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05-26-2011, 06:45 PM   #1
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Focus screen from manual camera on K-x?

Hi

I have come across many threads on changing focussing screens with Katzeye and other cheaper versions. There are few DIY threads using Nikon screens.

Can the screen from a manual camera not in use like the K1000 or ME be used for the K100D or K-x ? There are many unused manual bodies of different makes that have no buyers.

I am planning to have the change done by a professional camera repair person rather than do it myself. He sounded very confident of doing it (and I am not a DIY type of person...)

Suggestions on which screen (used body) to choose will be helpful.
Thanks.

Sridhar

05-26-2011, 08:20 PM   #2
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The screen has to be cut down in size to fit. If you have a professional do it, that should work.

A split image screen is what most use with a DSLR rather than a screen with just microprisms. Some screens have a ring of microprisms around the split image center, they might work as well but may darken the image and thus affect the light meter.

You should decide which kind you want and pick the donor body accordingly.
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Last edited by Ole; 05-26-2011 at 08:29 PM.
05-26-2011, 11:34 PM   #3
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Just be prepared that you may well need to re-shim the screen, in order to get accurate focusing. This would entail a lot of trial and error using a focus test chart. I believe a set of shims can be obtained fairly cheaply from Pentax.
05-26-2011, 11:41 PM   #4
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I did the swap with an old MX screen. It worked like a charm, just used the same shim that was already in my K-x. However I used it for only a day before I replaced it with the original again, reason is the very irritating blackout above f5.6. I started using catch in focus after that with my manual lenses, with much more consistent results.

05-27-2011, 04:27 AM   #5
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Thats nice then; a focussing screen from any manual body CAN be used. It needs to be re-shaped. The re-shimming part worries me though...
05-27-2011, 07:02 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by m42man Quote
Just be prepared that you may well need to re-shim the screen, in order to get accurate focusing. This would entail a lot of trial and error using a focus test chart. I believe a set of shims can be obtained fairly cheaply from Pentax.
Yep... A lot of trial & error. I changed the screen in my K100D and it was a lengthy, tedious procedure to get it just right. But, it was well worth it. You'll want to use the fastest lens you have, opened wide to calibrate the focus with a test chart. I used a 50mm 1.4, and it had a sufficiently shallow depth of field to do the trick.

Shimming isn't that difficult, just time consuming to pull the screen, swap the shim, take test shots, look at them, do it again... and again.... and probably again... A set of shims from Pentax is around $6. Cheap.

You do get blackout on lenses slower than f:5.6, though.
05-27-2011, 03:43 PM   #7
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just a question about the shimming thing...
i switched to a focusing screen yesterday and it seems off
when the split screen shows perfect focus, the green dot is not lift on, and i have to offset the focus a bit in order to have the dot on~
i thought that's just the cheap focusing screen problem (got it from ebay for 15 bucks), but seems the shim does effect it also?
i don't know where to place the shim so i simply put it on the bottom of the screen (toward the sensor)
does anyone have any clue ??
and where can i get a shim replacement?
thanks
05-27-2011, 11:42 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by GibbyTheMole Quote
Yep... A lot of trial & error. I changed the screen in my K100D and it was a lengthy, tedious procedure to get it just right. But, it was well worth it. You'll want to use the fastest lens you have, opened wide to calibrate the focus with a test chart. I used a 50mm 1.4, and it had a sufficiently shallow depth of field to do the trick.

Shimming isn't that difficult, just time consuming to pull the screen, swap the shim, take test shots, look at them, do it again... and again.... and probably again... A set of shims from Pentax is around $6. Cheap.

You do get blackout on lenses slower than f:5.6, though.
Thanks for the info, GTM. I bought a cheap screen a couple of years ago, and haven't yet been able to summon up the courage to install it in my camera. It's the thought that I might damage something, or at least mess up a focusing screen - plus the fact that I may have to go through the tedium of re-shimming.

But I'm sure that one day I'll do it...


QuoteOriginally posted by telly0050 Quote
just a question about the shimming thing...
i switched to a focusing screen yesterday and it seems off
when the split screen shows perfect focus, the green dot is not lift on, and i have to offset the focus a bit in order to have the dot on~
i thought that's just the cheap focusing screen problem (got it from ebay for 15 bucks), but seems the shim does effect it also?
i don't know where to place the shim so i simply put it on the bottom of the screen (toward the sensor)
does anyone have any clue ??
and where can i get a shim replacement?
thanks
The green hexagon is a VERY unreliable indicator of accurate focus, in my experience. When I first got my DSLR (a K-m), I was keen to try out my manual lenses, and used the green hexagon for focusing. On examining the results, I was dismayed to find the images were soft as hell. Then I realised that the lenses were front-focused, back-focused and all over the place. What looks like sharp focus in the (stock) viewfinder isn't necessarily anything of the sort.

I don't know why the green hexagon should be so grossly inaccurate (and this varies lens to lens) but it is, so can't be relied upon as a focus aid (unless you find it works OK for a specific lens). And that's where the replacement focusing screen comes in...

So, the fact that your split-image and green hexagon don't agree doesn't mean anything. You have to closely examine the images - it may be that you're perfectly OK without re-shimming.

As to where the shim goes, can anyone help out here?

05-28-2011, 12:43 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by m42man Quote
As to where the shim goes, can anyone help out here?
between the body and the screen.
05-28-2011, 01:38 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by altopiet Quote
between the body and the screen.
Thanks for that, altopiet. So, telly0050, it looks like you've put the shim in the wrong place!

Hopefully, when you put it in the right place you'll get decent focus (but don't trust the green hexagon!).
05-28-2011, 03:05 PM   #11
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ah... so i need to open up the camera again, i hate doing that
m42man not sure what your problem is, but my green dot always guarantee me with a perfect focus with all lenses
maybe you can try adjust the focus in debug mode?
05-28-2011, 03:34 PM   #12
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ok i juz tried placing the shim in between the metal and the screen
and it is literally making no difference! (or even worse)
the result is now i simply removed the shim juz because it works the best (still off, but not as crazy as with shim)
the only good thing is im getting pretty good at replacing focusing screens now
05-28-2011, 11:55 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by telly0050 Quote
m42man not sure what your problem is, but my green dot always guarantee me with a perfect focus with all lenses
maybe you can try adjust the focus in debug mode?
That's very interesting. I'd like to pursue this, because a reliable focus confirmation would be very useful. I won't be messing around with debug mode though, since I get extremely accurate autofocus with my modern lenses. I wonder if you could let us know which lenses work well? (For instance, I find my 135s all give a precise indication, but most result in misfocus; my 50s give the best results, my 28s all give a wide, sloppy indication which is obviously useless. I should really organise a comparative test for focus (in)accuracy and post the results.)


QuoteOriginally posted by telly0050 Quote
ok i juz tried placing the shim in between the metal and the screen
and it is literally making no difference! (or even worse)
the result is now i simply removed the shim juz because it works the best (still off, but not as crazy as with shim)
the only good thing is im getting pretty good at replacing focusing screens now
Oh dear! It looks as though you're going to have to bite the bullet and go through the re-shimming exercise...
05-29-2011, 09:52 AM   #14
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I FIXED IT!!
i will make a new thread about how to fix it so people can search the topic easier
05-29-2011, 10:28 PM   #15
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* can someone suggest the donor body which has split-screen and no microprism? That would probably ensure no darkening and light meter related issues.

* I am still bit unsure of the need to adjust the shim - is it only for green dot/beep confirmation of focus? Or will images be affected - I presume they will be.

Thanks everyone.
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