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09-29-2009, 12:50 AM   #1
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focusingscreen.com screen - a short review

UPDATE After further testing this morning P-TTL metering has returned to normal, I haven't been able to reproduce the wild exposure I had last night, must have been a bad connection between the flash and the hot-shoe.

Last week I ordered a K3 screen from focusingscreen.com for my K20D, it arrived this morning so I thought I'd share my first impressions.

PACKAGING
- very well packed, the box was much bigger than I expected and everything was individually wrapped inside.

WHAT'S INCLUDED
- focusing screen
- tweezers
- tool for releasing the latch that holds the screen in place
- finger cots
- stick-on frames for the screen, apparently used to adjust for front or backfocus

INSTALLATION
I was pleasently surprised about how easy this was. Simply unhook the latch holding the bracket in place with the supplied tool and guide itt gently down onto the mirror. Remove the orginal screen and replace it with the new screen using the tweezers. Push the the bracket back up until it clicks in and your done. It took less than a minute even though I was being fairly cautious.

The only issue I had was with the tweezers, they are simply too sharp for handling the screen, I lightly scratched the corner of the screen where the tab juts out, thankfully it's nearly invisible in the viewfinder.

IN USE
Firstly let me say that I don't often use MF lenses with the K20D, I do however manual focus with my AF lenses at times (especially the DA70, gotta love quick-shift).

- MF is infinitely easier with the split-prism micro-prism collar
- split-prism blackout is well controlled, it's still usable at f/8
- the matting on the micro-prism collar gives a much better indication of focus-transition compared to the stock screen
- the rule-of-thirds grid lines engraved into the screen are clear yet unobtrusive
- seems brighter than the stock screen at wide apertures (f/1.4-2.8), but the brightness falls-off much quicker, performs best with primes and f/2.8 zooms, you'd want to avoid using lenses slower than f/5.6
- no noticable effect on metering
- great for confirming AF has focused on exactly what you want
- great for checking for front/backfocus and adjusting in body

To sum it up; how did I manage without one for so long? If you use MF lenses or MF with your AF lenses then an aftermarket focusing screen is IMHO a must-have. The drop-off in brightness at smaller apertures, while expected, is the only downside. It would be interesting to see how the Katz-eye with optibrite compares here.

Well worth the $80 spent


Last edited by nobbsie; 09-29-2009 at 05:14 PM.
09-29-2009, 06:09 AM   #2
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A great review. The screen will not affect the flash though. i have the same screen and not issues with flash.
09-29-2009, 07:00 AM   #3
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Thank you for this. I need to check out if they ship to UK.
Just one question though. What metering mode(s) did you try? If this screen works well with spot metering. It might just be what I was waiting for.

BR
Peter

PA: what is the difference between FSB & K3?
TIA

Last edited by axl; 09-29-2009 at 07:07 AM.
09-29-2009, 07:26 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
what is the difference between FSB & K3?
The K3 is a Nikon screen and has a reference circle engraved in it that is 12 mm (supposed to be equivalent to the center weighted metering area of a Nikon film camera) it is a bit distracting at first but you learn not to see it after a while. It almost encompasses the area of the center focus points so it could be used as a reference.

The FSB is of unknown origin and does not have the reference circle.

They are both horizontal split image and micro prism collar.


Last edited by WheresWaldo; 09-29-2009 at 10:09 PM.
09-29-2009, 07:43 AM   #5
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Thanks for the review. I used to have a Katz Eye in my old E-420 which was outstanding with legacy glass. Would like one in my K200D. I assume you lost the focus confirmation lights? I haven't read up on any screens with Pentax, but that was the case with Olympus.
09-29-2009, 07:50 AM   #6
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QuoteQuote:
Thanks for the review. I used to have a Katz Eye in my old E-420 which was outstanding with legacy glass. Would like one in my K200D. I assume you lost the focus confirmation lights? I haven't read up on any screens with Pentax, but that was the case with Olympus.
You mean the red focus point lights? They're still there. I mean, they're projected onto the screen, right? Why'd they disappear?
09-29-2009, 07:52 AM   #7
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Yes, that's what I meant. Not sure, but with Olympus and the Katz Eye, they disappear. Just didn't want to lose them.
09-29-2009, 07:55 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by joeyc Quote
Yes, that's what I meant. Not sure, but with Olympus and the Katz Eye, they disappear. Just didn't want to lose them.
As pbo suggested, they are projected on the screen so they are still there.

09-29-2009, 05:22 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by WheresWaldo Quote
As pbo suggested, they are projected on the screen so they are still there.
I can confirm that the focus points are still there. Below is a rough indicator of where they are in relation to the new screen.

09-29-2009, 05:26 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
Thank you for this. I need to check out if they ship to UK.
Just one question though. What metering mode(s) did you try? If this screen works well with spot metering. It might just be what I was waiting for.
Here's some very boring examples using spot metering and the 70mm Limited.

My fence is very middle gray - no EV compensation


The gate is dark gray/brown - spot with -1 EV comp


Seems to be pretty accurate to me
09-30-2009, 12:49 AM   #11
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Tthank you. I really hope they ship to UK and that it won't cost arm and leg.
BR Peter
09-30-2009, 08:53 AM   #12
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Thanks for the feedback about the focus points. One more question... Under tungsten light, where most Pentax cameras tend to front focus, is the focus screen correct or will the focus still be slightly forward? Hopefully that made enough sense to understand what I am asking.

I really dislike the front focus issue on my K200D under artificial light. Obviously this is only when using a very shallow DOF. Still extremely annoying to me.
09-30-2009, 10:32 AM   #13
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The focusing screen does not have anything to do with the auto focus funtionality of the camera. If you autofocus and if is front focus, you should be able to see it with the split prism focusing screen and them manually adjust.
09-30-2009, 10:37 AM   #14
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That's what I was thinking, unfortunately. Thanks. I suppose it would be easier to adjust though - with the screen.
09-30-2009, 02:59 PM   #15
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As rockmaster said the screen won't change how the camera focuses. When AF misses for whatever reason it's very obvious with the split-prism.

I had my 70-200 set at +7 AF adjustment, with the screen I noticed it was still slightly out and bumped it up a notch to +8 - now it's bang on.
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