Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home

Show Printable Version Search this Thread
03-14-2013, 10:21 AM   #1
Junior Member

Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 39
Focusing screen a la Frankestein

Hi, there!

I've been somewhat struggling with focusing issues since I got my film camera and started thinking of several solutions:

The first (and obvious one) is to get my eyes examined and see if I need glasses.

The second thought that crossed my mind was to insert a piece of a loupe on the outside of the viewfinder. (I think I read about this somewhere).

And, last but not least, I've been thiking for a couple of days now of a possibility based on the multi-focus approach of DSLR's and what I think would be an improvement to regular focusing screens.

The kind I like is the split image. I don't use telephotos and find'em a better choice when working in low light.

They say an image talks 1000 words so I'll leave an attachment with the idea and find out whether someone has thought of/made it already. The idea is to transform (or put together) several screens to get the result shown on the right side of the image.

(the inclination shown in the split image sections is because I hate to have to rotate my camera just because there isn't anything vertical in the frame and, since i'm (would be) already into trouble... why not?).

P.S: I know this is waaaaay out there and could get quite expensive (I would need at least five screens!!) and nerve wracking, but might work as occupational therapy for someone.

Attached Images
03-14-2013, 10:52 AM   #2
Moderator PEG Judges
Kerrowdown's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Highlands of Scotland.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 32,829
I think you may well find this, way too distracting when trying to view the scene through all split/collars and prisms.

Even if it was do able.
03-14-2013, 11:00 AM   #3
Junior Member

Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 39
Original Poster
Well... the thread is working!! I wanted to get feedback from all of you to see any drawback with this... I was thinking that it might cause some trouble with light metering but I never thought of it on the side of composition.

So far, a win for simplicity!
03-14-2013, 12:57 PM   #4
Swift1's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Oregon
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,003
When I started using manual focus lenses and cameras, I liked the idea of the split prism and thought that it was more accurate. Over the years, I've acquired many cameras, some with split prisms, and many with only micro prisms.
Using cameras without split prisms forced me to see focusing differently and I learned to focus using the main part of the focus screen more.
Now, split prisms are almost a distraction to me. I think 5 split prisms would make composing quite hard

03-14-2013, 01:01 PM   #5
Junior Member

Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 39
Original Poster
what do you mean by "the main part of the focusing screen"? Is it the microprism? If so... how do you cope with low light situations?
03-14-2013, 01:07 PM   #6
Veteran Member
kcobain1992's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,409
I think the main part is the matte area.
03-14-2013, 01:14 PM   #7
Site Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Texas
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,149
I find SLRs easiest to focus with a plain matte screen (ground glass) as you can judge sharpness better. So when possible I've even gotten rid of microprisms. (This is even though I mainly use Leica rangefinders, which have split/double image focusing in the center only. But they are a far cry from an SLR split image.)
03-15-2013, 08:41 PM   #8
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 27,474
The ground glass "doughnut" is intended as the primary region for fine focus. The center focus aide is there as a supplement. It always impresses me that the fairly dim viewfinder in my KX film camera has a tiny center microprism but a very nice large matte area that truely "snaps" focus for most subjects and is superior to the brighter finders on my newer cameras.

In regards to Tom's comment about rangefinders...the double image focus, when properly calibrated, can be incredibly accurate on a camera with adequate rangefinder base.


03-16-2013, 07:31 AM   #9

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,044
So that we have a reference, what viewfinder(s) have you looked through, which have you found the best and do you wear glasses?
Also, what is low light to you in EV?

There are addon viewfinder magnifiers that magnify the central portion for critical focus. Not easy to do handheld.

There are SLRs - like the MX, that have a huge viewfinder to begin with and changeable focusing screens.

Then we have the LX with diopter adjustments, changeable focusing screens as well as changeable viewfinders to maximize suitability.

With the LX's off the film plane metering, the additional focusing aids you came up won't affect it's metering but I agree that it would definitely be distracting.
03-16-2013, 08:33 AM   #10
Moderator PEG Judges
Kerrowdown's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Highlands of Scotland.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 32,829
On occasion I still use my LXs with the FB-1 and FC-1 combo attached, deep joy.

I would welcome the day DSLRs could have that as a fitted option, I guess it will come out about the same time as FF.

  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
camera, idea, image, screens, split
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Will a ground glass/split focusing screen affect autofocus on a K-5? jbennett1971 Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 18 01-18-2013 09:38 PM
To clean a focusing screen kcobain1992 Pentax Film SLR Discussion 32 12-06-2012 05:19 AM
Need help for a recently bought K100D with a custom focusing screen mikerigel Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 6 06-23-2011 02:05 PM
Is it possible to use a K7 focusing screen on a K5 ? Couscousdelight Pentax K-5 6 04-13-2011 09:40 AM
Focusing manual lens with OEM focusing screen, is a split screen really needed? skid2964 Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 16 09-17-2010 02:54 PM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:38 AM. | See also:, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]