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02-06-2009, 08:53 AM   #1
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Which focusing screen for fast focusing?

Hello everybody,
this is my very first thread here on pentaxforum.
I have been reading a lot of interesting things on this site in the last months, now i have a question for what i haven't found an answer yet:
i'm willing to buy a focusing screen for my k10d and within all the possibilities i found (katzeye, chinese screens on ebay, haoda and more), i think that taiwan's Focusing Screen may be my best choice in terms of cost and quality. They have different kinds of screen cut down from canon's or nikon's ones, like the "famous" k3 split image microprism.
Now my problem is:
I only know how a split image microprism screen works, as i have one in my pentax mx and i find sometimes that it is not really suited for fast focusing. Split screen is maybe perfect for still objects but i found it not the best when snapping people who move, maybe in shadow, also.
I read somewhere that a screen with only microprism (like canon's EC-A or the china made minolta style x700) may be what i need but i don't have experience with that. Any advice is apreciated. Thank you very much

here you can see the screens they have:Focusing Screen

02-06-2009, 09:11 AM   #2
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I've found that while a built in focusing aid (microprism or split image) is good for fine focusing, when you need to be able to focus quickly, whet you want is a good groundglass that snaps the image into focus. I've found the Katz-Eye to be excellent in this regard. I have no experience with the knock-offs though.
02-06-2009, 09:54 AM   #3
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hello wheatfield, thank you for answering.
excuse me first but english is not my first language so some expressions i may not fully understand.
With the split microprism screen in my mx
i find myself always searching for lines at the desired focusing distance to focus on through the split screen (The prism collar i never use - maybe to thin for me..?).
The ground glass i don't trust it: even if it is really very bright and i generally use fast primes it doesn't give me the sense of proper in focus.
Is maybe katz-eye's groundglass so much better then pentax mx screen?


by the way, some pictures of mine:
Personal site of photographer Marco Becker
Marka News
02-06-2009, 11:23 AM   #4
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Marco,
Love your street photos of people. Great stuff. How did you get the people to stand still for you?? What was the pitch?

As to your question. I try to use my Katz Eye split screen with the lines, and also find it too slow for street photos. I'm wondering whether using the ground surrounding area to focus manually is an acquired skill. I think i'll try it and see if i can acquire the skill with practice. will report back.

Phil



QuoteOriginally posted by Marcoz Quote
hello wheatfield, thank you for answering.
excuse me first but english is not my first language so some expressions i may not fully understand.
With the split microprism screen in my mx
i find myself always searching for lines at the desired focusing distance to focus on through the split screen (The prism collar i never use - maybe to thin for me..?).
The ground glass i don't trust it: even if it is really very bright and i generally use fast primes it doesn't give me the sense of proper in focus.
Is maybe katz-eye's groundglass so much better then pentax mx screen?


by the way, some pictures of mine:
Personal site of photographer Marco Becker
Marka News


02-06-2009, 12:34 PM   #5
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I guess one question might be the need to have vertical lines in an image when using the KATz eye.

From what I have read on all split image screens. it is the best for performance on slow lenses / low light, but they also point out that the microprism collad is not as effective against balck out in low light,

My preference, would be for a diagonal split image. Ricoh used to make one, and it is much better because although most lines are either vertical or horzontal, there is usually at least one line somewhere in the middle of the frame
02-06-2009, 12:35 PM   #6
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thank you phil!
the portraits were shot during the first of may demonstration here in milan, in 2007.
I simply asked my subjects if i could take a picture of them, explaining my project, that was about youth and work. I'm sorry i didn't translate in english the interviews i carried on at that time with all the guys about their work/living conditions, so that anybody could read it. I had thought of it, but never came to it. Well, maybe one day i'll do it. That is one of my most important works: it was pubblished on an important italian magazine and it was also very well paid.

as for your experience with the split screen... there we go.
I can't wait to get a better screen for my k10d but would like to get the best one for my way of taking pictures: mostly peole, often in bad light. So that i can trust more my eyes (with all my lenses, autofocus and not).
So, does anybody have other suggestions?
What screen is best suited for fastest manual focusing (i.e. of moving people, in bad light also)? Thanks a lot
02-06-2009, 01:13 PM   #7
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Katzeye works for me, I can't even remember life before Katzeye, but I'm guessing it was blurry like my memory.
02-06-2009, 02:08 PM   #8
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i think that katzeye screen would be certainly a great improvement over the k10d's stockscreen.
i'm not sure if it is the best kind of screen for action pictures, or , in other words, if i can have a better choice.
Focusing Screen have 9 different, all high quality screens (maybe just the one china made is not up to the others). The site is actually quite well done as you can see from many pictures how every scrren looks in and out of focus.
But i think you really have to see how focus pops in and out, in order to realize wich one works best for you.
Focused image looks great through any of them, but how is the transition? that's the important thing!

Can anybody tell me what are the different applications of these different screens?
which one works best for action photography?

02-06-2009, 04:16 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marcoz Quote
i think that katzeye screen would be certainly a great improvement over the k10d's stockscreen.
i'm not sure if it is the best kind of screen for action pictures, or , in other words, if i can have a better choice.
Focusing Screen have 9 different, all high quality screens (maybe just the one china made is not up to the others). The site is actually quite well done as you can see from many pictures how every scrren looks in and out of focus.
But i think you really have to see how focus pops in and out, in order to realize wich one works best for you.
Focused image looks great through any of them, but how is the transition? that's the important thing!

Can anybody tell me what are the different applications of these different screens?
which one works best for action photography?
Of those, I think I'd go for the EC-A.
Generally, split image screens are not "fast", but they are very accurate, while microprisms are faster, but you may lose a bit of accuracy.
02-07-2009, 02:32 PM   #10
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thank you every one for the tips.
still not sure what to get.
the k3 screen would certainly be great:
i know how it works and won't be a mistake getting it.
It is certainly very bright too.
However the EC-A only prism screen temptes me..
So difficult to deicide... if i could just go to
a shop and compare these screens!!!!
02-07-2009, 08:14 PM   #11
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Not taking speed into consideration, are there advantages for focus accuracy having the split-prism on both the horizontal and vertical axis? For example, the EC-L screen offers this setup.
02-08-2009, 08:39 AM   #12
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Ooh, tempting. I could have full microprism. As anyone ever tried stuff made by these guys? For a full microprism, I might be willing to be the guinea pig.

I would still love to see a screen with a microprism ring and a center spot of matte to keep an eye on the AF with,and do real fine focusing with.
02-08-2009, 10:51 AM   #13
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@Ratmagiclady

Guillaume has both a microprism screen and a split prism screen, he talks about them in these threads.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-camera-accessories/50303-focusing-...creen-com.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-camera-accessories/33108-focusings...k10d-user.html

Eventually I want to pick up a split prism screen for myself, I just haven't decided how much I'm willing to spend yet.
02-08-2009, 11:30 AM   #14
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Yeah, I've seen those reviews... Still wondering what it does with faster lenses and metering as regards accuracy. I find the stock screen to be wonderful, but in the process of to-my-mind miraculously brightening a slow lens, it seems to make *everything* behave like a slow lens: ie, no or not much brightness benefit better than 3.5, and the artificial DOF makes focus just as vague. (Frankly, I think it's *that* property rather than any lack of brightness that's making this stock screen harder to deal with. )

It's generally been my way to just go with fewer, faster lenses, so, certainly, as those come along, I'll probably be looking for a screen that can fully take advantage of them, hopefully while retaining as much metering accuracy as possible. Microprisms and faster glass generally get along splendidly, too. So, still curious.
02-09-2009, 10:21 AM   #15
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from what i've read around, metering shoudn't be a problem besides for spot metering with lenses slower than f2 or so.
I'm still wondering for pros and cons between split prism screen and prism screen.
anybody can tell?

Last edited by Marcoz; 02-12-2009 at 01:14 AM.
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