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05-09-2016, 06:07 PM   #1
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Manual focus results with fast lenses - magnification needed

So the first night I had the K-1, I tried shooting with the Komura 100/1.8 ("King of Ernostars") lens wide open. Results with the focusing screen were a disaster, never focused where I wanted it. But with live view it was easy to nail focus. So the question was whether the focusing screen was mis-calibrated, or just not decisive enough (too bright) to focus with such fast glass.

I'd read that the O-ME53 magnifier works well on the K-1. So I dug mine out tonight. Started with the Pentax-A 50/1.2, subject distance 6 feet. Nailed focus with the magnifier, but missed without. Then switched to the Komura 100/1.8, same results, nailed it with the magnifier (but it's still not easy), and missed without.

Of course the Komura 100/1.8 was harder to focus, since depth-of-focus was 0.11 feet, where it was 0.3 feet for the 50/1.2. Plus, the 100/1.8 never really gets "sharp" at f/1.8, another part of the focusing challenge. It's not a pixel-peeper's lens! (Bought it cheaply on a lark not knowing it was a crazy-bokeh cult-classic lens.)

The O-ME53 coverage is very good on the K-1. You can see the whole image, but when you shift your eye to see the full information at the bottom, you lose the top corners. This is without glasses, it's pretty pathetic with my reading glasses. (I don't use those on any camera, I just dial in the right diopter adjustment.)

This certainly reduces my disappointment about the non-interchangeable focusing screen on the K-1. There's two good alternatives: live view or O-ME53.

---------- Post added 05-09-2016 at 09:08 PM ----------

Oh, I also had the same problems with the Samyang 135/2.0 lens the first night, manual focus didn't cut it. Focus confirmation OK, live view OK.

05-09-2016, 06:23 PM   #2
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Was your LiveView MF just using magnification, or did you turn focus peaking on in LiveView too?

If you were using focus peaking, does the 'focus peaking + turn on highlight alert' trick work as well as it does in the K-3?
05-09-2016, 06:23 PM   #3
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I swapped my O-ME53 from my K-5 to K-1 for the 135mm tests yesterday. I think the viewfinder might be a little darker - like 3% - but it is SO much easier to MF. Guess I should by another one for the K-5.. .heh...
05-09-2016, 07:37 PM   #4
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Live view on the K-1 was with focus peaking, no magnification. It was very effective.

Never really took to using the O-ME53 on the K-5, but I have a cut-down Canon screen in there from focusingscreen.com. That was good enough for there.

05-09-2016, 07:41 PM   #5
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The focusing screen comes with K1 (or any DSLR) is not for MF lenses. It shows much deeper DOF than it real is.
Using live-view is the easiest way for your 100/1.8. i used Nikon 105/1.8 on A7 and it great.
Or you can install an MF focusing screen on your camera. But you might want to think twice before do surgery on your K1.
05-10-2016, 01:36 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Shriver Quote
I'd read that the O-ME53 magnifier works well on the K-1.

I had the idea to install O-ME53 (which I have on both K-7 and K-3), but so far I've changed my mind, because I would actually reduce the size of the viewfinder rapidly this way. It seemed me like I'd downgrade the K-1.
05-10-2016, 03:00 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by grahame Quote
Or you can install an MF focusing screen on your camera. But you might want to think twice before do surgery on your K1.
No, not changeable, Grahame. There is an overlay.



05-13-2016, 09:12 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
No, not changeable, Grahame. There is an overlay.
Yes, I forgot that.
I wonder why Pentax can not offer different focusing screening as options when ordering, at least for some special request with some $ above regular price. Canon makes different screens for DSLRs...

05-13-2016, 09:24 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by grahame Quote
I wonder why Pentax can not offer different focusing screening as options when ordering, at least for some special request with some $ above regular price.
This is an interesting idea, however pentax would have to offer more options for camera customization in order to make this a financially viable option. The only manufacturer which allows users to order and customize a stock model camera is Leica with the la carte Leica program which allows buyers to order cameras with uncommon frame-lines, custom viewfinder magnifications, personalized engraving and markings on the camera body*, the colour and type of material used for the grip, the kind of metal plating or painted finish on the camera body, film advance crank modifications for full stroke advance,half or quarter**...etc


QuoteOriginally posted by grahame Quote
Canon makes different screens for DSLRs
They do, but they are never pre-installed in any of their DSLRs. They are always considered a post purchase modification.


*Or no markings at all for that stealth leica look.
** Quarter frame advance Leicas are very rare but the reason for this is because they are a pain, Literally. Order this option it you want to suffer from hand cramps and inflamed thumb tendons.

Last edited by Digitalis; 05-13-2016 at 09:32 AM.
05-13-2016, 09:32 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by noser Quote
I swapped my O-ME53 from my K-5 to K-1 for the 135mm tests yesterday. I think the viewfinder might be a little darker - like 3% - but it is SO much easier to MF. Guess I should by another one for the K-5.. .heh...
I did the same, took O-ME53 from K5iis, and noticed the VF got darker, and I did not feel that magnifier helps like it does with cropped camera. So, I took it off, and keep practicing with catch-in-focus. It's a bit tricky, and it seems that somehow the area in focus is smaller than focusing usual way, but it works pretty well for me.
I want to buy Hoodman screen loupe, with flexible screen is should be easy to use to nail the sharpness with MF.
05-13-2016, 08:29 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
I did the same, took O-ME53 from K5iis, and noticed the VF got darker, and I did not feel that magnifier helps like it does with cropped camera. So, I took it off, and keep practicing with catch-in-focus. It's a bit tricky, and it seems that somehow the area in focus is smaller than focusing usual way, but it works pretty well for me.
I want to buy Hoodman screen loupe, with flexible screen is should be easy to use to nail the sharpness with MF.
I was going to buy a Hoodman so to see if I liked the idea I built one for $1 using a square magnifier from the Dollar Store. I liked it so much I still use it if I'm going to be outdoors and shooting thin DoF or video.

But with the focus peaking on the K-1 I'm not sure it would be needed. Maybe a simple shade...

Scratch that. Focus peaking isn't shown when recording ... I guess. I just tried it.
05-14-2016, 06:08 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by noser Quote
But with the focus peaking on the K-1 I'm not sure it would be needed. Maybe a simple shade...
It's difficult for me to see the screen outdoors, no matter how I adjust the screen outdoors settings.
05-14-2016, 06:31 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
It's difficult for me to see the screen outdoors, no matter how I adjust the screen outdoors settings.
That is odd. I have been delighted with the outdoor settings for the LCD even in mid-day Arizona desert sun.
05-14-2016, 06:32 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mikesul Quote
That is odd. I have been delighted with the outdoor settings for the LCD even in mid-day Arizona desert sun.
It's a personal issue- my damn aged eyes
05-14-2016, 07:49 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
It's a personal issue- my damn aged eyes
I hear ya. I can still see outdoors. Just not very close up. My progressive lenses aren't as progressive as they used to be!
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