Most people know whether they are right handed or left handed, but do you know which of your eyes is dominant? If you use the LCD screen on the back of your camera or if you rely on autofocus, then it may not matter that much. However, if you use a viewfinder and especially if you are manual focusing then it is important to stack the odds in your favor and use your dominant eye for the task. Most cameras (maybe all cameras? Let me know if you know of an exception) are designed for right-handed, right-eyed people. Rangefinders especially favor right-eyed people because the viewfinder is on the far left of the camera, which means that right-eyed people will have no problem avoiding a squished nose, but left-eyed people won’t be so lucky. Film SLR’s (digital or film) usually have the viewfinder near the center, but sometimes it’s offset to the left. With no controls on the rear of the camera body, film SLR’s are probably the most neutral towards left or right eye dominance. Digital SLR’s put the majority of buttons and switches on the right side of the LCD screen, so left-eyed people might accidentally push buttons with their nose but right-eyed people often smudge up the LCD screen with their noses. It’s lose-lose when using a DSLR for those of us with larger noses.
If you don’t know which of your eyes is dominant, WikiHow has an interesting test you can do to find out. Click the link to get the step-by-step, but the basic idea is to look at a small object through a peep-hole you make with your hands and then close your eyes one at a time to figure out which eye the object is visible to. I guess the test is supposed to work because you can’t see the object with both eyes at the same time, so you are subconsciously looking at the object with your preferred eye.
When I do the test, I consistently find that my right eye is dominant, but I know from experience that I often use my left eye when taking photographs. I think it’s something I should pay a little more attention to, because I find myself switching between eyes. I’m not sure if there is a connection between which eye is dominant and which eye has better vision. For playing pool, you should use your dominant eye, but for manual focusing a camera, maybe whichever eye has better vision would be best.
Do you have a dominant eye, and which one is it?