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01-15-2011, 06:57 AM   #1
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Split focusing screen for K100D thoughts

Hey, all.

Just thought I'd pop in and share my experience with my newly acquired generic split-screen focusing screen for my Pentax K100D.

I received it in the mail from China yesterday from eBay seller Henry Digital. It was dirt cheap. With shipping, the grand total was about $17. Included were a pair of latex finger cots and plastic tweezers with soft tips.

After looking up some info on how to install it (I used the instructions on the KatzEye website) I decided to give it a go. I used a bright Tensor desk lamp to light up my work area on the coffee table & went to work. Though I hadn't done it before, it only took about 5 minutes to get it installed. There was a speck of dust on the top of the screen, so I removed it, hit it with the canned air, and re-installed it. I took the advice of another forum member and used a dental pick to release the catch that holds the frame down. It was surprisingly easy.

I took a some test shots of a newspaper with the lens wide open and it seems to be more or less in focus, though I'll know more after I get a chance to shoot under normal circumstances. If necessary, I'll calibrate it with shims, but I'm hoping I don't have to screw with it.

There's an enormous difference in the speed with which I can focus the lens. I shoot a lot of wildlife & nature stuff with an old MF 100-500mm zoom & focusing that lens with the stock screen is a pain. With the new screen, it's a snap. I'm sure that will have a big impact on how many good shots I get, because there will be far fewer out of focus shots. Even with my old 500mm f5.6 lens, there's no blackout on the split screen, which was a concern.

I was pleased with the quality of this cheap screen, too. It's free of flaws, and I think possibly slightly brighter than the stock screen. The plastic tweezers they included kind of suck, but they got the job done.

My advice to anyone who doesn't have a split-screen yet, is to pick one up without delay. At under $20, it's a no-brainer... Why Pentax doesn't equip their DSLRs with these in the first place is a mystery. It's the best $20 I've ever spent on a piece of camera gear.

Bobbo :-)

01-15-2011, 07:13 AM   #2
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Let us know how it works with some other shots for I'm thinking of this also Thanx
01-15-2011, 07:22 AM   #3
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Will do. I can tell you for sure that it's miles better than the matte stock screen. I've shot with a large variety of 35mm SLRs over the years until I got into digital, and the split-screens were always hands-down the best type. There's no reason all cameras shouldn't be equipped with them from the factory.
01-15-2011, 07:27 AM   #4
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Excellent, low-cost upgrade!

A couple of years ago I bought a Katz-Eye split-screen (without Optibrite, and no other markings) for my K100D Super, and find it to be an extremely useful upgrade. The only problem I found is that if I set the metering to spot, it is sometimes off by a stop, sometimes either way (too little or too much light). I set the camera to center-weighted metering and it works perfectly. I find center-weighted to be good enough, and close enough to spot metering that it works for me.

I'll be interested to read about your real-world experiences with your long lenses, and remember to post a picture here!


01-15-2011, 07:50 AM   #5
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Thanks greatly for sharing, Bobbo. I have a k100dS and I sure do miss the split screen that is on my 1980 vintage ME. I have heard it alleged that the addition of the split screen may cause problems with the autofocus - have any of you heard this or know if that happens? I'm thinking that I would like to install the split screen, but don't want detriments with that change.

Thanks, Glenn
01-15-2011, 07:56 AM   #6
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Yep... I'll do that. I'm anxious to get back out on the lake with it & try out the new screen. There's a few of my long lens shots here:

and here:

I'd love to upgrade my current cheapo Samyang 100-500 to a Sigma. Think it'll be awhile, though... Cash is little tight right now.
01-15-2011, 11:52 AM   #7
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Could anyone tell me, what's the difference between the 45° and 180° focusing screens? Is it just the split angle or is the 45° better in any other way, since it's somewhat more expensive?
01-15-2011, 12:41 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by GibbyTheMole Quote
... Why Pentax doesn't equip their DSLRs with these in the first place is a mystery. ...

QuoteOriginally posted by GlennG Quote
...I have heard it alleged that the addition of the split screen may cause problems with the autofocus
It does not affect AF, it is said that it affects the (light) metering.

01-15-2011, 12:46 PM   #9
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The 45-degree is better because it splits both vertical and horizontal lines.

I have a 45-split in my K20D and a vertical-split in my Canon 40D. The 45-split is far easier to use, but both are much better than the stock screen.

I got both of mine from jinfinance, his comes with two tweezers, one metal one plastic. I also got one before from virtualvillage, I say the jinfinance ones are better albeit $25 each.

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