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12-31-2013, 09:49 PM   #1
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About Those Viewfinder Screens

Now that my first old timey lenses are due to arrive soon, I remember somebody earlier did tell me I might want to consider getting different viewfinder screens for my K-5 - screens that help with using the old timey lenses more than the screen that came with the K-5. Only I can't find that thread for some reason.

So what are they again? Viewfinder screens that aid in the use of M and M42 lenses I think it was...

12-31-2013, 09:55 PM   #2
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Generally help, not necessary on the k-5. On my k-x it was essentially impossible to focus manually with the stock screen, much easier using an after market one. I never got one on the k-5, I found it worked just fine. YMMV

Two sources for screens:
Focusing Screen

Here is one (of the many) threads on this:
01-01-2014, 01:56 AM   #3
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I would suggest that you wait til you have tried your " new" lenses out before you buy. As mentioned there are loads of threads on this if you search for them, I had a katzeye split with no optibrite fitted to a k10 but in reality apart from some macro stuff it was not necessary. I think you might find that when you will want critical focus you will be in a situation where you. Do not need to rush and the standard screen will be fine if you take care and go slowly at it.
01-01-2014, 03:12 AM   #4
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Focusing Screen change helped with manual focus

I can't disagree with the recommendation of trying the standard screen first, but I was struggling with manual focusing using the standard screen with faster apertures. I began researching about viewfinder screens including reading the above forum threads, then chose to install the eeS screen from

The unit arrived without instructions, so I downloaded and printed those from their site. It's easy to install if you decide to follow this option. I needed to adjust the shims to fix front focusing issues but after that I found my manual focus success rate vastly improved. It allowed me to better see what was in focus so personally I recommend you keep this option on the table for now.

01-01-2014, 05:16 AM   #5
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You can purchase a lot of different focusing screens. Personally, I find a dual split image focusing screen the best for fast lenses. They are a snap to install, taking only a couple of minutes
01-01-2014, 05:47 AM   #6
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When I switch back to a more modern AF lens, will I want to switch back to the current K-5 screen?
01-01-2014, 06:18 AM   #7
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Full Time or Part Time?

Hi David, no, once you install the screen, you can leave it in. It has no real effect on the AF (if adjusted properly, mine didn't need any shims) but makes life much easier with M/F lenses or for macro use. There will be times, even with the best lens/A/F system, when you need to 'tweak' the focus. A/F isn't perfect, it doesn't always know exactly what the user wants as the sharpest point in a scene. It will usually seek a point of best contrast, depending on which A/F mode you're in.
By switching to M/F in those situations, you can control the point of sharpest focus. So, the upgraded screen is always there to help.
I wrote you a PM earlier about the screens, check your old mail.
01-01-2014, 06:30 AM   #8
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The only impact that a focusing screen has on any camera is metering.

It should, be noted that changing screens can cause metering errors as the reflectivity of the screen back to the metering sensors differs from the stock screen

01-01-2014, 07:20 AM   #9
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I also changed my K-5 to the eeS screen from focusingscreens. Mine was perfect focus without changing shims. Manual focus is easier, and I didn't find exposure needed to be compensated, but the finder appears dimmer than with the standard screen. Manual focus on a K-5 in dim light is not easy in any case - my biggest complaint on dSLRs compared to my old Pentax MX & LX film cameras.
01-01-2014, 12:16 PM   #10
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But you need to be comfortable taking out the old screen and inserting new one. A bit "fiddly" on my K20d and presume same w/ K5. And you may need to change shims which means trying different ones till the picture focus matches the viewfinder (can use a detailed engineering ruler pointing away from lens at an acute angle). You may end up having to purchase a set of shims from Pentax--maybe/likely not but maybe--so you may want to check it out. Also it is easy to get dust/scratch/fingerprint/ whatever on the screen--and there is little to be done about it. Tough to clean w/o further damage (although the rocket jet blower--Giotto is brand/large size--is really a needed item for digital--and may help here).
01-04-2014, 10:02 PM   #11
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I also come from film era and crop viewfinders simply suck, they are composition finders at best.

Had the Katzeye with the K20D, going for this with the used K5 when it eventually gets here:
Focusing Screen
I think its the same S type everyone above is referring to though I chose the one with those grid lines because I can't seem to level things in the peep hole on my K20D the way I do the bay window on my Super Program so I figured a little help would be nice. I don't need the AF brackets as I never use AF or I wouldn't be getting the screen in the first place.

I found the microprism collar on my Katzeye never works, and the split prism makes the spot metering fiddly and I would rather like to use it more on the K5 so I ditched that too. The ground glass on the Katzeye actually works really well over stock by itself. Have to see what this stock K5 screen looks like but its almost certain I will replace it.

When you get the screen lay out something with a lot of print on it that is still really flat (newspaper can work if pressed flat) and pick a specific line of print to focus on at about a 45 degree angle, easy way to spot front or rear focus looking at the picture after, compared to what you focused on. Fast prime lenses that are reliable is best for this, try several lenses to check your answers. Just call Pentax parts dept (ahead of time so you have the shims already), and if by some miracle the one lady they seem to have doing everything actually manages to answer the phone tell her you want one of each shim for the K5. When I ordered them for the K20D they were labeled like A through H in their parts book she said, and were cheap enough where it wasn't worth the shipping to fiddle around so I just got all of them.

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