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06-04-2016, 09:27 AM   #1
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Pentax K-3 focusing screen

I need some help. I only use manual lenses on my K-3, and think it would be of great help to have a split image focusing screen. Have any of you changed your screens? If so, what screen did you get? Was it an easy operation?

06-04-2016, 09:52 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I am a happy KatzEye (w/OptiBrite) user, but sadly those screens are no longer available

The cut-down Nikon K3 screen from focusingscreen.com is essentially similar.


Steve
06-04-2016, 10:24 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Changing screens is very easy for the user to do. Here is a tutorial for K-mount DSLRs (with the exception of the K-1) http://www.katzeyeoptics.com/files/install_11.pdf You may want to download it soon because Katzeye is shutting down operations, and the info may not be available forever.

In addition to the Nikon screen that Stevebrot mentioned, I also hear good things about the Canon EE-S screen, though I'm not sure where to buy one.
06-04-2016, 10:34 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Adam might want to ask them if he could host them because the PDF's also link to high resolution blown up images for details.

06-04-2016, 11:34 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxfield_photo Quote
I also hear good things about the Canon EE-S screen, though I'm not sure where to buy one.
Those are available through Canon (if you want to do the cut-down yourself)* or through focusingscreen.com. I have used the S-type from focusingscreen.com and was pleased with its performance, though with a few caveats that I addressed in my review on the products review page here on PF:

FocusingScreen.com S-type screen reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database

BTW, I panned it based on its performance quirks and should probably revise my review to reflect a more reasonable assessment.


Steve

* I should mention that the uncut Nikon K3 screen is also available as an accessory from Nikon dealers.
06-04-2016, 12:21 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I am a happy KatzEye (w/OptiBrite) user, but sadly those screens are no longer available

The cut-down Nikon K3 screen from focusingscreen.com is essentially similar.


Steve
Thanks Steve. Is this the one?
Focusing Screen
06-04-2016, 12:32 PM - 1 Like   #7
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I bought Canon EE-S from Amazon and cut it myself. Can't get much cheaper than this.

You just have to calibrate it after putting in camera by using shims. In my case I had to remove stock shim from K-3II and use it without any. Manual focus was easy, especially with longer lenses. I also have Canon split screen cut to size. This one require shimming and I've done it with narrow strips of low tack masking tape. But for manual focusing I prefer the EE-S screen.

Just one warning. A lot of dust can get into mirror box while you messing around with screens. I had dust stick to prism and screen itself. And cleaning the screen can easily get it scratched.

Good luck.

Greg
06-04-2016, 12:45 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by henrikknutsson Quote
Thanks Steve. Is this the one?
Focusing Screen
Yes, that is the Nikon K3.


Steve

06-04-2016, 06:52 PM - 1 Like   #9
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I have a KatzEye on my K5, but I'm not convinced the registry of its focal point with the sensor is correct. I suspect it may be just as accurate to press the AF button and wait for the beep, and easier to tweak the focus point than finding appropriate shims for an out-of-register screen, and besides, SFAIK, the shims can only adjust in one direction (to front focus if I'm thinking correctly)
06-04-2016, 09:17 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
I have a KatzEye on my K5, but I'm not convinced the registry of its focal point with the sensor is correct. I suspect it may be just as accurate to press the AF button and wait for the beep, and easier to tweak the focus point than finding appropriate shims for an out-of-register screen, and besides, SFAIK, the shims can only adjust in one direction (to front focus if I'm thinking correctly)
You can get thinner or thicker shims - so it should be possible to adjust either way a little.
06-05-2016, 04:34 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
You can get thinner or thicker shims - so it should be possible to adjust either way a little.
Provided: 1) there's at least one shim already in place below the stock came-in -the-camera focusing screen, OR, 2) the new screen is slightly thinner than a stock screen so that it starts too far back and requires at least one shim to achieve proper registry.
06-05-2016, 05:37 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
Provided: 1) there's at least one shim already in place below the stock came-in -the-camera focusing screen, OR, 2) the new screen is slightly thinner than a stock screen so that it starts too far back and requires at least one shim to achieve proper registry.
True.
06-05-2016, 09:11 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
I have a KatzEye on my K5, but I'm not convinced the registry of its focal point with the sensor is correct. I suspect it may be just as accurate to press the AF button and wait for the beep, and easier to tweak the focus point than finding appropriate shims for an out-of-register screen, and besides, SFAIK, the shims can only adjust in one direction (to front focus if I'm thinking correctly)
Why not put your K-5 on a tripod, disable AF, and draw a nice bold, straight line on a piece of paper or posterboard, and tape it to a wall with some low tack tape? Then just focus manually, until the line looks completely straight (you might even take a second camera with macro capabilities and photograph the viewfinder of your K-5), and then check the image in live view with punch-in magnification.

I have two Katzeyes now for my K20d and my K-3, neither one required shims, and they are perfectly in focus straight out of the box. Do I still miss focus sometimes? Yeah, my eyes aren't quite as sharp as they used to be. Adjusting the diopter helps, paying close attention to what I'm doing when I'm shooting helps even more.
06-05-2016, 11:14 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxfield_photo Quote
Why not put your K-5 on a tripod, disable AF, and draw a nice bold, straight line on a piece of paper or posterboard, and tape it to a wall with some low tack tape? Then just focus manually, until the line looks completely straight (you might even take a second camera with macro capabilities and photograph the viewfinder of your K-5), and then check the image in live view with punch-in magnification.

I have two Katzeyes now for my K20d and my K-3, neither one required shims, and they are perfectly in focus straight out of the box. Do I still miss focus sometimes? Yeah, my eyes aren't quite as sharp as they used to be. Adjusting the diopter helps, paying close attention to what I'm doing when I'm shooting helps even more.
Part of my problem with KatzEye is that what I really like to see in the viewfinder is what I originally learned to use on an SLR, an all microprism dot, no split image prism. I switched my LX to that type of screen ASAP. I know the diagonal split image prism system must be accurate so long as there is a straight line, otherwise it would not have become ubiquitous prior to AF, but I've always been more comfortable with a large, all microprism screen, not just a microprism doughnut. What I really like now is the K1 tilting screen + enlarged live view + focus peaking. That combination, after using it a limited number of times, seem to solve focus problems both for macro and difficult subject + lighting combinations.
06-05-2016, 11:22 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
SFAIK, the shims can only adjust in one direction (to front focus if I'm thinking correctly)
It depends on the body and the shim fitted at the factory. Pentax shims are made from 0.10mm to 0.45mm thickness in 0.05mm increments. My K-3 was fitted with a 0.30mm factory shim.

QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
Provided: 1) there's at least one shim already in place below the stock came-in -the-camera focusing screen, OR, 2) the new screen is slightly thinner than a stock screen so that it starts too far back and requires at least one shim to achieve proper registry.
As a point of clarification for the reader, the shim fits between the screen and the pentaprism base. Cameras with no or a very thin shim are problematic if the replacement is thicker than than the stock screen. A similar problem exists at the other extreme.

QuoteOriginally posted by maxfield_photo Quote
Why not put your K-5 on a tripod, disable AF, and draw a nice bold, straight line on a piece of paper or posterboard, and tape it to a wall with some low tack tape? Then just focus manually, until the line looks completely straight (you might even take a second camera with macro capabilities and photograph the viewfinder of your K-5), and then check the image in live view with punch-in magnification.
It is even easier than that. Using a taped-up target (about 20x the focal length away) and the camera on tripod oriented true to the wall. Use the live view contrast-detect AF to attain focus. Turn AF and live view off and see if the viewfinder split image lines up. If not, rotate the focus ring to correct. The direction indicates whether you need a thinner or thicker shim.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-05-2016 at 11:28 AM.
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