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07-21-2011, 08:43 PM   #1
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Choosing a focus screen for my k-x

After reading several threads about focus screens, I decided to go for the cheaper, chinese one on eBay. In the jinfinance store (recommended by several in this forum), I can see two options for my Pentax k-x: the Diagonal Split Image Focus Screen Pentax K100D K200D DL and the Dual 45 Split Image Focus Screen Pentax K100D K200D DL. Both are around the same price ($30), however, I am not sure what is the difference between these two screens (the "dual 45" looks more opaque in the picture). Any recommendations about what screen should I get and why? Thanks!

07-22-2011, 12:06 AM   #2
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This article may be of help: OK1000 blog.

Some warnings first
Don't touch your original or new focus screen, dust, wipe it or whatever. They are really delicate and WILL get irreparably damaged. Only use tweezers on the little tab and have a clean little box to store it handy, like a mini Tupperware box or film canister.
Dust WILL get on it. Use a blower to remove it only, not spray air or your lungs. This may take several attempts as they attract dust easily.

If something goes wrong (ie you accidentally touch or drop the screen), then you're up for a replacement, so be really sure you want to do this!!!
07-22-2011, 01:26 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by apakoh Quote
After reading several threads about focus screens, I decided to go for the cheaper, chinese one on eBay. In the jinfinance store (recommended by several in this forum), I can see two options for my Pentax k-x: the Diagonal Split Image Focus Screen Pentax K100D K200D DL and the Dual 45 Split Image Focus Screen Pentax K100D K200D DL. Both are around the same price ($30), however, I am not sure what is the difference between these two screens (the "dual 45" looks more opaque in the picture). Any recommendations about what screen should I get and why? Thanks!
Some say dual prism screen is more accurate but I think I would find it too busy. If KatzEye is any indication, I don't see a dual prism screen in their catalog. Dual prism screen might be okay if you shoot with relatively fast lenses but with slower lenses the prisms do darken and having two separate area darkening may be distracting, imo. I have a KatzEye screen and with slow lenses I turn off the focus indicator and focus confirm and depend solely on the split prism and the micro prisms to focus (less distraction).

QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote
This article may be of help: OK1000 blog.

Some warnings first
Don't touch your original or new focus screen, dust, wipe it or whatever. They are really delicate and WILL get irreparably damaged. Only use tweezers on the little tab and have a clean little box to store it handy, like a mini Tupperware box or film canister.
Dust WILL get on it. Use a blower to remove it only, not spray air or your lungs. This may take several attempts as they attract dust easily.

If something goes wrong (ie you accidentally touch or drop the screen), then you're up for a replacement, so be really sure you want to do this!!!
None of these focus screens are as fragile as you make them out to be. I've taken screens in and out of my K20D and P645 many times; I've washed them in warm soapy water to remove grimes and deteriorating mirror seals, dry them with a hair dryer (no heat) and put them back in the mirror box with no ill effects. As long as you don't scrub the screen with something hard (I use badger hair shaving brush, if needed) you won't scratch the screen. One thing though, I found the supplied tweezers next to impossible to use, better clamp is a 6 inch curved hemostat: MINIATURE BEAR SUPPLY CURVED HEMOSTAT 6" | eBay

Thanks,
07-22-2011, 07:37 PM   #4
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I have one of each

I started with a single diagonal split in my K10 mostly because I had one in my first camera , a Ricoh XR-2s. I researched the difference between diagonal and horizontal s reins including discussions with Rachel Katz who advised that horizontal split screens were more accurate. What I concluded is that the split intersecting the focus point at a right angle is the driving factor and I think it is easy to see why when you focus. When it came time to get a screen for my *istD the dual screens were available so I thought o would try it. In my opinion the dual split is more accurate simply because you can perceive the focus error easier. That is the real point. Not so much that one is more accurate but that it is easier to detect minor errors

As for a confusing screen I don't think so but most of my MF lenses (all35 of them) are F2.8 or faster so I don't have black out issues slower lenses may be a problem

07-22-2011, 08:28 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I have one of each

I started with a single diagonal split in my K10 mostly because I had one in my first camera , a Ricoh XR-2s. I researched the difference between diagonal and horizontal s reins including discussions with Rachel Katz who advised that horizontal split screens were more accurate. What I concluded is that the split intersecting the focus point at a right angle is the driving factor and I think it is easy to see why when you focus. When it came time to get a screen for my *istD the dual screens were available so I thought o would try it. In my opinion the dual split is more accurate simply because you can perceive the focus error easier. That is the real point. Not so much that one is more accurate but that it is easier to detect minor errors

As for a confusing screen I don't think so but most of my MF lenses (all35 of them) are F2.8 or faster so I don't have black out issues slower lenses may be a problem
I see your point that a dual prism screen could make minor focus error detection easier, hence better accuracy. It's good that you have tried both types, I think I will get one myself to try it out. Who knows, a dual prism screen may work better with slow lenses as well.

Thanks,
07-23-2011, 07:00 AM   #6
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Thank you for all your responses. After reading the reviews in this thread, I am having second thoughts about getting a focus screen. I can see that they darken the viewfinder image and also affect the metering. I don't have fast too many fast lenses yet (18-55 and 55-300 kit lenses), except the Pentax-M 1:1.7 50 mm and Pentax-A 1:2.8 28 mm (the main reason why I want to buy it). I am worried it may affect the camera performance with slower lenses and smaller apertures (f/8 or higher). I think I will try first to use the Pentax O-ME53 magnifying eyecup that many recommend in this forum to improve the manual focusing (it is also easier to install and less compromisse than the focus screen). Thanks
07-24-2011, 07:08 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by apakoh Quote
Thank you for all your responses. After reading the reviews in this thread, I am having second thoughts about getting a focus screen. I can see that they darken the viewfinder image and also affect the metering. I don't have fast too many fast lenses yet (18-55 and 55-300 kit lenses), except the Pentax-M 1:1.7 50 mm and Pentax-A 1:2.8 28 mm (the main reason why I want to buy it). I am worried it may affect the camera performance with slower lenses and smaller apertures (f/8 or higher). I think I will try first to use the Pentax O-ME53 magnifying eyecup that many recommend in this forum to improve the manual focusing (it is also easier to install and less compromisse than the focus screen). Thanks
I have used the Magnifying cup, which was okay. I had the cup on my K10d. It did not help as much as the Katz eye screen, though. I choose to skip both for the Kx. I found that when using AF I really didn't like the prism in my VF. Actually if there was a screen that was blank without lines I would consider buying that.

If you have good vision, you should try to use the stock screen and practice focusing. Use the green hexagon in the VF to assist you. I don't have the best of vision but it works for me and not buying anything is certainly cheap. You may be surprised. I have actually gotten pretty good just with practice (go figure). The 50 mm would be the easiest to practice with. I find that FL wider than 35 are difficult to MF unless I am working at close distances.

Also have you tried the Kx's "Catch in Focus" option? I have found it to work great. It should work with your M and A MF lenses.
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