I'm new to film photography and I have the Pentax k 1000

when I look through the view finder I see two circles

one small one in the center surrounded by another larger circle...

what do these circles mean/do?

say im taking a picture of a flower do I need to line that flower up in the circle?

just not sure what both of them are for



That is the "split screen with microprism collar," and aid for achieving proper focus. Here's a tutorial and video showing how it works. You'll use it to aid in proper focus on your subject. Once you're focused correctly, you can compose your shot however you want. Your subject doesn't need to stay lined up in the circle.


The principle feature of the single lens reflex camera is; The viewfinder view is a near match to the view seen by film or digital sensor. To accomplish a mirror intercepts the rays of light projected by the camera lens and diverts them to a focusing screen. You are viewing the projected image as presented to this screen. Normally a camera projects an upside down Image that is also inverted. To correct this abnormal view, atop the camera is a “roof prism”. This prism reflects and re-reflects the image many times to delivers a right side up and correct left to right image. This image is delivered quit bright because the lens in this viewing state is held with the aperture wide open.

Because the aperture is wide-open and because of other technicalities you will need some focusing aids to help you get a tack sharp picture. The inner circle is filled with “micro prisms”. These form a super sensitive, as to focus image. As you focus, the image seen in the micro prism area goes from in-focus to out of focus with just a slight adjustment to the focus. You normally focus by adjusting while paying close attention to this inner circle.

Sometimes the inner circle fails. This can be in dim light and also when using telephoto lenses. Now we have a backup, the outer circle. This is an area of fine ground glass, no focusing tricks.

Also look for hard to see concentric circles that are superimposed on the view screen. This is a special lens used to brighten the view you are looking at. This is a flat condenser lens that is ground in the shape of a Fresnel lens (A famous lens designer). There is lots to learn – keep asking!

  • So much to learn is right! Thank you Alan for all that information it is such a big help and I'm so appreciative!
    – hudonv
    Jun 23 '17 at 21:46

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