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12-14-2008, 01:14 PM   #16
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Steve -

I'll think you will be happy with the KatzEye Screen. It is a quantum leap ahead of the stock Pentax screen for manual focusing. I got mine with the Optibright coating and it is significantly brighter than the stock screen. I would like to see a Katzeye without the coating just for the sake of comparison. Then I could determine if it was worth the extra $50 bucks.

Tom G

Update:

Actually I do have the original Pentax screen to compare the KatzEye with Duhhhh! I just took a look and the KatzEye is significantly brighter than the original screen just looking at it. The same is true in the camera.

Tom G


Last edited by 8540tomg; 12-14-2008 at 03:16 PM.
12-14-2008, 01:32 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
Steve -

I'll think you will be happy with the KatzEye Screen. It is a quantum leap ahead of the stock Pentax screen for manual focusing. I got mine with the Optibright coating and it is significantly brighter than the stock screen. I would like to see a Katzeye without the coating just for the sake of comparison. Then I could determine if it was worth the extra $50 bucks.

Tom G
Frankly, if brighter viewing matters to you, fifty bucks is *nothing,* relative to any other options. I would not spend the hundred on a screen at all if it weren't to get that extra brightness, I think.

Which is to say, if I were spending a hundred+ on a focusing screen anyway, getting me there in the first place might be the real hurdle: tacking fifty on to make it a brighter one would not be an issue, unless there were some serious secondary drawback for me, like actually throwing off metering or crippling AF.

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 12-14-2008 at 01:42 PM.
12-14-2008, 06:58 PM   #18
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I have had the katz-eye for a month or so and, while I don't regret buying it, I wouldn't buy it again for a new camera.

It really works as advertised. The problem is I don't know if it needs more getting used to but on anything but the simplest compositions the screen is useless. I mean this in the sense that unless your subject has a VERY CLEAR border against a reasonably separated background I feel I can get better manual focusing by ignoring the prisms and simply doing it as if I had an ordinary focusing screen. Add to that, the subject must be static.

In fact after the novelty factor wore off I find it more of a hindrance since to do manual focusing without it I have to move the camera so the subject falls outside the circles.

Shooting any kind of moving subject makes it useless. See the attached picture I made last week using a manual focus only 500mm f/6.3 lens with paper thin DOF. I was actually moving the subject out of the prism circles to focus with my eyes only that day. Click for big. With my short, fast primes it's not much more help. Maybe itīs just me.

12-15-2008, 12:07 AM   #19
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I played with the Katzeye some more today and made a few very interesting discoveries regarding the screen brightness, metering, and DOF. I don't have time to put it all to words this evening, but will try to get a post out tomorrow.

In regards to kristoffon's usability comments...I have a lot of experience using a microprism/split-image finder on film, so using it on the K10D was second nature. Here is my general flow:
  • Usually use the microprism
  • Use the split image on low contrast subjects where the microprism is pretty much useless and/or when fine focus is essential
  • Use the broad groundglass donut probably as much as either of the two focusing aids.

In practical terms, the focus aids are pretty much useless for things like motorsports or any moving target. It is simply too difficult to concentrate on the split-image, pan with the subject, and compose at the same time.

Steve

12-15-2008, 12:20 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
Frankly, if brighter viewing matters to you, fifty bucks is *nothing,* relative to any other options. I would not spend the hundred on a screen at all if it weren't to get that extra brightness, I think.

Which is to say, if I were spending a hundred+ on a focusing screen anyway, getting me there in the first place might be the real hurdle: tacking fifty on to make it a brighter one would not be an issue, unless there were some serious secondary drawback for me, like actually throwing off metering or crippling AF.
I was not too concerned about having a brighter viewfinder, so I skipped the OptiBright. I was just not expecting the viewfinder to be as dim as it turned out to be with the 18-55. The Katzeye has about 1/2 the brightness at 55mm as with the stock screen. As mentioned above, faster lenses (f/2.8 or better) are a joy with a bright, contrasty field.

Steve

(Probably will not be buying any of the f/4 or slower Pentax zooms as a result...)
12-15-2008, 04:35 AM   #21
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The focusing screen doesn't affect AF at all. It may affect metering, but the optical path for the AF system doesn't go through the focusing screen.

Is it true that the KatzEye screens used to be made from old K1000 screens cut to size?

Has someone tried to cut their old focusing screens from a 35mm camera to size?

I have a P30N which appears to be jammed but the focusing screen may work for my K100D when trimmed down in size?
12-15-2008, 06:59 AM   #22
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Hello all!

Well, could someone comment on the exposure accuracy with stopped-down lenses?
Do you still experience wildly erratic behaviour, or is it now predictable (i.e. going from f/2.8 to f/4 doubles the exposure time)?

Thanks!
12-15-2008, 08:08 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by dlacouture Quote
Hello all!

Well, could someone comment on the exposure accuracy with stopped-down lenses?
Do you still experience wildly erratic behaviour, or is it now predictable (i.e. going from f/2.8 to f/4 doubles the exposure time)?

Thanks!
I've had no exposure problems before or since installing my new focusing screen. There's the occasional underexposed shot but I don't think the screen causes them.

12-15-2008, 11:23 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
...Is it true that the KatzEye screens used to be made from old K1000 screens cut to size?...
No. Katzeye manufacturers their own screens. In addition the Katzeye screens are pretty unique with a very wide groundglass donut the outer margin of which is a dark line that is useful for dialing in the viewfinder diopter adjustment.

The rumor is that some of the Chinese eBay screen vendor products are made out of recycled K1000 screens. It is hard to tell if there is any truth to the rumor.

Steve

Edit: Thanks to deejjjaaaa for supplying additional information about the Katzeye screens. Apparently they are CNC machined to fit from available Nikon K3 screens originally designed for the Nikon FM3A. These screens may be purchased new for $29.95 from B&H if you have the yearn to do a little do-it-yourself cutting.

Last edited by stevebrot; 12-15-2008 at 03:50 PM.
12-15-2008, 11:29 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by dlacouture Quote
Hello all!

Well, could someone comment on the exposure accuracy with stopped-down lenses?
Do you still experience wildly erratic behaviour, or is it now predictable (i.e. going from f/2.8 to f/4 doubles the exposure time)?

Thanks!
My early tests with center-weighted metering indicate that the stop-down exposure issues are still present on the Katzeye, though perhaps to a lesser degree. Stop-down spot metering is totally screwy regardless of the maximum diameter of the lens. (More at a later date.)

Steve
12-15-2008, 11:42 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
No. Katzeye manufacturers their own screens. In addition the Katzeye screens are pretty unique with a very wide groundglass donut the outer margin of which is a dark line that is useful for dialing in the viewfinder diopter adjustment.

The rumor is that some of the Chinese eBay screen vendor products are made out of recycled K1000 screens. It is hard to tell if there is any truth to the rumor.

Steve
KatzEye cuts from Nikon OEM blanks (K3 namely) - compare
w/ blanks used by focusingscreen.com... as for the screens from China - it is not a rumor - they were openly telling that, either from K1000 or X700 OEM blanks
12-15-2008, 02:33 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by deejjjaaaa Quote
KatzEye cuts from Nikon OEM blanks (K3 namely) - compare
w/ blanks used by focusingscreen.com... as for the screens from China - it is not a rumor - they were openly telling that, either from K1000 or X700 OEM blanks
I wonder how much 'cutting' has to be done to make it fit...
12-15-2008, 02:56 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I was not too concerned about having a brighter viewfinder, so I skipped the OptiBright. I was just not expecting the viewfinder to be as dim as it turned out to be with the 18-55. The Katzeye has about 1/2 the brightness at 55mm as with the stock screen. As mentioned above, faster lenses (f/2.8 or better) are a joy with a bright, contrasty field.

Steve

(Probably will not be buying any of the f/4 or slower Pentax zooms as a result...)
Well, my understanding is that the stock screens effectively have a brightness 'upgrade' built in, so I'm not surprised that one without such an option would be dimmer than that. It seems some say the 'OptiBirght' ones are brighter, still, though?

And, Kristoff, usually general-purpose focusing aids are pretty useless with long, slow lenses: often folks will prefer all matte for that purpose.

Canon used to make a screen for the F-1 which had a matte spot in the center and the rest was as clear as possible in order to be the best it could with such long lenses.

I wonder if you'd like my idea for a screen with a matte spot with a microprism collar. They could make one and call it a 'Ratzeye' screen.
12-15-2008, 03:07 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom S. Quote
I wonder how much 'cutting' has to be done to make it fit...
you can google for pictures where people are showing how to make the
screen yourself

for example the old and well known photoset here

K10D, new split focusing screen - a set on Flickr
12-15-2008, 03:39 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by deejjjaaaa Quote
KatzEye cuts from Nikon OEM blanks (K3 namely) - compare
w/ blanks used by focusingscreen.com... as for the screens from China - it is not a rumor - they were openly telling that, either from K1000 or X700 OEM blanks
My mistake. A little time with Goggle and your statements are confirmed. I will edit my post.

Steve
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