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10-17-2016, 12:49 PM   #1
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Focusing screen for K-r (Pentamirror) - pointless or useful?

I see a few threads about focusing screens for K-r here, but Googling has led me to wonder if a focusing screen works as well on a pentamirror as it does on a pentaprism system.

And if so, can anyone guide me on which is the most eye friendly one here at Focusingscreen.com?? On my SLR I was used to the split circle where I could line up a vertical thing, but these folks have a pile of different styles and my head hurts trying to figure out what all these lines and circles do. I might choose to take pictures of horizontal things as well so I might need more than the standard.

Thanks!

10-17-2016, 12:59 PM   #2
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With K5s being so cheap in the used market I wiuld honestly het one for manual focus... Or a K30,'K50, K-S1/2....
10-17-2016, 01:33 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
With K5s being so cheap in the used market I wiuld honestly het one for manual focus... Or a K30,'K50, K-S1/2....
Thanks, I like my K-r.
10-17-2016, 01:51 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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Pentamirror vs pentaprism shouldn't make a significant difference - pentaprism viewfinders are a little brighter, but since the screen comes first in the light path, the workings of the split prism are the same. The biggest problem with using a split-prism screen on a DSLR is metering - the light meter in the K-r is after the screen in the light path, and in certain situations, part of the split prism goes dark and throws off the metering, especially if you are doing spot metering.

Of the screens at focusingscreen.com, the "K3" is probably closest to the screen in an ME Super. I grew up on an ME Super, and have a K3 screen in my K100D. ("K3" is the model of the Nikon blank used.) I personally haven't used an "S Type" microprism screen, but some people swear by them.

For the markings, the "AF frame" is the same as the markings on the default screen in your K-r, indicating where the autofocus points are. The "grid" provides rule-of-thirds lines for composition. "AF Frame/grid" has both. How useful that is depends on your application.


Last edited by THoog; 10-17-2016 at 02:11 PM.
10-17-2016, 01:55 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
Pentamirror vs pentaprism shouldn't make a significant difference - pentaprism viewfinders are a little brighter, but since the screen comes first in the light path, the workings of the split prism are the same. The biggest problem with using a split-prism screen on a DSLR is metering - the light meter in the K-r is after the screen, and in certain situations, part of the split prism goes dark and throws off the metering, especially if you are doing spot metering.

Of the screens at focusingscreen.com, the "K3" is probably closest to the screen in an ME Super. I grew up on an ME Super, and have a K3 screen in my K100D. ("K3" is the model of the Nikon blank used.) I personally haven't used an "S Type" microprism screen, but some people swear by them.

For the markings, the "AF frame" is the same as the markings on the default screen in your K-r, indicating where the autofocus points are. The "grid" provides rule-of-thirds lines for composition. "AF Frame/grid" has both. How useful that is depends on your application.
Thanks, great explanation!
10-18-2016, 09:24 AM - 1 Like   #6
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I have done a back-to-back comparison between pentaprism and pentamirror with the otherwise similar *ist DS and *ist DL. I can tell the difference but it's not that big. Maybe worse in very low light. It's hard to do a completely blind test because the weight of the prism is obvious. One brother has a Canon T3 with pentamirror and I think those cameras contribute to the bad rep of pentamirrors. The other brother has a red K-r just like yours and the viewfinder is definitely better than the T3. I would just set aside pentamirror concerns until you need an upgrade excuse.

Split-screens are my favorite. I just turn the camera a little for horizontal lines. By now that's an ingrained habit. I tried the S type and I think it works better with faster lenses. All focusing screens work with the lens wide open so it doesn't matter if your shot is at f9.5, the focusing is done at whatever the lens opens up to. If you have a lot of lenses that open to f2 or more, the S type screen shows you the wide-open depth of field very well. If your lens only opens to f4 or f5.6, the screen still shows you the accurate depth of field but it's a broader range. You have to figure out where the middle of that field is. With a really slow lens like an f8 mirror lens, the S-type screen gets a little dark all over. It would be a great screen if you had two or three of the Samyang manual-focus primes like the 14/2.8, 35/1.4 and 85/1.4.

The split-prism screens will show a point of focus on non-horizontal lines with mostly any lens. The drawbacks are finding those lines in your subject, only getting that indication in the center of the screen, and half of the prism will black out at something like f11 or f16. (The exact blackout depends on you, the lens and the screen, but is only half of the center prism, not the whole screen.) The split-prism will make spot-metering unreliable under certain conditions. I just don't use spot-metering.

I only have occasional blackout or darkness issues with long telephoto lenses or macro rigs, like using a teleconverter on a 400mm f5.6 so I'm focusing at f11. For telephoto, it's kind of like worrying about how your hair looks in a hurricane - probably the point of focus is less important. For macro situations like bellows or extension tubes. the point of focus is much more critical.

In either case, you may have to spend some time with shims to get the screen in the perfect position.
10-19-2016, 12:57 PM - 1 Like   #7
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The OP might also benefit from the Pentax O-ME53 magnification piece. That would help with the small viewfinder...

I understand wanting to stick with the K-r. I would have kept mine if not for the viewfinder (which isn't terrible, but the K-S1 is noticeably better) and the focusing at artificial light, where it gets a bit lost. For the most part, the K-r is the perfect fun camera. I loved it while I had it and it was just so easy to get great pictures from that sensor.
10-19-2016, 01:35 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
The OP might also benefit from the Pentax O-ME53 magnification piece. That would help with the small viewfinder...
Agree with this. I use one on my K100D and it's very helpful. Not too expensive, and if it doesn't work for you, it should be an easy re-sell on the Marketplace.

02-26-2017, 09:27 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by madison_wi_gal Quote
I see a few threads about focusing screens for K-r here, but Googling has led me to wonder if a focusing screen works as well on a pentamirror as it does on a pentaprism system.

And if so, can anyone guide me on which is the most eye friendly one here at Focusingscreen.com?? On my SLR I was used to the split circle where I could line up a vertical thing, but these folks have a pile of different styles and my head hurts trying to figure out what all these lines and circles do. I might choose to take pictures of horizontal things as well so I might need more than the standard.

Thanks!
OK, finally getting to this:

I know one gets what one pays for, I looked at Focusingscren.com and also eBay - and I see a $40 difference here.

Thoughts?
02-26-2017, 05:17 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by madison_wi_gal Quote
OK, finally getting to this:

I know one gets what one pays for, I looked at Focusingscren.com and also eBay - and I see a $40 difference here.

Thoughts?
Some folks say the eBay screens are trash, and some folks swear the eBay screens are "just as good" as the more expensive ones. I strongly suspect the latter group hasn't done a back-to-back comparison, or maybe they are just used to dimmer viewfinders. I tried an eBay screen, and it was murky. The split prism did the job, but the area outside the prism was like looking through a muddy window. The focusingscreen.com K3 or Katzeye (sadly no more) were much brighter - much more like the film SLR experience.
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