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07-09-2011, 10:28 AM   #31
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The bottom line is it just takes a lot of practice and knowing your system and lens. The photo below is from a Panasonic G10 camera using a K 55/1.8 lens. This camera has no catch in focus, no focus confirmation or split prism. It's knowing how to use the lens and training your eyes that are most important. The more distance you put between you and your subject will increase the chances of getting something in focus due to how DOF works etc. Closeups are both easier and harder because the room for error is nearly zero but you'll be able to see whether your subject is in focus or not...

I use split prism screen on my K10 and yes, you can quickly get your subject into focus but the really fine focusing is still up to you, i.e. there is still room to fine tune the focus. I also use a K-2000 with a standard focusing screen and rely 100% on the camera in focus confirmation signal...




Don't expect everytime you use your manual lens, that every single subject, even after carefully focusing, will end up sharp. But do PRACTICE and it will seemingly become second nature...

BTW - if you find "catch in focus" a bit cumbersome to use, just leave your camera in Auto Focus mode, fully depress the shutter button, your camera will not fire until you have the subject in focus...

07-09-2011, 10:39 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
No. The worst lens for me is a 16mm fisheye,
Ditto for me! My Zenitar 16/2.8 Fisheye would be practically useless for consistently sharp foreground and medium distance focus were it not for my split-image screen.
07-09-2011, 10:43 AM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by theunartist Quote
...really fine focusing is still up to you, i.e. there is still room to fine tune the focus...
...and this is where manual focus shines. For portraiture, so much depends on the rendering of the eye to the exclusion of most everything else. AF systems often "miss" focus in this area due to the inability to define what the desired focus point is and the the complexity of the subject.


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07-09-2011, 10:54 AM   #34
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.... but you still have to be able to determine that the circle halves are lined up perfectly. If you cannot judge sharpness on a regular matte screen, it isn't going to be that much easier with a split prism. That's My experience anyway. I had a Katzeye on the K20d (still have the screen) but decided against getting one for the K7 (and subsequently, the K5). Your best bet, or rather My best bet, is to insure that the viewfinder is as sharp as possible.



07-09-2011, 12:05 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
.... My best bet, is to insure that the viewfinder is as sharp as possible.

YES, I am wondering if the OP has properly adjusted viewfinder diopter...
07-09-2011, 03:10 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
How do focusing screens work? And where do they mount to, the eyepiece?
A focusing screen is not some extra add-on. It's an integral part of your camera. The question isn't whether you use one or not. It is whether you replace the one that came with your camera or not. The focusing screen is located inside your camera, on the inside "ceiling" directly above the mirror. It is much like a movie screen. Very literally, it is what the lens projects its image onto. When you look through the vieefinder, you are looking at that projected image.

Some focus screen have aids (google "split prism") to help make manual focus easier.
07-09-2011, 04:09 PM   #37
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Well, I can't speak for anyone else but my split screen has made a huge difference for me with focusing, particularly with my old manual lenses. I like it a lot actually and would happily suggest the use of one to anyone struggling with this issue. I actually got both screens with my K-x but I see no real reason to swap it back for the factory screen.
07-09-2011, 07:50 PM   #38
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replacing the focusing screen is quite easy: remove the lens, unlatch the retainer holding the focusing screen in place, and then use a pair of tweezers to remove the focusing screen via the tab. katzeye have more detailed instructions with pictures too.

only problems that may arise is dust getting between the viewfinder prism and the focusing screen or scratching/marking the focusing screen.

and then you may find the there's a disconnect between focusing confirmation and actual focus, which means that you may have to adjust the shim.

07-09-2011, 08:02 PM   #39
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I was having trouble getting good focus with my K10D and my manual lenses. I originally thought that is was just my eyes, but I did some tests and found that
my camera had a very bad case of backfocusing (focusing screen too far away from the mirror.. or too close to the eyepiece.. take your pick).

I decided to make a split prism focusing screen with a depth of field ring while I was working on fixing the problem.

All you have to do is get an old broken SLR camera with the type of focusing screen you want and trim it down to be the same size as the focusing screen in your camera.

Of course my camera still had backfocusing issues, so I put a couple layers of scotch tape on each edge of the focusing screen to act as a shim and it is almost perfect now. I probably need to add one last layer to make it perfect, but it is way better then it was before, especially with really fast lenses.

Oh yeah, the Ricoh 50 1.7 is a nice lens. I liked it a lot but sold it when I got my Pentax SMC-A 50mm 1.7 lens.

Last edited by cyclone3d; 07-09-2011 at 08:10 PM.
07-09-2011, 08:05 PM   #40
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MF got a LOT easier for me when I got a D700.
07-10-2011, 02:26 AM   #41
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BTW I should add that with the majority of my MF lenses (used on a K5) they find focus far better from far to near than from near to far. Does anyone else have this experience or is it all over the place depending on the lens ?
07-10-2011, 02:27 AM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by deadwolfbones Quote
MF got a LOT easier for me when I got a D700.
*blows raspberry smilie*

I'm looking, I'm looking. I want a used D700 for the price of a new K5 but haven't found one yet.
07-10-2011, 07:33 AM   #43
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OP back again. Yes, I think I've got the diopter dialed in,but even that I find a little difficult. The slider doesn't move that easily and I often find myself not quite sure whether this option or another option is clearer. I guess it's an eye issue. And joe.penn, I would like to post some pics. At this point I just don't know how to do it, and I'm not that great with modern technology so I've been avoiding going thru the process of uploading pictures. I'm sure I can get my son to help me, so I'll give it a shot. Thanks all for the great replies!
07-10-2011, 07:46 AM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by jjhenders Quote
OP back again. Yes, I think I've got the diopter dialed in,but even that I find a little difficult. The slider doesn't move that easily and I often find myself not quite sure whether this option or another option is clearer. I guess it's an eye issue. And joe.penn, I would like to post some pics. At this point I just don't know how to do it, and I'm not that great with modern technology so I've been avoiding going thru the process of uploading pictures. I'm sure I can get my son to help me, so I'll give it a shot. Thanks all for the great replies!
I usually find it easier to remove the eye piece when adjusting the diopter. Aim for the lines on the focusing screen to be sharp.

As for uploading photos, you're a site supporter so you have album space. Just go to the albums under the Photo tab, create an album, and upload photos to it.

Member Photo Albums - PentaxForums.com

Make sure that you cut them down in size first, longest side no more than 1024 pixels, or it will strip the EXIF on the upload. Then on the right side of the window where you type your stuff, there's a link that says Insert Album Photos. That will place a link to whatever photo you choose in your text. Once you get past your first one, it's simple.

07-10-2011, 10:29 AM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
BTW I should add that with the majority of my MF lenses (used on a K5) they find focus far better from far to near than from near to far. Does anyone else have this experience or is it all over the place depending on the lens ?
YES!!! Same here... I check all my manual lenses to see which direction gives me the sharpest image and from infinity (far) is usually the best and always just when the in focus indicator comes on...
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