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01-03-2007, 04:56 PM   #1
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KatzEye screen now available for the K10D

KatzEye just announced their split screen/microprism collar replacement screen is now available for the K10D. I sent my body to KatzEye about a week after I received it in November for them to fabricate a screen for the K10D. Below is my 'user report' that I posted on that 'other' forum.

- - - - -

I sent my body to Rachael at KatzEye so that she could have her engineers fabricate a screen for the K10D. It was difficult being without my K10D for several weeks while they did their work. Only got to play with the K10D for a week or so before I sent it off. Finally got my body back several weeks ago, but had to keep mum until the official announcement from katzEye.

So, what do I think about my KatzEye in my K10D? Love it! Also have one in my K100D and an old MX screen in my DS. Can you tell that I like manual focusing? Both of my KatzEye screens have the AF indicator markings. Those are the same etched brackets that come on the OEM screen. I paid extra for those etchings because they help greatly in keeping the horizon level. It also gives me several levels of marker lines so that I can place the horizon at different levels within a frame.

Manual focusing is a dream with the split screen/microprism collar. I found it very difficult to obtain accurate manual focus with just the OEM matte screen. Just couldn't get an accurate manual focus out of these old 55-year old eyes. Autofocus, for those times when I use AF, works just as good as with the OEM matte screen.

Some say that there is a problem with metering with a body that has the KatzEye screen. Well . . . maybe . . . maybe not! I use center spot metering about 60% of the time, center weighted metering about 35% of the time, and matrix metering the other 5% of the time. Of course, these numbers are a guesstimate, but for sure, I rarely use matrix and am mostly in center spot mode.

If my images don't come out good, it is not because of improper exposure due to a wrong meter reading. It is more likely due to poor composition, framing, not watching by background, improper lighting, etc.; not because of a wrong exposure due to inaccurate metering. The dynamic range, of the K100D and especially the K10D, is large enough to overcome minor variations in under or over exposure. The key to proper exposure is to not saturate the highlights nor the shadows. This is easy to see by just taking a test shot using the digital preview. It is trivial to examine the histogram and adjust exposure to negate any clipping of the histogram. (Again, I'm an old 'manual' type of guy and use M mode most of the time, followed by Av mode. So, maybe I don't rely on the camera metering system as much as some people do.)

My K10D KatzEye has the OptiBright treatment, the K100D screen does not. I wish I could make an evaluative statement about the OptiBright, but to do so, I would have to compare the same body, side-by-side, one with OptiBright, one without. Comparing the pentamirror K100D with the pentaprism K10D would not be a valid evaluation. Is the OptiBright worth the extra cost? I cannot say.

In summary . . . I absolutely love my split screen/microprism collar screens. katzEye fulfills a real need, seeing as Pentax will not supply such a screen itself. I know that I cannot take decent manual focused images without such an aid. Good company too! They are more than willing to help and are very responsive to their customers and are committed to customer satisfaction. "Highly Recommended (without any qualifiers)"

01-03-2007, 05:06 PM   #2
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Great to hear- I'll look into getting one, too! The microprism is invaluable for MF

P.S. I fixed a typo in the thread title- I think you wrote not instead of now, lol.

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01-03-2007, 07:05 PM   #3
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If anyone has the ability to take a shot throught the viewfinder with the Katz Eye installed that'd be awesome!
01-03-2007, 09:18 PM   #4
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Please, what's it all about?

QuoteOriginally posted by Mo Quote
Great to hear- I'll look into getting one, too! The microprism is invaluable for MF
Guys, I was never exposed to split-prism screens. I would really really appreciate if you could describe me the purpose, how it's different from the OEM matte screen, advantages and naturally disadvantages.

Does it affect AE and AF? Also I'm wearing glasses.

I'm interested because I want to try some MF primes and also because I really want to have a leveling grid in VF.

Thanks a lot!

01-03-2007, 09:29 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by klopus Quote
Guys, I was never exposed to split-prism screens. I would really really appreciate if you could describe me the purpose, how it's different from the OEM matte screen, advantages and naturally disadvantages.

Does it affect AE and AF? Also I'm wearing glasses.

I'm interested because I want to try some MF primes and also because I really want to have a leveling grid in VF.

Thanks a lot!
Not sure of the full history of the split screen/microprism collar focusing screens. It goes back to at least 1976 when I purchased my first Pentax body, a fully manual MX.

The split screen part is a small circle in the center of the focusing screen that is split in half horizontally. When a subject within the circle is out of focus, the two halfs of the subject within the circle does not line up. A user just turns the focus ring until the two halves line up. As you might surmise, it works a lot easier when there is a vertical linear feature in the circle, such as a lamp post, fence, or even someone's arm.

More times than not on that old MX, I turned the camera 'sideways' to get a horizontal linear feature 'split' so that I could achieve proper focus. Then, turn the camera back to take the picture.

The microprism is like a 'super' matte screen. Out of focus features will be very pixelated. When proper focus is achieved, the pixelation goes away and the image in the microprism collar is smooth. The microprism is a small band that surrounds the split screen circle.

Both the split screen and microprism complement each other. In my expereince, I use the split screen the most often, but sometimes there just isn't any linear features to focus upon. That is when the microprism collar comes into play.

The balance of the screen is the familiar matte screen. Autofocus is not affected at all, but some have reported exposure problems with the split screen, especially in center spot meter mode. Personally, I have found the dynamic range of RAW to more than compensate for any exposure variances. I much rather have the ability to achieve perfect focus with the aids than a small variance in exposure. Different lenses seem to have differing exposure values anyway. If you shoot RAW, then you will not have any problems.

Go to the KatzEye web site for full details and futher information. If you prefer manual focus, the split screen/microprism collar screens are a must.
01-03-2007, 09:37 PM   #6
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disclaimer

In the spirit of 'truth in advertising' I should mention that in exchange for sending my K10D body to KatzEye so that their engineers could produce a screen, they gave me a screen of my choice for the body, and installed it. I did pay full price for my K100D screen, (before the fact), and would have purchased one for my K10D if the offer of a free screen in exchange for time with a body for engineering studies was not proffered.

I also purchased an modified MX screen for my DS from Jonas who had an extra he purchased from the Pentax vendor in Germany. They no longer produce modified MX screens, so I felt fortunate in locating and purchasing one.

From my manual MX days, I'm a firm believer in split screen/microprism collar focusing screens, especially for those who like to manual focus their lenses. If it appears that I'm a firm supporter of KatzEye and their company, it is because I believe in the product. Much as I believe in Pentax as a company and their products.
01-03-2007, 09:50 PM   #7
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Volosong, thank you very much! Very well put and informative.

Few more questions.

How the screen is installed? Do I have to send the K10D to KatzEye or it's possible to do this yourself?

I also understand that split-screen/microprism can be used to asses AF also (at least using central point), correct?

I also noticed that Pentax carries alternative matte screens with grid lines. Any opinions on these?

Thanks!
01-04-2007, 06:26 AM   #8
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You're most welcome. I'm not any kind of expert, but will try and answer what I can.

QuoteOriginally posted by klopus Quote
Volosong, thank you very much! Very well put and informative.

Few more questions.

How the screen is installed? Do I have to send the K10D to KatzEye or it's possible to do this yourself?
If you have any type of mechanical ability, and are careful, it is quite simple to change yourself. If you can put the belt back on the vacuum cleaner or swap out washers in a leaky faucet, then you can handle changing a focusing screen.

The first time I tried it, two years ago with my DS, I almost freaked out. I was very, very concerned about scratching the screens and getting dust inside the prism housing. Followed the procedure to the T and it took about five-ten minutes total.

With the K100D, the old screen was out and the new one was in in less than a minute. It really is pretty simple, if you've done it before. If you are careful, and in a clean environment, you can handle it.

QuoteQuote:
I also understand that split-screen/microprism can be used to asses AF also (at least using central point), correct?
Not sure I understand your question. For those times when I use AF, I just let the camera decide and let it set the focus. Sometimes I'll double check using the split screen, but usually go with what the camera says is proper focus. Usually, when I autofocus, I'm in a snapshot mode and frame-on-mind. The split screen/microprism is really an aid for manual focusing.

QuoteQuote:
I also noticed that Pentax carries alternative matte screens with grid lines. Any opinions on these?
They are good, and they are genuine 'Pentax'. However, if one wants a split screen/microprism, then there is currently only one option. The Pentax screens serve a specific purpose . . . a purpose for which I have not had a need.

01-04-2007, 02:08 PM   #9
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I had changed my MX screens to a full microprisim circle years ago. If there was such a screen available for the K10D, I'd probably get it.

The microprisim circle around the split-prism is more useful to me than the split-prism itself. But at least now I can use the camera properly; I never did have a lot of trust in "autofocus".
01-04-2007, 02:45 PM   #10
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Volosong:
Thanks for all your valuable info (both here and at "the other place").

I finally bit the bullet and ordered one for my DS2. I am seriously looking forward to the "good old days" of split screen focussing.

PS Rachael was extremely helpful at Katz-eye. I chatted with her by phone and was very impressed with her knowlege and willingness to answer a ton of questions.
01-09-2007, 03:35 PM   #11
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Thanks Steven...

... for taking this action for everybody's benefit :-) As I like to use MF at least 50% of time and have already learnt the benefit of 1.18x magnifying eyecup I would like to go further on (to make my K10D feel really as oldie-but-goodie SLR with focusing touch) I am ready to order the Katzeye- but could You give me a bit of advise: OptiBright or not (as You have luckily used Yours almost a week and the issue bothering me is... metering glitches (or differences)) of course... - if it is present is it at least consistent?

Best and happy shooting and once again thanks for Your great contribution, JR
01-09-2007, 04:49 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Reps Quote
... for taking this action for everybody's benefit :-) As I like to use MF at least 50% of time and have already learnt the benefit of 1.18x magnifying eyecup I would like to go further on (to make my K10D feel really as oldie-but-goodie SLR with focusing touch) I am ready to order the Katzeye- but could You give me a bit of advise: OptiBright or not (as You have luckily used Yours almost a week and the issue bothering me is... metering glitches (or differences)) of course... - if it is present is it at least consistent?

Best and happy shooting and once again thanks for Your great contribution, JR
You are most welcome. Glad to help out the community. On the OptiBright treatment, I really cannot give any advice that would mean anything. The only way I could do a real analysis would be to have two identical cameras, side-by-side, one with an OptiBright screen, the other without. Then, look in each of them in turn, back and forth, at bright and dim subject, back and forth, until I get a sense of what the differences are.

As I think I mentioned, my K100D does not have OptiBright and the K10D does. However, that said, if I were to lay my money down now, I don't think I would pay for the treatment. But, I really can't say what I gain or lose by having or not having it.

The metering issue is a non-issue to me. There is just so much dynamic range in the pixel DNs, that "pushing" the "film" is simple and results in quite acceptable results, at least to me. Maybe my standards are not as high as other people. I just want to make "pretty pictures" and capture memories of the family and their activities throughout life. The images of high school sports that I've taken and had published in the local paper were converted to b&w and sized down and halftone screened so that just about all flaws were removed or hidden.

Don't know if this helps you or not. Hopefully. Good luck.
01-10-2007, 08:23 PM   #13
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The split prism is a great way to focus but with longer focal lengths, it has a tendency to go black on one side or the other. Eye position is also critical with long lenses. I loved it on my old Nikon FTn. Nikon had a solution to having to rotate the camera to focus on horizontal objects. When their cameras were selected to go to the moon they developed a split prism that was on a 45 degree angle. One did not have to rotate the camera to focus on the horizon. Remember as they put it there are few vertical objects to focus on, on the moon.

Now if KatzEye would like my camera to do the 45 degree prism....
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