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10-26-2009, 09:54 AM - 1 Like   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by soycory Quote
I just ordered an EC-L cross screen with grid lines for my GX-10. I'll let you know how it goes. It looks like they have all of them in stock .. at least for k10d right now.
Post a review when you get it. I just used a Casio point and shoot up against the viewfinder to take actual pictures of the screen in action. I was originally going to get the Ec-L instead of the Ec-B but they were out of stock. I may order one anyway just to have or to replace the JinFinance in my Samsung.

11-04-2009, 10:13 AM   #17
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Focusingscreens EC-L

After using some of the various focusing screens available for Pentax DSLRs it is time to put in writing how I really feel about some of them and the value they provide as well as some pictures to show how they look installed.

The short list of desired features:
  • Bright clear screen
  • Easily identifiable focusing aids
  • Reference marks
  • Relatively inexpensive

Some of the above requirements may force the selection toward one of the Chinese vendors on eBay. There are other options at various price points available to Pentax users.

Focusingscreens.com Ec-L:

Specifications:
  • Made from Canon Ec-L full frame focusing screen
  • Horizontal and Vertical Split Images
  • Concentric reference mark
Features:
  • Rule of thirds grid optional
  • Comes in original packaging
  • Additional thin spacers supplied
  • Original screen installation tools
  • Rubber finger condoms
  • Tweezers
Price:

Approx $93 purchased direct from Focusingscreens.com

Package:

The Focusingscreen.com package arrived approximately eight days after ordering via US Mail to the east coast. Not only was all the original manufacturers packaging included but that was even repacked into a larger parcel. All the original documentation and tools are also included as well as a metal electronics tweezers and additional shims. I have found little use for the tweezers and now have four pair of them. So far I have only used one shim.

Installation instructions are provided online only but that is really not much of a hindrance as there are quite a few photographs of the entire process on their web site. There are also numerous YouTube videos showing precisely how to change a focusing screen on the various Pentax DSLRs.

The screen arrived clean and without any additional wear marks.

In Use:

If you have ever used an older full frame film SLR then you most likely have used a focusing screen that had aids for manual focus such as a micro prism annular aid and a split image area besides the matte. With today's DSLR being of the auto focus variety many manufacturers have only provided matte only focusing screen, although many have scribed marks to assist in locating the auto focus points. The problem with all matte screens is that critical focus of manual focus lenses cannot be achieved on a consistent basis. Pentax does offer additional focusing screen options on many of its DSLRs but other than different engraved marks they are all matte screens. This is where the aftermarket has filled the void. Another aid in focusing is the Pentax 0-ME53 magnifying eyepiece. It really does give you just enough magnification to make focusing easier and not too much that you have to shift your eye around to see all the provided viewfinder information

This particular Canon Ec-L derived focusing screen has the addition of a horizontal and vertical split images and a concentric reference circle besides a laser cut matte. Laser cutting the fresnel matte does appear to make brightness more consistent than just frosting the matte area, a distinct advantage for the higher priced screens. Focusing manual lenses becomes an easy task with this particular screen. Auto focus is not affected by the installation of this particular screen. The matte area is bright and clear, it might be a bit brighter than the OEM screen. The image appears to pop into focus. The split image is very accurate and can be used with an eyepiece magnifier for precision focusing. This is a welcome feature for high magnification macro shooters. There is no micro prism in this particular focusing screen. The use of two split images focusers makes up somewhat for the lack of a 45 split in that the object in the center is shifted both sideways and up & down.

I have just started using this screen on one of my K20Ds, moving the Ec-B to my Samsung, with both very slow and very fast lens without any incompatibilities. One of the issues with split image areas is that one half tends to darken when slow lens are used. I was able to use this particular screen with a lens stopped down past f8 with no darkening at all, I believe this is a result of the split images being only half as deep as normal because of the intersection horizontally and vertically. Fast lens have different problems usually associated with matte only screens, generally their depth of field is so shallow that on a matte only screen, where DOF is slightly exaggerated it is difficult to tell if you are precisely focused. The split image allows precise focus with little effort with even the fastest lenses that I had (50mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.4).

The reason that shims are provided is that these screens being built for other camera models may not be precisely the same thickness as the OEM screen. As long as the matte/fresnel surface is in the same position thickness of the screen is an insignificant factor in accuracy. The shims are provided so that the matte/fresnel surface of the screen can end up in the same place as the OEM. The use of the shims may not be necessary on some cameras. I did require the use of one shim on my K20D

One note about metering, with this as with all split image Spot metering is affected. It also varies based on lens maximum aperture and the actual shooting aperture. You cannot arbitrarily dial in a certain +- EV and expect it to work, Center weighted and Matrix metering seem unaffected.

The screen I ordered also included the "rule of thirds" lines to aid in composition. Please note that some screens might include architectural guides which divide the screen in quarters rather than thirds.

Note: When first installed in my K20 this screen had some extreme front focus issues for manual focus lenses. To correct this the copper shim in the K20 was removed, the tweezers supplied made this job relatively easy. The result was back focus by about the same amount as it front focused before. One of the plastic shims was placed between the screen and prism, the result was front focus but not as severe as before, a second shim placed between the screen and the snap in frame corrected this. Using my homemade LensAlign the focus is nearly perfect with a slight front focus of 1cm at a 2m distance with a 58mm lens shot wide open, close enough to be called accurate.

The bottom line:

I prefer this focusing screen to any I have tried up to this point.
  • Pro:
    • Good value at its price point
    • High level of quality
    • Ease of installation
  • Con:
    • No separate camera specific installation instructions included
    • Spot metering is affected

Similar competing products:
  • Focusingscreens.com Canon Ec-B
  • Focusingscreens.com Nikon K-3
  • JinFinance 45 split image
  • Travor 45 split image
  • Pentax LL-80 w/grid

Out of focus:
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Last edited by WheresWaldo; 11-06-2009 at 05:50 AM. Reason: Additional Installation Information Added
11-07-2009, 09:40 PM   #18
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Not LL-60 but LF-80 ...

The standard screens for the k10 and k20 are identified by the two digits 80. The standard screen is the LF 80. The LL 80 has grid marks that divide the screen into quarters both horizontally and vertically . The third screen, the LI-80 has a crossed scales for use with macro lenses and microscopes.

The 60 series screens are from the *ist digital cameras. The LL-60 is very commonly mentioned around here because it corrects the manual aperture exposure metering for those of us using lenses that do not have the information connections on the lens mounts.
11-09-2009, 03:09 PM   #19
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I really want the EC-B, it looks like it's the most easiest to see and use, and it's also the most "cleanest". I am going to have to start saving up even more, maybe I will get this for Christmas. For now I need my DA* 50-135 back and also a DA* 16-50 XD

11-09-2009, 08:20 PM   #20
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Thanks for all your work on this. I currently have the Jinfinance screen and haven't been terribly impressed. I've had to shim it to correct BF (still not quite spot on) and my copy seems to be cut worse than most.

I've been considering upgrading to EC-B after your review. I'm hung up that I get the job done with the current screen, but it suffers the same exposure problems that has been found with the LL-80 screen.

Have you checked exposure accuracy with these screens? Is there one that is better than others? Seems like a screen that reads properly and aids in focusing couldn't be too much to ask. I'm not sure that I trust my focus capabilities on a matte-only screen, nor the camera's AF always grab what I want for the catch-in-focus method.

I've also heard of cutting down an ME Super screen to fit a K10d. I wonder how that would meter??
11-09-2009, 08:53 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by mysticcowboy Quote
This is an incredible help. I appreciate all the time (and money) you put into sharing this.

michael mckee
My Port Townsend A City in Photographs
+1, in fact, I'd like to see a focusing screen review section.
11-09-2009, 09:35 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
The standard screens for the k10 and k20 are identified by the two digits 80. The standard screen is the LF 80. The LL 80 has grid marks that divide the screen into quarters both horizontally and vertically . The third screen, the LI-80 has a crossed scales for use with macro lenses and microscopes.

The 60 series screens are from the *ist digital cameras. The LL-60 is very commonly mentioned around here because it corrects the manual aperture exposure metering for those of us using lenses that do not have the information connections on the lens mounts.
LL-80 is on the first page of this thread. There are plenty of threads that mention the "exposure" issues with manual lenses so I did not want to repeat it here as it is not really any different with the third party screens either.

QuoteOriginally posted by LeDave Quote
I really want the EC-B, it looks like it's the most easiest to see and use, and it's also the most "cleanest". I am going to have to start saving up even more, maybe I will get this for Christmas. For now I need my DA* 50-135 back and also a DA* 16-50 XD
I find the Ec-B easier to use also. I would rate them in this order with regard to ease of use and preference:
  1. Canon Ec-B
  2. Nikon K-3
  3. Canon Ec-L
  4. Pentax LL-80
  5. Chinese single split image

QuoteOriginally posted by tvfd911 Quote
Thanks for all your work on this. I currently have the Jinfinance screen and haven't been terribly impressed. I've had to shim it to correct BF (still not quite spot on) and my copy seems to be cut worse than most.

I've been considering upgrading to EC-B after your review. I'm hung up that I get the job done with the current screen, but it suffers the same exposure problems that has been found with the LL-80 screen.

Have you checked exposure accuracy with these screens? Is there one that is better than others? Seems like a screen that reads properly and aids in focusing couldn't be too much to ask. I'm not sure that I trust my focus capabilities on a matte-only screen, nor the camera's AF always grab what I want for the catch-in-focus method.

I've also heard of cutting down an ME Super screen to fit a K10d. I wonder how that would meter??
I have done some testing with the Helios 44M-6 and I have found that both Canon screens behave the same way at f2 and f2.8 the exposure is right on, at f5.6 and f8 it could use -1 stop EC and at f11 and f16 it is back to normal again. totally workable as far as I am concerned. I have not tested with the Nikon K-3

Matrix and Center-weighted seem to be right on with all DA, FA and A lenses I have tried.

Cutting down a screen seems just like too much work and too much possibility of scratching the fragile screen.

QuoteOriginally posted by song_hm Quote
+1, in fact, I'd like to see a focusing screen review section.
I asked if this could be stickied and got an odd response about turning it into an article. This is a review thread not really suitable for an article, just ask one of the mods to sticky this thread so it stays on top like the tripod review thread in 'Field Accessories'.
11-09-2009, 09:39 PM   #23
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After using the Ec-L screen over the weekend at the Warriors and Warbirds 2009 Air Show I have decided that I do not like it as much as the Ec-B screen. The shallow cut of the split screen on the Ec-L is much harder for me to use that the split on the Ec-B. If they return to stock I would probably try the Ec-A which just has a microprism and no split image at all.

11-09-2009, 10:05 PM   #24
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You could probably clean up the clutter and adapt this to an article for that section.
11-10-2009, 08:00 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
You could probably clean up the clutter and adapt this to an article for that section.
It might but it is incomplete. If someone would add a double split image review (I am not going to buy one, not happy with the quality) and a KatzEye review (won't buy one of those either, not a fan of their pricing) with images then we could probably put it all in a single post to submit as an article. It is just not complete as it is. Since the article system is apart from the normal forums fewer people would view it and we would still have 4 pages of threads about what each screen looks like. I scanned through the articles and I could not find any reviews, how to's abound but this isn't a how to!

I figure if I ever do this again I will reserve the first 10 posts so that all the reviews are on the first page.
11-10-2009, 01:12 PM   #26
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# Canon Ec-B
# Nikon K-3
# Canon Ec-L

In the brightness department, who wins? Or is is negligible?
11-10-2009, 04:34 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by systemA Quote
  • Canon Ec-B
  • Nikon K-3
  • Canon Ec-L

In the brightness department, who wins? Or is is negligible?
I would say it is too close to call. It appears that the Canon screens might be a smidge brighter or it might be that the contrast is a bit lower. All three screens are as bright or brighter than the standard Pentax screens.
11-29-2009, 08:36 PM   #28
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Has anyone compared the focusingscreen.com screens to the Haoda brand? Both around the same price too.
12-01-2009, 05:50 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
The standard screens for the k10 and k20 are identified by the two digits 80. The standard screen is the LF 80. The LL 80 has grid marks that divide the screen into quarters both horizontally and vertically . The third screen, the LI-80 has a crossed scales for use with macro lenses and microscopes.

The 60 series screens are from the *ist digital cameras. The LL-60 is very commonly mentioned around here because it corrects the manual aperture exposure metering for those of us using lenses that do not have the information connections on the lens mounts.
Albert, or anyone that has the 60 series screen. Would you know how it'd compare in brightness/ease of focus to the matte of say a Spotmatic microprism screen? I'm still looking for doing something different than the Chinese screen I have. At the moment I'm debating between this screen and the EC-b. It'd be nice to not have to compensate exposure (though only being one stop off with the EC-b isn't so bad), I'm not sure if I'm confident in nailing focus without a guide. If the Spottie screens are somewhat comparable, I could test myself by trying to focus with the matte portion of my Spottie then check what I think is right against the microprism. If I do well, I'd feel more confident spending money on a blank screen. BUT if they aren't comparable, then this test might not be so applicable.

It seems like the Spottie screen is more contrasty than say my ME Super. I'm just trying to see if I have something to compare to before spending money again.
12-01-2009, 07:42 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by tvfd911 Quote
Albert, or anyone that has the 60 series screen. Would you know how it'd compare in brightness/ease of focus to the matte of say a Spotmatic microprism screen? <SNIP>
It seems like the Spottie screen is more contrasty than say my ME Super. I'm just trying to see if I have something to compare to before spending money again.
A friend found a discarded Spotmatic F. It has the two ring microprism focusing aids. I just tried focusing with the Tak 55/1.8 at f/4 using the matte surround and compared the screen to my M100/4 on the k10d with the LL-60 screen. The brightness is within a stop. I found little difference focusing the two, other than not having to focus off centre with the K10. I do have the O-ME53 magnified eyepiece on the k10, which is a help.

See if you can find a used *stD to look through. That should tell you whether or not you can focus easily without aids. It will probably have the Li-60 screen installed (no grid lines).
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