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08-13-2015, 02:26 PM   #1
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Changing focus screen on K5ii

As a result of this discussion - https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/301380-best...peaking-2.html - I am now considering the option of getting a different focusing screen for my Pentax K5ii.

And, having done a little research, I am tempted by an S type screen,

However, comments like this make me think it might be more complicated than anything I would like to do:

"With now an accurate DoF, seeing what is actually in focus at f/1.4 became really easy! But there was a severe back-focus, so I had to remove the metal shim and replace it by two thin strips of post-it..."

Read more at: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/115-pentax-k-5/142241-best-screen-ever-ma...#ixzz3ijTEgVBh

If I buy one of the screens from here Focusing Screen can I reasonably expect to just put it in and not have any problems, or is it likely to be more complicated than that.

I kind of assumed that if it does go wrong, I can just put the old one back in. Is that right, or is there any risk of causing lasting problems?

Is it worth getting a professional repairer to do it instead?

Any thoughts and/or advice would be appreciated.

Thanks

---------- Post added 13th Aug 2015 at 10:38 PM ----------

Although I said I tempted by the S type, I'd be interested to hear which of the following people have used and would recommend.

Focusing Screen


Last edited by rob_k20d; 08-13-2015 at 05:25 PM.
08-13-2015, 03:21 PM   #2
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Some thoughts and opinions based on my experiences with a K20d and a K-5:

Shimming is a pain in the neck, and it may take a number of tries before you get it right. In my case, both cameras needed adjustment after installing an aftermarket focus screen. Others have been lucky and haven't needed to do anything. I used masking tape (specifically, blue painter's tape) rather than post-it notes, and tried one layer, then two, then three, etc., until focus was dead-on.

And yes, if it goes wrong you certainly can put the old one back in. The biggest risk is that you might scratch or otherwise mark it -- it's plastic so it scuffs easily. And fingerprints look terrible on it too.

So wear some thin medical-style gloves, be careful with the tweezers when operating the screen clasp, and EXPECT that you will find some dust in, around, or under the screen that you didn't have before. It's only on the screen so it won't affect your photos, of course.

It's very DIY-able. And probably not that good a choice for a professional, since I don't know if they would be patient enough to shim it properly.

I kept a split-image focusing screen in my K20d for as long as I owned it. But in the K-5, I took it out because I found that it messed with metering too much. Some people have complained about that problem on the K-3 also, particularly when using the S-type screen that has the composition brackets embossed on it. I have a K-3 II now but I doubt I will change the focusing screen -- live view with focus peaking works better for me.
08-13-2015, 04:59 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Quicksand Quote
Some thoughts and opinions based on my experiences with a K20d and a K-5:

Shimming is a pain in the neck, and it may take a number of tries before you get it right. In my case, both cameras needed adjustment after installing an aftermarket focus screen. Others have been lucky and haven't needed to do anything. I used masking tape (specifically, blue painter's tape) rather than post-it notes, and tried one layer, then two, then three, etc., until focus was dead-on.

And yes, if it goes wrong you certainly can put the old one back in. The biggest risk is that you might scratch or otherwise mark it -- it's plastic so it scuffs easily. And fingerprints look terrible on it too.

So wear some thin medical-style gloves, be careful with the tweezers when operating the screen clasp, and EXPECT that you will find some dust in, around, or under the screen that you didn't have before. It's only on the screen so it won't affect your photos, of course.

It's very DIY-able. And probably not that good a choice for a professional, since I don't know if they would be patient enough to shim it properly.

I kept a split-image focusing screen in my K20d for as long as I owned it. But in the K-5, I took it out because I found that it messed with metering too much. Some people have complained about that problem on the K-3 also, particularly when using the S-type screen that has the composition brackets embossed on it. I have a K-3 II now but I doubt I will change the focusing screen -- live view with focus peaking works better for me.
Very similar experience here. I've tried couple of split prism screens on K-5/K-5iis and finally ended with a clear (no markings) S-type screen. It does not seem to affect the metering at all so I still have it on although I rarely use manual focus lenses on the K-5iis nowadays.

Also regarding the split prism screens I've tried in the past - they are fun to use but when the light is not good enough or you are using slow lens or stopped down - the prism turns into a "black spot" in the center of your finder and it becomes really inconvinient to use even with AF lenses.
08-13-2015, 05:36 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by rob_k20d Quote
If I buy one of the screens from here Focusing Screen can I reasonably expect to just put it in and not have any problems, or is it likely to be more complicated than that.
That's one of the advantages of buying from focusingscreen.com - you get a kit including tweezers, plastic shims, fingertip glove etc.

The process is really easy, but as always take it slowly and don't do it in a dusty place or after a couple of beers

A thing to remember is that there are two clips/frames. The outer one holds the screen itself and a not so obvious inner one holds the spacer shim. Since the EeS screen is of a different thickness to the Pentax stock one you'll also have to replace the original metal Pentax shim hidden under the second frame with the supplied plastic one.

Do not ever touch the screen surface - use the supplied clip tool /tweezer, holding the screen only by the tab (make a note which side this is on). Gently blow off any dust both from the screen that you are putting in and from the bottom face of the pentaprism. It won't make any difference to your photos but it will bug you forever ...

There might be some difference in exposure with the EeS screen, although it shouldn't be too bad if you get the plain one. Say 0.3 or 0.7 EV at the most - the EeS screen being a touch darker. Also don't expect miracles - focusing at f1.4 can be an acquired skill. The main difference, as opposed to the stock screen, is that the apparent 'in focus' band is much narrower.

Make sure that the diopter adjust is set properly for you eyesight before you start playing with different shims. Basically you are aiming at a setup where LV focus = phase detect focus = eye focus.

Going back to the stock screen is simply the same process - so store the old screen and the old shim safely. Have fun.

08-13-2015, 06:11 PM - 1 Like   #5
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I had precisely the same concerns before I did mine a couple years ago. Since then I've swapped screens on my (now sold) K5 three times, and once on the K-3 and I'm pretty cavalier about it now. They're meant to be user-replaceable and it really is not as big of a deal as you might think. Though, I am (in all cases) one of the lucky ones who have not needed to shim in any of these cases. Just take your time the first time and be careful of scratches and dust. I seem to remember finding a pretty good Youtube tutorial on the process that I'll see if I can track down for you. In my K-3 I now have settled on the S-type (with light grid markings) as well and love it.

---------- Post added 08-13-15 at 06:15 PM ----------

Here is that video - He is replacing the screen on a K-R, but the procedure is identical.
08-14-2015, 12:50 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by chickentender Quote
He is replacing the screen on a K-R, but the procedure is identical.
Not quite. Both my K-7 and K-5ii have the spacer shim(s) under a second frame. The little tool does fit both the old and the replacement screens. The screen frame may need a little jiggle to get it to drop down properly - don't do it with the camera upside down as he does. And do put the finger gloves on the same hand ...
08-14-2015, 02:23 AM   #7
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I have a clear s screen on my K5II (plus the pentax magnifier)..... no issues... I didn't need to adjust the shims.
08-14-2015, 03:46 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by noelpolar Quote
I didn't need to adjust the shims.
That is surprising since my Canon screen is about 0.2mm thicker. The thickness of the shim will make no difference to what the AF and sensor sees, only to what you see through the viewfinder. Tweaking the dioptre adjustment might make it look right, but it won't be. The long EeS thread is worth reading.

08-14-2015, 04:00 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by kh1234567890 Quote
That is surprising since my Canon screen is about 0.2mm thicker. The thickness of the shim will make no difference to what the AF and sensor sees, only to what you see through the viewfinder. Tweaking the dioptre adjustment might make it look right, but it won't be. The long EeS thread is worth reading.
I'm familular with all that.....played around several times but seems ok....K50/1.2, 85/1.8 and all....may have another look at some stage.
08-14-2015, 12:17 PM   #10
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As noted above, the actual screen swap is easy. The concerns may be summarized:
  • Finding a good vendor. With Katz Eye gone, focusingscreen.com or making your own are probably the best options. Ebay merchants are a bit of a crap shoot, IMHO.
  • Viewfinder brightness. Aftermarket screens will typically be more dim than the stock screen. This may affect metering.
  • Metering. A split image will likely make spot metering unreliable and may even affect center-weighted and/or matrix metering.
  • Shimming. Focusingscreen.com includes plastic shims with their screens. They are quite flexible and difficult to use and inferior to the genuine (metal) Pentax shims. I have experience with both. Good luck on finding a source for the Pentax shims.* Some users have made their own from shim stock or even strips of paper.


Steve

* Katz Eye had them for sale, but alas, no more Katz Eye...
08-15-2015, 06:09 AM   #11
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Thanks everyone for your comments - one more question.

A number of people have suggested that the hardest thing is replacing the shims. However, it seems that the people who have had the hardest time with this, having to use trial and error to get the right result.

However, I have noticed a few posts that suggest it may be easier with the "fosucingscreens" products:

Originally posted by noelpolar Quote
I didn't need to adjust the shims.

That is surprising since my Canon screen is about 0.2mm thicker. The thickness of the shim will make no difference to what the AF and sensor sees, only to what you see through the viewfinder.


Focusingscreen.com includes plastic shims with their screens. They are quite flexible and difficult to use and inferior to the genuine (metal) Pentax shims

Read more at: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/6-pentax-dslr-discussion/301663-changing-...#ixzz3it9ouDln


A thing to remember is that there are two clips/frames. The outer one holds the screen itself and a not so obvious inner one holds the spacer shim. Since the EeS screen is of a different thickness to the Pentax stock one you'll also have to replace the original metal Pentax shim hidden under the second frame with the supplied plastic one.

Read more at: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/6-pentax-dslr-discussion/301663-changing-...#ixzz3it9yx1bE

Taking these comments together, I am assuming that there shouldn't be trial and error involved. Rather, the plastic shims provided should be the right size, to match the camera with the new screen.

As such, the problem is the fiddliness of the plastic shims, but not the size of them. As such, as long as I can get them in, there shouldn't be any trial and error. It should just be correctly set up for focusing.

Does that sound right?

Thanks
08-15-2015, 06:50 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by rob_k20d Quote
As such, the problem is the fiddliness of the plastic shims, but not the size of them. As such, as long as I can get them in, there shouldn't be any trial and error. It should just be correctly set up for focusing.
The plastic shims from focusingscreen.com are perfectly adequate, just a bit more flexible and hence more fiddly and harder to locate properly in the frame. They are cut to the right size. The two frame design on K-5 etc. makes things easier since you do not have to position the shim on top of the screen and then risk it moving as you clip the screen frame back up as you would with the K-x etc. pentamirror bodies.
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