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05-22-2015, 07:17 PM   #1
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K-3 Focus Screens for Manual Focusing

As a new K-3 owner, I am quite happy overall with my new toy, um, er, my "serious photographic tool". However, I am finding that I am not doing as well as I'd like with focusing MF lenses. The default Pentax screen is not very helpful, in that objects do not snap into and out of focus at all -- as I focus back and forth, they just go gradually from more fuzzy to less fuzzy and gradually back again to more fuzzy, making for lots of guesswork and little certainty.

I previously had used a Katzeye split image (and collar) screen on a K20D, and it made manual focusing a "snap" (no pun intended), although it did affect metering somewhat. However, even if I wanted to go in that direction again, I now find out that Katzscreen has gone out of business. (I'm also pretty familiar with changing and using LX focus screens, but I know that such experience is not of much help with adapting my K-3 for better MF.)

I find myself looking askance at the inexpensive focus screens I see on eBay (although I really have no direct experience with them to disparage them for).

The moderately expensive focus screens at FocusingScreen.com are simply an unknown to me, and the rather expensive Beattie Intenscreens at CameraScreens.com are, well, rather expensive.

I found that my K20D Katzeye screen had installed and worked quite nicely (except for the exposure skewing) right out of the box, but I am wondering if some of the current alternatives might be more fiddly, requiring "playing" with various shims, etc.

So, does anyone want to offer advice on this matter? (I did find a somewhat useful 2-year-old thread here on Pentax Forums, but it raised as many questions as it provided answers, and I'm wondering if the assembled multitudes of K-3 users might have newer advice to offer.) Thanks for listening.

05-22-2015, 08:24 PM   #2
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Focusingscreen.com experience

I have a K5, and primarily use manual focus lenses.

I picked up an S type screen from focusingscreen.com and found it easy to install. I checked for FF/BF and found slight back focusing, so I replaced the standard shims in the camera with supplied thinner versions in the screen kit, which was also easy to do.

In use I find that metering in landscape/portait orientation differs since I added the screen, other than that it's been a huge improvment over the standard screen when focusing wide aperture lenses manually.

I can't compare to Katzeye, but I certainly have no hesitation in recommending them if you also seek improvements in manually focussing wide aperture lenses.


Tas
05-22-2015, 11:20 PM   #3
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Katzeye seems to be coming back in business soon. Check out their website

---------- Post added 05-23-15 at 01:22 AM ----------

Woops
Looks like they tried to sell the business but failed.
05-23-2015, 04:34 AM   #4
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I just fitted my K-3 with a Canon S-type from focusingscreen.com. It is plane with no grid or AF-frame (https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/265003-pentax-k-3-compatib...us-screen.html indicated that focusingscreen grids/AF-frames affects exposure).
So far I have only tested it with a Sigma 50 mm 1.4 and the exposure is consistent compared to the original screen (f1.4 through f16). It is easier to achive manual focus with this lens. I will continue to evaluate it with other lenses, including the Adaptall ones.



A little over a year ago I fitted my K-5II with a Canon Ec-L screen with 1/3 grid from the same supplier. I use most of my Tamron Adaptall lenses with that body and after changing the shim to compensate for a slite front focus it works well with all manual lenses including the 500 mm mirror lenses at f8 (eventhough f8 is on the limit). Exposure isn't affected under normal conditions as far as I can determine.



I must say that I'm very satisfied with the screens and service from focusingscreen.com.

05-23-2015, 04:38 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tas Quote
In use I find that metering in landscape/portait orientation differs since I added the screen, other than that it's been a huge improvment over the standard screen when focusing wide aperture lenses manually.
Thanks for your input, Tas.

1. I am confused (sorry) by "metering in landscape/portait orientation differs" -- do you mean that metering differs between landscape orientation and portrait orientation, and if so how?

2. You mentioned "when focusing wide aperture lenses manually" -- what effect(s), if any, do you see when using slower lenses -- how does focusing seem with slower lenses, and/or is there any screen darkening because of the S screen, and/or...?

Thanks for clarifying.
05-23-2015, 05:35 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bengan Quote
I just fitted my K-3 with a Canon S-type from focusingscreen.com. It is plane with no grid or AF-frame (https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/265003-pentax-k-3-compatib...us-screen.html indicated that focusingscreen grids/AF-frames affects exposure).
So far I have only tested it with a Sigma 50 mm 1.4 and the exposure is consistent compared to the original screen (f1.4 through f16). It is easier to achive manual focus with this lens. I will continue to evaluate it with other lenses, including the Adaptall ones.
A little over a year ago I fitted my K-5II with a Canon Ec-L screen with 1/3 grid from the same supplier. I use most of my Tamron Adaptall lenses with that body and after changing the shim to compensate for a slite front focus it works well with all manual lenses including the 500 mm mirror lenses at f8 (eventhough f8 is on the limit). Exposure isn't affected under normal conditions as far as I can determine.
I must say that I'm very satisfied with the screens and service from focusingscreen.com.
Thanks for your report, Bengan. I am particularly grateful for the link to the "https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/265003-pentax-k-3-compatib...us-screen.html" thread (which I had missed when searching), because it seems to indicate that a plain S screen might be the best to try (if I'm gonna take the plunge)

The biggest problem for me would be erratic metering and exposures. If the metering were off somewhat, but in a consistent manner, then it would be reasonably simple to compensate for. However, if metering were all over the place for different lenses and under different shooting conditions, then that would take a lot of the fun out of shooting -- easier focusing but erratic metering (from fast primes to slower zooms to f/8 mirrors) would be different but certainly not better. Hmmm...
05-23-2015, 08:23 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by fwcetus Quote
As a new K-3 owner, I am quite happy overall with my new toy, um, er, my "serious photographic tool". However, I am finding that I am not doing as well as I'd like with focusing MF lenses. The default Pentax screen is not very helpful, in that objects do not snap into and out of focus at all -- as I focus back and forth, they just go gradually from more fuzzy to less fuzzy and gradually back again to more fuzzy, making for lots of guesswork and little certainty.

I previously had used a Katzeye split image (and collar) screen on a K20D, and it made manual focusing a "snap" (no pun intended), although it did affect metering somewhat. However, even if I wanted to go in that direction again, I now find out that Katzscreen has gone out of business. (I'm also pretty familiar with changing and using LX focus screens, but I know that such experience is not of much help with adapting my K-3 for better MF.)

I find myself looking askance at the inexpensive focus screens I see on eBay (although I really have no direct experience with them to disparage them for).

The moderately expensive focus screens at FocusingScreen.com are simply an unknown to me, and the rather expensive Beattie Intenscreens at CameraScreens.com are, well, rather expensive.

I found that my K20D Katzeye screen had installed and worked quite nicely (except for the exposure skewing) right out of the box, but I am wondering if some of the current alternatives might be more fiddly, requiring "playing" with various shims, etc.

So, does anyone want to offer advice on this matter? (I did find a somewhat useful 2-year-old thread here on Pentax Forums, but it raised as many questions as it provided answers, and I'm wondering if the assembled multitudes of K-3 users might have newer advice to offer.) Thanks for listening.
In my K10D I installed an LL-60 screen from the *ist D series. This is a matte screen with coarser texture, and makes focusing my M400 easy. For my own weird penchant for tilting scenes when photographing, I find the 3x3 grid a hlep in keeping trees and buildings standing straight. The grid on the LL-60 shows fine black lines, similar to those on the original screen.

Last edited by Canada_Rockies; 05-23-2015 at 08:34 AM. Reason: Added comment about line colours.
05-23-2015, 04:23 PM   #8
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I am confusing at the best of times unfortunately

QuoteOriginally posted by fwcetus Quote
Thanks for your input, Tas.

1. I am confused (sorry) by "metering in landscape/portait orientation differs" -- do you mean that metering differs between landscape orientation and portrait orientation, and if so how?

2. You mentioned "when focusing wide aperture lenses manually" -- what effect(s), if any, do you see when using slower lenses -- how does focusing seem with slower lenses, and/or is there any screen darkening because of the S screen, and/or...?

Thanks for clarifying.
Hi, sorry for the late reply.

1. Normally I shoot in manual and Av. When in Av there have been occasions where the change of camera orientation meant the need for exposure compensation. It was usually a case of a correctly exposed image in landscape to underexposure when going to portrait orientation. Of note is my choice of screen, the S type with grid and AF frame, which as indicated will cause issues with exposure. It's a non-issue in manual mode and to be honest I don't think it's anything more than annoying; though my next S type will have the grid pattern still, I will drop the AF frame.

2. I don't really notice the difference with slower lenses or when stopping down. Maybe because it's been so long since I used the standard screen, so whether in comparison to the standard screen it is harder or not I don't know. I don't notice it to be honest and get more out of having the S screen than not. My hit rate with wide apertures was too low with the standard screen and when I buy my next camera I will be looking to using an S type again.

Hopefully that clarifies my responses better.

Tas

05-23-2015, 04:44 PM   #9
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A different orientation can affect the exposure. Using Centre weighted metering with bottom weight, as most centre weighted meters do, going portrait will move the sky into the bottom weighted area of the meter which is now on the right or the left of the scene, causing the meter to stop down or speed up the shutter to compensate for what it sees as a brighter scene.
05-23-2015, 08:25 PM   #10
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Something I didn't know

QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
A different orientation can affect the exposure. Using Centre weighted metering with bottom weight, as most centre weighted meters do, going portrait will move the sky into the bottom weighted area of the meter which is now on the right or the left of the scene, causing the meter to stop down or speed up the shutter to compensate for what it sees as a brighter scene.
That's interesting to know, though I can't say if it was occuring whilst set at centre weighted metering, as I tend to leave it on centre weighted/spot metering. The manual clearly indicates the increased sensitivity with height (ie turning the camera into portrait orientation), though I only really noticed it with the change of screen. Maybe I changed metering mode around then too and failed to remember that point.

Thanks for pointing it out.

Tas
05-24-2015, 05:07 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tas Quote
1. Normally I shoot in manual and Av. [...]
2. I don't really notice the difference with slower lenses or when stopping down. [...]
Hopefully that clarifies my responses better.
Yes, indeed - thanks for "unmuddling" me..

QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
A different orientation can affect the exposure. Using Centre weighted metering with bottom weight, as most centre weighted meters do, going portrait will move the sky into the bottom weighted area of the meter which is now on the right or the left of the scene, causing the meter to stop down or speed up the shutter to compensate for what it sees as a brighter scene.
Ah, well, that does make sense. Thanks for the explanation.
05-30-2015, 05:19 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by fwcetus Quote
Thanks for your report, Bengan. I am particularly grateful for the link to the "Pentax K-3 Compatibility with S type Focus Screen" thread (which I had missed when searching), because it seems to indicate that a plain S screen might be the best to try (if I'm gonna take the plunge)
Yep! Either that or the Nikon-K3 screen that is functionally similar to the KatzEye product only without the option for OptiBrite. I would avoid the bright-line etchings regardless of screen type.


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05-30-2015, 06:02 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Yep! Either that or the Nikon-K3 screen that is functionally similar to the KatzEye product only without the option for OptiBrite. I would avoid the bright-line etchings regardless of screen type.
Hmmm... I guess I'm still undecided about whether/what focus screen change(s) to make.

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Yep! Either that or the Nikon-K3 screen that is functionally similar to the KatzEye product only without the option for OptiBrite. I would avoid the bright-line etchings regardless of screen type.
Yes -- I see that those bright etchings may cause some significant exposure problems.
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