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04-05-2014, 08:41 AM   #1
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Focus screen for K3

I'm thinking about a split image focus screen from Katz-Eye optics. Does anyone have any experience with them? I understand they throw off exposure slightly when using center spot metering at small apertures. And is Katz-Eye a good brand, I don't want to throw away $125.00 on junk?

04-05-2014, 08:52 AM   #2
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I have a Katz-Eye screen, which I use with my Takumar lenses. I've had no issues with it.
04-05-2014, 09:07 AM   #3
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I went with a Canon Ee-S in my K-5, not only did it not affect the spot metering it also improved stop down metering at smaller apertures. It is perfectly linear unlike the original Pentax screen and I can use Av mode with M42 lenses without worrying about compensation. It is a plain matte screen, but it is so much more precise than the original, you can see f1.4 easily. It is nice because you're able to see what is in or out of focus in the entire frame, not just the center.

I have a cheaper split prism in my K100D, it made spot metering mostly useless. I still like it though and Av mode isn't that bad on most lenses with about +1ev dialed in.
04-05-2014, 09:16 AM   #4
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I really wanted the split image to use with my older manual lenses but I'd like to at least look at the Canon, can they be found on there web site?

04-05-2014, 09:24 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by KenMasonphotography Quote
I really wanted the split image to use with my older manual lenses but I'd like to at least look at the Canon, can they be found on there web site?
I bought mine through Focusing Screen, they take original screens and cut them to fit many cameras, they also offer splits. The Canon screen is called "S Type" on there. I was worried I wasn't going to like the matte screen after using a split, but it is very easy to focus.
04-05-2014, 10:34 AM   #6
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KatzEye does not make junk. Their screens are more expensive, but they have excellent customer service. I have been a happy customer since 2008.* As noted above, the primary impact with most Pentax dSLRs is for spot metering to be biased 1/2 stop or more to overexposure depending on the maximum aperture of the lens mounted. Notice that I said most Pentax dSLRs. The K-3 introduces a new, high definition meter sensor that may be more sensitive to the focus aides on the screen than the previous system.

I have been considering purchase of a K-3 and would like to use it with a KatzEye screen. To that end, I have contacted several forum members who use the combination. The response has been favorable with no reported issues. I have also contacted KatzEye regarding the difference in metering systems and whether they plan to specifically test their screen against the K-3.

The Canon eE-S screen is a good alternative that should not effect metering and as noted above, is available through focusingscreen.com. I have not used it personally, but would welcome a fine-focus alternative without the disturbing viewfinder clutter of the focus aids. On 35mm film, the split-image with microprism ring is fairly small and unobtrusive, but on APS-C, they are huge.


Steve

* KatzEye with Optibrite on my K10D. Optibrite is worth the extra money. I have owned both versions. Remember the good customer service? They were willing to take my original non-Optibrite screen back as full credit against the Optibrite screen I now own.

Last edited by stevebrot; 04-05-2014 at 10:49 AM.
04-05-2014, 11:16 AM   #7
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The overwhelming majority of folks who have tried both the s-type and the katz-eye (including myself) prefer the s-type. In fact, I only recall reading of one person who went back to a katz-eye after trying an s-type, and that's because he had quite a few older and really slow mirror-type lenses. There is some darkening of the VF with these type of lenses, but most folks aren't bothered by it.

With the s-type you can just plain see the depth-of-field down to f/1.4. Katz-eye just doesn't have the capability to do that, and relies on an obtrusive "gadget", for lack of a better term, in the middle of your VF to get the more meager results that it offers. The improved metering is just icing on the cake for me.

I think you will find that it goes: s-type > katz-eye > stock screen.

I agree that Rachel at Katz-eye does offer superior customer service and generally knows her stuff, but ultimately, what's more important, getting great service or getting the best screen?
04-05-2014, 11:31 AM   #8
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If you look here on the comparison you can see the difference between the standard screen and the others they offer. The standard screen is listed as A type.
Focusing Screen Comparison

Original screen, you can tell roughly where it is focused, but a lot of it appears to be in focus. It shows more DOF than is really there.



S type screen, you can see the focus is on the corner of the house. That is the true DOF you're working with.


04-05-2014, 01:04 PM   #9
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Anyone know the prices of the two, I believe the Katz-Eye is about $125?
04-05-2014, 01:20 PM   #10
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Shipped to the US mine was about $90 for a plain S type with no lines on it, that included shims for calibration and everything needed to install it. It took about a week to get it. I'm not sure how they cut them, but it was a very professional job and looks just as clean as the original. Most of the cost is having them cut it, the screen alone costs $35.

I used the charts found here to calibrate mine, just printed them on some thick paper so they would stand up easily when folded.
PENTAX DSLRs: Front or Back Focusing Problems? Free test (Lens Alignment) charts for Pentax, Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus.

If it is front focusing you need a thinner shim, back focusing you need a thicker one.
04-05-2014, 01:43 PM   #11
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Thanks
04-05-2014, 07:44 PM   #12
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Both are very good. If you have slower lenses, the Katzeye is harder to use because the microprisms get really dark and it interferes with your view of the scene. I'm thinking Takumar 35mm f3.5 for instance. If you have lenses f2.8 and faster you'll be well served by either--the Canon type from focusingscreen.com is less expensive.
04-05-2014, 08:19 PM   #13
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After using both the Katzeye split screen and the canon ee-s screen in my K-5, my vote goes for the ee-s screen.
I have always preferred a split screen or micro prism screen for manually focusing , but the ee-s screen really does make it easier to get accurate focus.

With the split in the center of the screen, I always had to do lots of "focus and recompose"

With the ee-s, I just focus and shoot.
04-05-2014, 08:28 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by KenMasonphotography Quote
Anyone know the prices of the two, I believe the Katz-Eye is about $125?
$105 USD with an additional $50 USD for Optibrite.


Steve
04-08-2014, 03:43 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by KenMasonphotography Quote
I'm thinking about a split image focus screen from Katz-Eye optics. Does anyone have any experience with them? I understand they throw off exposure slightly when using center spot metering at small apertures. And is Katz-Eye a good brand, I don't want to throw away $125.00 on junk?
I have one spare split Katzeye with an Optibrite treatment. It's good particularly for slower lenses (with higher aperture stops), where optibrite makes viewfinder clearer. If you are interested, send me an PM.
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