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01-01-2016, 01:00 AM   #1
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Pentax 67 focusing

I really hate Pentax 67's dark viewfinder and split screen. Almost 40~50% of pics weren't focused on subjects and I really hate this situation. Focusing is also hard to do. So I'm thinking to change the focusing screen rather then the prism head because of its price. Are there any brighter split screen to replace for Pentax 67?

01-01-2016, 04:08 AM   #2
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Make sure the eyepiece doesn't have an unexpected diopter installed. I thought mine was terrible to focus before I realized a previous owner had installed a diopter lens in the eyepiece. It became easy to nail focus without the diopter. I prefer plain ground glass screens for judging sharpness, but find the 6x7 screen fine, even ignoring the center split section.
01-01-2016, 05:08 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by sunshine7913 Quote
I really hate Pentax 67's dark viewfinder and split screen. Almost 40~50% of pics weren't focused on subjects and I really hate this situation. Focusing is also hard to do. So I'm thinking to change the focusing screen rather then the prism head because of its price. Are there any brighter split screen to replace for Pentax 67?
the P67 split screen are usualy quite bright. I've tried the microprism and the split screen, and both are great.

If you do have the courage, check the reference of your split screen. There is similar screen made for different purpose. For exemple, on the split screen, there is the BB-61 and BB-81 (one is made for macro work, the other is general purpose. both have different specification)

See : Focusing Screens (Genuine Pentax - Legacy) - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database

And follow TomB tx advise : make sure you have no diopter installed on the 67.
01-01-2016, 10:47 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
Make sure the eyepiece doesn't have an unexpected diopter installed. I thought mine was terrible to focus before I realized a previous owner had installed a diopter lens in the eyepiece. It became easy to nail focus without the diopter. I prefer plain ground glass screens for judging sharpness, but find the 6x7 screen fine, even ignoring the center split section.
I don't use any diopter at all. It's still dark and focusing is still hard especially for portrait.

01-01-2016, 02:16 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by sunshine7913 Quote
I don't use any diopter at all. It's still dark and focusing is still hard especially for portrait.
If you are shooting indoor portrait work with studio strobe flash for lighting, then yes the viewfinder will be dark and hard to focus. The screen will not matter in this case. You will have to use some form of fixed lighting to focus, then turn it off when ready to shoot.

Phil.
01-01-2016, 03:55 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by sunshine7913 Quote
I really hate Pentax 67's dark viewfinder and split screen. Almost 40~50% of pics weren't focused on subjects and I really hate this situation. Focusing is also hard to do. So I'm thinking to change the focusing screen rather then the prism head because of its price. Are there any brighter split screen to replace for Pentax 67?
Have you considered a chimney finder before changing screens? Patience on Ebay should get you a good one for less than $100. If you don't mind a TLR-like laterally reversed finder image and no meter it is like night and day compared to a prism finder. Not the folding waist level finder, though that is smaller and works ok with its magnifier. Compared to the pentaprism's relatively small view, the chimney finder has a HUGE, magnified, very bright, 100% view with enough built-in diopter adjustment to cover just about any eye. It makes focusing easy. It also weighs MUCH less than a prism so the camera is easier to handle. As long as I shot relatively still subjects I seldom used the prism once I bought a chimney finder.

But first make sure your focusing screen is set correctly or you'll never get better results. Best to send to a pro - I've only heard praise for Eric at Home, but a quick and dirty check is to compare the ground glass image to the image on a few strips of Scotch "Matte Finish MagicTape" or similar frosted tape to simulate a ground glass on the film plane. Tape tightly across the two film support rails, not the two outer film guide rails. Use a loupe or magnifying glass. If an object on the ground glass is sharp and it isn't at the film plane, your 67 has a problem. Check with and without the prism finder - maybe your finder is the problem.
01-01-2016, 09:31 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by hif44 Quote
Have you considered a chimney finder before changing screens? Patience on Ebay should get you a good one for less than $100. If you don't mind a TLR-like laterally reversed finder image and no meter it is like night and day compared to a prism finder. Not the folding waist level finder, though that is smaller and works ok with its magnifier. Compared to the pentaprism's relatively small view, the chimney finder has a HUGE, magnified, very bright, 100% view with enough built-in diopter adjustment to cover just about any eye. It makes focusing easy. It also weighs MUCH less than a prism so the camera is easier to handle. As long as I shot relatively still subjects I seldom used the prism once I bought a chimney finder.

But first make sure your focusing screen is set correctly or you'll never get better results. Best to send to a pro - I've only heard praise for Eric at Home, but a quick and dirty check is to compare the ground glass image to the image on a few strips of Scotch "Matte Finish MagicTape" or similar frosted tape to simulate a ground glass on the film plane. Tape tightly across the two film support rails, not the two outer film guide rails. Use a loupe or magnifying glass. If an object on the ground glass is sharp and it isn't at the film plane, your 67 has a problem. Check with and without the prism finder - maybe your finder is the problem.
I was thinking to buy that but it will be impossible to shoot vertically so I'm still thinking about that but it's being rare to purchase.
01-13-2016, 09:18 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by sunshine7913 Quote
I was thinking to buy that but it will be impossible to shoot vertically so I'm still thinking about that but it's being rare to purchase.
Hard for handhold shots but on a tripod it is simple. I shoot my 67 with a folding hood and of course I never use portrait orientation when shooting handhold and I really don't miss it and don't find I need that much. I crop square a lot.

I have 3 medium format cameras and my Pentax 67 is not that dark compared to them. And one is a rangefinder. You should be looking at the microprisms for focusing instead of looking at how sharp the scene looks in the viewfinder. Are you doing that?

04-01-2016, 10:31 AM   #9
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I attach a focus magnifier on my ttl prism. It magnifies the central area, and it really helps me focus on the matte screen of my 6x7 because i have poor vision even with glasses, it has a built in diopter adjustment . My 67 has a split screen but i still use the focus magnifier especially for my darker/ slower lens (75mm f/4.5). For the 105mm, I think its inherently difficult to nail the focus for close portraits when shooting wide open (f/2.4, equivalent to f/1.2 in 35mm) simply because the depth of field is very narrow. When shooting at f/2.4 at close distances, i found that focusing then recomposing shifts the focus plane enough that i end up with a lot of misfocused shots too.
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