Split focus screen for D90

Joined
Aug 28, 2008
Messages
682
Location
Colorado, USA
I'm not really too keen on the focus indicator light when I'm in manual. I miss the good old split focus screen; just seems a bit more intuitive. I've seen a third party screen on eBay, and just wondering if anyone's tried one? Do you think I'd lose any functionality in the af system?
Here's a link to the auction if you want to see what I'm talking about. I guess I'm always a bit weary of Hong Kong items, as well...
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2006
Messages
6,117
Location
Upstate SC
Shoot Rachael an email at KatzEye and ask if/when they'll be doing one. My bet is they either already have one, or at least have one in development...

It WILL be more than $20, and it'll be worth every cent!
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
538
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PA
Tom, I'm definitely with you on that. I really miss the split-screen from my film bodies. I've kindof gotten used to it but I woujld LOVE to have that feature. I don't see how you'd change it...If you get one, update this thread 'cuz I'm gonna leave this in my "subscribed threads". In the "New Posts", I might get it but it would be easier to miss.
 
Joined
Apr 25, 2009
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Location
Kitchener, ON
Focusingscreen.com lists screens for the D90. I just got one from there for my D70. Theirs are mostly Canon and Nikon screens cut to size.

So what are the disadvantages of a focusing screen? Besides messing with the innards of your camera. If there aren't any real ones, why don't the manufacturers put them in the camera as standard equipment?
 
Joined
Sep 22, 2008
Messages
138
Location
Melbourne, Australia
The matte surround on the split screen seems to exaggerate the softness of out-of-focus areas more than the plain screen in an AF camera. But I might be imagining that.
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
538
Location
PA
I contacted the ebay seller that Tom mentioned initially to ask how to replace the screens. His reponse:

"Hi, before bidding on this item, we assume you know how to change it. you
could search the web to find the instruction (eg. youtube.com). thanks."

That gives me the "warm fuzzies";)

Tellyworth,
which one did you get? How big a deal was it to install?

Omar,
one disadvantage of the split-screen on my FA was that with a long lens, half of the split would sometimes "go dark" if I didn't have my eye lined up just right. I think it was more an aperature issue than the length. I think that 'problem' would hinder "ease of use" a bit. I could definitely see why some people wouldn't like them.
 
Joined
Apr 25, 2009
Messages
1,304
Location
Kitchener, ON
one disadvantage of the split-screen on my FA was that with a long lens, half of the split would sometimes "go dark" if I didn't have my eye lined up just right. I think it was more an aperature issue than the length. I think that 'problem' would hinder "ease of use" a bit. I could definitely see why some people wouldn't like them.

Ah, you just brought back memories of my old Konica film camera with the zoom on it! I had forgotten about that. Now that you say it, I remember it being an aperture issue. Add that to the smaller viewfinders of the DX cameras, and I'm starting to understand. I didn't have glasses when I used that camera. I wonder if I'd ever be able to focus without the split screen going dark on me now.
 
Joined
Sep 22, 2008
Messages
138
Location
Melbourne, Australia
I got the Canon ec-L screen, the cross-shaped one. I would've prefered one of the F6 screens but the don't do them for the D70.

The installation instructions on focusingscreen.com are barely readable. The pictures show the process fairly well though. It took me about 10 minutes, but I was lucky enough not to have to add shims to adjust it. I imagine the docs and help from Katz Eye are much better.

There are many ways to screw it up: gouge the old or new screen with tweezers, scratch your mirror, get fingerprints or dust on everything. You need a clean surface, good light and a little patience. But it's not difficult.

NB, one thing I'll add: I wouldn't do this with a cheap screen. If you're going to risk damaging your camera, spend the extra $50 or whatever and make it worth the risk.
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2006
Messages
6,117
Location
Upstate SC
I put a KatzEye split screen (with the Optibrite treatment) in my D200. With manual lenses, it was quite literally a night/day difference. Even though my D700 has a much brighter viewfinder, I'm still planning to put one in in there as soon as KatzEye does Optibrite for that one. It makes manually focusing infinitely easier!
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
538
Location
PA
I have a number of manual lenses...this might be a worthwhile upgrade. I like the split prism in the middle, surrounded by a microprism ring...that's exactly what I had in my F. Sometimes when it's a little dim, I just can't tell wether it's in focus or not. This installation doesn't seem like it should be too bad - http://www.katzeyeoptics.com/files/install4.pdf.
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
370
Location
NJ
I put a KatzEye into my D40. It took all of 4 minutes and tweezers (truth be told, I used my Leatherman Wave). I found it to be very easy, but I am comfortable with taking things apart. As several of the online tutorials suggest, read all the instructions you can find first, so you fully understand what steps you need to take and where to be careful, and you should be fine. I've also read that many camera shops will install one for you for free or very inexpensively if the thought of messing around inside your camera freaks you out.

I don't think I will ever own another camera without one.
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
538
Location
PA
I'm sorely tempted....

Did you get the OptiBrite option? With that, it's about $175 with shipping, etc.
 
Joined
Sep 22, 2008
Messages
138
Location
Melbourne, Australia
I think I'll like mine but i haven't had a chance to use it much yet. Ask me again in a week.

Oh, one thing to bear in mind if you get a Canon screen: the visual cue given by the split tells you to turn the focusing ring in the wrong direction. Doesn't bother me but it might annoy some.
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
370
Location
NJ
I'm sorely tempted....

Did you get the OptiBrite option? With that, it's about $175 with shipping, etc.

I got mine with the OptiBrite option, mostly because I found myself doing a lot of shooting in dim environments, and was hoping for any advantage I could get with that. I can't really say for sure if it helped a lot with the brightness, I wish there was an easier way to do side by side testing (or that there was someone on the web who had posted the results of their testing!). Then again, I'd only been shooting with a (D)SLR for about 3 months when I did the upgrade. It did indeed help with manual focus by a huge factor.
 

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