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06-30-2015, 04:06 PM   #1
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Katzeye Focusing Screen !Last Run!

Hello everyone!

I was about to finally buy a Katzeye Split Prism Focusing screen for my K50 and just found out that Katzeye closed their doors a few months ago.

A quick google search revealed that no one is selling, or had any kind of stock on their screens so it looks like they're totally unavailable now.


Are there any alternatives/does anybody know where I could still get a screen?
I was pretty intrigued by their "Plus" and "Optibrite" enhancements and I haven't heard of anybody else offering anything similar.

Many thanks!


Last edited by Topsy; 10-23-2015 at 12:25 PM. Reason: edited title
06-30-2015, 04:13 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Topsy Quote
A quick google search revealed that no one is selling, or had any kind of stock on their screens so it looks like they're totally unavailable now.
KatzEye screens were custom often enough made to order. They did not really keep an inventory.

In regards to the "Plus" feature, that is due to the cut of the split-image prism that allows it to resist black-out better than many other screens. The equivalent would be a cut-down Nikon K3 screen from focusingscreen.com or elsewhere. The K3 screen is reputed to offer similar resistance to black-out.

OptiBrite is another matter entirely. That feature is not offered by any vendor.


Steve
06-30-2015, 06:35 PM   #3
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There's another manufacturer, Beattie Intenscreen Bright Focusing Screens, who makes their own screen (rather than just cutting down other manufacturers' screens), but they don't support any production Pentax 35mm DSLR's. So I have no way of knowing if their Intenscreen is similar to OptiBrite. I would recommend e-mailing them and asking them if they'd consider making replacement screens -- if they get enough requests, who knows?

But KatzEye Optics is definitely missed. I'm guessing she didn't get the volume for any brand to make it worth her while any more.
07-01-2015, 03:16 AM   #4
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Hi! I'm in exactly the same position - just about to buy split prism focus for my K20D, to discover they're no longer in business. Is there a reason to avoid the cut down K3 solution that I see here: Focusing Screen

What do I miss compared with the Katzeye version? Is it still an improvement on the current viewfinder, even if it's not as good as the Katzeye?

Many thanks in advance!

07-01-2015, 08:48 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by minty Quote
Hi! I'm in exactly the same position - just about to buy split prism focus for my K20D, to discover they're no longer in business. Is there a reason to avoid the cut down K3 solution that I see here: Focusing Screen

What do I miss compared with the Katzeye version? Is it still an improvement on the current viewfinder, even if it's not as good as the Katzeye?

Many thanks in advance!
Well, I just got one (because it appears they're the only game in town) and I'll let you know in the next couple of days. I've heard they aren't as bright as a KatzEye with OptiBrite, but the camera with the KatzEye is a K200D, which is supposed to be dimmer than the K50 (mirror vs. prism). It'll be interesting to see.
07-01-2015, 10:15 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by fredralphfred Quote
So I have no way of knowing if their Intenscreen is similar to OptiBrite.
It is hard to say. Thinking is that the Intenscreen is mostly an optimized Fresnel.

QuoteOriginally posted by fredralphfred Quote
but the camera with the KatzEye is a K200D, which is supposed to be dimmer than the K50 (mirror vs. prism). It'll be interesting to see.
Are you sure it will fit the K-50? The two cameras take different screens (locating tab on opposite sides).


Steve
07-02-2015, 02:52 AM   #7
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I ordered a focusingscreen.com screen for my K-50

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
. . . Are you sure it will fit the K-50? The two cameras take different screens (locating tab on opposite sides). . .
Sorry for the confusion. I again looked to KatzEye for a new focusing screen when I purchased my K-50 about a month ago (since I knew the Pentax one would be awful -- what's the point of offering "interchangeable screens" if you're not going to make them?). I had used my K200D for several years. But KatzEye had gone out of business. (I was also going to send my K200D off to get the KatzEye in it adjusted and use it as a back-up body, but they're completely closed down now.) So I had to look for alternatives, and found focusingscreen.com. I placed an order through them for a K-50 screen and just got it the other day.

By the way, shims -- it wasn't clear to me before, but after receiving the focusingscreen.com package, it comes with one plastic shim. I'm guessing (based on reading the directions) that it must be to compensate for a difference in thickness between the Nikon screen that they cut down and the Pentax screen the camera came with; it doesn't come with a "shim kit" to adjust the screen for good focus.
07-02-2015, 07:10 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by fredralphfred Quote
By the way, shims -- it wasn't clear to me before, but after receiving the focusingscreen.com package, it comes with one plastic shim. I'm guessing (based on reading the directions) that it must be to compensate for a difference in thickness between the Nikon screen that they cut down and the Pentax screen the camera came with; it doesn't come with a "shim kit" to adjust the screen for good focus.
Your camera allows for a shim that fits between the screen and the bottom of the pentaprism under a separate retainer. There may or may not already be one in place. Conventional wisdom is to not fiddle with shimming unless you have reason to believe there is a need. I consider this to be particularly true in regards to the plastic shim(s) provided by focusingscreen.com. They are sort of flimsy and difficult to place. If you need to change the calibration, remove or replace the existing shim with one of more appropriate thickness.

To check calibration, I suggest you compare your best effort using the split image against magnified live view. Use a high-contrast focus test target placed flat and parallel to the sensor at a distance of about 20x the lens focal length. There are several such targets available for free download on the Web. The important thing is that it have non-ambigous vertical lines. Figuring out how to adjust calibration (whether to add or subtract) may be difficult to visualize, but there are helpful diagrams on the focusingscreen.com Web site.

With any luck, the focus will be OK with no need to adjust. If adjustment is needed and the provided shim is not appropriate, contact focusingscreen.com for a different thickness.


Steve

07-03-2015, 07:13 PM   #9
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Installed K-50 focusing screen

I replaced the stock focusing screen with one from focusingscreen.com. I ordered an F6-J screen because my experience with my KatzEye on the K200D told me that I'm no good with split prisms. (The four-way split prism Ec-L screen would have been tempting if it had a microprism collar instead of those goofy circles.) Unfortunately, it doesn't look any brighter than the stock screen (my KatzEye had OptiBrite, and it sure was). But it doesn't look any dimmer, either. I checked focus briefly (it's nighttime, not a lot of light floating around) and it looks like it's on, but it'll get a more thorough workout tomorrow. I have not used the shim yet or shot a chart. I DID NOT get any of the options to have lines or AF brackets scribed because I don't care about them -- the AF area is the same as it was on my K200D and while it's more useful, I always set it to center point because it's still a Pentax.

---------- Post added 07-03-15 at 09:20 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
It is hard to say. Thinking is that the Intenscreen is mostly an optimized Fresnel. . .
Can you explain to me what this means to me? I know what a Fresnel lens is, and I'm aware that some focusing screens use them. Are you saying they don't make matte screens, or that Fresnel screens wouldn't work in the K200D or K-50? Or that they wouldn't necessarily be brighter because they didn't work on that?
07-03-2015, 09:28 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by fredralphfred Quote
Can you explain to me what this means to me? I know what a Fresnel lens is, and I'm aware that some focusing screens use them. Are you saying they don't make matte screens, or that Fresnel screens wouldn't work in the K200D or K-50?
Almost all SLR camera focus screens use a Fresnel lens to gather light. That being said, there are fine points to the design to optimize for brightness, ease of focus, and even illumination across the field. The Intenscreen has it reputation carried over from groundglass on view cameras and on medium format cameras like Hasselblad where the stock screens truly sucked on some models back in the past. Brightness is one of their characteristics, but since they don't make a screen for your camera, it is not pertinent.

Steve
07-04-2015, 11:27 AM   #11
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Actually, I've heard good reviews on a few Chinese Vendors; Jinfinance and Terence Camera

There have been some complaints about the screens not working properly, but I have suspicions that a few folk ordered the *IST/K10D/K20 screens and tried to put them in K-7/5/50/30's; Basically, putting the screens in upside down, as well as having a slightly different thickness, IIRC.

Reguardless, I plan on getting one of these and one of the K10D screens as well.
07-05-2015, 11:03 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mothballs Quote
. . . There have been some complaints about the screens not working properly, but I have suspicions that a few folk ordered the *IST/K10D/K20 screens and tried to put them in K-7/5/50/30's; Basically, putting the screens in upside down, as well as having a slightly different thickness, IIRC.
That could be, but then the tab would be on the wrong side, so you'd have to be pretty careless. I think their experience more echoes mine with the KatzEye I got for my K200D. They've closed up shop now, so I can't get it adjusted, but the stock Pentax screen was quite a ways off. You just couldn't tell because it's so awful. So of course the KatzEye screen was also off, but now you could tell. I didn't want to be without my camera for two weeks, so I just lived with it -- focus on something, then turn slowly until the stop sign came on. It was irritating but so much better than the stock screen that I still called it a "win".

I think manufacturers take advantage of the fact that the focusing screens are crappy and don't calibrate the viewfinders any more.

Last edited by fredralphfred; 07-05-2015 at 11:03 AM. Reason: Double-carriage-return bug
07-05-2015, 02:58 PM   #13
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I had sent Katzeye a friendly email anyways, wishing them all the best in the future with whatever they decide to do.
They'll drop me an email if they ever produce some screens again though, and if I get one I'll let you guys know in here too.
07-06-2015, 05:40 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by fredralphfred Quote
That could be, but then the tab would be on the wrong side, so you'd have to be pretty careless. I think their experience more echoes mine with the KatzEye I got for my K200D. They've closed up shop now, so I can't get it adjusted, but the stock Pentax screen was quite a ways off. You just couldn't tell because it's so awful. So of course the KatzEye screen was also off, but now you could tell. I didn't want to be without my camera for two weeks, so I just lived with it -- focus on something, then turn slowly until the stop sign came on. It was irritating but so much better than the stock screen that I still called it a "win".

I think manufacturers take advantage of the fact that the focusing screens are crappy and don't calibrate the viewfinders any more.
I've seen people put windows in upside down. Hell, I've seen some really really stupid things from my time doing construction. From "trained professionals" with the drawings and exact measurements infront of them.

I've come to expect careless decision making.



I think the diopter adjustment is telling of build tolerances, so you might not be off there.
09-09-2015, 03:07 PM   #15
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Just a heads up for all looking for a katzeye focusing screen, I got this email a few minutes ago:

"Dear Fellow Photographer,



I am writing you today because you expressed an interest in purchasing a KatzEye™ focusing screen. As you may know, it has been my plan to close KatzEye™ Optics and move on to other ventures. However, because of the overwhelming feedback, and because there is still some remaining raw material, I have arranged to do one final production run. We will be taking orders until all the remaining material has been spoken for, at which point, the production will begin. It may take a few weeks to get the necessary orders or it might take longer – it all depends on our customers’ response. Once we have enough orders in hand, I will fire up the production equipment one last time and fill those orders. Thank you all very much for your kind feedback and giving me the nudge to do it one more time.



Warmest regards,

Rachael Katz, Owner
KatzEye™ Optics
"


So I suggest you guys start ordering! Can't wait for mine

Last edited by Topsy; 09-09-2015 at 03:21 PM.
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