This is an interesting question, actually. Officially, no Nikon cameras after the D2Xs and F6 have exchangeable focusing screens. Still, it's possible to change them on some (all?) models, for "servicing purposes", but Nikon don't offer any. Of the FX cameras, Katzeye only offer one screen for the D700. However, Focusing Screen also offer screens for the D600, D800 and D3/s/X. It's not 100% clear from the Focusing Screen website if there are any side effects or what they are. What I've heard from other sources is that these screens are actually modified F6 screens, while the D700 screen from Katzeye is purpose made for that camera and thus more expensive (F6 screens are very cheap).Well, I'm not going to judge the good or bad (I would have preferred a split-prism, but oh well). My question is this: what changed in the way they handled their internal focussing screens between the D700 (where you CAN get a Katzeye) and now (when you can't)?
I just would like to understand the differences.
Here's the instruction on how to change screens on the D800:
NIKON D800 D600 Focusing Screen Installation Instruction
There was a rather fierce debate about this subject on FM when the Canon 7D was launched, also officially without the option to change screens. The reason stated then was that the focusing screen on that and most other current cameras is an integrated part of the camera's viewfinder and that visible focusing points/lights etc. would not work with exchangeable screens since it was all interconnected. This has later been proven not to be true, and Katzeye sell a whole series of focusing screens for the 7D, stating clearly on their website that no functionality will be lost.
With all this in mind, I would be surprised if there isn't a third party solution for the Df coming up as well.
The only plausible reasons I can see for this policy from the camera makers are:
- It's more expensive to manufacture a camera that includes a user friendly way of changing screens, and since the solutions chosen are not user friendly, Canikon can hide behind the "not possible to change" clause if there are complaints or damaged cameras.
- Some screens, notably those with split screen, will cause spot metering from the central metering point to be off with around -2EV, sometimes more. Again, camera makers don't want complaints from thousands of users returning their cameras because the metering is off.
To me, this is a very sad development. Although automation is fine, and what most photographers are looking for, manual operation of cameras is something that adds to the photography experience for tens of thousands of photographers. I also find it puzzling to say the least, that what was indeed possible and seemingly very simple on the Nikon F6, is suddenly difficult or even impossible on more resent cameras. For the F6, with a production of 100 camera bodies per year, Nikon keep 7 different focusing screen in stock. For the Pure Photography Df, there will apparently be one or none