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09-14-2012, 04:21 PM   #1
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Viewfinder / manual focus issues with K-x, versus K200D

I hope someone will be able to help me feel my way through this problem.

I recently acquired a well-used K-x body but have started noticing that I still have a higher keeper rate with my K200D rather than the K-x with its vastly improved ISO capabilities. I took my daughter and niece to the zoo today and noticed this.

Some background and other random bullet points:
- I am manually focusing
- I have a Katzeye focusing screen with optibrite treatment. It was in the K-x today.
- I have an O-ME53 magnifying eyecup, which I clean pretty regularly. (it seems to get fogged pretty easily, I must have greasy eyelashes). It also was in the K-x today.
- Shot mostly with longer lenses on the K-x today, i.e. 85/2 and 135/3.5. (the 85 at f/2.8 mostly, and the 135 at no more than three clicks from 3.5)
- Manual focus seems MUCH easier with (K200D + Katzeye) vs (K-x + Katzeye). Proper focus just doesn't seem as obvious in my K-x VF compared to K200D.

Now, I know that with manual focus, the burden lies on me to focus correctly. But something about this K-x's viewfinder seems to make it harder to determine proper focus. Today I was at the zoo and it seemed like even when the focus confirmation beeped, that the VF image made it difficult to discern that it actually was in focus. As a result(?), a higher percentage of my K-x shots have had softer focus than my K200D.

It also seems like I got better manually focused shots with my K200D, stock screen, and 85 mm lens, rather than when using the K-x with Katzeye and 85 mm I know that someone will probably bring up that I could have just been missing focus because of DOF at longer focal lengths and high numerical aperture values, but I wonder how it would be that I was getting better MF shots with a K200D with stock screen? To further complicate things, not all of my K-x shots from today were off; some of them were nicely sharp.

I did take some sample images under somewhat controlled conditions, but the image quality and focus appear to be pretty similar to each other. Still, I can post non-controlled sample images if it would help with troubleshooting. Please do ask me more questions to aid in your detective work.

09-14-2012, 04:30 PM   #2
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Have you properly calibrated the Katzeye screen in the K-x?

There should be no difference between them, both pentamirror, both 96% coverage and both 0.85x magnification.
09-14-2012, 04:35 PM   #3
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How does one properly calibrate the focusing screen for the K-x? The screen didn't come with any additional shims. The shim is supposed to be between the screen and viewfinder, right? I did get that mixed up once but I'm pretty sure I have it in the right order in both bodies.

EDIT:
I see that I can install replacement shims. Or maybe just use post-it notes if the shim needs to be thicker. Any K-x users out there who use Katzeye screens want to chime in?

Last edited by ChooseAName; 09-14-2012 at 04:41 PM.
09-14-2012, 05:11 PM   #4
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First you need to setup a proper focus chart to determine if it is causing front or back focus. You might have gotten lucky with the K200D and it required no calibration, but all bodies are a little different. If it is front focusing you need a thinner shim, if it is back focusing you need a thicker shim.

09-14-2012, 09:03 PM   #5
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There are a number of methods to determine focus accuracy. Probably the easiest is to use one of the moire targets for display on your computer monitor. See this here for instructions:

AF microadjustment for the 1Ds mark III, 1D Mk3, 5D Mk2, 7D, 1D X

I know, the example uses a Canon, but the principle is the same and can be used for both AF and manual focus tuning.


Steve
09-15-2012, 07:05 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
There are a number of methods to determine focus accuracy. Probably the easiest is to use one of the moire targets for display on your computer monitor. See this here for instructions:

AF microadjustment for the 1Ds mark III, 1D Mk3, 5D Mk2, 7D, 1D X

I know, the example uses a Canon, but the principle is the same and can be used for both AF and manual focus tuning.
Steve
Thanks Steve. I did that test this morning and I'm starting to think that maybe it's all in my head. The alignment seemed pretty close between the Live View interference and then checking the (manual) focus confirmation. I took a number of real life pictures outside this morning and the focus seemed fine. In a way I almost wish that I had found a big problem so I'd know exactly what to fix. As it is now, some shots will just be off and some won't.
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