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02-09-2010, 08:27 PM   #1
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Is focusing screen for K-x worth it?

Hello everyone,

I am new to Pentax, and I've heard of some focusing issues with beginners cameras like K-m and K-x. While I'm waiting for my K-x & FA31 to arrive, and can't check it for myself, I'd be grateful for any opinion on if dedicated focusing screen like Ec-B or K3 really helps in everyday street and indoor amateur shooting.

Thanks!

02-09-2010, 09:14 PM   #2
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if you are using autofocus, not at all

i have quite a few manual focus primes, and thats when it does help
02-09-2010, 09:15 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Karellen Quote
Hello everyone,

I am new to Pentax, and I've heard of some focusing issues with beginners cameras like K-m and K-x. While I'm waiting for my K-x & FA31 to arrive, and can't check it for myself, I'd be grateful for any opinion on if dedicated focusing screen like Ec-B or K3 really helps in everyday street and indoor amateur shooting.

Thanks!
I have not heard too many complaints about accuracy. Mainly speed. In which case the Katzeye won't help you. It is an excellent product though, if you do any MF.
02-09-2010, 09:31 PM   #4
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I got one after owning the camera a year. I think it's great, and I mentally add the cost of a split-prism screen to my next camera (then decide not to buy the camera). But it's possible to get along without one just fine, too.

I would not order one until you've used the camera for a while with the stock screen. The split-prism screens are not perfect for everyone, even if you become dedicated to manual focus. They also have drawbacks. I think it will be easier to decide what's important to you after using the camera.

02-09-2010, 11:32 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jezza323 Quote
if you are using autofocus, not at all
it will, because you can see whether Safox hit the target or not...
02-10-2010, 02:55 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone for your answers!

I really hope K-x+FA31 autofocus performance would impress me, but a bit scared by Canon-people (and I am the ex-one) about Pentax focus.

Am I getting it right that focusing screen is mainly usable for "focus & recompose" type of shooting (because the split-prism is in center)?
02-10-2010, 07:33 AM   #7
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Back in Ye Goode Olde Days, most good and wannabe-good film SLRs had split-image reticules. I got a Katzeye after owning my K20D a couple months, and find it VERY helpful in certain MF situations (whether recomposing or not), especially with wide apertures on lenses longer than 'normal' -- on an APS-C camera, true 'normal' is 28mm.

Of course, the point you're focusing on must have distinct features, or your split image remains ambiguous. That point must be adequately lit. Trying to split-image focus on a dark and/or nebulous point can be frustrating, or worse. And the bigger and brighter the finder window, the easier it is to split-image focus. IMHO a Katzeye or equivalent is a good investment; just don't expect miracles.
02-10-2010, 02:28 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
I got one after owning the camera a year. I think it's great, and I mentally add the cost of a split-prism screen to my next camera (then decide not to buy the camera). But it's possible to get along without one just fine, too.

I would not order one until you've used the camera for a while with the stock screen. The split-prism screens are not perfect for everyone, even if you become dedicated to manual focus. They also have drawbacks. I think it will be easier to decide what's important to you after using the camera.
The main drawbacks to the screens with focus assistance are unreliable exposure metering and clutter in the view screen. I dislike having to peer through microprisms and/or split images focusing aids to see my subject. I dislike even more not being able to use the spot metering at all, and the other metering modes are affected as well. I do use manual exposure a lot, and generally use "sunny 16" metering, but in tricky lighting, I will meter the palm of my hand or the subject. Having a meter which just does not work with my M 400/5.6 lens (it's the f/stop that's the problem - it blacks out half the split image most of the time) is not particularly to my taste. Your taste may vary. I used a camera without focusing aids and manual everything (an original Asahi Pentax) for 15 or 16 years, so perhaps I had enough practice without the aids.

02-11-2010, 05:24 AM   #9
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IMHO, you don't need the focusing screen, probably not with the FA31.

Last edited by tokyoso; 02-11-2010 at 05:35 AM.
02-11-2010, 07:22 AM   #10
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Ah, thanks all for answers, think I'll try to live without it, and if I will miss my canon red dots too much, I will give the screen a try.

Now another question bothers me... also in viewfinder department. Does viewfinder magnifier (e.g. 1.36x) worth it? I do wear glasses.
02-11-2010, 08:58 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Karellen Quote
Hello everyone,

I am new to Pentax, and I've heard of some focusing issues with beginners cameras like K-m and K-x. While I'm waiting for my K-x & FA31 to arrive, and can't check it for myself, I'd be grateful for any opinion on if dedicated focusing screen like Ec-B or K3 really helps in everyday street and indoor amateur shooting.

Thanks!

could someone direct me to a focusing screen for the k-x?
02-11-2010, 09:38 AM   #12
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I saw them here: Focusing Screen
02-11-2010, 06:57 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
I got one after owning the camera a year. I think it's great, and I mentally add the cost of a split-prism screen to my next camera (then decide not to buy the camera). But it's possible to get along without one just fine, too.

I would not order one until you've used the camera for a while with the stock screen. The split-prism screens are not perfect for everyone, even if you become dedicated to manual focus. They also have drawbacks. I think it will be easier to decide what's important to you after using the camera.
1+ to this testament and advice

Steve

(Owns the Katzeye...)
02-11-2010, 07:03 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
The main drawbacks to the screens with focus assistance are unreliable exposure metering and clutter in the view screen...
To qualify Rockies comment:
  • There are issues with spot metering and split-image screens with some lenses at some apertures. Center-weighted and Matrix metering is equivalent to the stock screen.
  • The focus aids are a pain in the rear when doing macro work.

Steve

(Tested the metering myself for both Optibrite and non-Optibrite versions of the Katzeye product vs. the stock screen on my K10D...)
02-11-2010, 07:07 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by tokyoso Quote
IMHO, you don't need the focusing screen, probably not with the FA31.
Probably more so with the FA 31 than with a slower lens. The main issue with the stock screen is that despite its brightness, the apparent DOF is about the same as if the lens is at f/4. The result is badly missed focus much of the time at wide apertures. Unfortunately, the AF system is not much better when DOF is thin.

Steve
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