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08-22-2015, 05:44 PM   #1
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Third party focusing screens for K5 & K3?

I now have several older lenses with poor contrast where focus assist is either unreliable or plain doesn't work. This is particularly noticeable with my newly-acquired 37mm MIR-1. I'm therefore considering a focusing screen upgrade to improve my ability to fine-focus with these lenses. Does anyone have experience of fitting one for the K5 and/or K3? If so, can any of you confirm if this was an improvement over the stock screen? I'm not fond of live view unless unavoidable, so improved viewfinder focusing would be immensely helpful to me (note, I already use the O-ME53 viewfinder magnifier).

Thanks in advance...

08-22-2015, 05:56 PM   #2
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I have a Katzeye split prism in my K3. Got the optibrite feature and paid extra to have them install.

Huge improvement for mannual lenses. Why did I wait so long?
08-22-2015, 06:07 PM   #3
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So reading your post re the Katzeye I decided to look at their site, since the idea of a screen aimed for MF lenses would be a HUGE thing for me (I only own one AF lens)

But well..... it seems like if people want a Katzeye screen they may want to get in fast.

QuoteQuote:
Dear Fellow Photographer,

After over a decade of making focusing screens, it is time for us to move on to different ventures. So it is with great sorrow that we must announce the closing of KatzEye™ Optics. We had hoped to negotiate the sale of KatzEye™, so that production of our products could continue; but unfortunately, those plans have not come to fruition and it appears we will simply have to close. It has been our great pleasure and honor to meet and support so many wonderful photographers over the years and we will miss you all greatly.

Our customer support will be continue to be available - we still stand behind every product we shipped. If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us

Thank you for your patronage and your many shared photos and kudos over the years - your support made KatzEye™ happen! Best wishes in all that you do, and may the universe favor you with abundant and beautiful photo opportunities!

Warmest Regards,
The KatzEye™ Optics Team
KatzEye
08-22-2015, 06:10 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Basset Quote
I have a Katzeye split prism in my K3. Got the optibrite feature and paid extra to have them install.

Huge improvement for mannual lenses. Why did I wait so long?
Thanks - good to hear! I guess I should have said, "does anyone have experience of fitting a currently available focusing screen"... sadly, Katzeye is no longer in business, it seems?

08-22-2015, 06:23 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Thanks - good to hear! I guess I should have said, "does anyone have experience of fitting a currently available focusing screen"... sadly, Katzeye is no longer in business, it seems?
Wow, I didn't know Katzeye closed. That is really too bad. Now I am in the same boat as you, because I can't imagine my next DSLR without a split prism screen.
08-22-2015, 08:08 PM   #6
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I liked the focusing screen on the Pentax MX I used to have. It would be nice if I could get one like it for my K5 or K3.
08-23-2015, 12:48 AM   #7
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Available at FocusingScreen.com Do a search on the forum as there are quite a few threads about this brand.
08-23-2015, 03:30 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by mdave13 Quote
Available at FocusingScreen.com Do a search on the forum as there are quite a few threads about this brand.
Thanks. Reading the threads, I'm concerned that the provided shims (and lack of availability of additional shims) could make it very tricky to get focusing spot-on... Also, the potential effect on metering, and darkness in the viewfinder at narrow apertures... Hmmm. Much to consider!

08-23-2015, 04:10 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Thanks. Reading the threads, I'm concerned that the provided shims (and lack of availability of additional shims) could make it very tricky to get focusing spot-on... Also, the potential effect on metering, and darkness in the viewfinder at narrow apertures... Hmmm. Much to consider!
I installed a Focusingscreen.com S type in my K5, it was very easy to do. After the installation and with the standard shims still in place the focussing was off, so I swapped them with the additional shims that came with the screen. I found this as easy as changing the screen, and it meant that I could have confidence focusing manually with wide apertures.

The screen and shim changes worked as described in the instructions, downloadable from the focusingscreen.com website. The instructions were simple and easy to follow. The important thing to remember during the change is dust control. This is the hardest part of the process IMHO.

I don't understand why people are having issues with the screen when you stop down. If the screen is going darker when stopped down I don't notice it as I have NO problems when I stop down to F8 or smaller apertures.

I've not tried the Katzeye screens, though if these are no longer available and you mainly have manual focus lens, don't hesitate in commiting to the focusingscreen.com options.

With the ease of installation and huge improvement (compared to manually focussing with the standard screen) you will wonder why you didn't do it earlier.

Tas
08-23-2015, 05:50 AM   #10
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I'm surprised that no one has mentioned any exposure (metering) errors yet in this thread -- this has been a concern expressed in some of the other focusing screen threads over the last few years.

I have never tried the "S" screen. However, I have had some previous experience with a couple of Katzeye split screens (one with the enhanced "Optibrite" treatment), and I found them very frustrating to use, especially with spot metering (and it was for manual focusing on K, M and A lenses, which require spot metering, that I most wanted the split-image focusing for). [I did find the metering not quite as bad when using newer lenses and matrix metering.]

Even with the "S" screens, it has been some other Pentaxers' experience that one should avoid getting the optional bright etched lines on the focusingscreen.com screens due to metering issues, too. [Look for some of the other, more recent focusing screen threads.]

I currently still have a Katzeye in my backup K20D, but I still stumble along with the stock screen in my K-3. (Live view and focus peaking work wonders for MF, but I personally find live view usually difficult to use (the exception being when tripod shooting).

Last edited by fwcetus; 08-26-2015 at 06:38 PM.
08-23-2015, 06:26 AM   #11
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The best ever focusing screen for Pentax crop-DSLRs is a Nikon F6-A focusing screen. Actually, it was the best screen, I must confess that I bought the last one about a year ago

Usually, one wants to replace a focusing screen for more accurate focusing. In my experience it's only possible when a screen has a split-image sector. Plain matting will never be as good as split-image for accurate focusing.
However, the problem with split-image screens for crop-DSLRs is that split-image sectors are too big, they distract from composition and can and do shift exposure. It is because precise screens for crop-cameras are made from FF screens. On FF cameras such sectors look not very big but when screens are cut for crop-cameras, everything on screens is magnified.
Nikon F6-A is the only high precision screen that has a very tiny split-image sector and no other distracting elements. Once installed in a Pentax DSLR, one can't find any distractions at all except for a rather small split-mage sector in the center of the image. There are no exposure shifts at all. And the focusing is very-very accurate!
After F6-A the only option is Canon's EE-S but it's only a subtitute.

P.S. I sold my K-3 but I'm still keeping the F6-A screen. If someone needs it, you can send me a PM. I also have a Canon EE-S screen for Pentax, F6-A is much better for sure.
08-23-2015, 06:43 AM   #12
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@Tas - thanks for sharing your experiences; I'm inclined to give it a try based on what you say

@fwcetus - yes, the metering issue is a potential "gotcha". Like you, my main interest in the focus screens is to improve usability of my numerous manual lenses where spot metering is required. If I go for it, I think I'd start with my backup K5 and see how it goes before attacking my K3...

Thanks for the responses, folks. Useful stuff
08-23-2015, 08:41 AM   #13
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Does anybody tried comparing the canon s vs nikon k3 focusing screen on their pentax body. As i understand the only edge of canon s over stock screen is focusing wider than f2 and no advantage thereafter. Some also mentioned nikon k3 is as good as katzeye and the split focus of k3 is very effective but no mention about metering. Can anyone here confirm this
08-23-2015, 12:50 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tas Quote
I don't understand why people are having issues with the screen when you stop down. If the screen is going darker when stopped down I don't notice it as I have NO problems when I stop down to F8 or smaller apertures.
They are probably referring to lenses without automatic aperture. Lenses with automatic aperture, the 'A' setting, do their metering and focusing with the lens wide open and stop down when the shutter is tripped.
08-23-2015, 01:19 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by skyer Quote
The best ever focusing screen for Pentax crop-DSLRs is a Nikon F6-A focusing screen. Actually, it was the best screen, I must confess that I bought the last one about a year ago

Usually, one wants to replace a focusing screen for more accurate focusing. In my experience it's only possible when a screen has a split-image sector. Plain matting will never be as good as split-image for accurate focusing.
However, the problem with split-image screens for crop-DSLRs is that split-image sectors are too big, they distract from composition and can and do shift exposure. It is because precise screens for crop-cameras are made from FF screens. On FF cameras such sectors look not very big but when screens are cut for crop-cameras, everything on screens is magnified.
Nikon F6-A is the only high precision screen that has a very tiny split-image sector and no other distracting elements. Once installed in a Pentax DSLR, one can't find any distractions at all except for a rather small split-mage sector in the center of the image. There are no exposure shifts at all. And the focusing is very-very accurate!
After F6-A the only option is Canon's EE-S but it's only a subtitute.

P.S. I sold my K-3 but I'm still keeping the F6-A screen. If someone needs it, you can send me a PM. I also have a Canon EE-S screen for Pentax, F6-A is much better for sure.
Sending you an PM...
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