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01-04-2012, 11:17 AM - 2 Likes   #1
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KPS U-13C Magnifying Eyepiece 1.35x - Review

There were some discussions a few years ago on the Pentax Forums about the KPS U-13C Magnifying Eyepiece 1.35x. I thought I would provide a more current review of this accessory because I found precious little info on it when searching. I've had it for about 5 months on my Pentax K5.

I am not a pixel-peeper, brick-wall photographer, test-chart studier, or excel-spreadsheet-of-my-focal-length-history creator. I am much more subjective. So I will provide a qualitative rather than quantitative account of my 'story' with the KPS U-13C. Neither have I ever tried another eye piece magnifier at all, but I have owned a full-frame dslr recently. Take it for what it's worth.

Not many people seem to know or talk about this accessory. If you're looking for a bigger view with your compact Pentax camera body, read on.

First of all, I only found it available in one place: ebay, from the seller "thisisde1" in Taiwan. This seller has a high rating. My experience was positive. It took a long time in shipping to Canada, as expected, and it was expensive to ship! Perhaps they are making their margins on shipping? At any rate, it's your only choice, and the product/shipping total is $85 Aussie Dollars.

Was it worth it?



This product should be less money, and if one could get it without the almost 50% shipping premium, it is well worth it. Even at this price, I would say it has provided value and enhanced my shooting experience, so with some chagrin to cost, I am recommending it... with some conditions.

It comes with slots for a variety of cameras: Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Sony, Pentax. It slides in where the existing eye cup goes, and you screw it into place with a small Philips screwdriver. On the K5, it went on just fine and has held fast. Another Pentax Forum member suggested to take care that it doesn't loosen and fall off, so I will keep my eye on this, literally.

There are two eye cups, a flat one that's like the Nikon D700 eye piece, and a big rubber cup that looks like a tiny rubber lens hood. I didn't like the big cup as it kept my eye too far away from the view, though in bright sun it would be beneficial so I'll keep it around for a beach day.

I've had the smaller, flat cup on most of the time. It provides pretty much a full frame of view though it does "vignette" very slightly on the corners unless you really shove your eye close. I have deep eye sockets so you're not likely to experience anything worse than I did, and it was very subtle. Depending on how low you screw it on (there's play in how it slides up/down until you screw it on tightly - it does not 'snap' into place), you either get a full view of the in-finder display at the bottom (and lose a titch of the corners at the top) or you have a full frame of view (and a not-quite full view of the outer edges of the in-finder display at the bottom). Once I accepted this when using the flat cup (oxymoron?), it never bothered me and I just took pictures. I opted for the full-frame view, with the requirement of shifting my eye up a bit if I need to see all the in-finder display.

Really though, it's "almost" as complete a view as the OEM finder that comes with the K5 – very close. A stickler might complain but for me I soon didn't worry about it... and went on to enjoy the benefits of this magnifier. And (see below) there's a trick to getting an even BETTER view than this - the full deal.

Before I describe "the view", a caveat... if you are a glasses wearer, I would caution against the investment. You'll lose too much of the frame. Everyone else, this is a good option for you in my unprofessional, personal opinion. And I take no responsibility for your experience! Caveat emptor in all things consumer electronic.

Just recently, I asked myself again, how much better is this thing than the standard eye piece that comes with the K5? To answer, I unscrewed the KPS and did a series of back-and-forth views between it and the Pentax OEM eye piece, just sliding each on and off and comparing. It reconfirmed that the KPS provides a noticeably improved and closer view of things through the finder.

Repeat: the KPS provides a noticeably improved and enlarged view through the finder - in my opinion. It's not noticeably darkened or distorted in any way. It is BIGGER.

To give things a reference, my last camera was a Sony a850. I got into full-frame because of my lenses but also, and primarily, because of the large viewfinder. It was a charm. (Medium format types, go away and brag elsewhere.) But I switched over to Pentax for its small form factor, including lenses, and I'm much happier with a compact kit (and high-iso capabilities, quieter shutter sound, etc etc). But what about the finder? The K5 is certainly as good as the Sony a700 I previously owned, though I've never loved the yellow cast of Pentax. But I just forget about it and I'm fine. Still, my dream was a full-featured monster of an enthusiast camera in a small package (which the K5 is) but with a full-frame view (which the K5 isn't). "Could I get it with the KPS U-13C?" he rambled.

Yes. With a little modification to the KPS. Or rather, a removal.

I gave this a try: I discovered I could get a virtually full view of both the viewfinder frame and in-finder display with the KPS... if I removed the eye cup altogether. The key is: apply less than an inch by quarter-inch of electrician's tape, or a bit of sticky backed foam in the top left corner where your eye socket rests on the eye piece. That's it. Otherwise, it's a bit sharp on the eyebrow. But with just a couple layers of tape, or a bit of foam (which you might have to re-apply occasionally) it's comfortable, and my eye wasn't so removed from the finder view. In fact, it made the difference in frame of view between KPS and the OEM Pentax eye piece virtually undetectable. But it was Bigger. No more "vignetting". Or rather, no difference than the eye piece that comes with the K5 (which still had a wee bit of cutoff in the corners (I must have really deep eye sockets)).

Viola!

And so.... I got what I feel is a viewfinder experience very comparable to that of a full-frame dslr, in a small K5 form factor, with nice little limited primes and not a bunch of megapixels plugging up my hard drive (but that's just me, and I didn't go to full-frame for the resolution, per se, though it was nice).

I remember comparing my a850 to apsc finders previously, and seeing how it brought everything closer and made everything look bigger. Well, that's what the KPS U-13C does on my K5. It's a very noticeable improvement. It makes the view closer and bigger – just like a full-frame camera view. I haven't tried it next to a full-frame dslr so it's only by recollection and by comparison to the OEM K5 eye piece (if I get a chance, I'll add a comment). But I'm pretty convinced it can't be far off from the likes of a 5D, D700 or a900/850 – just a little crowded at the edges, but still all there when the eye cup is removed.

I suppose you could get a full-frame camera and add one of these for a really big view, but perhaps you'd get into some significant corner clipping. And at this time, the full-frame dslr's are still large and heavy things in comparison to the tight little K5. Nor am I that keen on an electronic viewfinder despite the glowing a77 reports. That's my preference.


Conclusion to my KPS U-13C Magnifier review:
I feel I've got the best of both worlds: a small but high-quality camera system within the current dslr offerings, but with a big viewfinder comparable to full-frame.

If you're willing to forgo the eye cups to get a full-view, or to have things just a little bit clipped in the far corners with the eye cup, and if you don't have to wear glasses – despite the cost of purchase/shipping of the U-13C – it is highly recommended.

Yes, highly recommended.

Someone else just needs to start importing these things and bring the price down, then I'd be saying to rush out and buy one. BH? Henrys? Adorama? Vistek? Get on it.

01-04-2012, 12:06 PM   #2
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Very nice review, thanks for all the work in laying out the pluses and minuses with this magnifying eyepiece.
01-04-2012, 03:50 PM   #3
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There are a few versions of this on ebay. Don' get the UCC as it is not a magnifying eyepiece. To save some money, you can get the UMC version.

Unlike the Secureline U-13C, which includes both the ER-23 eye ring & the EC-23 eye cap, the UMC has 1 eye ring that be folded down into an eye cup. Hence some ads have two shots of the same eye ring folded over.

1. Roxsen KPS 1.3x Magnifying Eyepiece for PENTAX camera K200D K10D K20D K-5 K-7 K-x K-r. Says "1.3x" but you can see from the crappy photo that it has "x.xx " on the eyepiece.
$42 USD including Standard Int'l Shipping

KPS 1.3x Magnifying Eyepiece for PENTAX camera K200D K10D K20D K-5 K-7 K-x K-r | eBay

2. KPS UMC 1.35x Magnifying Eyepiece for Nikon, Canon NEW. If you scroll down you will see it covers Pentax as well.
$55.80 USD including Standard Int'l Shipping

KPS UMC 1.35x Magnifying Eyepiece for Nikon, Canon NEW | eBay

3.KPS design UMC Magnifying Eyepiece 1.3X, 3PIECE LENSES.
$44.90 USD including free US shipping. Sells only to continental US.

KPS design UMC Magnifying Eyepiece 1.3X, 3PIECE LENSES | eBay


Dan.

Last edited by dosdan; 01-05-2012 at 12:23 AM.
01-04-2012, 11:20 PM   #4
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Thanks for the review.
I had it once, but sold it off as it could not be mounted on my K100D. (way before my K7 and K5 which can be mounted with it)

Do you have any idea how it compares with Pentax's own 1.25x eyepiece?

01-05-2012, 06:55 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr_Canuck Quote
There were some discussions a few years ago on the Pentax Forums about the KPS U-13C Magnifying Eyepiece 1.35x. I thought I would provide a more current review of this accessory because I found precious little info on it when searching.
It's a good review. Actually eyepieces have been a pretty common topic of conversation in the past: it's kind of been the same choices for some years, now, though, and if others are anything like me about it, I tend to take my KPS for granted, forgetting K20d' s don't just come that way, almost.

The version with the flat eyepiece, (coveted by many) is for some reason lots more expensive, but it seems that as far as we can tell between us, they're otherwise the same thing. (I happen to much-like a good eyecup: I tend to both shoot in low-light and get pretty dayblind in really bright light, so, no worries by me. ) It might be a good idea for the company to produce those again, if they've actually stopped.

(And, Pinhole: I think the KPS is pretty much superior to the Pentax one: better optics, and,to my eyes, no more risk of vignetting despite the better magnification, ... Your mileage may vary. I actually have both and the Pentax one lives on my MZ-5 film camera. (Actually covering the whole finder handily, that way. Perfect for *that,* actually. It's not actually the case, apparently, but I initially thought, 'This must be what this was originally made for.' )
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