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04-08-2013, 10:33 AM   #1
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K-x: Advice sought on replacement focusing screen

Hello:

I've got a K-x, and I like it a lot. I use it frequently with manual focus lenses, but sometimes it's difficult to get a good focus in the viewfinder with the stock focusing screen. I have been eye-ing the Katzeye replacement screens, and I was wondering if anyone who's used them has advice about them. Please let me know. Thanks!

04-08-2013, 11:21 AM   #2
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I personally never used a non-stock screen, but some people on this forum have. I think the Katzeye is highly praised, among the best focusing screens you can get. There are also alternatives like Focusing screen dot com, JinFinance, and many other cheaper varieties from China. Some of these screens don't work well with slow lenses (can cause a blackout), like zoom lenses that have a high F number at the long end. Generally they are best when using fast prime lenses. Also, there are many different types of screens and each has its pros and cons. Split prism, markings, angle of split..
Just be careful that you buy a focus screen that fits your camera. You can also search these forums for the many threads on this topic and reviews of various screens. Installing it can also be quite difficult, so look up a youtube video or two on how to do it (and read the comments, sometimes comments point out errors in the video).
Im just not sure why you would want to buy such an expensive focus screen for the K-x. Keep in mind also that the newest generation of Pentax cameras has bigger viewfinders (The K-5 and K-30) and also pentaprism instead of the pentamirror. Just saying.

OH, and also, with manual focus lenses, have you tried CiF? Catch in focus, also known as focus trapping? It can be very helpful with nailing the focus, though it only works with centre AF point.
04-08-2013, 11:51 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
I personally never used a non-stock screen, but some people on this forum have. I think the Katzeye is highly praised, among the best focusing screens you can get. There are also alternatives like Focusing screen dot com, JinFinance, and many other cheaper varieties from China. Some of these screens don't work well with slow lenses (can cause a blackout), like zoom lenses that have a high F number at the long end. Generally they are best when using fast prime lenses. Also, there are many different types of screens and each has its pros and cons. Split prism, markings, angle of split..
Just be careful that you buy a focus screen that fits your camera. You can also search these forums for the many threads on this topic and reviews of various screens. Installing it can also be quite difficult, so look up a youtube video or two on how to do it (and read the comments, sometimes comments point out errors in the video).
Im just not sure why you would want to buy such an expensive focus screen for the K-x. Keep in mind also that the newest generation of Pentax cameras has bigger viewfinders (The K-5 and K-30) and also pentaprism instead of the pentamirror. Just saying.

OH, and also, with manual focus lenses, have you tried CiF? Catch in focus, also known as focus trapping? It can be very helpful with nailing the focus, though it only works with centre AF point.
Hello Na:

Thanks for the reply.

I'm considering the focusing screen vs. a new camera body because it'd be easier to convince my wife that a $150 purchase is better than a $600 one. I have used CiF in the past, but the limitation of center point focusing would be annoying. My old Pentax film camera had a split prism screen, and I miss it. I do like the focus-peaking of the K-01. I bought one for my son, and now I'm jealous. I don't think he'll trade.
04-08-2013, 12:13 PM   #4
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All my bodies are fitted with Katzeyes, I'd be lost without them, because I only use manual fast glass and I'm old.

I've also got viewfinder magnifiers fitted on as well, PENTAX Magnifier Eyecup O-ME53.

04-08-2013, 12:45 PM   #5
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I put this screen on my K-x:

Focusing Screen

It took about 2 hours for me to fit it with the best combination of shims from the factory (Pentax) and those included in the K3 screen kit, but the results were worth it. I did get a little dirt on the screen in the process, but that was unimportant compared to the advantages of having the screen. I eventually sold my K-x with the screen in place to another pf member, and he managed to use the camera even more than I did!
04-08-2013, 01:22 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
All my bodies are fitted with Katzeyes, I'd be lost without them, because I only use manual fast glass and I'm old.

I've also got viewfinder magnifiers fitted on as well, PENTAX Magnifier Eyecup O-ME53.
Kerrydown:

Magnifier sounded like a good idea, so I ordered one immediately. Still pondering the focusing screen...
04-08-2013, 02:47 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by PetShwark Quote
Still pondering the focusing screen...
I haven't used the Katzeye, but the K3 is a Nikon screen (in original Nikon packaging, IIRC), so it's good quality.
04-08-2013, 05:27 PM   #8
dms
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Recently posted some of the following about advantages of replacing the screen.

I use the K20D but the considerations should be similar. I changed the screen for the older ist screen (not split screen) and later for a split screen (focusing screens K3--spoke of above). I liked both--the former for not impacting ability to spot metering-the latter for focusing in poor light with lenses that are marginal in contrast. It seems it is one or the other--unless you have fast A/post A lenses.

The replacement screen--if it has split screen will seriously impact spot metering--if you use pre-A lens and/or if the lens full open aperture is greater than (about) f/2.8. And if larger than f/4 about +3 e.v. is required--which can prevent getting a reading at all in moderately low light.

I don''t use AF so whether it has a negative impact I cannot say--but the current (stock) screens are optimized for slower AF lenses--so it seems like it may..

04-15-2013, 02:07 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
Recently posted some of the following about advantages of replacing the screen.

I use the K20D but the considerations should be similar. I changed the screen for the older ist screen (not split screen) and later for a split screen (focusing screens K3--spoke of above). I liked both--the former for not impacting ability to spot metering-the latter for focusing in poor light with lenses that are marginal in contrast. It seems it is one or the other--unless you have fast A/post A lenses.

The replacement screen--if it has split screen will seriously impact spot metering--if you use pre-A lens and/or if the lens full open aperture is greater than (about) f/2.8. And if larger than f/4 about +3 e.v. is required--which can prevent getting a reading at all in moderately low light.

I don''t use AF so whether it has a negative impact I cannot say--but the current (stock) screens are optimized for slower AF lenses--so it seems like it may..
Thanks for the info! I'll take it into consideration. I've received my viewfinder magnifier, so I'll work with it for a while to see if it helps enough with manual focusing before I go nuts and get a screen.
04-15-2013, 04:19 PM   #10
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I use a Katzeye screen in my K5. Very happy with it. I have all manual focus lenses so the split screen and micro prism focusing is important to me. I only wish that the split screen was at a 45 degree angle.
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