Well I'm 20 and I have great eyes.... i suppose i should count my blessings... but i know a photographer who has wore glasses most of his life and claims its not difficult to work with medium format at all.
"The negative is the equivalent of the composer's score, and the print the performance." ~Ansel Adams
Thanks guys for the advice. I'll definitely go for a full check. I've worked with computers for over 20 years but have always carried out eye excercise (focus at long distance every 30 minutes or so). It feels like an age thing (as does everything now!) as it's hard to focus when moving between distances. After a couple of minutes everything is quite clear on the new object, it's just that I've started to get headaches for the first time after either reading or working at close range for any length of time. After giving it some thought it strikes me that focusing on a WLF may be easier than with an eye level finder. Next thing to try is the grain focuser with the enlarger.
One strange thing, but probably just coincidence, is that my eyesight has become worse since working with flat screen monitors. Could it be that with some flat screens the contrast changes with your viewing angle and your eyes are constantly working to compensate for the change in contrast?
I need my reading glasses to focus on the wlf screen but can remove them when using the magnifier (SQ-A) as it projects the virtual image far enough away for me to focus. If necessary you can get different dioptre lenses for the magnifiers of many WLF equipped cameras. I started needing them a few years ago at the same age as you. Seems to be a surprisingly sharp transition: most people seem to need them within a couple of years either side of 46 even when you have previously had 20/20 vision.
I tend to wear the glasses low down on my nose (but then, I have a big nose...) so I can look over the top of them when I need to focus at a distance; as Flotsam says, it's a pain switching between close and far focus...
Luckily, the knee joints are holding out, but then, they don't get too much wear and tear anyway while I'm on the sofa watching the telly...
Even when your eyes have gone, you can still take photographs, as have proven these people in Australia. Mind you, some prints have sold for $200!
BTW, I am not making fun of these people, in case anyone was wondering!
I am 47 as of very recently. I started needing reading glasses about 6 years ago. Prior to that I've always had astoundingly good vision and this business of needing reading glasses is a real pain.
I shoot LF, not MF, but I find that I need more than just glasses to focus properly. I tried a "loupe" and found it less than satisfactory because the area that it covered was so small relative to the size of the ground glass
Some time ago I came into a slide projector with a bunch of old radios I bought, and seeing as it was pretty much scrap anyway, I cannibalised the lenses, cut them apart and made my own magnifier. It's about 1.5" diameter glass. I put the glass into a plastic tube about 2" long and taped it together. Unlike a loupe, I don't have to have my eye tight up against it. I can use it more as a magifier than a loupe.
I don't think it's going to make me another Ansel , but at least my pictures will be in focus.
oh yeah - I also found that I "must" wear my reading glasses when using the grain magnifier for my enlarging as the focal length seems to be dependant on having them either on or off.
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A closing note - My optometrist volunteered that he could have a special loupe made to a prescription. I find that intriguing. We will be discussing it next week.
I've worn glasses for a good portion of my life. But I love contacts. So much easier IMO for the focusing. If it's not a crazy prescription, I would recommend looking into it. They have made them so easy to wear, I rarely use my glasses.
I friend related the visit to his physician where he was told he was suffering from allergies. He told the doctor "I'm 59 years old and I've never had allergies before", to which is doctor replied, "Yes, but you've never been 59 years old before".
I started wearing glasses in high school. The eye-guy told me that I would get better, and then I would get worse. Sure enough, by the time I graduated from college I didn't have to wear glasses any more. But around age 45, things started getting fuzzy. Back to the opthamologist - and back to glasses. But this time, it was bifocals.
Glasses in general are a PITA - bifocals are worse. The line is aways in the wrong place and they always need cleaning. They are a nuisance with a 35mm viewfinder, miserable with a waist-level finder, and an abomination with a loupe on ground glass.
But it happens to all of us - part of getting older. But look at it this way - wine and cheese improve with age. In general, that applies to people also.
The solution - by the time you reach the age where you need them, you should have gained the maturity to just suck it up and deal with the nuisance. After all, if that's the only thing that you have to complain about, life is really sweet.
Decades of working in commercial photography (Pre-digital)... Eyes were fine.
A couple of years of working at a computer monitor... Eyes started to go.
There's another theory about a certain practice that will damage the eyesight but I would have been blind years ago if that one was true
That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
As of last year, I now wear progressive bifocals. There are 3 different types of bifocals (at least, there's probably even more): 1. traditional bifocals with a line between the distance Rx and the reading Rx. 2. lineless bifocals are basically very similar to the original bifocals, the only difference is that you can't see the line when looking at somebody wearing them. For the person wearing them, it's a different story, instead of just having a line to look thru to go from one portion to the other, you have a larger fuzzy area! 3. progressive bifocals. with these there's no noticable fuzzy area, but rather a smooth transition between the distance & reading Rx'es (sort of like a zoom lens) The only problem with progressive bifocals is that the peripheral vision is blurry. It was explained to me that the lenses are hourglass shaped (the area that does any correction), and that the other areas are just filler sort of. Progressive glasses take some getting used to, you 'focus' them by varying what part of the lens you look out of, so if you see somebody looking at somebody, and moving their head up/down they're looking for the right part of the lens to look out of!
I found that it was almost impossible to focus on the GG of a 4x5 while using progressive lenses, and had a pair of reading only glasses made for reading, and focusing the camera. Using a loupe with the distance Rx works for me too (when I had the reading glasses made I also had a single vision pair made with just the distance Rx). When I use my Graflex Super D I use the single vision lenses, and I have flip up/down reading glasses that are 2.75x magnification.
In the end, like so many other areas of photography, trial & error, trying several combinations to see what you are comfortable with is about the only thing you can do, there's no correct way to use a camera with glasses, nor a wrong way.
My solution was to use a Linhof 4x5 with a rangefinder, it's much easier for me to use than trying to focus on the Super D's GG (the Super D has a chimney to see the GG, so you can't get a loupe on the GG) Of course the Linhof still has a GG so I can still use it any time I want/need to.