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02-21-2009, 10:39 AM   #1
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Manual Focus on Pentax DSLRs - I want my split prism screen

I've been using my Pentax K200D now since I bought with my MF lenses. I've got an M50 1.4, M50 2.0 VivS1 70-210 3.5, VivS1 28-90 and now thanks to the marketplace an M40 (I love it's compact size). Anyways, after spending some time with my lenses I find, as others here, that it's a bit difficult to focus with a lack of the split prism. I guess I've been spoiled by my LX (along with its pentaprism rather than pentamirror). Heck, even my Pentax 110 has one!

I was hoping that Pentax would offer a replacement screen but see that they don't. I see that there is the option of the Katz eye or focusingscreen.com. I also noticed a couple of folks have removed their old screens from their old MF SLRs.

At the risk of having a mad rush on eBay for replacement LX screens due to all you LBA fanatics here : I was wondering, being that I can remove the focusing screen from my LX and even purchase some replacement LX screens via eBay. Can I use my LX screen on my K200d? If so, will I have to modify it? Will it affect metering? Anyone here done this?


Pentax: if you want some revenue, why not offer a split prism screen? Are you afraid we want buy anymore of your AF lenses if you offer this?
I just feel uncomfortable depending on the electronic confirmation and want my split prism!!

02-21-2009, 10:46 AM   #2
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To use the screens from film cameras, they have to be trimmed. The DSLR uses a smaller screen. Actually the ME Super is the one many folks are using modified. Though I have noticed a recent increase in price for even junkers.
02-21-2009, 11:25 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildlifephotog Quote
To use the screens from film cameras, they have to be trimmed. The DSLR uses a smaller screen. Actually the ME Super is the one many folks are using modified. Though I have noticed a recent increase in price for even junkers.
I've seen a couple of posts with folks doing this. Be great to hear from those doing so if one has to make any adjustments to camera settings to accomodate this. I can always be on the lookout for such 'junkers' locally on craigslist on goodwill/salvation army etc....
02-21-2009, 11:28 AM   #4
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I have used the ME Super screens in both my DS's. Focus, exposure and AF action all fine.

02-21-2009, 11:33 AM   #5
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eBay replacements ok

In my experience the $29 split prism replacement screens available on eBay do a good job.
02-21-2009, 11:37 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildlifephotog Quote
I have used the ME Super screens in both my DS's. Focus, exposure and AF action all fine.
Can you share the process for doing so? As well as your experiences with using them.

Although my only AF is the 18-55 II kit lens, i'd wondering: Does it affect use with AF lenses?

I've been lusting after some of the 85mm MF lenses (in addition to the 77mm limited of course) but I'm worried that my 'bifocal' eyes' may be a hindrance to technique.
02-21-2009, 11:48 AM   #7
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The AF function has nothing to do with the focus screen.
I've found the ME Super screens to be one of the brightest that Pentax made.

Here is where I got started at making the screens.
greyhoundman's ramblings: October 2006

My eyesight is suffering from age too. The split screen has made a world of difference.
02-21-2009, 11:50 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentHassyKon Quote
I've been using my Pentax K200D now since I bought with my MF lenses. I've got an M50 1.4, M50 2.0 VivS1 70-210 3.5, VivS1 28-90 and now thanks to the marketplace an M40 (I love it's compact size). Anyways, after spending some time with my lenses I find, as others here, that it's a bit difficult to focus with a lack of the split prism. I guess I've been spoiled by my LX (along with its pentaprism rather than pentamirror). Heck, even my Pentax 110 has one!

I was hoping that Pentax would offer a replacement screen but see that they don't. I see that there is the option of the Katz eye or focusingscreen.com. I also noticed a couple of folks have removed their old screens from their old MF SLRs.

At the risk of having a mad rush on eBay for replacement LX screens due to all you LBA fanatics here : I was wondering, being that I can remove the focusing screen from my LX and even purchase some replacement LX screens via eBay. Can I use my LX screen on my K200d? If so, will I have to modify it? Will it affect metering? Anyone here done this?


Pentax: if you want some revenue, why not offer a split prism screen? Are you afraid we want buy anymore of your AF lenses if you offer this?
I just feel uncomfortable depending on the electronic confirmation and want my split prism!!
I've heard some good reports about this split screen:

180 Split image Focusing Screen for Pentax K20D K10D - eBay (item 330308662817 end time Mar-19-09 10:11:55 PDT)

BTW, this same vendor also carries other Pentax accessories worth considering.

02-21-2009, 02:36 PM   #9
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u can see my other post about it ...

...here https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-camera-accessories/51838-would-u-b...n-ur-k20d.html





i don't understand why your thread can be post here and my cannot.
02-21-2009, 02:43 PM   #10
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QuoteQuote:
newarts:
eBay replacements ok
In my experience the $29 split prism replacement screens available on eBay do a good job.
Yes, I agree completely. I bought mine for this price (included shipping) for the K20d--I am delighted with its performance.

You can learn more from newarts' thread here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-camera-accessories/51187-inexpensi...orth-29-a.html
02-21-2009, 04:02 PM   #11
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As you may have guessed...you basically have four options:
  • Make you own from a broken film SLR
  • Buy one of many $29 USD screens from Chinese merchants on eBay. The 45-degree split image screens available there are reportedly made from K1000 OEM blanks.
  • Buy from focusingscreen.com. They have a multitude of options at $60-$75 USD.
  • Buy from KatzEye Optics. Prices start at about $100 USD and go up from there depending on options. They basically have one model with various options for grids and such. They also offer a screen brightening treatment called Optibright. A Pentax screen with Optibright and grid lines is about $200 USD.
There is much discussion regarding the value of the more expensive screens. I have never used the Chinese or Taiwan products, but have read many positive postings on this site. I have never read a disparaging comment about those screens. So, why do people spend the extra money and buy from KatzEye?
  • Quick delivery
  • Good customer service
  • Reputation for quality workmanship
  • Split image resists black-out at narrow apertures (the K3-derived screens from focusingscreen.com has similar characteristics)
I have owned both Optibright and non-Optibright versions of the KatzEye screen and think that they make a quality product. Having the chance to compare both versions, I feel strongly that Optibright is pretty much essential if using other than fast glass with the Katzeye screen (f/3.5 or slower...think 18-55 kit...). Adding Optibright brings the price to about $150 USD.

My advice? The $29 eBay item is a pretty low-risk experiment. The K3-derived screen from focusingscreen.com might be a better choice if black-out is a potential problem. If neither of these cheaper options works for you, than pony up the bucks for the KatzEye with Optibright. The price is high, but it is the only game in town if you need the brightness treatment.

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 02-21-2009 at 04:09 PM.
02-21-2009, 04:19 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentHassyKon Quote
Pentax: if you want some revenue, why not offer a split prism screen? Are you afraid we want buy anymore of your AF lenses if you offer this?
I just feel uncomfortable depending on the electronic confirmation and want my split prism!!
I think the reason Pentax doesn't offer it is because of the possibility of it affecting spot metering. I don't think any of the big DSLR manufacturers offer them, presumable for the same reason.

Steve - it's interesting to hear your thoughts on Optibrite versus not. That seems to always be a big question. I just ordered my first Katz Eye without it, because most of my lenses are fairly fast plus it sounded like the non-Optibrite screen had a little more contrast.

I figure that if it does seem too dark with slow lenses, I can order one with Optibrite and sell the original.
02-21-2009, 08:59 PM   #13
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Since the LX screen can't fit w/o being trimmed - guess I won't do that as that'll mean I won't have a screen for my LX.

Looks like I'll try the $29 route....

In terms of the multi split prism screen - interesting.... Where does one get those?
02-21-2009, 09:48 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Groucho Quote
...Steve - it's interesting to hear your thoughts on Optibrite versus not. That seems to always be a big question. I just ordered my first Katz Eye without it, because most of my lenses are fairly fast plus it sounded like the non-Optibrite screen had a little more contrast.

I figure that if it does seem too dark with slow lenses, I can order one with Optibrite and sell the original.
I really like my Tamron 70-150/3.5 and the view was just plain dim with the non-OptiBrite Katz Eye screen and that lens. Ditto for the 18-55/3.5-5.6 kit. I ordered the OptiBrite version and found a new home for the non-OptiBrite screen. The OptiBrite version is nice and bright. The general view is superior to the stock screen. I was concerned that the OptiBrite version might have inadequate contrast or might fail to show accurate DOF (like the stock screen), but so far, that has not been a problem.

After spending all the money on the Katz Eye, the favorable reports regarding the $29 Shanghai screen have me intrigued. So far, there have been no complaints of dim finders or split-image blackout. I am starting to think that I may have wasted $120!!

Steve
02-22-2009, 12:32 AM   #15
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QuoteQuote:
After spending all the money on the Katz Eye, the favorable reports regarding the $29 Shanghai screen have me intrigued. So far, there have been no complaints of dim finders or split-image blackout. I am starting to think that I may have wasted $120!!

Steve
I see reports of blackout on the Split Prism with the Chinese screen--anywhere from f5.6 to f8. I doubt you wasted your money on the Katzeye--it is a nice screen. I just found it pricey. I am very happy with the Chinese prism, but am also very happy I gave the Katzeye a try, otherwise I would have been wondering if things could get better and easier with manual focus. Most of my shooting is done in manual focus.
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