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05-26-2008, 08:14 PM   #1
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What is the best type of focusing screen?

Hi guys and gals;

I have read several threads about the the various focusing screens available, however, most seem to revolve around the vendor (Katz eye, Chinese, Taiwanese, etc)rather than the type or design if you will, of the focus area. Some have a diagonal centre section with and without a grid, some have N***n type designs and there are many other styles as well.

I know a lot of you folks use Manual lenses and my intersst is growing in that area. So to my question, based on all your collective years of experience, what do believe to be the best design of focusing screen (I know Katz Eyes are popular).

I am aiming over time to buy some manual Pentax lenses amd maybe other compatible brands as well. Does one type of screen suit Pentax (K10D) better than others? Or is it best determined by the type/brand of lens?

Your thoughts and opinions are appreciated!!

05-26-2008, 08:48 PM   #2
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My MX has a split screen with microprism collar, and it's a horizontal split. I find it pretty easy to use, though the bigger viewfinder helps.

I wonder if a diagonal split would make things a bit quicker as you could use both vertical and horizontal scene elements to gauge the focus a bit easier.

Keep in mind you will likely lose spot metering capability with a such a focusing screen.
05-27-2008, 08:03 AM   #3
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I always envied those cameras (yes, the old Pentacon B series for example) with a diagonal split image circle. Pentax really never had something similar, despite providing an otherwise wide choice og interchangeable screens. It is unfortunate, that even the Katz eye screens only sport the horizontal split image...

So my preferred screen for DSLR would be diagonal split image, but not of the Chinese variety (I have two from different vendors), because I never get a coincidence with a clear split image and the AF confirmation, so never know, whether I have focussed correctly. I think, the AF confirmation signal is more reliable, so I don't use the Chinese screens anymore.
Instead I am currently using the Pentax grid screen LL-60, but am in the process of ordering the Katz eye screen with architectural grid. Grids are very valuable for me, as it makes getting the horizon level, much easier.

Ben
05-27-2008, 03:12 PM   #4
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I have the LI-60 screen (looks like a rifle scope) in, and IMO it helps a lot. It's darker than the LL- series that's for the Kx0D cameras since it was made for the ist series. It has more of a matte texture like the outside of a split image screen, but not as opaque. The object definitely snaps into focus more than with an LL- screen.

IMO and FWIW, I find split image screens harder to work with unless you're in ideal conditions with slow-ish lenses.

05-27-2008, 03:40 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by CSoars Quote
My MX has a split screen with microprism collar, and it's a horizontal split. I find it pretty easy to use, though the bigger viewfinder helps.

I wonder if a diagonal split would make things a bit quicker as you could use both vertical and horizontal scene elements to gauge the focus a bit easier.
Why I love the Ricoh screens. The important thing for me isn't using both horizontal and vertical scene elements to focus faster, rather, that because I tend to be lining up horizontal and vertical straight scene elements parallel with the sides of the frame, I can actually see the image split and reform.

Even better, the KR10M's split is at about 30 degrees, an angle not commonly encountered.
05-27-2008, 06:42 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by lithos Quote
Why I love the Ricoh screens. The important thing for me isn't using both horizontal and vertical scene elements to focus faster, rather, that because I tend to be lining up horizontal and vertical straight scene elements parallel with the sides of the frame, I can actually see the image split and reform.

Even better, the KR10M's split is at about 30 degrees, an angle not commonly encountered.
Lithos,
Are you saying that Ricoh screens fit Pentax K10D?

Thanks to everyone for your comments so far - much to consider.
07-14-2008, 07:06 PM   #7
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I was going to start a new thread for this, but I find the cross-microprism focusing in my KX to be rather difficult to focus in low-light. I think I'd like to get a split-image to replace the microprism. I tried out a friends Nikon film body (not sure what kind) and found focusing a lot easier.
07-14-2008, 11:11 PM   #8
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My 35mm Nikon's have a diagonal split image. Used it the other day and it's very easy to see and use. When I was looking for a split image focusing screen for my K10D I couldn't find one with the diagonal split so went off the idea as I could think of too many situations where a horizontal one would need turning sideways to be of any use.

07-15-2008, 02:12 AM   #9
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The screen is a function of the lens

Odd as it may seem, the focusing screen is a function of the lens you intend, or more importantly the maximum aperture.

for fast manual focus lenses a split image is the best, and I too have a ricoh with 45 degree diagonal split. BUT for slow lenses, i.e.f5.6 and slower the plain focusing screen is best because it does not darken out and become ineffective.

My KX has a ground glass screen, which I prefer for focusing my Celestron C90.

Most new DSLRs have a screen that works well with todays slow kit lenses, and consumer lenses for that reason.
07-15-2008, 04:05 AM   #10
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I have a Chinese diagonal split-screen which works just fine. It seems to be accurate compared to the AF indicator, though I have yet to do formal tests. I did totally scratch the screen putting it in though. :-( While it would be nice if it had some architectural markings it was so much cheaper than the Katz products that it was a no brainer.

I would love a better mechanism for changing focus screens so this could be done as needed. For instance I don't see why they are not in a frame so that one can handle the edges easily. This could slot in from the top so that one didn't need to expose the mirror etc. A solid protective clip would make this as easy as inserting an SD card.

Would be cool!
07-15-2008, 11:29 PM   #11
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got a link for that 45 degree screen?

BTW, you'd like the way you change the screen in Mamiya 645 cameras... remove finder (2 secs), pull screen out (1 sec), put new screen in (2 secs), put finder back on (2 secs)... job done!
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