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02-09-2011, 11:53 AM   #1
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Question about DSLR focus/viewfinders/mirrors

I would like to ask about which DSLR, Pentax but also other brands, gives a viewfinder experience the most similar to a Spotmatic.

I have no experience at all in DSLRs, as i have never owned / used one, owning only a Olympus E-P1 and a Spotmatic F.
But since I'm in LOVE with the viewfinder of the Spotmatic, what with its easy use, its style in regard of the metering, but mostly in the clarity of the center area focus, mostly when coupled with a good lens (and I'm happy with the Takumars), I wanted to ask which is the most similar counterpart in the DSLR world.

The only other focus through viewfinder camera I have tried is one from Nikon, a 35mm SLR, prolly an F, with a divided center area, a "foggy" circle around it and three red leds for the metering, and I did not liked it a bit.

I'm saving with the purpose of buying a DSLR in the future, (and i'm attracted to the K-r), but I would really like to know the options there.

So, is there a great optical viewfinder with manual focusing in mind for DSLR users?

02-09-2011, 09:41 PM   #2
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There are two current viewfinders in Pentax cameras, a Penta-mirror and a Penta-prism. The prism is defintely the brighter of the two, and the closest to the classic finders. I have a K10d, and replaced the stock "bright" screen with an LL-60 from the *ist series which gives me the grainier look of the classic finder, and I find it easier to focus with this screen. It also resolved the metering problems I was having with my two M series lenses (no A setting on the aperture ring).

I am not sure what viewfinder screen would match up on the K-5, but in my opinion, give me $1400 or so, and I would relegate my K10d to backup. It is a 100% finder. Your Spotmatic is somewhere around 95%, if I remember correctly, as is my K10d. You will find numerous threads on the forum praising the screens with focus aids in the centre, but I also find they have severe drawbacks. They make spot metering impossible, and they intrude into my view, particularly with my M 400/5.6. Blackouts of one side or the other really intrude.
02-10-2011, 01:05 AM   #3
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There is nothing like a spotmatic.

02-10-2011, 02:28 AM   #4
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Pity. But thank you for your answers, it is something that made me wonder.

02-11-2011, 07:03 AM - 1 Like   #5

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My favorite viewfinder was on my Pentax LX with FC-1 Action Eyepiece .

My favorite viewfinder in video mode is on my GH2 with over 1.5mp.
02-11-2011, 07:49 AM   #6
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On one hand that is a good thing. The spottie viewfinder was pretty dim and hard to use in low light.

On the other hand that is a bad thing. While the spottie finder was dim, the matte field was extremely good for focus outside the center microprism area. It was also much larger and gave a higher percentage coverage.

All that being said, have you seen the viewfinder on a K-7 or K-5? Both are very nice and stand out from the current crowd of finders.

02-11-2011, 08:12 AM   #7

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the closest you will get is a k-7 or k-5. and that is considering all brands really. but none will come close to a Spotmatic. sorry to disappoint, but modern digital SLR viewfinders are just smaller, even the ‘Full Frame’ digitals such as the canon 5D is apparently pretty small for a 24x36 camera. and they aren’t designed for easy manual focus, so you wont have any focusing aids at all in the viewfinder unless you swap it out for one that was originally designed for manual focusing. (of which are only available from 3rd party manufacturers and resellers) and just as a side note, your lovely Spotmatic viewfinder (and it is indeed lovely) is nothing compared to an MX viewfinder. that thing is just pure eye delight to use. utterly incredible.
02-15-2011, 11:47 AM   #8
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Thanks séamuis, I'll surely check it if I'll ever get my hands on a MX. But to know that the k-5 is good too is reassuring


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