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Archive 2012 · Nikon manual focus screen ?
  
 
Peter Le
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


I contemplating a Nikon D800 when it becomes available. I`m using a Canon 5D and a 1DsIII now and shoot some manual focus Zeiss lens. I use a Canon matt precision focus screen. These are very easily switched in Canon cameras. My Question is.....Nikon make a focusing screen like these ? is it easy to install and remove ? In general do their focusing screens work very well for manual focusing ?
Thank you very much for any input on this subject.........Peter



Feb 11, 2012 at 02:16 AM
j.liam
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


KatzEye typically comes out with a focusing screen soon after a new body is released. Unlike Canon, Nikon has not been making optional focusing screens for their recent offerings.


Feb 11, 2012 at 11:53 PM
S Dilworth
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


To expand on the comment above, Nikon doesn't support interchangeable viewfinder screens in cameras below the D3S level. Even for the D3S, there aren't any useful Nikon screens available. My theory to explain this state of affairs says that Nikon is afraid photographers would merrily use old AI-S lenses on their cameras if focusing was too comfy. Nikon would rather you bought shiny new autofocus lenses.

The D4 abandons interchangeable screens entirely, ending a tradition that ran unbroken since the model F of 1959. Progress.

Are the factory screens useful for manual focus? Nikon thinks so:

D7000: "With approximately 100% frame coverage in the viewfinder, what you see is what you exactly capture. The specially coated glass pentagonal prism and precision-crafted finder screen offer not only a bright viewfinder image, but also enable you to easily confirm when a subject is in focus."

D300: "The D300S employs Type B BriteView Clear Matte screen Mark II, that ensures easier visual focus recognition in both auto- and manual focus. The viewfinder features an eyepoint of 19.5mm, so photographers can concentrate on capturing the right moment."

D700: "Put your eye to the D700's large circular eyepiece and rediscover why a camera's viewfinder experience cannot be taken for granted. One look through a D700 confirms that superior viewfinder design is at the heart of single-lens reflex camera handling. The Nikon FX format and large pentagonal prism deliver a large, bright viewfinder image, making accurate composition easier for any shooting conditions. What's more, the D700's expertly designed viewfinder enables skilled photographers to confirm focus visually, in either auto or manual focus mode."

D800: "See every important element in your frame clearly and precisely. The D800 offers approx. 100% frame coverage (in FX format) from its slim pentaprism, giving you the visually comfortable FX-format advantage and an unobstructed view when shooting still images. The viewfinder image is not only large and bright the focusing screen is also carefully designed to help you sense sharp focus intuitively, be it manual or autofocus."

D3S: "The D3S's large prism gives you the FX format visual advantage when you shoot. The viewfinder image is not only large and bright, but the focusing screen is also carefully designed to help you to intuitively sense sharp focus, be it manual or autofocus."

D4: "The D4 offers approx. 100% frame coverage for FX format, with a viewfinder that is designed to minimize visual fatigue over long periods of use. The approx. 0.7x magnification enhances the confirmation of every visual element in the frame. The large, bright viewfinder image and focusing screen are carefully designed to aid precise focusing in both manual and autofocus modes."

My experience with the D300S and D700 wasn't entirely positive. Although their factory screens were fine for focusing slow lenses, I had trouble focusing f/2 lenses with high reliability, especially on the D300S. To improve matters, I installed KatzEye Optics split-prism screens in both cameras. These improve accuracy and ease of focus compared to the factory screens, but since they transmit light differently in the central split-prism area, they can affect spot-metering accuracy. (I didn't notice any changes, but I didn't check very carefully.)

The installation process involves tweezers, dust phobia, and leveraging open a tight metal clip millimetres from a delicate focusing screen. But I presume that's the case for cameras with official interchangeable screens, too. I managed, and I'm no great mechanic.



Feb 12, 2012 at 12:25 AM
j.liam
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


I didn't want to mess around with the camera, so I sent my D700 directly to Katz Eye for the work. It did affect the spot metering mode, I found. Tends to overexpose.


Feb 12, 2012 at 12:30 AM
iGeekPro
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


Lol Katz Eyes are overpriced crap. Buy another S screen, use sandpaper until it fits in the camera. Thats it.


Feb 12, 2012 at 12:48 AM
j.liam
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


Sure, massively expensive. I just had spent $2300 on a camera body, had half a dozen excellent AIS lenses that hadn't seen the light of day in 5 years and another $100 would just put me over the top.

The tiny working space on a device that I was unfamiliar working on whose warranty I might have voided had I messed up something else in the process was not appealing. But heck, If the $70 difference between the two will set you up for life, go to it.



Feb 12, 2012 at 01:09 AM
S Dilworth
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


iGeekPro wrote:
Lol Katz Eyes are overpriced crap. Buy another S screen, use sandpaper until it fits in the camera. Thats it.


Marx notwithstanding, I'm all for division of labour when it comes to these things. You can keep your sandpaper!

The KatzEye installation process for the D700 is described here. It's not hard, exactly, but one slip of the tool will definitely destroy your focusing screen. And the geometry of the mirror-box makes a slip all too easy.

I also had to buy focusing screen shims from Nikon's spare-parts department, and install those, to fine-tune the focusing accuracy. The end result is excellent, but it was definitely a huge hassle. No-one sensible would go to these lengths to improve manual focus.

Incidentally, I notice the D800's viewfinder has changed from the D700's:

D700: 95% coverage, 0.72 magnification, 18 mm eyepoint.
D800: 100% coverage, 0.7 magnification, 17 mm eyepoint.

So not all good in that department. The D700's eye relief was already not overly generous, and 17 mm is getting too tight for comfort. It should be more than 20 mm in this class of camera. Like Canon's viewfinders:

EOS-1D X: 100% coverage, 0.76 magnification, 20 mm eyepoint.
EOS 5D Mark II: 98% coverage, 0.71 magnification, 21 mm eyepoint.



Feb 12, 2012 at 01:10 AM
CGrindahl
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


I have 23 manual focus Nikkor lenses and shoot with the D700 with its standard viewfinder. I have NO problem gaining focus with these lenses. I wouldn't over-think this issue. Buy your D800 and see how it feels to manually focus with the standard screen. If you're not happy you can take some of the advice above to heart and go shopping wherever you will.

Here's a link to the last two posts I made on the Manual Focus Nikon Glass thread. These six shots were all hand held with the 85 f/1.4 AI-s and a PK-12 extension tube, which makes gaining focus ever more challenging. And welcome to Nikon. I left Canon two years ago when the 5D Mark II didn't include upgraded focusing. I don't regret the switch for one moment.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/929565/655#10336352



Feb 12, 2012 at 01:31 AM
j.liam
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


I found that my miss rate was noticeably higher using the stock screen.


Feb 12, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Bruce Sawle
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


Swapping out the screens on the d3 series is no different then on Canons 1d series. It takes all of 2 minutes. In my experience Nikons viewfinders and screens are a step from the 1ds MkIII. I found it impossible to manual focus on the canon while my nikons are very easy. This is coming from someone who has trouble manually focusing.


Feb 12, 2012 at 02:19 AM
 

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Peter Le
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


Thank you all for the input....Peter


Feb 25, 2012 at 04:55 AM
tagan
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


what about this one here on german amazon :

http://www.amazon.de/Delamax-Schnittbild-Mattscheibe-180-Nikon-Schnittbildindikator/dp/B005MRAIBM



Jan 16, 2013 at 09:36 AM
Chris Dees
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


tagan wrote:
what about this one here on german amazon :

http://www.amazon.de/Delamax-Schnittbild-Mattscheibe-180-Nikon-Schnittbildindikator/dp/B005MRAIBM


This only fits only for the D3(s/x) series as that camera has an exchangeable screen.
When I had a D3(s) I used the grid-screen in stead of the standard one.



Jan 16, 2013 at 12:13 PM
DTOB
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


Swapping out the screen really isn't that difficult. You can swap the screen on a D800 just as you can on a D7000, pretty much the same as my D700.

I'll copy/paste one of my posts from the MF Nikkor thread:

DTOB wrote:
Georg, I was debating a KatzEye myself, and after much googling, I decided I could do as good on my own.

Some people order the Canon matte screen that shows DOF down to f1.8 I think, but I wanted to work with what I had on had.

Kicking around, I had an old Miranda Sensomat that long ago stopped working. The prisim pops right off, revealing it's focusing screen.

You can see here what I mean: http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Miranda_Sensomat

The Miranda screen was just slightly larger than the one inside the D700. I swiped the top and bottom edges maybe 5 times each on some sandpaper
...Show more

Georg seems to have had pretty good success using the same technique as me. And he was no slouch to begin with when it comes to MF.

For those that say they can focus perfectly fine without changing the screen (Curtis, I am looking at you ), they are probably relying heavily on the focus confirm dots. Doing this takes your eye away from composition. My Miranda screen does not change metering at all and it allows me to focus while I look directly at the subject.

The entire process took me 30 mins, and that includes the time it took for me to dig the old Miranda out of storage. It was 11:30pm and the wife was calling for me to get to bed. Talk about pressure!

If you are at all handy, it shouldn't be a problem. I didn't need tweezers, gloves or anything special really. I'm not the type of guy to pay someone else to do these types of tasks. Then again, I wouldn't pay someone to paint my own fence either. Just one of the (many) reasons my wife married me.

Dylan



Jan 16, 2013 at 02:04 PM
ausemmao
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


The D800 screen is good for seeing DoF down to f/2 IME. In not terrible light I can MF accurately at f/2, f/1.4 becomes a bit more probabilistic (without the focusing dot/arrows - with, f/1.4 is fine). The most significant issue to me is magnification - the viewfinder being F3 sized would be handy.


Jan 16, 2013 at 02:51 PM
mike-in-ak
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


I use Katzeye screens in both the D300 and D700. And am looking for the Nikon split prism screen for my F4s.

It was not difficult to install the Katzeye. It took longer to read the directions than to do the work. I recently had to ship my D300 to El Segundo for repairs and left the Katzeye in place and asked that the focus accuracy be checked as part of the repair.

Nikon service did the work and returned the unit fully functional and accurately adjusted.

YMMV.



Jan 16, 2013 at 10:36 PM
Mataz426
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


Just want to back up what CGrindahl said. The very first time I used an AI-S lens on the D700, I had a couple oof out of 70 or so photo's, it's a piece of cake with the stock screen.


Jan 17, 2013 at 01:35 AM
Keith B.
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


My D800E stock screen is OK for eye focusing; The overall D800 finder is not quite as nice as my D3, but the ability to see fine details while focusing may actually be slightly better on the D800. Also, different lenses have different levels of "focus clarity". My AF-S 35/1.4 @ f/1.4 s easier to eye focus than my Zeiss 100/2 at @ f/2.... go figure! This is all without paying any attention to the green light, which I have found to be of dubious accuracy compared to the human eye.


Jan 17, 2013 at 02:29 AM
jsv_20
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


The stock screen is all right, but I'm a big fan of the Katzeye screens. As for installing the screen, use gloves. It's super easy!

I did a review on the D700 screen a while back:

http://www.jsvfoto.com/d700-katzeye

I doubt there will ever be another screen for FX from Katzeye. The 100% viewfinder coverage seems to be a technical hurdle that they can't overcome.

If you're using a D700 look at the used markets...sometimes you can snag these up these screens for pennies on the dollar.

Usually http://www.focusingscreen.com/ has screens much faster than Katzeye. So far there's nothing available. My guess is it's just not a feasible venture, and its doubtful it will be, for the D600/D800 cameras.



Jan 17, 2013 at 08:20 PM
orange_square
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Nikon manual focus screen ?


Oddly enough, after striking out at all the usual places, I found one on Ebay. Who knows what the quality is, though, I've never heard of the company and it's shipped straight from China. http://www.ebay.com/itm/180-horizontal-Split-Image-Focus-Focusing-Screen-Nikon-DSLR-D800-/370628104686

I have to admit it's tempting...



Jan 17, 2013 at 10:58 PM
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