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01-04-2016, 09:07 AM - 3 Likes   #1
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Just installed the "focusingscreen.com" K3 screen in my K-3...

... and I'm very impressed!

Installation was pretty straightforward, if a tiny bit fiddly. I used a dust blower to ensure the screen was clean before installation, but notice there is a (manufacturing?) mark in the upper right quarter of the screen, just outside the microprism area - only visible when the screen is installed. I know for sure I didn't put it there (I was extremely careful with handling), and it doesn't appear to be debris. I removed the screen and used the blower quite aggressively on both sides, re-installed, and the mark is still there. Also, if I re-install the original screen, the mark disappears, so it must be on the new one. It's really a very minor issue, though, and the focus is absolutely spot on without any need for the supplied shims, so I'm very happy indeed. It's so much easier to nail manual focus on my wider angle lenses now! Metering doesn't seem to be affected unduly, either, based on the few tests I've carried out. If I discover any negatives in time, I'll report back.

It's nice to know that with KatzEye gone, it's still possible to buy good quality focusing screens for Pentax.

I have no affiliation to focusingscreen.com - just a happy customer


Last edited by BigMackCam; 01-04-2016 at 10:30 AM.
01-04-2016, 09:51 AM   #2
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I've been considering one of these for the K-5, but after seeing some of the shots I've been taking for the Single challenge this month on a really good screen, I've mostly changed my mind. I seem to be able to nail the focus without its assistance - I think practice is making perfect, plus a bit of help from the camera's own focus-assist. It's mostly correct, but just occasionally I find myself giving things a bit of a tweak to bring exactly the part(s) I want into best overall sharpness.

Of course focus is in the eye(s) of the beholder, and no doubt in a year or two I could be following in your footsteps...
01-04-2016, 10:16 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I've been considering one of these for the K-5, but after seeing some of the shots I've been taking for the Single challenge this month on a really good screen, I've mostly changed my mind. I seem to be able to nail the focus without its assistance - I think practice is making perfect, plus a bit of help from the camera's own focus-assist. It's mostly correct, but just occasionally I find myself giving things a bit of a tweak to bring exactly the part(s) I want into best overall sharpness.

Of course focus is in the eye(s) of the beholder, and no doubt in a year or two I could be following in your footsteps...
I'm generally good with manual focus for 35mm focal length or longer, but I struggle with my MIR-1 for some reason, as well as my 28mm lenses - even with the O-ME53 magnifying eye-cup which I've used for some time now. With this new focusing screen, I can accurately focus every lens I've tried so far - even the faster lenses, wide open - without having to adjust back and forth so much, and that's a big improvement for me. Also, with AF, it's nice to be able to see when the camera is having a hard job isolating the precise point of focus, or just misses exact focus - doesn't happen often, but occasionally in poor light or with a "busy" subject. That said, I'm a big believer of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", and if you're getting good results with the stock screen, I'd stick with it!
01-04-2016, 10:37 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
... and I'm very impressed!

Installation was pretty straightforward, if a tiny bit fiddly. I used a dust blower to ensure the screen was clean before installation, but notice there is a (manufacturing?) mark in the upper right quarter of the screen, just outside the microprism area - only visible when the screen is installed. I know for sure I didn't put it there (I was extremely careful with handling), and it doesn't appear to be debris. I removed the screen and used the blower quite aggressively on both sides, re-installed, and the mark is still there. Also, if I re-install the original screen, the mark disappears, so it must be on the new one. It's really a very minor issue, though, and the focus is absolutely spot on without any need for the supplied shims, so I'm very happy indeed. It's so much easier to nail manual focus on my wider angle lenses now! Metering doesn't seem to be affected unduly, either, based on the few tests I've carried out. If I discover any negatives in time, I'll report back.

It's nice to know that with KatzEye gone, it's still possible to buy good quality focusing screens for Pentax.

I have no affiliation to focusingscreen.com - just a happy customer
Out of interest, which screen type did you intall and why did you choose that type??

01-04-2016, 10:48 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by LoneWolf Quote
Out of interest, which screen type did you intall and why did you choose that type??
I just went for the standard Nikon K3 format screen. I'm a fan of the split prism center for manual focus, and when the subject has no obvious vertical or diagonal lines, the microprism around the center is a good secondary feature. I'm not bothered with horizon or grid lines, as I can straighten things up in post processing if absolutely necessary.
01-04-2016, 12:09 PM   #6
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I neede dthe help to ocus with the K5

QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I've been considering one of these for the K-5, but after seeing some of the shots I've been taking for the Single challenge this month on a really good screen, I've mostly changed my mind. I seem to be able to nail the focus without its assistance - I think practice is making perfect, plus a bit of help from the camera's own focus-assist. It's mostly correct, but just occasionally I find myself giving things a bit of a tweak to bring exactly the part(s) I want into best overall sharpness.

Of course focus is in the eye(s) of the beholder, and no doubt in a year or two I could be following in your footsteps...
As Mike says below, if you're getting good results why change anything. I was the other way, struggling with manual focus, so through adding an S type screen and after shimming correctly it made all the difference for me when manually focussing with wide apertures.

The good thing is if you want to make the change the option is there as this company is supporting Pentax, which is a nice change.

Tas
01-04-2016, 12:11 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
[...] the focus is absolutely spot on without any need for the supplied shims [...]
I.m surprised at that -- I had thought (from other previous posts and threads, IIRC) that shims had to be added due to a screen thickness difference.
01-04-2016, 12:31 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by fwcetus Quote
I.m surprised at that -- I had thought (from other previous posts and threads, IIRC) that shims had to be added due to a screen thickness difference.
Yes, I was surprised too, Fred - I fully expected to have to add at least one of the shims. But, it is genuinely spot-on "as is".

I'm not sure what difference there is, if any, between the thickness of the stock screen and the focusingscreen.com / Nikon K3 replacement...

01-04-2016, 01:05 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
but I struggle with my MIR-1 for some reason,
How are you liking the MIR-1 otherwise? It's a lens I think I want.
01-04-2016, 01:48 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
How are you liking the MIR-1 otherwise? It's a lens I think I want.
As you might recall from this post, I have the "Grand Prix Bruxelles 1958" version. I like it, though it's not without its quirks (hey, it's a Russian lens!) Until now, I've really only used it on my K5 with stock focusing screen and standard non-magnifying eye-cup - which is a real challenge for me, as phase detect focus confirmation has quite a wide range with this lens (and is less than reliable in anything other than good light), hence I find it difficult to get accurate focus. Add to this the need to cover exposed areas on the M42 adapter to prevent dust and moisture ingress to the camera, and it has been more of a novelty lens than a serious tool for me, thus far. Contrast isn't great (though typical of Soviet-era Russian lenses), which undoubtedly contributes to the poor phase detect performance - however, from the photographer's point of view, this can be a good thing if you're after a vintage look - and it's easily addressed in post processing if you want a more up-to-date look. It also flares quite readily (I keep a UV filter on it, but never shoot with it fitted!), but the flare can be extremely attractive. You just have to keep in mind that it's quite prone to it and either use the effect or re-compose to avoid it. Quirks aside, using magnified live view, it focuses well (although I wish the K5 had focus peaking!), and the images it produces are pleasing - sharp enough, reasonable bokeh, and nice colours, though I personally prefer using it for B&W capture. Since installing the new focusing screen in my K3, I expect to get a lot more use from it, as I can focus it perfectly now through the OVF If you can find one at the right price in good working condition, I think it's well worth having. Just remember that it's a typically quirky Russian lens - if you embrace that, I reckon you'd enjoy it.

Last edited by BigMackCam; 01-04-2016 at 01:57 PM.
01-04-2016, 03:30 PM   #11
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Oh right, I forgot about your MIR-1 thread! Doh!

I'm a fan of the Soviet lenses - I use the Helios 44 and Jupiter-9 on a regular basis, and occasionally the Maksutov 500/8. I enjoy the personality of the lenses, including low-ish contrast and flare. I've found sharpness to be very good. Thanks for sharing your impressions.
01-04-2016, 04:15 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
I'm a fan of the Soviet lenses - I use the Helios 44 and Jupiter-9 on a regular basis, and occasionally the Maksutov 500/8. I enjoy the personality of the lenses, including low-ish contrast and flare. I've found sharpness to be very good. Thanks for sharing your impressions.
You're welcome I too have a Helios 44 - more specifically, the 44m - which I really like. A super lens, no reservations about it whatsoever. I also have an Industar 50-2 (which I'm fond of) and a Jupiter 21M (which I've never fallen in love with, largely due to weight, flare and related contrast issues). I don't have a Jupiter 9, but it's on my radar Like you, I get a kick out of the Soviet lenses - they have so much character. To judge them by modern "main manufacturer" standards is to misunderstand them entirely, as you obviously appreciate.

The MIR-1 is definitely a great example of Soviet lens-making, and if you know what you're signing up for, you'll like it for sure

Last edited by BigMackCam; 01-04-2016 at 04:20 PM.
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