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08-01-2014, 08:52 AM   #1
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How to frame/compose the MX 35mm

Hello guys I have a question about my new found love for film cameras. I just picked up a very good Pentax MX 35mm camera with the split screen focus.

Question: How do I frame or compose with this center split screen for the rule of thirds? I get a great focus etc., but how do I frame it correctly? Being able to move my focal points with the K5 and K30 helps me resolve the rule of third issue. Am I completely lost or what?

Thank in advance for your advice and suggestions

08-01-2014, 09:10 AM   #2
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If I understand correctly what you are asking, you focus on the spot you want focused, which might not be centered in the frame as you want it composed. Perhaps you also meter on that spot and adjust aperture and/or shutter speed accordingly. There is no AE Metering and thus no need for AE Lock. Metering is center weighted. Once your focus and exposure are set, you simply re-compose the scene in the viewfinder as you wish and release the shutter.

In essence, you re-frame your shot so the primary (or counter) subject (your focus and metering point) intersects one of your 'thirds' cross points AFTER you set the camera.

The process is actually called 'focus and recompose'. Old film guys like me actually still do that with a dSLR even though we COULD move the focus point.
08-01-2014, 09:28 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
If I understand correctly what you are asking, you focus on the spot you want focused, which might not be centered in the frame as you want it composed. Perhaps you also meter on that spot and adjust aperture and/or shutter speed accordingly. There is no AE Metering and thus no need for AE Lock. Metering is center weighted. Once your focus and exposure are set, you simply re-compose the scene in the viewfinder as you wish and release the shutter.

In essence, you re-frame your shot so the primary (or counter) subject (your focus and metering point) intersects one of your 'thirds' cross points AFTER you set the camera.

The process is actually called 'focus and recompose'. Old film guys like me actually still do that with a dSLR even though we COULD move the focus point.
Thanks Monochrome seems a little confusing at first I guess because the area of focus is so small but the view finder is so big and does not seem to be in focus or as sharp when I focus and recompose. Thanks FYI is there a place to obtain a different focal screen as that may help alleviate some concern?
08-01-2014, 10:16 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Assuming the focus is correct to start with it should still be correct after recomposing.
Sometimes even rocking forward or backward slightly while recomposing at minimum focusing distances can throw the focus point off. At normal distances you shouldn't notice it even if you did lean slightly after focusing.

There are many focus screens that fit the MX that can be found used on occasion. I don't know if any have a wider focus area or would help you however.
Pentax Focusing Screens

08-01-2014, 11:05 AM - 1 Like   #5
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you can move the focus points on dslrs? ha! looks like you can.... ;-) I always focus by pushing half way down while on center focus spot, then keeping the shutter halfway pressed compose and shoot. Never occurred to me to use the focus points. Seems like it would be too slow?

So yah on your mx just hit the button should be good!

jamey
08-01-2014, 02:22 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by lifecameracreation Quote
the view finder is so big and does not seem to be in focus or as sharp when I focus and recompose.
When you move your central focus area (the clear spilt-image and the microprism collar) away from your true subject, often your subject will appear on the matte surface around the outside of the focusing screen. When viewed through the matte surface your subject may appear OOF or fuzzy (not as sharp) because the matte area is intentionally etched, like a design on glass or a mirror.
08-01-2014, 02:43 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
When you move your central focus area (the clear spilt-image and the microprism collar) away from your true subject, often your subject will appear on the matte surface around the outside of the focusing screen. When viewed through the matte surface your subject may appear OOF or fuzzy (not as sharp) because the matte area is intentionally etched, like a design on glass or a mirror.
Ok so you are saying that area that is somewhat matted out would be in focusing and recomposing the subject correct? Thanks so much btw I was born in KCMO saw you were from the best side of MO BTW any additional help is appreciated...
08-02-2014, 07:52 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by lifecameracreation Quote
Ok so you are saying that area that is somewhat matted out would be in focusing and recomposing the subject correct? Thanks so much btw I was born in KCMO saw you were from the best side of MO BTW any additional help is appreciated...
Assuming nothing else changed (you didn't move your body), after you recompose your subject will stay in focus even though it appears somewhat fuzzy.

08-02-2014, 10:46 AM - 1 Like   #9
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I've always preferred a plain matte (ground glass) screen on my SLRs - including the MX. You simply learn to judge the sharpness of the area of interest anywhere on the screen. With a bit of practice the focusing aids (split image, micro prism, etc.) become unnecessary and even distracting.
08-02-2014, 11:20 AM - 1 Like   #10
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DOF preview can help check and insure focus as well.
08-04-2014, 03:57 AM - 1 Like   #11
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When using my Pentax film cameras I tended more and more to use the clear area right outside the split screen to focus rather then the split screen itself. Often you will see small dots there, or a kind of cross hatch pattern, when they clear up you're focused. Then the matte section isn't much of an issue, simply recompose and shoot. Works very similar to the way the newer DSLR focusing does, but with a DSLR you don't have the crosshatch to go by.
08-05-2014, 08:42 PM - 1 Like   #12
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I've always replaced the focusing screens in my cameras with one that allows more light through it and that also has a grid. The grid is usually a tic-tac-toe set of lines that follows the rule of thirds making it easier to compose using the rule of thirds and to ensure that the camera is level. Some screens, like the one for Pentax makes for the 645D has a set of horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines that are based on the golden mean. The golden mean is what the rule of the thirds is loosely based.
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