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11-15-2009, 09:12 PM   #1
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Magnifying eyepiece for *ist DS?

I'm finding manual focus quite difficult to nail. Here's my situation:
  • I wear glasses (I'm near-sighted)
  • I shoot with a *ist DS
  • A split-prism screen is installed (a Chinese one by jinfinance)
  • MF Lenses: SMC Tak 135mm f2.5, A 28mm f2.8, S. Tak 50mm

I heard a magnifying eyepiece might help.

Some questions:
  • Does it actually help (with glasses)?
  • Is the Nikon DK-21M compatible?
  • Why are the Pentax ones (O-ME53) so much more expensive?

Thanks a lot in advance.

11-15-2009, 10:40 PM   #2
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They do help, but they don't work miracles. Mostly it's about practice and learning to adjust to the fact that the viewfinder shows too much DOF at large apertures. No idea if the Nikon one would fit - but I suspect not. The Pentax one is only like $10 more, though ($35 instead of $25).
11-15-2009, 11:01 PM   #3
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I'm using an Olympus Varimagni finder, which fits my K-7 perfectly (hence should fit all Pentax cams) and is great because it swivels and can switch between 1.25x and 2.5x at the flip of a switch. It helps when I'm doing macro shots at near ground level (making it hard to use Live View) as well as when I take the K-7 out on the street to do some street photography with a little less conspicuousness, if you know what I mean :-)

I have an extra one, mint looking with leather case that I'm thinking of putting up on the market place for 40 smackers, so hit me up if you're interested :-)
11-15-2009, 11:24 PM   #4
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Just to add, another great thing about the Varimagni is its amazing focuser/diopter. It can accomodate even my terrible terrible nearsightedness (I'm legally blind w/o glasses), so you can actually take your glasses off to focus, which makes life a lot easier.

11-15-2009, 11:26 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by iht Quote
I'm finding manual focus quite difficult to nail. Here's my situation:
  • I wear glasses (I'm near-sighted)
  • I shoot with a *ist DS
  • A split-prism screen is installed (a Chinese one by jinfinance)
  • MF Lenses: SMC Tak 135mm f2.5, A 28mm f2.8, S. Tak 50mm

I heard a magnifying eyepiece might help.

Some questions:
  • Does it actually help (with glasses)?
  • Is the Nikon DK-21M compatible?
  • Why are the Pentax ones (O-ME53) so much more expensive?

Thanks a lot in advance.
I use SMC +2 Correction Lens M (similar conceptually to the O-ME53 magnifying eyepiece, but thO-NE53 is a critical focus tool) on all my cameras. I shoot without my glasses on and adjust the in-camera diopter to bring VF info LED's into sharp focus.

All Pentax bodies since the M series was introduced have a slightly larger eyepiece frame than the K-series and Spotmatics, so getting the M version second hand is critical.

Pentax made (and apparently still makes) the attachment. I consistently find the Correction lenses in my diopter on eBay about once a month.

I do have a Nikon piece on my MESuper right now.
11-15-2009, 11:55 PM   #6
iht
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Thanks everyone for the response so far.

QuoteQuote:
The Pentax one is only like $10 more, though ($35 instead of $25).
Oh, that would be nice. Where do you find that? I'm in Sydney, Australia, and the .au eBay shows up much more expensive options, even with "Worldwide" turned on.

QuoteQuote:
I'm using an Olympus Varimagni finder, which fits my K-7 perfectly (hence should fit all Pentax cams) and is great because it swivels and can switch between 1.25x and 2.5x at the flip of a switch.
Thanks for the recommendation. Had a quick look at some pics of it. It seems a bit more intrusive than the Nikon/Pentax models I looked at though, so I'd at this stage still prefer a Nikon/Pentax if possible.

QuoteQuote:
I use SMC +2 Correction Lens M (similar conceptually to the O-ME53 magnifying eyepiece, but thO-NE53 is a critical focus tool) on all my cameras. I shoot without my glasses on and adjust the in-camera diopter to bring VF info LED's into sharp focus.
Thanks for the recommendation. I have tried adjusting the dopter and shoot without glasses. I have never really gotten used to it and would prefer to shoot with my glasses on.

QuoteQuote:
I do have a Nikon piece on my MESuper right now.
So I take it the Nikon would fit my *ist DS as well?
11-16-2009, 05:38 AM   #7
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Yes the Nikon eyepiece will fit the DS. It fits tight, but will go on and off. With glasses you will not see the whole VF. You'll only see the ceneter of the focus screen.

The Pentax eyepiece lets you get your eye a little closer. But you still will not see the whole focus screen without moving your eye around.

Yep, I wear glasses and have both screens. For critical work, the glasses come off to focus.
11-16-2009, 11:35 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by iht Quote
Oh, that would be nice. Where do you find that? I'm in Sydney, Australia, and the .au eBay shows up much more expensive options, even with "Worldwide" turned on.
Amazon, Adorama, B&H - all the major retailers. Ebay isn't generally the place to look for items that are readily available elsewhere.

11-16-2009, 01:42 PM   #9
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QuoteQuote:
With glasses you will not see the whole VF. You'll only see the ceneter of the focus screen.
Thanks for that. It's always to good to hear from someone with glasses with real experience of it. I imagine that would be a major inconvenience. This gives me a reason to perhaps go for the Pentax one.

QuoteQuote:
Amazon, Adorama, B&H - all the major retailers. Ebay isn't generally the place to look for items that are readily available elsewhere.
Marc, this may be the case if you're in the US, but as far as I can see this is not true at least for us in Australia (esp for the smaller/cheaper items). The cost of the cheapest form of shipping outweighs the actual item's cost:



Otherwise I'd definitely prefer to go with a major retailer, but the cost is prohibitive.

Last edited by iht; 11-16-2009 at 01:48 PM.
11-16-2009, 09:27 PM   #10
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I assume Australia has retailers too, though. In any case, the issue isn't Pentax charging more than Nikon; it's just a question of finding someone to sell it to you without exorbitant shipping charges.
11-17-2009, 05:36 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by iht Quote
Thanks for that. It's always to good to hear from someone with glasses with real experience of it. I imagine that would be a major inconvenience. This gives me a reason to perhaps go for the Pentax one.



Marc, this may be the case if you're in the US, but as far as I can see this is not true at least for us in Australia (esp for the smaller/cheaper items). The cost of the cheapest form of shipping outweighs the actual item's cost:



Otherwise I'd definitely prefer to go with a major retailer, but the cost is prohibitive.
OMG!
I'm glad I'm not in Australia! Holy Cow..err Kangaroo even!
11-17-2009, 09:26 PM   #12
iht
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QuoteQuote:
it's just a question of finding someone to sell it to you without exorbitant shipping charges.
Yeah, this is the challenge. Unfortunately that's why eBay (or other grey import stores) is often the only viable option for us. With retailers we're often looking at at least 150% or 200% price difference, esp on accessories and lenses. To give you an idea: the FA 50mm 1.4 retails for at least AU$600, and I was given a AU$1250 quote for a FA 35mm f2. Pentax is decidedly not popular here, and few retailers stock them anyway, and if they do, they charge a lot. This is quite well documented in this thread, so I'll just leave it here.

Anyway, thanks for your tips on the magnifier thing. I'll have a think and see if it's worth getting. Cheers.

Last edited by iht; 11-17-2009 at 09:32 PM.
08-19-2010, 05:03 AM   #13
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Hehe, reviving my own thread just to share with you guys...

I have recently bought a second-hand Katz Eye for the *ist DS and a Pentax O-ME53 magnifier. This combination made a HUGE improvement!

I have to report that the Katz Eye is infinitely better than the previous screen. Unlike the previous screen, the Katz Eye is bright and precise, and shows no sign of blacking out even for slower zoom lenses (f5.6 lenses). It made a MASSIVE difference. Personally I still would have had to think twice before buying a new Katz Eye, but I did get a good deal on a used one this time.

The O-ME53 is excellent. I finally found a retailer that stocks it and sells it at reasonable prices. I wear glasses and have no real issues with it. I do have to move my eyes around just a little, but the bigger view more than make up for this very minor inconvenience. The little bit of magnification makes marked improvements with focussing. Furthermore, I use the magnifier on my MZ-5n without noticeable vignetting - the VF is now approaching my ME Super! I'm glad I got the Pentax one instead as it works just fine in FF (the Nikon is supposed to be optimum for a 1.5x crop factor).

So yes, I can manual focus just fine now! Still, the view on the DS is not quite a LX or a ME Super, but I'm now happily using my K 50mm 1.4!

Last edited by iht; 08-19-2010 at 05:09 AM.
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