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10-11-2014, 02:41 AM   #1
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Manual Focusing Screen for K-30 - Help please

Despite reading through the numerous threads on focusing screens I am still confused which screen would suit best. Most of my lenses, both MF and AF, are zooms in the F3.5-4.5 range. The slowest is a F3.5-5.3. The focusing screen is to allow the accurate focusing of my MF zooms, particularly in the 28-75mm range. I find the AF focus confirm to be pretty accurate above 80mm but far too vague below about 75mm.
If necessary I am prepared to sacrifice spot metering but would not want to a significant change to the accuracy of centre-weighted up to F5.6. All my lenses have an 'A' setting so I do not use stop down metering. If I had more, faster, prime lenses I would go for the S-type screen but I am a little concerned about the darkness of the S screen in the F3.5-5.3 range. Would it spoil my enjoyment of my AF 24-90mm or a 18-135?
I am now wondering if the K-3 or even Ec-A or Ec-B screens might suit my lens selection better. I would prefer a screen to a katzeye one purely on grounds of cost particularly once tax and shipping to the UK have been factored in.
It would be great to hear of your experiences of the screens particularly if you have used more than one of them.

10-11-2014, 05:28 AM   #2
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I think the stock screen may be your best bet with slow lenses. Use Live view for critical focus.

One thing I do if I don't have time (or way too much sun) for live view is use focus confirmation to find the subject, back off in one direction or the other, set the shutter to burst, and fire off 5 or 6 shots while I move the focus through the focus confirmation zone. One is usually right.

Another choice is get a second camera with a focusing screen, and use your slower, autofocus lenses on the camera without it. A used K-30 isn't very expensive.
10-11-2014, 06:10 AM   #3
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Or alternatively consider a VF magnifier like the OEM53 or the one I use - Tenpa 1.36x I find that the latter (for me) is an acceptable trade off in that I can still see the VF info with a bit of movement of of my eye position , but the magnification is large enough to be really beneficial.
Additional benefit - you don't squash your nose any more.
Of the ME super screen I fitted in My K-r I can say that when I could use the split prism it was good but overall there wasn't much benefit over the stock screen.

Last edited by marcusBMG; 10-11-2014 at 07:38 AM.
10-11-2014, 10:49 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by infocus Quote
Most of my lenses, both MF and AF, are zooms in the F3.5-4.5 range.
I would advise *against* a Katzeye screen as the fresnel area gets real dark with slow lenses. You'd be better off with the Canon S type from

10-13-2014, 06:00 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnyates Quote
I would advise *against* a Katzeye screen as the fresnel area gets real dark with slow lenses. You'd be better off with the Canon S type from
I currently own the S-type screen from and the KatzEye with Optibrite and have previously owned the KatzEye without Optibrite. The view with the Type-S (Canon Ee-S) becomes significantly darker at f/4 and narrower*. The transition is quite abrupt and this behavior is typical for the screen according to the Canon documentation. It is made for manual focus with fast lenses. With slower lenses the fine prism matte field "blacks out".

In regards to the KatzEye, the base model, will indeed be dimmer than the stock screen at f/5.6, but not as bad as the Canon S. The OptiBrite version on the other hand is a little brighter than the stock Pentax screen at all apertures.

If you are shooting with slower lenses (f/4 or narrower), screen choice for manual focus is difficult. The problem is DOF. While there truly is only one point of focus (even at f/4), your ability to detect an out of focus image on the matte field decreases as maximum aperture becomes narrower. A split image may be helpful under these circumstances (focus sensitivity remains high), but may be more difficult to read due to full/partial prism black-out. Both the KatzEye and the Nikon K3 screens have split image prisms cut in such a way to resist black-out.

My suggestions, in descending order based on cost, if you have no lenses f/2.8 or faster:
  • Stock screen with magnification
  • K-3 from (split image resists blackout similar to KatzEye), will be dimmer than stock screen
  • KatzEye with OptiBrite, brighter than stock screen
If you are mostly using faster lenses, I have few reservations** about recommending the Type-S screen. It works great and the unobstructed viewfinder field is a distinct pleasure for close-up, portrait, and macro work. At slower than f/2.8, the utility of other than the stock screen may not be worth the expense.


* I noticed this immediately when using my S screen for the first time with the Sigma 17-70/2.8-4. Zooming to f/4 was like someone pulling the blinds.

** My only reservation is when using the type-S screen with the optional grid or AF bracket engraving. I experienced severe metering issues on the K-3 due to albedo from the laser engraving. That is why my S screen is in its box and a KatzEye is in the camera.

Last edited by stevebrot; 10-13-2014 at 06:35 AM.

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