Open

by damned truths

submit your photo


Hall of Fame
View past winners from this year

Please participate in Meta
and help us grow.

Take the 2-minute tour ×
Photography Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional, enthusiast and amateur photographers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am considering buying a split focusing screen, replacing the original one. I would like to use some split/microprism screen to ease the focusing of the manual lenses. I own both kit lenses (18-55, 50-200) and two primes (50/1.7, 28/2.8).

I found three solutions for the problem:

  1. Katzeye — this is the best one, although its quite expensive
  2. focusingscreen.com — acceptable price, looks good
  3. some cheap screen from Ebay — no quality info

My main problem is that I would like to use it with both kit and manual lenses and I read that some of the screens have problems with autofocusing lenses.

Katzeye works fine although it's quite expensive.

Focunsignscreen.com screens also looks fine, but I could find any info about it.

So in general I would like to get some basic opinions, experiences about focusing screens on K10d, mainly about the focusingscreen.com type.

share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

On the installation instructions at: http://www.focusingscreen.com/work/k7en.htm there is the statement:

Penatx [sic] ISTD/K7/K10D/K20D change focusingscreen will not influence AF-Focus and focus point operate.

So it seems to be working with autofocus.

share|improve this answer
1  
Well, seller's claims and reality may differ.... –  mattdm Jan 15 '11 at 20:27

I got a KatzEye for my Canon 30D. I used it for maybe a month or so, and ended up kind of frustrated and went back to the original screen. It was a good experience, but I found that it prevented me from enjoying photography. So here's my list of the problems I had (when I was investigating them I found lots of reasons to get them, and very few complaints about them; I assume you've found the same so I won't go into the pluses here):

  • The Canon 30D isn't designed to allow the user to change focusing screens. That made things a little tougher (I opted to install the screen myself instead of mailing my camera to KatzEye and having them do it for me); if the Pentax K10D makes it easier to install a focusing screen, you may have a better experience than I did.

  • I've never used a film SLR, and hence never used a manual focusing screen. I found that the the extra lines on the focusing screen were distracting.

  • The viewfinder was just a little bit darker than the original, which made it difficult to use the bracket-focus method I used to use when manually focusing: I had to use the split prism (it was fun using the prism to line up two edges, but it was sometimes actually more difficult than focusing with the original focus screen since the viewfinder was darker).

  • Since I had to use the very center of the frame to focus I ended up taking most of my photos with the subject still in the center of the frame, instead of (more pleasingly) to the side. So taking photos with the manual focusing screen was negatively affecting my composition.

  • I opted to install it myself, instead of sending in my camera. I was never able to get it to focus super accurately. In tests (a ruler at a 45 degree angle at MFD and f/1.4) it was close, but not perfect, compared to auto-focus. But in the field, I always ended up just missing focus. Actually, I'm not positive that it was any less accurate than the original focusing screen, but I got used to bracketing focus a little bit at wider apertures with the original focusing screen to ensure that I ended up with good pictures, and I didn't do that as much with the KatzEye, so I ended up with fewer good pictures.

  • I got a few specs of dust or scratches or something on the screen (as well as a small blemish on the mirror) when I installed it myself. Whatever they are, they're not visible to the naked eye, but they show up as visible blotches through the viewfinder, which is kind of distracting.

Eventually, all of this (the just-missed focus, the dust, and the extra detail on the screen and my poor composing) got to be too much and I switched back to the original (although it has some dust or something on it, too, now, which is visible through the viewfinder). A lot of the problems were my fault, trying to install it myself, but even if a professional had installed and calibrated it, I think I still would have ended up dissatisfied with the 'noisy' viewfinder and the distraction of needing to center on the subject to focus accurately.

share|improve this answer

I have two K10D bodies, one with a Katz Eye (KEO) screen that I put in myself (full treatment with optibright, etc) and another that I purchased used that has an aftermarket diagonal split screen installed (most likely from focusscreens).

Here's what I have seen regarding both:

First. Know your AF is set properly with the debug menu.

Second. Get a set of shims from Pentax. You'll need them. A full set is a small price -- I think about $10. When you get your new screen, do a setup where you can check the manual focus performance of your brightest lens. Your f1.7 will work nicely. You'll be swapping the shims under or over the screen to move it slightly to fine-tune so that what your eye sees as being in focus is what the camera also has in focus.

When I'm working in dim light, the KEO screen is significantly brighter. This makes manual focusing with available light much easier. As a side benefit, the ability to compose the image with a brighter screen makes a difference.

The focusscreen body does feature the diagonal split screen, and that is very useful with architectures as I can usually find a straight line to reference. I have found that I get better manual focus performance actually from looking at the ground glass portion of this view.

Oh yes, there is one thing to consider: the brighter focus screen will throw off the auto exposure setting a bit when shooting at apertures below F4. Some people claim it's off by 2/3 a stop. I haven't really noticed it as I shoot in Av mode most of the time and tweak my exposures up and down rarely.

Hope this helps!

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.