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02-24-2017, 12:39 PM   #1
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ME Super from KEH, Focusing Screen Problem

Hello,

I have received my ME Super from KEH (in bargain condition), and the focusing screen seems to be a bit off. When a lens is set to infinity and looking through the viewfinder to check focus, only the right half of the microprism ring shows in focus, both split prism and the left part of the microprism shows out of focus. Tried this with my Lomo Volna 50/1.8 and FA43. Any suggestions?

Sincerely

02-24-2017, 01:03 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Two possibilities:

1. The screen needs a shim.

2. The viewfinder needs a diopter adjustment.
02-24-2017, 01:04 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Two possibilities:

1. The screen needs a shim.

2. The viewfinder needs a diopter adjustment.
Shall I send it back to KEH for adjustments since it is still in the 180 day warranty?
02-24-2017, 01:10 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by butangmucat Quote
Shall I send it back to KEH for adjustments since it is still in the 180 day warranty?
Sometimes you need to have your eye exactly in the middle of the viewfinder.

Regards

Chris

02-24-2017, 01:11 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by seventhdr Quote
Sometimes you need to have your eye exactly in the middle of the viewfinder.

Regards

Chris
Is this only a problem of ME Super or this can happen randomly on film SLRs? Because I seemed to have no problem from a Program Plus which I upgraded from.
02-24-2017, 01:25 PM - 1 Like   #6
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I've found it mostly a problem with split image focusing screens. You need to get your eye dead centre. It also depends on the type of focusing screen you have and the lens that is attached. For the Pentax LX which has interchangeable focusing screens the instructions note that some combinations of lenses and focusing screens can go dark or not work properly.

I'd also take the lens off and look at the focusing screen through the lens mount to see if it looked centred.

Regards

Chris
02-24-2017, 01:54 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by butangmucat Quote
Hello,

I have received my ME Super from KEH (in bargain condition), and the focusing screen seems to be a bit off. When a lens is set to infinity and looking through the viewfinder to check focus, only the right half of the microprism ring shows in focus, both split prism and the left part of the microprism shows out of focus. Tried this with my Lomo Volna 50/1.8 and FA43. Any suggestions?

Sincerely
What surface are you focusing against? Microprism is sort of fussy about surface. It must have texture and sufficient contrast in that texture to produce a grainy pattern.* Turn the camera upside down. Does the pattern reverse (right side OOF when split image is centered)? Is the OOF condition visible in the ground-glass ring around the microprism?

It is possible that your ME Super's screen is not adjusted properly. There are three focus adjust screws that determine the screen vertical position and leveling. It is also possible that the mirror and/or the mount flange may not be properly aligned.

Regardless of cause, if it bugs you, send it back.


Steve

* Each facet of the microprism is, in essence, a split image.
02-24-2017, 02:04 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by seventhdr Quote
Sometimes you need to have your eye exactly in the middle of the viewfinder.

Regards

Chris
I simply tried to focus it on distant trees.

---------- Post added 02-24-17 at 02:05 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by seventhdr Quote
Sometimes you need to have your eye exactly in the middle of the viewfinder.

Regards

Chris
Yeah, moving my eye around the viewfinder did make things in focus via viewfinder.

---------- Post added 02-24-17 at 02:06 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
What surface are you focusing against? Microprism is sort of fussy about surface. It must have texture and sufficient contrast in that texture to produce a grainy pattern.* Turn the camera upside down. Does the pattern reverse (right side OOF when split image is centered)? Is the OOF condition visible in the ground-glass ring around the microprism?

It is possible that your ME Super's screen is not adjusted properly. There are three focus adjust screws that determine the screen vertical position and leveling. It is also possible that the mirror and/or the mount flange may not be properly aligned.

Regardless of cause, if it bugs you, send it back.


Steve

* Each facet of the microprism is, in essence, a split image.
Am contacting KEH sales, see what they says. But I love how this ME Super feels.

02-24-2017, 02:17 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by butangmucat Quote
I simply tried to focus it on distant trees.
Repeat your test using something closer. If there is a misalignment, it will be much more evident at 3 meters than at 300 meters.


Steve
02-24-2017, 02:23 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Repeat your test using something closer. If there is a misalignment, it will be much more evident at 3 meters than at 300 meters.


Steve
Tried again with several objects from 0.7m to 5m, moving my eyes has a significant effect on the focusing experience. Even slightly off will screw up focus. It looks more like a slight dioptre problem.

I recalled, this used to be an issue with my KM and my K-S2, however they are less obvious.

Is there a way to do a dioptre adjustment on ME Super?

P.S. I am near-sighted so I do wear glasses.
02-24-2017, 02:51 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by butangmucat Quote
Is there a way to do a dioptre adjustment on ME Super?
Pentax made a series of slide-on adapters in various strengths called "Diopter Correction Lens Adapter M". They fit all Pentax K-mount cameras with the exception of K-series bodies. The negative diopters are much more common than the positive versions and are often found on Amazon and eBay.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/accessoryreviews/pentax-diopter-correction-lens-adapter-m.html


Steve
02-24-2017, 07:38 PM   #12
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The screen may not be seated properly. With my Minolta X-700 it was very easy to install the screen slightly off center so that screen would not be parallel to the plane of focus. The result is one side or the other would be out of focus.

If KEH CLAed the camera they may have removed the screen to clean the prism.

Eyeball off center effects are most noticable in the split prism - one part darker than the other - and gets more pronounced the longer the focal length or slower the lens.

Send it back.
02-24-2017, 07:52 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by butangmucat Quote
I simply tried to focus it on distant trees.

---------- Post added 02-24-17 at 02:05 PM ----------


Yeah, moving my eye around the viewfinder did make things in focus via viewfinder.

---------- Post added 02-24-17 at 02:06 PM ----------


Am contacting KEH sales, see what they says. But I love how this ME Super feels.
From all that you've said and the fact that you wear glasses, I'm inclined to think that your ME Super is fine and it's just a matter of getting used to the split screen and/or getting a diopter adjustment. How is the splitscreen if you wear your glasses?

The optical design of a split screen is kind of interesting in that the light doesn't actually focus on the split screen surface but passes through to your eye. The carved shape in the plastic is actually two little half-lenses for refracting light coming from different parts of the lens aperture. If the lens is in focus then the two half-images will line up on the centerline of the splitscreen.

But that optical design can play tricks with people who wear glasses or need glasses because their eyes might not be correctly focusing the image coming through the little half-lenses. And if one's eye is off-center in the viewfinder, one of the half-lenses may be looking through the edge of the lens aperture, making it dim or fuzzy.


Good luck & enjoy the ME Super!
02-24-2017, 08:25 PM   #14
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My first SLR was an ME Special Edition
My second SLR was a Super Program.

I am near-sighted, but I don't remember whether I actually used glasses with either of them {today I don't}

I found using the two of them, in particularly focusing, to be the same {I cannot test that now; the ME SE got damp at Niagara Falls; I purchased the Super Program to replace the ME SE, and then dumped the ME SE} I would expect an ME Super to behave the same as my two.
02-24-2017, 08:58 PM   #15
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I've worn eyeglasses nearly all my life and am extremely nearsighted (-10 diopter) with astigmatism to boot. I have never had any of the issues described by the OP with any of my MF cameras with split and microprism focusing screen.

It's only with slow lenses (f/5.6 or slower) that blackening of the split prism or micro collar becomes a problem which is usually solved by moving the eye/camera ever so slightly left or right.

It still sounds like an alignment problem to me. Something is off the plane of focus. You could always open the camera and put a piece of tracing or wax paper over the shutter opening and in bulb mode check the focus of the image projected on the tracing paper.. If something parallel to the film plane is out of focus on one side this would indicate the lens or mount being out of alignment. If only the image in the viewfinder shows unbalanced focus then the alignment problem is probably with the mirror or focus screen.

Send the camera back.
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