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07-21-2009, 01:47 PM   #1
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Pentax split prism focus screen or not?

I bought a k20D body yesterday for $450. It will arrive tomorrow.
The reason I got it so cheap is because:
...focus screen has some dust particles that are visible when looking through the viewfinder...

So, my question is should I attempt to clean it or should a buy a new:
Pentax split prism focus screen

Or just leave it alone?

07-21-2009, 03:24 PM   #2
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It is very easy to take off the focus screen, but you have to be careful when cleaning it. It is very easily scratched. And, it is as easy to replace. But the dust might also be on the pentaprism. That's harder to clean. By the way, why didn't the original owner send it to a tech for clean up? I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few more things wrong with it. If you are lucky enough to have a good camera, I think if the sust isn't too obtrusive, I'd live with it for a while.
07-21-2009, 04:32 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by flyer Quote
It is very easy to take off the focus screen, but you have to be careful when cleaning it. It is very easily scratched. And, it is as easy to replace. But the dust might also be on the pentaprism. That's harder to clean. By the way, why didn't the original owner send it to a tech for clean up? I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few more things wrong with it. If you are lucky enough to have a good camera, I think if the dust isn't too obtrusive, I'd live with it for a while.
I won't say his name, but I got it from a member here with good feedback.
I feel good about the purchase, but I will know more tomorrow when I get it.

Are there instructions anywhere here on how to take out the focus screen and to clean it?
07-21-2009, 05:12 PM   #4
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There are videos on YouTube

07-21-2009, 05:47 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by WheresWaldo Quote
There are videos on YouTube
Well... thank you for the link.

I found this:
Copper Hill Images - CCD/CMOS Cleaning Tutorial - Introduction

Last edited by jack56; 07-21-2009 at 05:54 PM.
07-21-2009, 05:53 PM   #6
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Sorry to say, I think most of us have some dust on our focusing screens visible through the viewfinder. Those of us that have had our screens out probably have a little more

To fix:
  • Use a rocket-type bulb blower (never your breath or canned air) to give a couple of good puffs to the underside of the screen. Repeat if needed.
  • If the above does not work, you can remove the screen and puff both sides as well as the underside of the pentaprism. As noted above, there are videos on the web on how to remove the screen. Be aware, however, that you may end up with even more specs after doing this procedure.

As for replacement with a split-image screen...Pentax does not make a split image for your camera. Such screens are available through third-party vendors with prices ranging from about $25 to $150 USD. I have the $150 Katz Eye screen and have found that it was a very good purchase for my purposes. As I mentioned above, fiddling with the screen is a virtual invitation for dust to invade your viewfinder.

Steve
07-22-2009, 05:57 PM   #7
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Well, I got the camera today and the guy was correct, there was LOT's of dust in the viewfinder. My Gosh, his photo's had to suffer too as there was dust on his Sensor too as there were a lot of spots in the photo. No wonder I got it so cheap at $450! But he didn't mislead me as he did say there was a lot of dust particles.

I couldn't stand that and since I build computers, I figured I fix it myself.
It took me 5-6 hours to do it as there was not only dust on the sensor & focus screen, but on the mirror & Pentaprism as well. So I had to clean all four.
Sometimes I got more dust specs after doing it, but finally got it PERFECT!

Here what I used, (didn't use the cloth) I took the focus screen out and looked at up at the sky with the magnifying glass.


I set the camera at smaller lens aperture settings (higher f/numbers) and shot into the blue sky and white paper to see the particles I needed to get rid of. I had to do this at least 8 times before I got it perfect. Then I had to go to work on the focus screen, mirror & Pentaprism.

What it looked like before and the viewfinder/focus screen dust was a lot worst.



What I finished with... Perfect, no dust specs anywhere in viewfinder or photo!




Last edited by jack56; 07-22-2009 at 06:03 PM.
07-22-2009, 06:43 PM   #8
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That's a good purchase Jack56 and very good at cleaning it too!
If you don't do it yourself you won't learn..so this is certainly a good learning experience for you and others here who might be afraid of cleaning their cameras!
All it takes sometimes is patience!
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