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10-20-2012, 06:50 AM   #1
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Focusing Screens in use???

I have a lovely copy of the Pentax A35-105 mm lens and I've noticed that when I get the focus right I can get some lovely images with beautiful colors. My problem is that I miss focus more than I get it right. I will say that when I have the time to really compose my shots and I'm not shooting really fast the manual lenses does ok but will still miss focus a little. I've seen posts about Katz Eye and other focusing screens but will it really help my with my focusing problem?

I mean I did a shoot two weeks ago and made it point to use the A35-105 since everyone says I would kick myself if I got rid of it. Well upon reviewing the pictures later that day I got maybe 20% keepers and this is with focus confirmation on my K5 and Kx. I was ready to put it up for sale but thought I would post my problem here and get some suggestions before I made a bone head move. I do have other manual lenses like the A28 , M50 1:7 and passed on some really good deals on some other A lenses. I have to weigh the cost of new screen against just buying some new glass. Any thoughts

10-20-2012, 08:04 AM   #2
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A new screen doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. There are good screens besides those out there. The one I have isn't a Katz, came with the K-x, but it does a pretty good job actually. But yeah, I would suggest one. I think it makes a huge difference.
10-20-2012, 08:10 AM   #3
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A split screen should help you a lot with a manual focus lens. I have two K-x bodies, one with a $30 Chinese eBay split screen, and the other with a KatzEye. I also have that exact 35-105 lens (it's terrific, by the way) and I don't have any problems focusing with it. Just about every shot I take with it is tack sharp, and the ones that aren't are my fault.

Keep in mind though, that if you install a screen it will have to be calibrated correctly with shims, or the focus will be off. It's not difficult, but it is a time-consuming pain in the butt. I predict you'll be very glad you did it, though.

The KatzEye screen is nice, but the cheap generic Chinese eBay screen is just as accurate, and I get just as many keepers with it. It's just not quite as bright, and will suffer from prism blackout with lenses slower than f5.6. But the 35-105 and your other lenses should work great with it. The only reason I have the KatzEye is because it was in the camera when I bought it. I personally wouldn't pay $160 for a screen, when you can spend $30 and get the same result.

I have a lot of MF lenses & wouldn't be without a split prism screen. It's a HUGE help.

Good luck & if you have questions, etc., drop me a PM or don't be afraid to ask here.

Cheers,
Bobbo :-)
10-20-2012, 08:12 AM   #4
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Katz Eye

I had the same problem with my K10D and M/F lenses, finally got a KatzEye split-prism and couldn't believe the difference!
Even the most difficult lenses to focus (M50mm f/1.4, M85mm f/2.0) started to SNAP into focus with the new screen. Oh, sure, there's still a percentage of duds, but not nearly as high as before.
This is assuming the cameras are correctly adjusted and you're aiming the focus point exactly at the point you want. Especially with macro, the focus indicator can be fooled under those conditions.
Ron

10-20-2012, 08:15 AM   #5
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I have split image focusing screens in my *istD and K10D. Neither w expensive. I got both from jinfinance. I have a single split diagonal screen in my K10D and a dual split in my *istD. I prefer the dual split as it essentially moves aside of the image off line, and is easier to pick up focus errors than a single split. Just a preference of mine. I like diagonal split images although Rachel Katz advised me at one time that a diagonal split is less accurate, and in some cases I tend to agree, because it is easier to see misalignment when it is at a right angle. But again, the double split seems to work very well in that respect
10-20-2012, 09:52 AM   #6
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I found the cheap eBay screen to be downright murky, much worse than the KatzEye or focusingscreen.com screens (I think both use cut-down Nikon K2/K3 screens) - but I was trying to use it indoors. I much prefer the split-prism screens - it's vastly easier than focusing on the ground glass and depending on focus confirmation, and more like what I grew up with, back in the good ole' film days (they weren't that good. ).
10-20-2012, 12:10 PM   #7
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Where can you get shims for the Kx?
10-20-2012, 05:17 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ironlionzion Quote
Where can you get shims for the Kx?
The Pentax parts department. It's here. I think when I ordered them, a set of shims was around $6. Pretty cheap.

10-20-2012, 07:10 PM   #9
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I have a K-x and have focusing issues as well in situations where I really want sharpness. I'm looking ahead to a K-30 (or whatever similar model they would be selling when I finally save up enough), and I am wondering whether the focus-peaking that it offers is another solution for getting sharp pics. Granted, the OP was asking about focus screens, but instead of putting that money into a KatzEye for my K-x, I'm thinking it might be better to save for the K-30.
10-20-2012, 07:24 PM   #10
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Original Poster
I thank you all for the advice. I know I'm going to get one now I"m just not sure which one. I'm leaning to the focusing screen,com one for the K5 and K-X
Focusing Screen
Focusing Screen
But since you mentioned the "bay" site I had to check it out and found this one: Pentax K 5 K 7 K5 K7 Focus Focusing Screen New Repair Part | eBay
Big price difference.
10-20-2012, 10:19 PM   #11
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The one you linked at eBay is an original part, the same as what you have now, without a split prism.

These are the screens sold by jinfinance that would work in the K-x: (Although like I said, having used all three, I personally think the more expensive screens are worth it. The Katz was a Nikon K2; focusingscreen.com recently switched to the brighter Nikon K3. You also have the option of getting them etched with various guide lines.)
Diagonal Split Image Focus Screen Pentax K100D K200D DL | eBay
Dual 45 Split Image Focus Screen Pentax K100D K200D DL | eBay

The K-5 can use the same screen as the K-7 & K30, and the K-x can use the same screen as the K100D, and K200D, and K-r.
10-20-2012, 10:29 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mgvh Quote
I have a K-x and have focusing issues as well in situations where I really want sharpness. I'm looking ahead to a K-30 (or whatever similar model they would be selling when I finally save up enough), and I am wondering whether the focus-peaking that it offers is another solution for getting sharp pics. Granted, the OP was asking about focus screens, but instead of putting that money into a KatzEye for my K-x, I'm thinking it might be better to save for the K-30.
I've got a K-30, and the focus peaking is a great feature, but it only works in live view, and I don't think it's as accurate as a split-prism screen. When I want to shoot old glass, I still reach for my K-x with the custom screen.
10-22-2012, 05:38 PM   #13
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Do split screens help with AF?
10-22-2012, 05:55 PM   #14
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Split screens don't affect AF. Although they do allow you to make sure your AF is not going crazy.

QuoteOriginally posted by GibbyTheMole Quote
The Pentax parts department. It's here. I think when I ordered them, a set of shims was around $6. Pretty cheap

Thanks gibby for that tip
10-22-2012, 06:40 PM   #15
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Yer welcome, ironlionzion. Good luck & happy shooting! :-)
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