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06-09-2015, 05:00 AM   #1
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What focusing screen to get for K-5 and K-x (manual focus)

A friend and I, we use many vintage manual focus lenses and I was wondering what focusing screen should we get to make the process easier for our K-5 and K-x DSLRs.

we have access to cannon -S series and the nikon K3 focusing screens, the pentax ones I could find are not made for MF. Are any of these compatible or what needs to be done to make them compatible :/ I'd hate to waste money on buying one, modifying it & screwing up in the process.

^^ plz help, we desperately need some advice on how to make manual focusing easier.

Thx in advance.

06-09-2015, 05:42 AM   #2
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I strongly recommend a VF magnifier - I use a Tenpa 1.36x
06-09-2015, 05:48 AM   #3
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This is a discussion, not an article.
Moved to the proper section.
06-09-2015, 06:16 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Take a look at Focusing Screen - I'm using their model "K-5 K3" (*) for about 3 years now and it's great. However there are a lot of different models available, you may prefer another one - that depends primarily on your own experiences with the different types.

(*) which denotes that it is cutted out of a Nikon K3 focusing screen to fit a Pentax K-5 ...

06-09-2015, 06:52 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by marcusBMG Quote
I strongly recommend a VF magnifier - I use a Tenpa 1.36x
I have a Pentax Viewfinder loupe 0-ME53 (left over from my K10d), however the problem that persists is that at really shallow dof (2.8-2-1.7-1.4) the focus tends to be off even with the focus confirmation (can't trust that thing)... so I tend to just base it off the contrast :P which doesn't work well if I have to focus relatively fast.
06-09-2015, 08:22 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Domokos_A Quote
the problem that persists is that at really shallow dof (2.8-2-1.7-1.4) the focus tends to be off
The standard focus screens are optimised for the kit lens and other DA series lenses which are all much slower. This thread on the canon EES screen which is optimised for fast lenses disusses this point and other technicalities and repays a browse.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/115-pentax-k-5/142241-best-screen-ever-ma...anon-ee-s.html
06-09-2015, 01:24 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by kukuruz Quote
Take a look at Focusing Screen - I'm using their model "K-5 K3" (*) for about 3 years now and it's great. However there are a lot of different models available, you may prefer another one - that depends primarily on your own experiences with the different types.

(*) which denotes that it is cutted out of a Nikon K3 focusing screen to fit a Pentax K-5 ...
I'm pretty happy with my S- series from the same company (that is, they cut down a Canon S series screen).

However.... get the completely matte one, not the one that has lines (that probably goes for the nikon version, too). The lines are laser-polished on the screen which makes them show up much more bright. This is pretty cool, at first. But then you start seeing weird metering issues. They noticeably, measurably mess with your exposure -- see Steve's review:
FocusingScreen.com S-type screen reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database

I wouldn't go nearly so far as he did in downrating mine, but the metering issue can be pretty annoying at times. Other than that, though, it's a stellar improvement for focusing, and I'm considering buying one without the lines to get rid of the metering issue.

06-10-2015, 03:56 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by narual Quote
I'm pretty happy with my S- series from the same company (that is, they cut down a Canon S series screen).

However.... get the completely matte one, not the one that has lines (that probably goes for the nikon version, too). The lines are laser-polished on the screen which makes them show up much more bright. This is pretty cool, at first. But then you start seeing weird metering issues. They noticeably, measurably mess with your exposure -- see Steve's review:
FocusingScreen.com S-type screen reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database

I wouldn't go nearly so far as he did in downrating mine, but the metering issue can be pretty annoying at times. Other than that, though, it's a stellar improvement for focusing, and I'm considering buying one without the lines to get rid of the metering issue.
We received 2 damaged ME Super-s from a friend. The plan is to carefully remove the focusing screens, cut them to size and use them in our DSLRs. ^^; wish us luck...hope it works.
06-10-2015, 07:29 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Domokos_A Quote
We received 2 damaged ME Super-s from a friend. The plan is to carefully remove the focusing screens, cut them to size and use them in our DSLRs. ^^; wish us luck...hope it works.
See my review.

My take on these screens is that the split prism is good and the effect on exposures is ok with familiarity (but I didn't use hardly at all with DA lenses so ... ??), however the matte i didn't find to be much better than the stock screen. Split prism + VF magnifier however was very accurate ... when there was a suitable line or edge to use it with!
06-11-2015, 08:40 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by marcusBMG Quote
See my review.

My take on these screens is that the split prism is good and the effect on exposures is ok with familiarity (but I didn't use hardly at all with DA lenses so ... ??), however the matte i didn't find to be much better than the stock screen. Split prism + VF magnifier however was very accurate ... when there was a suitable line or edge to use it with!
The pentax branded matte screen is pretty useless for manual focusing fast lenses. It's just the normal screen with the markings removed. You still can't see the difference between f/1.2 and f/2.8 on it.

The S type screen, it's an obvious, clear difference.

I used a VF magnifier for a while, but it got annoying not being able to see the full field of view without taking it off.
06-23-2015, 10:24 PM   #11
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Update on our adventures with the ME focusing screens.

I basically took MY broken ME Super apart, and managed to remove the screen intact. I then calculated the center based on the K-5 default screen and made a diagram on a white piece of paper with a pencil. This I then cut out and taped with transparent masking tape to the ME Super focusing screen carefully centering it and making sure its the right side up (matte to matte). After this was done I proceeded to grind all 4 sides down to size with a small belt sander and fine sandpaper. Toward the end i kept comparing it to the original to make sure its not bigger. The ME Super focusing screen's thickness matches that of the K-5 so I did not need to replace the existing copper shim. After I was done I dusted it off, cleaned myself & removed the masking tape. A few quick air blows to clean it and it was ready. I inserted it and it works!

o)_(o...uh finished yesterday at 1AM..

The downside is that it has dust spots (its old :P and dirty) which cannot be removed with a blower, so I'm going to soak it on distilled water solution with some window cleaner for about an hour before rinsing and cold blow drying it from the edges to avoid spots forming. I hope it works, if not :/ well screw it, at least I can do precise manual focusing with it.

My friend was not so lucky, his focusing screen came out in 2 pieces (was broken - hairline fracture in the middle).

Why doesn't Pentax manufacture manual focusing screens? >.> I mean Leica lenses are MF only....and there are the old vintage ones a lot of ppl still use. Autofocus tends to be a pain in the ass for a lot of shots, I honestly don't like using it as it doesn't know what I want it to focus on and selecting the spot is time consuming and a pain, center focus & recomposing is ok tho.. For snap shooting I can understand autofocus being useful, but other then that :/...nah.

Last edited by Domokos_A; 06-23-2015 at 11:14 PM.
06-24-2015, 11:58 AM - 1 Like   #12
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Maybe because only a tiny percentage of people would ever consider changing their focusing screen out, and of those, only a fraction of them would want any given type of focusing screen. There are plenty of compatible options out there. You can get assorted manual focus screens on eBay dirt cheap. They're not as good as the cut down Nikon/Canon ones, but they do work, and they'll help you focus MF lenses.

As for autofocus not being useful... I'm pretty sure the tremendous majority of photographers would just look at you like you're insane.
06-30-2015, 05:10 AM   #13
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First one I found was this. Does anyone have any experience with this seller, good or bad?
07-01-2015, 12:10 PM   #14
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I had a Jinfinance (I think that's the name) one in my K10 and it worked great. If I get a K3II I'll probably put a nice split screen in the K5. Or I might send it off for filter removal so it can record into the UV and IR.
07-02-2015, 02:57 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by narual Quote
As for autofocus not being useful... I'm pretty sure the tremendous majority of photographers would just look at you like you're insane.
Good. I'm fine with being considered insane. AF usually fails in low light, lack of contrast, when something is blocking the subject, HDR & landscapes need MF anyway for many reasons, AF for macro work is unusable. With fast moving subjects prefocusing works better then AFC. In portraits one also runs the risk (depending on gear) of slight off focus at shallow DOF in AF mode. MF is also silent (many pentax lenses are noisy).

On top of such a extensive list as to why MF is superior to AF one would be ignoring one strength of the Pentax system and the main reason I bought the gear: in body image stabilization and vintage prime lens compatibility. F 1.2 lenses cost a ton of money, but you can get a 55 mm 1.2 prime for around 350 $ or less.

Example: Revuenon 55mm F1.2 MC Lens Reviews - Miscellaneous Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
First one I found was this. Does anyone have any experience with this seller, good or bad?
Will tell you as soon as mine arrives.
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