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One-Point-Three Makes All the Difference

12-27-2012 · By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear
One-Point-Three Makes All the Difference

This post isn't sexy. It isn't overly informative. And it most certainly isn't technical. Probably the best that can be said about it is that it won't take too much of your precious time. So why bother?

What I hope is that in a simple yet significant way it helps a few like-minded photographers find what they're looking for from their gear bag: a bigger and better view of every... single... shot they take.

Let me start by saying that I am on – I'll resentfully acknowledge – a perpetual search. Unfortunately for me, I seek the resolution of a contradiction. An oxymoron. Technology did this to me, I say. But if I'm honest, it's probably a lack of simple contentment with what physics offers us. I want the biggest view in the smallest package. I want to look through my viewfinder and see IMAX. But in my hand, I want to carry a camera the size of a matchbox. James Bond has one of these, of course. But I, unfortunately, do not.

Having begun with a decent cropped sensor dslr, I ditched it as soon as I could for a full-frame unit with 24 whopping megapixels to play with. The view through the finder was stunning. Medium-format junkies, be damned. My 35 mill DSLR showed me the world on big-screen. Except... the other edge of the sword: I was carrying a bag of bricks around.

Ever unsatisfied, I looked to Pentax. In particular, it's limited prime pancakes promised to deliver my other desire: a small, well-made, fine functioning photography system. So I jumped ship. It was quite lovely and satisfying, offering a high-quality yet compact camera experience. Except... that viewfinder. It's great and all. But perhaps, couldn't it be a little larger? I didn't want full-frame for the lenses or depth of field or format of the images it took, apparently. I wanted full-frame  because of the huge view of my subjects in the little window I held my eye up to.

What to do now? Read forums till way after bedtime!  

After some extensive searching, and some messaging back and forth with other optical-compromise-because-of-physics-haters, I discovered a little device that came from across the world. Literally.

Enter the Seculine "U-13C" Magnifying Eyepiece.

What a name. Like some sort of underwater transportation vehicle. U-13C approaching harbour, sir. Request permission to dock. Pure poetry.

So, I logged on to eBay, the only purchasing option for the U-13C available to mankind, and bought one. Shipping almost doubled the price, but beggers can't be choosers. This was my hope and consolation. After what seemed like weeks – because it was – it arrived in my mailbox. With eagerness and anticipation, I ripped open the packaging, promptly ignored the installation instructions, and got directly to attaching this thing to my K5.

Would it fulfill my dreams? Change my picture taking forever? (Make me a better photographer?).

Not sure. But it would certainly magnify things by One-Point-Three. And that – it turns out – is a lot.

One-Point-Three meant that everything was closer. Significantly closer. One-Point-Three meant I felt like I had stepped into the middle of the room instead of sitting at the edge like some nervous wallflower at a junior high dance. It was just as bright, and just as clear as without, AND it enlarged my worldview through the finder very, very tangibly.

Every shot.

In my review of the U-13C on this very forum, I put it like this: I had found what I was looking for – a full-frame view in an apsc camera. The only small compromise is that I was forced to use neither of the eye cups that shipped with it. They obscured too much of the corners. But leave them off and you get a big view of everything you need, including the information display.

One-Point-Three. That's the ticket.

Compared to purchasing a large and expensive full-frame camera for its viewfinder experience, not to mention the premium in price and weight for the lenses, this little gadget with the uninspiring name, when connected to a Pentax K5, is a steal. Because what you see is what you get. So I don't think there is anything in my camera bag that influences every single shot I take as much as the U-13C.  

- Mr_Canuck

PF Staff's avatar
About the author: Various writers regularly contribute articles to the Pentax Forums homepage blog. More recent articles are published under each author's forum username. We hope you enjoy our guides and news coverage!

Tags: magnifying eyecup, pentax k-5, k5, loupe

More Posts in Influential Photo Gear | More Posts by PF Staff

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Mr_Canuck [Delete] Jan 9th, 2013 12:17PM

I should clarify for those mentioning KPS that this U-13C is in fact the KPS unit. I'm not sure why their packaging and their descriptors on ebay are different. If you're looking for the KPS, this is it!

sbroadbentphoto [Delete] Dec 29th, 2012 7:11AM

Got 2 of a similar sort of thing. They are great!

Photoartist2 [Delete] Dec 29th, 2012 5:56AM

Wow that is so informative!

sentinel [Delete] Dec 28th, 2012 9:17PM

Just checked EBAY- available at IMKShop for $50 inc. shipping.

Great Post.


ebahle [Delete] Dec 28th, 2012 7:29PM

WOW!! Great article, thanks so much for sharing. Just went over to the bay and ordered one.

Peter Pen [Delete] Dec 28th, 2012 1:15PM

I use a Hoodman 3 inch loupe. It doesn't attach but it kinda stays in place with your eyebrow holding it. Keeps your nose away from the monitor too.

chiane [Delete] Dec 28th, 2012 10:00AM

I solved the problem myself by getting a k-01. How I view the world through the camera increased tremendously! Now what I view is big and bright and I don't have to smash my nose against the camera. I think it's too late for me to write an entry about it though. BTW, nicely written article.

richman [Delete] Dec 28th, 2012 7:59AM

Great article, nice creativity. Gave me a chuckle this morning.

carrrlangas [Delete] Dec 28th, 2012 7:45AM

This is very well writen! I am very temted to get one (I love the VF on my P30t) but U$D60 is a lot for me and I am not sure I can justifiy it over a lens!

accio [Delete] Dec 28th, 2012 3:32AM

I've tried the Pentax O-ME53 but found it too sacrified in term of complete view: the magnification effect was minimal but you have to allign the eye very well to not have the corner obscured.
Are the KPS or this one better?

Annatefkah [Delete] Dec 28th, 2012 3:12AM

From what I've seen on ebay, the Pentax one is cheaper.

Alizarine [Delete] Dec 27th, 2012 10:50PM

I like the wording of this article. Very creative way of presenting a review!

ScooterMaxi Jim [Delete] Dec 27th, 2012 9:09PM

Go with the KPS 1.3x on ebay - great multi-coated unit and fits as though it was designed for the Pentax body. Of course, it isn't nearly as helpful as focus peaking on the K-01/K30 in most MF situations, but that is a different conversation.

marosari00 [Delete] Dec 27th, 2012 7:45PM

Search Ebay under KPS Magnifying Eyepiece...

marosari00 [Delete] Dec 27th, 2012 7:43PM

Thank you for sharing this. I was contemplating getting the O-ME53 magnifying eyecup, it is a 1.2 magnification. Now, with your positive words, this might be the one!

sledger [Delete] Dec 27th, 2012 6:52PM

I swapped over to the Pentax O-ME53 a year or so ago on the K-7.
Aside from the larger view, the extended eye piece helps keep most of my greasy nose away from the LCD.

wcchamp18 [Delete] Dec 27th, 2012 6:36PM

On a sunny day you'll be lucky to see anything through the viewfinder without using the eye cup. I used it for about a year on my K-5 and can't remember why but I removed it replacing it with the O-ME53 and have been happy ever since.

tjk911 [Delete] Dec 27th, 2012 6:33PM

Unfortunately, I can't even find it on eBay now.

RonHendriks1966 [Delete] Dec 27th, 2012 6:31PM

How much better is this then the 1.19x magnifying Pentax O-ME53?