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Thread: Focusing Screen M Type

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Focusing Screen M Type

    Just wondering if anyone here is using this screen and opinion? I decided to try manual focusing with the A900 but I'm not sure if this screen would be any better than the standard G screen, except for the lack of AF black squares that can be annoying for MF.

    Thanks,
    Edward
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    I'm thinking about buying this screen as well. I may be wrong, but I think the AF squares will still be there.

    Here is a good thread about the screen:

    http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/type-m-f...+screen#468931
    Last edited by douglasf13; 13th July 2009 at 14:38.

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    After reviewing that dyxum thread again, I'm gonna try the M screen out. It's on order

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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    cant wait to hear. i have my eye on one too

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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    I put an M screen in my new A900 just the other day. I wanted to play with a bunch of M42 lenses, and I found the standard screen to be pretty hopeless - its brightness is definitely achieved at the expense of focusing acuity.

    Some observations after a few days of snapshooting with the M screen:

    * The AF marks are still there.

    * Focusing acuity is distinctly better, but the screen won't solve all focusing problems by itself. Focusing a 35mm f/3.5 on the go is still a challenge, even under bright light; 35mm f/2.8 is easier, 35mm f/2 is easier still, and 50mm f/1.4 is quite nice. (I haven't tried anything longer than 50 or shorter than 35 so far.) Where critical focus matters, I still have to put the camera on a tripod and use the Sony viewfinder focus magnifier to take full advantage of the extra acuity. Of course, my judgments here are colored by the limitations of my own eyesight.

    * To state the obvious, to get the most out of it make sure you have your finder diopter setting tuned.

    * It's much dimmer than the standard screen. It's very dark with a 35mm f/3.5 indoors under my usual moderately dim interior lighting. Still fine for composing, I think, but many may disagree, and I can see why Sony recommends nothing slower than f/2.8. Outdoors in bright daylight, f/3.5 is fine.

    I expect that I will leave the M screen in, even if I end up using mostly AF lenses. Decent focusing acuity is much more important to me than extreme screen brightness.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    I have to say that I have no problems focusing manually with the standard screen. It is much better than what I have previously used with Canon, as I find its circular pattern to act like a microprism. The M type should be even better, but if the AF marks are still there, that's a big disappointment, as I find them too disturbing for composition.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Perhaps we need to lobby Bright Screen as a group to get them to make a manual Screen for the A900?

    I had one of their diagonal split microprism screens in a D700 ... it was a quite large circle and simply amazing. Helen Keller could have manually focused that camera

    Nikon also makes a viewfinder mag that magnifies just enough to still see all the info ... so it can be used handheld all of the time. Something like that could also help.

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Edward, the af marks are separate from the actual screen, so, unfortunately, they will be there no matter what screen is used, I believe.

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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    Edward, the af marks are separate from the actual screen, so, unfortunately, they will be there no matter what screen is used, I believe.
    Yes, they're in the camera, not on the screen. The screen itself is just full-field matte with no markings.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Thanks for the info, Douglas, Oren. Too bad that the AF marks are probably etched on a secondary screen or even in the glass prism.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    I received my M screen, and I'm pretty happy with it. I'm getting a much higher hit rate with manual focusing. Sweet

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    At first, I thought the M screen difference was subtle, but I just spent the last half hour walking around the house shooting and checking focus, and I'm now pretty excited about the M screen. My hit rate is much, much higher, and I don't even need my glasses. I finally feel as confident manual focusing the A900 as I do with my Hassleblads. Dang, I should've bought this thing 8 months ago. Duh!

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    That's great news Douglas. How about the brightness? Any difficulties with wide angles?
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    How easy was it to make the change? How much darker does it make the viewfinder (I thought that is why they recommend it with fast lenses)?

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    I'd say Oren's description above pretty much sums things up. I didn't have too many issues with my 35mm 2.8, but I didn't spend much time with it. My 50mm 1.4 and 135mm 3.5 worked great, and, personally, the VF doesn't really seem outrageously darker to me. I noticed a jump in darkness happening around f4, but I haven't tested it in dark conditions yet, so I'm sure Oren is correct about indoors. I'm working on more fine art stuff right now, rather than commercial, so AF isn't necessary for me at the moment, but I've been having a hard time committing to manual focus, because I wasn't nailing focus consistently enough. This M screen seems to be solving all of that. Now I have to resist the temptation of buying more manual lenses. Dang! I have yet to try my adapted Hasselblad lenses with the new screen, but I have a feeling it'll be good news.

    Terry, it is super simple to switch screens. I have all three screens now, so I've changed them a few times, and I'd say it takes me about 30 seconds to do it now. Granted, it's probably not something that you want to do out in the field.

    p.s. I managed to buy the M screen used from Adorama with an EX+ rating for around $25, and it looks great, so you may keep an eye out for used ones.

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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Thanks,
    I'm all packed up and heading out the door in a couple of hours. Definitely something to think about on my return. The little always live view e-p1 and G1 spoil you for manual focus ease!

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Absolutely, the live view manual focusing is a great option. Since the Sony screens are so easy to change, it's probably worth checking one out. Have a good trip!

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Thanks Douglas for the additional info. I honestly have no problem focusing with the standard screen, and a few tests this weekend have indicated that my manual focusing is more accurate than focusing-recomposing with the AF points. I also like the brightness of the standard screen. However, since you indicate that focusing becomes a lot easier with the M screen, I am going to get it for sure, even if only to spare some eye strain
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Yeah, my eyes are getting a bit worse, and I'm constantly switching back and forth between wearing and not wearing my glasses while I shoot. The M screen helps me quite a bit, but YMMV.

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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Just got mine. It should be the standard screen. Huge improvement.

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    Senior Member Braeside's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    How easy was it to make the change? How much darker does it make the viewfinder (I thought that is why they recommend it with fast lenses)?
    Well worth looking at this video demo of how to change screens.

    http://support.sony-europe.com/dime/...GB&m=DSLR-A900

    Also see this article which has further tips

    http://www.photoclubalpha.com/2009/0...cusing-screen/
    David Anderson

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Got the M screen today finally. I wish I had read the above article provided by David before installing it, as I had trouble putting the screen in place, expecting it to fit inside the frame. In fact, it doesn't go into but on the frame. Apart from that, everything went smooth, especially that I have previously changed screens many times on my Canon 1Ds cameras.

    The M screen is visibly darker than the standard G type, but manual focusing is much more accurate (and easier) as advertized. I measured 1/3 stop difference between the menu settings, so I decided to keep it on G since a +1/3 is quite welcome since I usually would dial in at least that much when I'm shooting in normal lighting.

    I did a few handheld tests with the 50/1.4 at 1.4 and realized manual focusing is sharper than AF, probably because this lens has a slight front or back focus. I won't bother correcting that.

    Anyway, I would strongly recommend this screen to all forum members, since it makes manual focusing so much easier, and does not affect AF in any way for those times when AF is needed.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Just a quick follow-up after using the M screen for a month - I'm still delighted, even though I'm now mostly using AF lenses (50/1.4 and 35/2). I have no plans to switch back to the standard screen.

    I found installing it a bit of a nuisance, but then I'm something of a klutz and I've never been comfortable with screens that change through the mirror box. The first time I do it with a given camera, I'm never quite sure whether I'm tugging in the right place, the frame never seems to open smoothly, and I worry how much force it's safe to exert and whether the frame is really latched securely when I'm finished.

    But I got it done without breaking anything, the screen hasn't fallen out yet, and I don't expect to have to do it again soon. So, all things considered, .

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    I've got all the screens, so I've switched a few times. Once you get used to it, it becomes easy. It probably only takes me 20 seconds to do it now.

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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    I measured 1/3 stop difference between the menu settings, so I decided to keep it on G since a +1/3 is quite welcome since I usually would dial in at least that much when I'm shooting in normal lighting.
    I haven't switched screens yet. Can you explain this part to me.

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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    In the menu settings, there is a place to enter in your screen type, because the different screens expose differently. By leaving the menu setting at "G" screen, Edward is essentially adjusting the metering to add +1/3 EV exposure compensation to all of his shots. I do something similar, but by using ZONE -1, as it adds about +1/2 EV to my shots.

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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    In the menu settings, there is a place to enter in your screen type, because the different screens expose differently. By leaving the menu setting at "G" screen, Edward is essentially adjusting the metering to add +1/3 EV exposure compensation to all of his shots. I do something similar, but by using ZONE -1, as it adds about +1/2 EV to my shots.
    Next dumb question....why do they link the focus screen to exposure?

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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Your camera's exposure metering is done through your focus screen, so, if you use a replacement focus screen that is darker or lighter than the stock "G" screen, you need to tell the camera to compensate one way or another. Interestingly, the "L" and "G" screen seem to be of the same brightness, so putting the "L" screen in and changing the camera's menu setting to "L" is just a placebo, from what I can tell.

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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Got it thanks.

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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    In the menu settings, there is a place to enter in your screen type, because the different screens expose differently. By leaving the menu setting at "G" screen, Edward is essentially adjusting the metering to add +1/3 EV exposure compensation to all of his shots. I do something similar, but by using ZONE -1, as it adds about +1/2 EV to my shots.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

  31. #31
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    I wonder if anyone can help me with the following problem. I bought an M focusing screen to use with my manual lenses but it seems that even though the picture in viewfinder is in focus the actual photo is front focused. It happens with all 3 MF lenses I have. I ended up establishing focusing procedure: I focus from infinity to close distance and when picture in viewfinder is in focus I do small turn back to make picture in viewfinder out of focus. The actual photo taken is correctly focused however the procerdure is ackward and still more miss than hit. I switched back to standard screen and noticed that while front focusing is still there it is not as pronounced as with M screen. I saw some threads related to Canon cameras where there was talk about washers used to adjust focusing screen. Would this correct the problem I experience and does Sony sell such parts? Should I return the screen for a new one? If anywone could give me advice I would appreciate.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    This is the first time we hear about screen inconsistencies as with the 5D1/2. IMO, you should try to see if the screen is sitting well in place. Otherwise, I would suggest a visit to Sony.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

  33. #33
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    This is the first time we hear about screen inconsistencies as with the 5D1/2. IMO, you should try to see if the screen is sitting well in place. Otherwise, I would suggest a visit to Sony.
    That was fast. Thank you Edward. I tought I did everything by the book but to be frank the screen sits somehow flimsy. I just assumed it is by design. I will take a look tomorrow.. err today and check it once more. If that wont do I will take your advice and look around the photo stores in Chicago - maybe they can adjust that.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Just remember that the screen sits on it's frame not in it and the frame should click in place. Your screen may not be installed correctly.

    Quote Originally Posted by shoevarek View Post
    That was fast. Thank you Edward. I tought I did everything by the book but to be frank the screen sits somehow flimsy. I just assumed it is by design. I will take a look tomorrow.. err today and check it once more. If that wont do I will take your advice and look around the photo stores in Chicago - maybe they can adjust that.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

  35. #35
    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    This was manually focused (M screen) with the Planar 85 wide open at 1/40 iso 1600

    Attachment 21112
    Last edited by edwardkaraa; 14th June 2011 at 07:31.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

  36. #36
    shoevarek
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Your comments made me consult the manual and check the screen once more. Originally I pushed the screen holder up until I heared the clicking sound and assumed that was it. This time I pushed it more upwards until it clicked second time and that did the trick. The screen and holder are secured in the position described in manual (pic 7) and front fosuing is gone.

    Lesson learnt - never assume it is too easy and read manual end to end or at least view the pictures in it Thank you for your help.

  37. #37
    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing Screen M Type

    Glad this issue is resolved
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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