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08-07-2012, 06:03 PM   #1
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It's like my view finder just doesnt work with old lenses

Title says it all. What looks crystal clear in my view finder ends up blurry in the photo. If i switch to live view it seems to have an accurate depiction of the photo but my view finder doesnt. What gives!?

I have tried to adjust it with the little slide thing on top (no idea what it does or what its called) but it only makes matters worse. I notice the problem most on my old 50mm fast primes, at f1.4 its a total guessing game whether im going to get it right (understandable since it is such a narrow focal plane) but today i was messing up shots from about 20ft away on f5.6!!! And its so aggrivating! Is it me or the hardware?

08-07-2012, 06:13 PM   #2
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The stock focus screen is optimised for kit lenses, and what that means is it's made to be bright with slow apertures, and that means it doesn't show the true DOF and instead shows much more in focus than really is.

I have a S-type screen in my K-5 for exactly this reason, now I can get critical focus even down to f/1.2.
08-07-2012, 06:16 PM   #3
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Can I install that on my k-r?
08-07-2012, 06:20 PM   #4
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Yes Focusing Screen (I'm refering to the "S-type" screens towards the bottom of that list.)

There is a long long thread in the K-5 forum about this screen. Bottom line is this is the ducks nuts for MF fast lenses, and the great thing is that metering and AF are completely unaffected. There is a but though, if the lens is an f/4 the VF gets a little dark (but not bad at all), however if the lens is f/5.6 it gets really noticably dark. So this is a screen which is great if you use mostly f/4 and faster lenses. It's not a screen to buy if you use the, say, 55-300 or 18-55 a lot IMHO.

08-07-2012, 06:23 PM   #5
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What happens when you rotate the focus until the focus confirmation beep/green dot?
Have you set the diopter for your eyes?
On my old istds I can't focus by eye more sharply than the focus confirmation; it is quite accurate.
08-07-2012, 06:24 PM   #6
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1: If you autofocus on something, is the viewfinder perfectly sharp ?
2: When you say the viewfinder is clear , is the focus green light on ?
Could be just that the Screen needs to be adjusted ( shims added or removed )
08-07-2012, 06:25 PM   #7
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Having gotten really frustrated about the same thing, I tried 'catch in focus' with much better results. Still not as good as a split prism but better than before.
08-07-2012, 06:31 PM   #8
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As wombat2go mentions, the "diopter" is the little slide thing you mentioned. It is used to adjust for difference in eyesight. It honestly sounds to me that your focus screen is out of tolerance. That would explain why you get good focus in liveview but not when taking pics via the viewfinder. I recommend you mount your camera on a tripod and take some shots with a wide aperture and a fairly short distance via viewfinder and then liveview and see how then turn out. Play around with it while mounted on the tripod. Additionally, while on the tripod, turn off SR.

08-07-2012, 06:32 PM   #9
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I had the same issue when first using manual lenses on my K-r.

The big thing that helped me was calibrating the focus confirmation (green hexagon) and then learning to trust it.
08-07-2012, 07:21 PM   #10
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Difficult subject. Your stock focus screen only allows precision equivalent to an aperture of about f/4. This is far inferior to what you can manage with live view. In fact, live view will beat out even the best screens. If you pixel peep (equivalent to live view), f/5.6 at 20 feet won't make any difference if focus is actually missed. Ditto for f/16. DOF only buys you a slop factor for a particular degree of magnification of the final image. It does not change the actual point of focus.

For manual focus using the viewfinder, an aftermarket screen is essential. The Canon S screen mentioned above is a good option. I use a Katz Eye screen and find that the focus aids (split-image and microprism) make all the difference when focus is critical. Before the Katz Eye, manual focus was a exercise in frustration.

A few notes regarding metering and AF and aftermarket screens...
  • All aftermarket screens are 100% compatible with the AF on your SLR. The AF system uses a completely separate optical path.
  • Screens with focus aids may affect spot metering, but the other metering modes should be unaffected. Assuming, of course, that your camera supports other than center-weighted metering with your manual focus lenses!
In regards to catch-in-focus...it is essentially the same as using the green hexagon for focus confirm. Both are prone to the same issues with a manual focus lens as with an AF lens using same system.


Steve
08-11-2012, 08:45 AM   #11
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I use the red led focus indicator in the finder just leave the camera in auto focus mode. I use glasses and can't see the green hex. I have a split image screen on my Km but don't find it necessary on the Kr

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08-11-2012, 12:28 PM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
I use the red led focus indicator in the finder just leave the camera in auto focus mode.
This can be misleading.

It is lit when AF is starting (to show/remind which point is used).
Successfully finishing of AF is only shown by the green hexagon.

EDIT:
And the red focus indicator doesn't exist with all Pentax DSLRs.
08-11-2012, 01:09 PM   #13
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I get the auto focusing led in Av mode which is what i usually shoot with when i am using old primes as it meters for me.

I have tried taken all of your advice and took a series of pictures based primarily on the focus indicators. I am having better luck, especially with pig objects such as a person. However small objects tend to miss the point half the time, even if the center circle is filled....

I'm starting to think that maybe i should just get an FA 50mm/1.4 and quit messing with this old glass. Does anyone have experience with this lens? Does it still focus oddly in the viewfinder?

I am not opposed to getting a different view finder, but im hesitant to buy one that will exclude me from shooting telephoto since I have a 300mm lens on the camera about half the time.
08-11-2012, 02:21 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by dmbaile2 Quote
I get the auto focusing led in Av mode which is what i usually shoot with when i am using old primes as it meters for me.

I have tried taken all of your advice and took a series of pictures based primarily on the focus indicators. I am having better luck, especially with pig objects such as a person. However small objects tend to miss the point half the time, even if the center circle is filled....

I'm starting to think that maybe i should just get an FA 50mm/1.4 and quit messing with this old glass. Does anyone have experience with this lens? Does it still focus oddly in the viewfinder?

I am not opposed to getting a different view finder, but im hesitant to buy one that will exclude me from shooting telephoto since I have a 300mm lens on the camera about half the time.
I use my AF Tamron 70-300mm f 3.5 zoom on my Km with a split image finder with no problems anything smaller will black out half the split image but you can use the fine focusing collar with the lens wide open. I just tried my 42mm manual focus 300mm f5.5 and on a cloudy day the split image still works.

I went for the DA 35 f2.4 rather than a 50 and am glad I did

QuoteOriginally posted by RKKS08 Quote
This can be misleading.

It is lit when AF is starting (to show/remind which point is used).
Successfully finishing of AF is only shown by the green hexagon.

EDIT:
And the red focus indicator doesn't exist with all Pentax DSLRs.
True the red led can come on early but when you see it and hear the beep it's in focus. The red led is on the Kr

Hans

Last edited by hnikesch; 08-11-2012 at 02:27 PM.
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