grid line, like so:

    http://www.pbase.com/ole_thorsen/image/85637363

    If you overly use the ROT's, your images will become very boring and predictable. Use it when it applies best in a situation. But again, it's not a hard and fast law that dictates failure when not applied.

    You can purchase focusing screens for your Nikon D40 and other camera bodies thru places like Katzeye Optics:

    http://www.katzeyeoptics.com/page--C...gridlines.html

    But I don't recommend them because that one expensive tic tac toe grid which your brain can overlay with time and practice.

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    Re: Viewfinder Grid

    The rule of thirds is merely to get you in the ballpark of how the human brain sees comfortably. The real trick is finding the proper balance between subject and extraneous material to turn a photograph into a picture.

    Sometimes, dead center if right. Sometimes bleeding into an edge or corner is right. It depends on which composition tells the story.

    Pops

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    Re: Viewfinder Grid

    I fondly remember all those "good rules" of photography ...

    - Always remember the rule of thirds

    - Never centre things

    - Always shoot with the sun behind you

    Viewfinder Grid

    ... Yeah right!

  6. #6

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    Re: Viewfinder Grid

    Hi All

    Thanks for the great info, I was aware of the rule of thirds I was just wondering why Nikon divided their grid into quarters and if they had a particular reason for not doing thirds. I would guess that having them there would add a bit of confusion if you're looking for thirds and you've got quarters in front of you. But I suppose you've also got to consider that if your image gets cropped for printing it will lose a strip down each side (if you've got a 3:2 sensor and you're printing in say 10x8) so again the thirds rule could be difficult to respect with gridlines in the viewfinder. Maybe Nikon just put quarters to have 3 horizontal/vertical viewfinder lines for easier alignment.

    Pete

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    Re: Viewfinder Grid

    Hi Pete,

    I agree it seems bizarre why Nikon have the three line/four sections screen and I'm not even sure they are equally spaced, probably for the cropping reasons you suggest (I have it on my D5000 too).

    I tend to use the lines for getting horizons or verticals parallel to edge of frame and just do the composition by eye, although that said - a lot of my shots are crops from 200mm (I need a longer lens), so in reality, the ROT (or not) composition comes in the PP crop anyway.

    Cheers,

  8. #8
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    Re: Viewfinder Grid

    The most important thing for me about an overlay grid is to help me keep my horizon straight! Rule of Thrids comes second.

    Allen...

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    Re: Viewfinder Grid

    Thanks for the help guys, that's set my mind at rest!

    Pete

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    Re: Viewfinder Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    I agree it seems bizarre why Nikon have the three line/four sections screen and I'm not even sure they are equally spaced, probably for the cropping reasons you suggest (I have it on my D5000 too).
    The 1/4 grid that you see is ideal for use in architectural photography, and when using PC (perspective control) lenses in architecture. Or whenever perfect alignment of subject's location is necessary for duplicating images for multiple exposures.

    Nikon offered as many as 13 different focusing screens for their slrs, and 8 for dslrs line.

  11. #11
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Viewfinder Grid

    Hi Amberglass, thanks for the background info, now, if I may be a little more flippant ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Amberglass View Post
    The 1/4 grid that you see is ideal for use in architectural photography, and when using PC (perspective control) lenses in architecture. Or whenever perfect alignment of subject's location is necessary for duplicating images for multiple exposures.

    Nikon offered as many as 13 different focusing screens for their slrs, and 8 for dslrs line.
    So, it's a means to get us to buy a (no doubt) expensive accessory

    Why else supply (as the included screen), one that's of use to only 1% of their customers!

    You may call me "cynical"

    Cheers,

  12. #12
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    Re: Viewfinder Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Amberglass, thanks for the background info, now, if I may be a little more flippant ...



    So, it's a means to get us to buy a (no doubt) expensive accessory

    Why else supply (as the included screen), one that's of use to only 1% of their customers!

    You may call me "cynical"

    Cheers,
    It's no different than buying cars, Dave.. The features you want most are always on the next model up, but then again the next model up also includes accessories that you can easily live without. Just like cars, the accessories aftermarket are the most expensive.. Why? Because they can. Third party companies are monopolizing consumers where alternatives are not available.

    That's why I tell hobbyist and beginner photographers to really sit down and ask yourself "Is it really really necessary" to have certain gear (or accessories) for your type of photography. Some items one will definitely need while others one can easily live without and/or find a way to compensate. Imagination is the most powerful and priceless tool in your photographic arsenal.
    Last edited by Amberglass; 20th December 2009 at 05:21 PM.

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    Re: Viewfinder Grid

    Imagination is the most powerful and priceless tool in your photographic arsenal.
    "The photograph is what is stored in the camera. The picture is behind your eyeballs."
    Bill Belknap, about 1948.

    Pops

  14. #14
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Viewfinder Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Amberglass View Post
    It's no different than buying cars, Dave.. The features you want most are always on the next model up, but then again the next model up also includes accessories that you can easily live without. Just like cars, the accessories aftermarket are the most expensive.. Why? Because they can. Third party companies are monopolizing consumers where alternatives are not available.

    That's why I tell hobbyist and beginner photographers to really sit down and ask yourself "Is it really really necessary" to have certain gear (or accessories) for your type of photography. Some items one will definitely need while others one can easily live without and/or find a way to compensate. Imagination is the most powerful and priceless tool in your photographic arsenal.
    Can't argue with that!

    I have several requirements for my car; high seat position, reliable, automatic, air-con, central locking, electric windows. Got it in December 2000, paid over the odds for all those features back then, but everything still works and so I still have it.

    I wonder if my camera will be the same in 9 years time?

    Cheers,

  15. #15
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    Re: Viewfinder Grid

    Pete,

    Your grid will be the same as my D90. As others have said it is primarily for architecture and horizon alignment.

    I haven't actually seen the D300, but it will most likely have 11 focussing points. If you look to the left of the viewfinder you will notice one single focussing point on its own. Moving in from that focussing point you will notice another three in a vertical line. If you were to disect these three points by drawing a line from the top of the viewfinder to the bottom, you'd pretty much have the left third of the viewfinder separated from the rest. Do the same with the three focussing points on the right and you would have two lines and broken the viewfinder into vertical thirds. The placement of these seems to imply that that is what they help to achieve.

    Now if you were to draw horizontal lines from left to right, just above the top focussing points (and just below the very top middle point) of the two sets of three and do the same for the bottom points you would have divided the viewfinder into horizontal thirds. But that is a really forced extrapolation from absolutely no evidence that there is any attempt to help with the horizontal thirds from Nikon.

    As you would know, it helps to turn off that distracting grid in order to find the sweet spot visually!

    If your focussing screen is not identical, ignore

    Having read the above I have concluded that it is a lot simpler in actual practice than trying to follow my overly complicated drivel above! But, hey I just felt like contributing!

  16. #16

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    Re: Viewfinder Grid

    Hans and Amberglass

    That's a great tip, I hadn't thought of using the focusing points as a rough guide to the ROT (and I now realize on re-reading the posts above that Amberglass mentioned this right at the beginning - that'll teach me to pay more attention!) - I guess it would make sense for camera manufacturers to put focusing points at or near the intersections of ROT.

    Thanks
    Pete

  17. #17
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    Re: Viewfinder Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterL View Post
    That's a great tip, I hadn't thought of using the focusing points as a rough guide to the ROT (and I now realize on re-reading the posts above that Amberglass mentioned this right at the beginning - that'll teach me to pay more attention!)
    Thanks Pete
    I was wondering when you were going to catch on. That's why I intentionally waited before answering your "second question" in regards to why Nikon put 1.4 grid displays on their cameras. Did not want to confuse you.

    The ROTs is merely a jumping off point because as you become more experienced, your own "sense of eye" will emerge, and it's natural for shooting preferences to change over time as well.

  18. #18
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    Re: Viewfinder Grid

    Bugger! I missed it too...must have been when my two yr old was chewing on my nose or my four yr old was sitting on my head using my ears as anchors yelling "GIDDY UP!!!"

    If Amberglass's link is your focus grid, the D300's is nothing like the D90's.

    BTW how nice is that break all the rules boat shot???

  19. #19
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    Re: Viewfinder Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    the D300's is nothing like the D90's.
    The rules of thirds can still be applied to the D90's 11 AF points. All you have to do is envision your 2 vertical gird lines going thru the 3 AF point vertical rows, and the two horizontal rows lays across the top and bottom of 3 AF points.

    The D300 models on up AF points (depending on focusing mode set) can be set to 9, 11 (matching the D90), 21, or 51. The image link just shows what it looks like with all 51 AF points activated.

    Peter, if you happen to be using Lightroom in your post processing; you apply the ROTS while "cropping and straightening" your images into "composition":

    1. Click on the Develop module at the upper right part of the screen. Scroll down through controls on the right side of the screen until you get to "Crop and Straighten" section.

    2. Click the Show Crop Overlay checkbox, showing a resizable grid around your photo.

    3. Make sure the "Constrain Aspect Ratio" checkbox is also turned on.

    4. From here, you can resize the grid to whatever size you'd like. When you click and hold to move the photo around, a "rule of thirds" grid will appear; allowing you to place whichever part of the photo you'd like into one of the appropriate intersections.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  20. #20
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    Re: Viewfinder Grid

    Well that is pretty nifty!
    I wish my powers of persuasion were better. If they were I would have been able to aquire permission from the Minister for Finance for a D300, but the D90 will do until I can actually take decent pictures (though I have trouble scrolling to the right point with 11 let alone 51!!!)...must say all the senior members albums are pretty darn intimidating But I did read that all photographers "sucked" at some time in their life. From this I take great courage and hope that one day I too may "create and image"

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