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08-10-2015, 10:02 PM   #1
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Split Image Focusing Screen for K-50?

I shoot a K-50 (and LOVE IT!) However, my eyesight is going south on me.... to the point that focusing manual lenses has become quite difficult. Often, it's a hit and/or miss situation that involves multiple shots and hoping that at least ONE will be in focus. My question: Is it possible to have a split image focusing screen installed in the K-50? That would be the cat's pajamas for a lot of us "seasoned citizens." If the answer is yes, where would one have said replacement done and how about the cost to achieve this modification?

08-10-2015, 10:35 PM   #2
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Yep, I had a Katzeye put into the almost identical K-30. Problem is, they've gone out of business.

But it's possible.
08-11-2015, 12:30 AM   #3
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There are other companies that provide similar screens, but I don't think any of them meet the quality and customer service levels of Katzeye.

I'd love one for my K3 but alas it's not now possible.

Another option would be to pick up a Pentax DSLR that already has a Katzeye screen fitted.
08-11-2015, 04:32 AM   #4
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I joined a local facebook group about photography and asked if anyone had an old, defunct SLR with a split screen that they would give away. A few days later I was able to pick one up. I took out the focusing screen, cut it down to my K5's dimensions and put it in. Works like a charm and cost me nothing except for the metro ticket to pick up the old camera. Maybe I just got lucky, because the screen didn't need any shimming or other treatment at all. I put it in and focus was right on. No problems with metering that I noticed so far, either.

I have to say that the small viewfinder of APSC DSLRs doesn't really make using a split screen that much more enjoyable than the standard focusing screen. One thing that really helped me in this regard is a magnifying eyecup (I think the Pentax one is called OME53 or something).

08-11-2015, 06:01 AM   #5
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I have been told that the Nikon K3 screen is pretty good, several options exist to get those precut to fit your camera. Shining may be required, the sick screw focus is sloppy and more tolerant of shining errors.
08-11-2015, 06:11 AM   #6
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I was thinking of picking up a "Nikon K3" style screen for my "K-3" from these guys: Focusing Screen

Anyone have experience with them?

Michael
08-11-2015, 07:58 AM - 1 Like   #7
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I have a dual 45 degree split image screen I purchased from Terence Camera on ebay. It cost about $20 and works great. I can't imagine using manual focus lenses on my K-50 without it. There were no fitment issues, no shims required, and focus is accurate. Because the split-prism and micro-prism rings distort light, metering can be off at times (all prism focus screens will do this). At most, I compensate -1.
08-12-2015, 01:11 AM   #8
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I think the biggest problem is cutting down the screen without breaking it.

08-13-2015, 01:16 AM - 1 Like   #9
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I found that a better alternative to a split image focusing screen is to use the AF fine adjustment to set the point of best focus to coincide with the front edge of the indicated in focus range/ zone ie the point at which the green focus indicator becomes solidly lit. You can then simply turn the focus ring from the mfd towards infinity until (the point at which) the focus confirm light comes solidly on. After a few minutes this becomes almost second nature and correct focus can be achieved both quickly and reliably.

This method works surprisingly well on both my K-30 & K-5iis with Pentax-A 28mm, 35-105mm and 28-135mm etc. On some lens which focus past infinity (eg some Tamron Adaptall zooms) it can work better in reverse ie going from past infinity down towards the mfd. Setting the metering time to 3 seconds can help speed up the process when focusing on tricky subjects where you may need repeat a couple of times to establish the optimum focus position. Hope this helps.
08-13-2015, 01:33 AM   #10
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Interesting approach, Infocus - thanks!
08-13-2015, 02:51 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by MJSfoto1956 Quote
I was thinking of picking up a "Nikon K3" style screen for my "K-3" from these guys: Focusing Screen

Anyone have experience with them?

Michael
until I realized the prices listed were in Taiwanese dollars, I thought those were awfully expensive...
08-13-2015, 03:33 AM   #12
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O.K., so let me ask another question about replacing the stock focusing screen with an alternative. How does one do this..... or is it best left to a professional? Does Eric do this sort of thing?
08-13-2015, 07:07 AM   #13
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there are install instructions on the web page MJS linked - they look pretty straight-forward.....

---------- Post added 08-13-15 at 07:11 AM ----------

but I'm not sure that I'd be comfortable with it....
08-14-2015, 05:49 AM   #14
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I was looking at the same situation and instead of spending $$ on a Katzeye I bought a cheapo split screen on Ebay for 20.00. Works great, no screen darkness. Very happy with it
08-15-2015, 08:27 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by MJSfoto1956 Quote
I was thinking of picking up a "Nikon K3" style screen for my "K-3" from these guys: Focusing Screen

Anyone have experience with them?

Michael
I ordered one from focusingscreen.com for my K10 in 2008 I believe.
It worked quite well with the A 50 1.4/1.7/2.0 and came with tweezers, rubber finger gloves, shims...
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