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Thread: Split prism circle focusing screen on the K-5

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    Member silasslack's Avatar
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    Split prism circle focusing screen on the K-5

    Hi All,

    I've been spending a lot of time with the 50mm SMC-A f1.4 on the K-5, and also on an old MX body I recently picked up cheap on eBay. The lens is fantastic, but I'm finding that focusing it by eye wide open on the K-5 is very prone to errors.

    On the MX it has an old fashioned split-circle thing in the middle, as do all the other old 35mm bodies I've used.

    I came across this company on the web who make replacement focusing screens for DSLRs:Pentax K-5 & K-7 KatzEye Focusing Screen

    Does anyone have any experience with one of these (positive or negative!) ... I can't think of a reason not to buy one, but maybe i'm missing something

    Silas
    Last edited by silasslack; 11th September 2012 at 04:29. Reason: spelling :)
    Silas Slack

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    Re: Split prism circle focusing screen on the K-5

    KatzEye screens are excellent and Rachel Katz is a pleasure to do business with.

    Aftermarket screens with focus aids in some cameras do alter the metering a bit, so if you go for it, test thoroughly for metering calibration in all modes.

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    Member silasslack's Avatar
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    Re: Split prism circle focusing screen on the K-5

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    KatzEye screens are excellent and Rachel Katz is a pleasure to do business with.

    Aftermarket screens with focus aids in some cameras do alter the metering a bit, so if you go for it, test thoroughly for metering calibration in all modes.
    Thanks for the info. Nice to know that they are a good company to buy from too. Further googling did bring up others, but none looked quite as reputable and it'd be a shame to make a mistake!

    Silas
    Silas Slack

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    Senior Member mediumcool's Avatar
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    Re: Split prism circle focusing screen on the K-5

    Horizontally-aligned split-prisms work only with vertical objects (tree trunks, posts etc.); some camera models used them at a 45į angle so they worked (less well) with both horizontal and vertical elements. A good microprism beats them when used with a fast-enough lens. IMO.

    And don’t be upset if one of the halves of the split-prism blacks out with longer, slower lenses.
    Last edited by mediumcool; 11th September 2012 at 08:45. Reason: turned beat into a plural; added missing closing bracket
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    Re: Split prism circle focusing screen on the K-5

    Quote Originally Posted by mediumcool View Post
    Horizontally-aligned split-prisms work only with vertical objects (tree trunks, posts etc.); some camera models used them at a 45į angle so they worked (less well) with both horizontal and vertical elements. A good microprism beats them when used with a fast-enough lens. IMO.

    And donít be upset if one of the halves of the split-prism blacks out with longer, slower lenses.
    I was never really happy with micro prism focus aids, always felt the simple split prism worked the best for me. Blackout at some point is a problem with all these optical aids, that is why Nikon used to make a bunch of them optimized for different focal lengths and max apertures.

    When I acquired the Nikon F I have now, the first thing I did was find a plain prism and type A screen for it. :-)
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    Re: Split prism circle focusing screen on the K-5

    Let us know how it goes, Silas. I have been thinking of doing the same thing myself.

    Keith

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    Re: Split prism circle focusing screen on the K-5

    Quote Originally Posted by woodmancy View Post
    Let us know how it goes, Silas. I have been thinking of doing the same thing myself.

    Keith
    +1 I too like to know how you fare with this focusing screen, Silas.
    You may recall I have this 50/1.2 lens and experience the same sort of inconsistant results.

    All the best.
    Bart ...

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    Member silasslack's Avatar
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    Re: Split prism circle focusing screen on the K-5

    Quote Originally Posted by Knorp View Post
    +1 I too like to know how you fare with this focusing screen, Silas.
    You may recall I have this 50/1.2 lens and experience the same sort of inconsistant results.

    All the best.
    Yes I remember. They are fantastic lenses!

    I bought an MX body to use with the 50 and also the 28 f2.8 which i bought for £30 on ebay the other day! That was what made me remember about the old focusing screens.

    One concern I may have is that the viewfinder is so much smaller on the K5 that the circle in the middle may be a distraction.... I think I'll get one next month anyway and see

    Thanks for the input all. I will report back on the results!
    Silas Slack

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    Re: Split prism circle focusing screen on the K-5

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    I was never really happy with micro prism focus aids, always felt the simple split prism worked the best for me. Blackout at some point is a problem with all these optical aids, that is why Nikon used to make a bunch of them optimized for different focal lengths and max apertures.

    When I acquired the Nikon F I have now, the first thing I did was find a plain prism and type A screen for it. :-)
    I've been quite enjoying having both on the MX. I find that the micro prism ring is best on textures and if things are moving about a bit

    I too have a Nikon (FM2n) which I learnt on years ago and still use on occasion. it's a lovely camera
    Silas Slack

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    Senior Member mediumcool's Avatar
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    Re: Split prism circle focusing screen on the K-5

    Something I should have included in my previous post—my K-5 provides me with focus confirmation with a teensy red square (cue balalaikas!) in the viewfinder. I find this to be pretty accurate most of the time, even with my manual 24/2, 35/2.8 and 50/1.4 lenses.

    Has anyone done focus calibration or whatever it’s called, in software?

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    Member silasslack's Avatar
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    Re: Split prism circle focusing screen on the K-5

    Quote Originally Posted by mediumcool View Post
    Something I should have included in my previous postómy K-5 provides me with focus confirmation with a teensy red square (cue balalaikas!) in the viewfinder. I find this to be pretty accurate most of the time, even with my manual 24/2, 35/2.8 and 50/1.4 lenses.

    Has anyone done focus calibration or whatever itís called, in software?
    The little square is ok, but it seems to be a bit slow to use for me... (this could be my fault!)
    Silas Slack

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    Re: Split prism circle focusing screen on the K-5

    Quote Originally Posted by mediumcool View Post
    Something I should have included in my previous post—my K-5 provides me with focus confirmation with a teensy red square (cue balalaikas!) in the viewfinder. I find this to be pretty accurate most of the time, even with my manual 24/2, 35/2.8 and 50/1.4 lenses.

    Has anyone done focus calibration or whatever it’s called, in software?
    Sounds like they've beefed up the focus confirmation indicator. My prior experience using it on earlier Pentax cameras seemed to indicate that it was only really useful for about f/4 and maybe f/2.8, sometimes. Most of the time, I just preferred to focus manually with a plain matte fresnel focusing screen with *ist DS and K10D.

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    Re: Split prism circle focusing screen on the K-5

    Hi Guys, first post.

    The split disc screen is ok but it buggers up the metering a bit and does go dark on slower lenses.
    I bought the Canon E-ss screen and cut it down to size for my K-5.
    Result is the SMC 50/1.2 is an absolute piece of cake to nail focus.
    I think focussingscreen.com modify this screen so you don't have to cut it out youself
    Pete in NZ

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    Re: Split prism circle focusing screen on the K-5

    Quote Originally Posted by mediumcool View Post
    Something I should have included in my previous postómy K-5 provides me with focus confirmation with a teensy red square (cue balalaikas!) in the viewfinder. ....

    sorry the tiny red sqaure is not focus confirmation at all. It is indicating which focus point is in use. The focus conformation indicator is the small green hexigon at the bottom of the viewfinder.

    cheers
    Pete

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    Re: Split prism circle focusing screen on the K-5

    Quote Originally Posted by Transit View Post
    sorry the tiny red sqaure is not focus confirmation at all. It is indicating which focus point is in use. The focus conformation indicator is the small green hexigon at the bottom of the viewfinder.

    cheers
    Pete
    Hi there Pete,

    I think you're right, but the red square combined with the acoustic signal and the green hexagon is what I believe proper focus confirmation.
    At least it provides me with pretty good accurate focus ...

    And thanks for the tip: I'll check out this website: focusingscreen.com (single s ... )

    All the best.
    Bart ...

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    New Member Transit's Avatar
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    Re: Split prism circle focusing screen on the K-5

    You're most welcome
    Pete

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