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07-07-2010, 04:23 PM   #1
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Focusing screen help needed!

So I had some bad smudges all over the focusing screen of my Pentax LX. My teacher suggested I clean it with a little alcohol and a q tip. I got the smudges off perfectly but now the screen is completely covered with streaks! I've tried water, more alcohol, and a citrus cleaner, all to no avail. I've tried soaking the screen and still nothing. As soon as it dries different streaks appear. I can barely see through the viewfinder. Is it possible to make it clear again or should I just get another screen?

It's the SC-21 screen if that helps any.

07-07-2010, 06:26 PM   #2
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Bad advice from your teacher. You can't treat a focusing screen like a mirror or a window - it's not glass, and it's not smooth. It needs texture to do its job.

It's probably unrecoverable (unless somebody else has a great idea here), but you can be thankful that with the LX, you can replace the focusing screen relatively inexpensively. Unlike with most SLRs, it doesn't mean a camera repair.

Anyway, hello and welcome to the forums!

Last edited by Sluggo; 07-07-2010 at 06:36 PM. Reason: beer. i mean, typo
07-07-2010, 07:50 PM   #3
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yeah I was afraid of that. Thanks. Luckily I found a Buy it now on ebay. In the mean time I'll have to use my old Sigma.
07-07-2010, 09:55 PM   #4
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As Sluggo says, your screen is probably toast. They are generally made of plastic and solvents are generally not a good idea. The best rule is to avoid touching the screen and never do so with a solvent. Camera repair guys have something that they use for cleaning, but I think it is some sort of trade secret


07-08-2010, 02:22 PM   #5
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I'll post this as a cautionary tale. Don't touch your focusing screen with any solvent unless you want it to look like this.

07-08-2010, 05:04 PM   #6
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Oof, does not look good, indeed. Since you have another good one coming, perhaps you could try and etch or fog the old one and see if you get anything useful.

One 'bright idea' you might try is to re-fog it with a small amount of superglue vapors or something similar, (basically, cover the parts you don't want fogged, and put it in something that'll serve as a bell jar with a drop of superglue placed inside the jar (not on the screen. ) and see what you get. ) The thing about that is, too much is guaranteed to make it useless, and there's no undoing it. So something more controllable might be better to try playing with.

I'll think about it.
07-08-2010, 05:43 PM   #7
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Gee, and I just advised a poster in another thread to learn to live with dust in his viewfinder, and two threads later I read exactly why I give that advice.
You've probably wrecked your screen.
07-08-2010, 05:50 PM   #8
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Screens clean-up wonderfully with a solution of dish soap and distilled water in a foam cup.
You can soak it a few times and rinse it off in a secondary(or third) rinse and then blow dry the moisture off with a blow drier(no heat needed). This will force the water off the screen before it can leave a residue. I usually dab the screen(while drying) on the face of a toilet paper roll to absorb the water drops off the lens rather than leaving it on the edge to dissipate.

PS. I clean all of my screens(Katzeye and stock) like this(once per year) as part of my annual CLA schedule.

07-09-2010, 02:51 PM   #9
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It cleared mine a little, but it's definitely fubar. I'll have to try that next time.
07-09-2010, 03:00 PM   #10
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On my super program and k1000 i cleaned both fairly well using rubbing alcohol on a qtip, the trick was to flip the qtip around immediately after wiping with the alcolol and dry it. i did it a few months ago. For me it took a few dry qtips to get any stray moisture left over off.
07-14-2010, 01:24 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Itsbudda Quote
I'll post this as a cautionary tale. Don't touch your focusing screen with any solvent unless you want it to look like this.
I've learned about that mistake the hard way too - on a ME Super with no interchangable sceen!
08-03-2010, 06:36 PM   #12
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Use contact lens cleaner on the focusing screen, it doesn't leave marks and dries quicker and cleaner than distilled water.
08-03-2010, 07:22 PM   #13
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I had 100% success with 5D1 focus screen that fell in the dust () by first using a blower, then a soft brush, then washing with pure castille soap and water, then dribbling Eclipse (100s of lens-cleanings worth ) over it repeatedly until the all the streaks were gone. Figured with nothing left to lose, why not give cleaning a try; it worked beyond my wildest dreams!
08-30-2010, 06:53 PM   #14
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program plus screen

i did all of the seals in my three program plus's successfully except one. i got some of that black tar like stuff on the screen even after trying to be cautious. second mistake was trying to clean it up. now it's a mess in the upper left hand corner of my viewing screen. and i'm pretty sure that's going to have to be professionally
straightened up.
09-15-2010, 07:54 PM   #15
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It's your lucky day man.... You're going to need a screwdriver and unscrew the two little screws above your mirror damper. dont lose them!

Then the screen holding assembly will swing down and you can remove the fresnel screen. Pull it out and soak it in lens cleaning solution. If it's still not coming off you can give it a LITTLE rub with a soft brush (a very thin one, like a artist paintbrush) while it's submersed in the solution. then take it out and dry it off infront of a fan or something.

then just put your screen back in the holder thingy and push it back up and insert the screws.

This is specific to the program plus camera.

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