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01-21-2015, 09:29 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Katz-Eye vs. Stock Screen vs. Focusingscreens.com

I did a lot of reading on the forum about various issues with Katz-eye and focusingscreens.com options for the K50 and other cameras. The conclusion I came to is that I have no idea what to do.

Here's my take on what I have read:
  • ee-S type screen from focusingscreens.com: Metering is inaccurate and inconsistent with or without the AF marks but worse with them. With them, slow lenses underexpose, without them fast lenses over expose.
  • Katz-eye screen - may darken microprism when using slow lenses, optibrite helps but does not remove this entirely. Focus aids impair composition for some. Metering problems seem to be minimal.
NOTE: As of January 5th of 2015 Katz-eye is no longer processing orders in the normal way, they are waiting for a batch to build up and then building them. This new model may significantly delay aquisition of the screen if Katz-eye is selected.

Thoughts?

01-21-2015, 10:28 AM   #2
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Don't feel bad, I'm in the same quandary. I'm leaning towards the Katz-eye. I'd prefer to not have the
metering problems. And I'm well accustomed to the black-out behavior from years of using film bodies,
so see no real issue there.

Did Katz-eye give any indication of the batch size before they process?
01-21-2015, 10:44 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Metering is inaccurate and inconsistent with or without the AF marks
NONE of my MF lenses have consistent metering on Pentax (Kr, K5, newly acquired K5 seems better than Kr actually but I havent done any formal eval). It's just the nature of the beast!

Get used to chimping , checking the image and histogram and dialing in appropriate compensation.
01-21-2015, 11:28 AM - 1 Like   #4
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I want Pentax to produce a split image focusing screens for its DSLR line up.

01-21-2015, 11:49 AM   #5
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Katzeye produces metering issues with spot, and center weighted modes. It's evident as the center spot mode is exposed just through the split screen.
My experience is that microprism are not usable beyond f5.6
01-21-2015, 11:52 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Experience with K5 and Focusingscreen.com

The lenses I choose to use are manual focus Zeiss, typically with fast apertures. I particularly like the f2 aperture with these lenses.

I found with the standard screen it was very difficult to consistently get focus on the right subject in the frame, and there were regular disappointments in finding that I had missed the focal point. Typically this was after returning home when viewing the image on a larger screen. By this time it's all history and a large portion of my images were like this.

To allow me to improve the hit rate I looked at the variables and in the end felt it worth giving a replacement screen a go. I looked at the options, read the reviews on this forum and decided on the ee-S option. I was suprised at how easy it was to install, even when I had to change shims because the default shims resulted in front focusing. The difference it made with wide apertures was remarkable. The way the focal plane became so much more obvious meant that my hit rate with a wide aperture went up and I was enjoying my photography again as it allowed me to capture the image the way I wanted to.

There are negatives:
  • don't get dust in the camera or on the screen,
  • stopping down seems to be less easy, but not significantly so as to be an issue, and
  • I get a variation in metering between landscape and portrait orientation.
Would I do it again? Definitely. For me the positives far outweigh whether I need to dial in some compensation, adjust shutter speed in manual or risk missing the odd shot because of forgetting about the metering issue. But that's because this suits my prioirities, yours might be different and something I guess you're seeking to answer with your thread.

If you have wide aperture lenses, then I consider a change in screen is worth it, even if there's a bit of effort to manage the metering.

Please note too that my circumstances include aging eyesight and I wear glasses (short sighted). I also use the dioptre adjustment for the viewfinder instead of wearing my glasses when composing and focusing.

I hope you find the answer you seek.


Tas
01-21-2015, 12:05 PM   #7
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So I see it shows auto focus area as an option for both Katz Eye and focusingscreen.com. Do focus points light up on these?
01-21-2015, 12:10 PM - 2 Likes   #8
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I had both. First I used a Katzeye on my K-5, then I switched to ee-S, then back to Katzeye. My K-3 now also has a Katzeye.

I didn't like the ee-S so much since I found the split prism to be much more accurate.

Yes, metering is less consistent, but that's only a problem if you shoot JPG (I never do that).
After a few days, you know by instinct how to compensate for exposure.

The split prism/micropsirm combo with rule of thirds grid and circle is perfect for composition. I can't see how this could ever impair me, in fact, my composition became better with the KatzEye.
I use it together with the O-ME53 viewfinder and I can focus spot-on with my 1.4 lenses through the viewfinder.
As for the problem with using slow manual glass with a KatzEye: don't do that. You bought the thing to focus fast lenses spot on. Slow manual lenses are not a usecase for split-prisms.

You won't need opti-brite, it's not worth the extra money.

Most importantly;
* Make sure to shim the screen correctly.
* Seriously, make sure you put the correct shim
* Double and triple check for focus accuracy with your fastest and longest lens. Don't be afraid to try out many shims

Installing the focus screen needs a dust-free environment. Go to your bathroom, turn on the shower so it washes all the dust out of the air.
Use gloves. Never ever touch the screen with your bare fingers.
Use pliers to extract the old screen. Don't scratch the screen. Every scratch will be prominently visible in your viewfinder.
If you find dust, use a blower. In very severe cases, use isopropyl alcohol and optical paper.
Use your thickest shim, insert new screen, do a focus check.
If you're not spot on, rinse and repeat with the next smaller shim.

Once you have the correct shim, it's a joy to focus manually. Actually, MF with split-prism can be more accurate than AF with some very fast lenses. You also notice easily when the AF missed - if you have quickshift, you can correct focus in the last split-second, which is cool.

01-21-2015, 12:42 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Katz-eye screen - may darken microprism when using slow lenses, optibrite helps but does not remove this entirely.
Microprism and split image blackout occurs at the same apertures regardless of whether the screen has the Optibrite treatment. Optibrite increases screen brightness only and is worth the extra money IMHO. I have owned both versions.


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01-21-2015, 12:43 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by romay Quote
Yes, metering is less consistent, but that's only a problem if you shoot JPG (I never do that).
I assume you are referring to the S-type screen. I am curious as to why JPEG should be different than RAW. My experience has been that the camera meters the same regardless of the file format.


Steve
01-21-2015, 12:46 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by soycory Quote
Do focus points light up on these?
Yes, if your camera supports focus points. The red dots are projected from the top of the pentaprism and display regardless of the focus screen being used.


Steve
01-21-2015, 12:52 PM - 2 Likes   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by goubejp Quote
Katzeye produces metering issues with spot, and center weighted modes.
Spot metering is definitely affected at apertures f/2.8 and slower. There is a chart as part of the documentation on the KatzEye Web site detailing their measurements. As for center-weighted, my experience concurs with the KatzEye statement that it has no effect. Ditto for matrix metering. Note that I have been in conversation with Rachael Katz regarding possible differences between the RGB meter sensor of the K-3 vs. other recent model Pentax cameras. KatzEye has not tested meter accuracy on the K-3 and does not intend to do so. I did comparison readings of my K-3 for both the Pentax stock screen and KatzEye with Optibrite against a hand-held meter with an 18% gray card as the target. The results were the same except for spot.


Steve
01-21-2015, 01:07 PM   #13
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I replaced the screen on my K5 with the eeS and have not looked back. The focusing is much, much easier and the exposure is no more difficult than before. The Katz-eye was totally out of consideration because I use spot metering a lot. My photography style is much more landscape than action. I spend a fair amount of time on each shot, so I subconsciously might be exposure compensating. The MF lenses I use are: Tak 85/1.8; Tak 50/4 macro; Tak 100/4 macro; Vivitar 90-180 flat field (macro); Samyang 24/1.4; Samyang 85/1.4; Canon 55/1.2 and occasionally a few other old Taks.

I had to get a complete shim set from Pentax to complete the installation and it took over two hours.

I don't know if I will replace the factory screen in my K3. For indoor macro use I hook up a 25" monitor and use focus peaking. And I can use LV x10 with focus peaking with tripod shots. That only leaves a few potential MF shots on my K3. For those shots, I'll have to "settle" for using my K5. I'll wait a year then decide.
01-21-2015, 01:59 PM - 1 Like   #14
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Bear in mind that the other way of improving the focus accuracy is some sort of VF magnifier. I am pretty pleased with my Tenpa 1.36x.
01-21-2015, 02:02 PM - 1 Like   #15
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I keep going back to the KatzEye. I can list all the disadvantages but I don't think any of them really get in my way. I remember thinking the split-prism was the best invention ever since seeing it on my brother's Fujica ST605 about 40 years ago. That is just what I'm looking for in the VF.

Either option will not be ideal with slow lenses. I don't have prism blackout with my f8 mirror lens or f5.6 lenses. I can get it with a teleconverter on those lenses, but that almost never works well anyway. The EE-S just gets darker all around. For me, the same limits apply: f5.6 or f8 are fine, trouble at f16. The biggest real-world issue is if I put together a crazy macro combination of tubes and a slower lens.
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