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08-31-2013, 06:49 PM   #1
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Focusing screen or VF magnifier for MF?

I have a plethora of MF lenses (see signature) that I've acquired for good prices (too cheap/poor for autofocus glass). I love these lenses but it seems that even with catch-in-focus only some of the shots are dead nuts in focus. I have ended up with a few film bodies through my package deals for the lenses and the the focusing screen is fantastic, however I have yet to shoot film. I do have a good tripod and when I use that I can use live view to zoon in and nail the focus but 97% of the time I'm hand held. I will eventually upgrade my kx but I'm Pentax for life. Is it worth the money for a Katzeye? What about the Pentax VF magnifier? Keep in mind the the kx does not have focus adjustments that the higher end models have.

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Chris

08-31-2013, 07:14 PM   #2
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A lot of the challenge in MF on a body like the K-x is caused by the small, pentamirror viewfinder. It is basically the same as my K100D, I installed a split prism (jinfinance on eBay) focusing screen and it helped, but it is still a small, dark viewfinder. A magnifier can help with the small part, but not the dark part. I tried one of the cheaper magnifiers and really didn't like it, I don't know how much better the official Pentax one is.
08-31-2013, 08:33 PM   #3
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I started with the Tenpa 1.36x magnifier with the stock K5 screen. Then upgraded to the EE-S screen and I find both make a greater difference than alone. In fact I can shoot much better with some moving subjects now, whereas before installing the EE-S focusing screen, I would never have many keepers. My eyes are not that great to begin with.

Last edited by Action Jackson; 08-31-2013 at 08:46 PM.
08-31-2013, 09:11 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by cbova Quote
Is it worth the money for a Katzeye?
In my opinion, yes. The day I got my Katz Eye was the day I finally started getting reasonable results from my manual focus glass. The stock focus screen, due to its design, will NEVER show DOF less than what is available at f/4 regardless of the maximum aperture of the mounted lens. That translates to missed focus much of the time.

There is a similar issue (different causes) with catch-in focus using the AF system. The problem is that the AF system lacks precision due to the camera not "knowing" just what on the subject is supposed to be in focus. Even with a fixed center focus point, the AF hot spot is large enough to place focus on the model's nose rather than on the leading lash of her eye. The camera locks onto whichever feature presents maximum contrast first (not quite true, but true enough for illustration).

For critical focus, live view with a magnifier is probably the ultimate solution, but requires that the camera be mounted on tripod.


Steve

08-31-2013, 10:25 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Action Jackson Quote
I started with the Tenpa 1.36x magnifier with the stock K5 screen. Then upgraded to the EE-S screen and I find both make a greater difference than alone. In fact I can shoot much better with some moving subjects now, whereas before installing the EE-S focusing screen, I would never have many keepers. My eyes are not that great to begin with.
I ended up with this same setup after trying about every other product combo available, including the katzeye and the Pentax OME-53 VF magnifier. The "S" screen is just flat-out superior to the katzeye when it comes to discerning shallow DoFs, and it won't affect metering like the katzeye will. I also find the Tenpa to be very well made and more effective than the Pentax magnifier, though it may block your view of the extreme borders of the VF. It does for me, but it's worth it to get the awesome magnification.
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