Split-Image/Microprism Focusing Screen For D600

Spy_BlackSpy_Black Posts: 79Member
edited June 2015 in D6x0/D7x0/D8x0
Check this out. I finally got around to purchasing a focusing screen for my D600 from the Taiwanese company FocusingScreen.Com. I had read a while back that some folks had installed them with no problems, so I jumped in and got one.

Here's the weird thing. As far as I can tell, this is a standard issue Nikon focusing screen for the FM3A. I haven't tried to install this yet (will try tomorrow), but has this company simply realized that this standard issue Nikon screen drops right into modern Nikon bodies? The website sells this and other type screens for every single modern Nikon camera, and I can't help but feel this particular screen (type K) is the same screen for all of them.

So assuming this will indeed drop right in (if not it was a $100 gamble on my part), why does Nikon not sell these outright themselves for their cameras? This is especially so for the Df. Because if this is so, it's much cheaper to buy this screen from Nikon and just drop it in. It's listed at B&H for $36! If this indeed the case I have to say I give props to these Taiwanese people for having the smarts to capitalize on this. As long as it works I don't care that I spent almost 3 times as much, because who knew otherwise?

Have a look at the images below. The first is everything that was sent with the order, and the others are close-ups of the back of the box and case, where you can clearly see it's a standard issue Nikon case. Your thoughts?

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Comments

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,389Moderator
    I look forward to hearing how the installation goes and how it works afterwards @Spy_Black.
    Always learning.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,181Member
    edited June 2015
    I think it is different.. I think they have to shape it and resize it as they make it for different camera brands and models.. you can also get the canon versions of the screens for your D600.
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    I bought it too for the Df. the stock K3 will not fit the Df. They have to modify it per camera as I have read/been told.
    I didn't need the tools to install it. Their instructions are bad. There is a youtube video on how to install it.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,389Moderator
    edited June 2015
    @Spy_Black: Please do not adopt an informal approach to posting. I have moved your post and paulr's response to the original thread where it should have gone.
    Just to follow up on my previous post on the screen I got from focusingscreen.com, there is the possibility that these are indeed modified Nikon E-screens. Below are some macros I made of the edges of both screens. Although they are at different angles, the native D600 screen has a smooth, polished edge, apparently straight out of the mold they use. The focusingscreen.com E-screen appears to have been ground down at the sides. Therefore a factory E-screen will probably not drop in as I thought. However unless someone has an E-screen in an earlier Nikon body they can examine to see if they have the same smooth edges as my D600 screen, the jury's out. :-)

    As far as installing it is concerned, I think focusingscreen.com should have made it obvious that the supplied spacers are mandatory. I thought they were supplied "just in case" you needed to fine-tune the screen's focus accuracy. So I went through three installs and tests to realize they need to be installed, as the images were back-focused until they were installed. As a consequence of removing the screen multiple times, I wound up accidentally nicking the edge right by where the spring release tool was used to release the tension spring. Fortunately it's small and out of the way enough where I can live with it. Now it may be that each installation may not need the additional spacers, I dunno. But I would suggest starting with them installed and take it from there. They were a bit finicky to get in, but eventually they fell into place. You may need to blow out dust and lint as well, so keep a blower or compressed air handy.

    I took an exposure before I changed screens and one again after, and the new screen allows in about a 1/4 stop more light, so you'll need to compensate accordingly if that bothers you. My D600 is set to adjust in 1/3 stop increments, but if I remember correctly you can change that to 1/4 stop increments in setup. I'll have to check again. Did I mention that the screen is a 1/4 stop brighter? ;-)

    When all was done however, there was a big "aaaaaaaah" of satisfaction. Finally I can confidently focus with my MF lenses. While the camera has the focus dot and arrows, they are out of the way, and become less accurate as you use shorter focal lengths. It's completely useless with my 20mm f/4 for example, the "in focus" dot stays on for way too much focus ring movement. I can finally focus accurately with my 20, and fast too. I had forgotten how fast you can focus with a "real" focusing screen, both with the aids and on the groundglass. The screen wound up being a bit offset, but I prefer that because the center AF dot isn't stuck right in the middle of the split-image focuser, which is a problem with the KatzEye screen in my D5100 which is perfectly centered.

    So if any of you may have been on the fence about installing one of these screens from this Taiwanese vendor in your camera, I say go for it. It is such a relief to be able to "just focus" your MF lenses without hassle. I hope this has been of help.

    image
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,389Moderator
    I bought a similar split screen for the Nikon D4 from Focusing screen.com. It was made from the F6 screen. Not been as brave as you I took it to a camera Technician to be fitted. After spending some time the technician was not happy about fitting the screen and basically said, I will do it but would not be responsible if any damage that could happen.
    I told him not to bother and still have the screen. Spoke to Nikon Uk and they said although this would not effect the normal warranty, any damage done by fitting the screen would not be covered.
    Perhaps i will send it to Nikon to be fitted at some later date.
    Always learning.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    @Spy_Black thank you for a very informative posting. I have been toying with replacing the focus screen in one or more of my DSLR bodies. I think you have motivated me to do it. I shoot a roll of film in my old FTn every once and a while just so I can see that beautiful split prism image come into focus. Brings back memories and muscle memory as well :-)
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,181Member
    edited June 2015
    I have the Katzeye focusing screen for my old Fujifilm S5pro .. I didnt need the shims.

    Good to know that the focusing screens from focusing screen.com works. I have been considering getting one for my FX camera.

    We are too spoiled by AF .. having good MF technique can be faster focusing than AF ! below is a dragonfly in FLIGHT taken with MF and my S5pro with focusing screen. I have a few more pics of several dragonfly in flight. just incase you think its a one off , I will have to find them, its been a while, I have been lazy to photograph more. :-)

    image
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,181Member
    Ok found another one.. image

    Notice that the legs are tucked in behind the head when in flight. Thats how you know that someone has photoshopped a standing dragonfly and made it "fly" !!
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • Spy_BlackSpy_Black Posts: 79Member
    edited June 2015
    Fantastic work on the dragons. Yeah, only one day with the new screen and I was already getting back in the groove of things. Nothing as great as yours, but walking around with my 55mm f/3.5 Micro I started honing in on a fly on a tree stump. He kept moving around as I slowly kept moving in as close as I could, constantly refocusing and shooting using only the groundglass (which is probably the fastest way to focus, IMHO). I nailed 8 out of 10 shots on the run @ f/5.6, which I thought wasn't bad considering we were both moving. Because I had the 55, as I got closer he finally took off on me. If I had my 105 f/4 Micro I probably could have gotten closer before he blew out of town. That's a 100% crop below.

    I am SOOO happy I put this screen in.

    image

    image
    Post edited by Spy_Black on
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Photographing an insect in flight using manual focus is like catching a fly with a pair of chopsticks. ^:)^
    Gives a whole new meaning to BIF, bugs in flight!
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,312Member
    Getting anything that moves in focus using manual techniques is certainly worthy of praise indeed! I remember trying to do that with the AF-S 105mm Macro, tough to do on a modern body. Easier to do with a split prism? I cannot say for sure, but if these work like the older split prisms (aka old manual focus bodies) then I don't doubt that it is possible.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • Spy_BlackSpy_Black Posts: 79Member
    edited June 2015
    Actually, the groundglass is really the tool of choice. Although my subject was a much simpler track than the dragonflies in flight, there was still constant motion between the fly and myself. I would have had to constantly move back and forth between center focusing aids and edge for the composition above. I would also have had to make sure the split was aligned or microprism clear. This way all I did was keep constantly refocusing as the fly kept moving across the surface, using the depth of field as a general guide.

    Because of the nature of this surface, I wonder how well an AF system would have worked with this depth of field. It would have focused, but not necessarily on the fly. That's the beauty of the older focusing screens versus the modern ones, images "pop" into focus on the groundglass. I forget exactly why they use the screens they use now, but it seems to me to not make any sense.

    You can also order a plain groundglass for your camera if you feel confident enough to work with just that.
    Post edited by Spy_Black on
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,312Member
    Most likely the reason for the modern screens is cost, and weight savings. The viewfinder in the older cameras are also much dimmer. For example the finder in my FE is darker than the D700/D800/D750. That said the camera with the brightest finder I've used is the F90x (N90s for Americans).
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • Spy_BlackSpy_Black Posts: 79Member
    No, there was another reason, I forget now. If you look at my macro shot of the screens you can see the microprism array going clear across the entire surface of the D600 screen. This is how every modern screen is on digital cameras, I forget why.
  • gianthvaxgianthvax Posts: 2Member
    Just fitted one of these to my D610. Didn't have any shims to fit. Manual focus works fine but now I find I can no longer select focus point for A/F it is fixed in the centre. Not gone to the trouble of taking it out again yet. Any suggestions as to why this could happen?
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Is the "focus selector lock" engaged? Page 101 in the D610 manual.
  • gianthvaxgianthvax Posts: 2Member
    Just noticed that and came back to post problem solved. Must have nudged it whilst the camera was upside down. Bit silly not to have noticed it. Thanks for prompt response. The kit I received was slightly different it had one set of metal tweezers and a smaller set with rubber tips. Was very easy to change the screen seems to be working fine now I switched the lock off again.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    No prob, that's what we're here for :-)
    It would be good to hear about your experiences with your screen. Which brand did you get?
  • Capt_SpauldingCapt_Spaulding Posts: 556Member
    edited July 2015
    This sounds like a great addition. Does the screen affect any of the camera's other normal operations? Focusing using AF (I gather it does not) or exposure metering?

    Thanks. I'm looking forward to more reviews.
    Post edited by Capt_Spaulding on
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited July 2015
    What I want to know is just how much better the screen is for manual focus. I have focused my 24mm f/3.5 PC-E Nikkor on the D4 in almost total darkness, yet for reasons unknown, was able to see just enough. In horrid conditions I use a long back and forth focus method, shortening the distance of the barrel twists until I think it is spot on....seems to work.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • Spy_BlackSpy_Black Posts: 79Member
    edited July 2015
    I find it much easier. The super-microprism array in modern screens makes it harder to "snap" the image when racking. You can see that surface difference in my macro shot of the two screens I posted above. Someone had once explained to me why this arrangement is used today, but I don't remember what it was.

    I think in retrospect I would have just ordered the full matte, "S"-model screen and done without the split-image/microprism focusing aid, as I tend to use the matte area more often than not. The split-image/microprism aid does come in handy sometimes, mostly with macro work and generally when on a tripod.

    Using focal lengths 35mm and shorter always requires more racking, regardless of screen type. My 20mm f/4 was always a challenge even on my old E and K screens on my F and F2 bodies. It was impossible to focus my 20mm with the native D600 screen, now I can at least rack.
    Post edited by Spy_Black on
  • jonnyapplejonnyapple Posts: 130Moderator
    edited July 2015
    I find it much easier. The super-microprism array in modern screens makes it harder to "snap" the image when racking. You can see that surface difference in my macro shot of the two screens I posted above. Someone had once explained to me why this arrangement is used today, but I don't remember what it was.
    Someone can correct me if they know better, but I'm pretty sure the modern focusing screens are cut to redirect light coming from near the center of the lens to the user's eye.

    The advantage of that configuration is that even for dim lenses (say f/5.6 max aperture) the viewfinder is relatively bright—brighter than you'd expect if you had a ground glass focus screen in, for example.

    The disadvantages of the modern setup are that for bright lenses the viewfinder doesn't do the lens justice in terms of brightness, and everything looks more or less in focus because you're essentially looking at the view you would have through a pinhole camera (mostly just the center of the lens). This can be an advantage for those oh-so-common situations like when you're taking macro butterfly shots and someone steals your bike in the background. You need to see that so you can refocus and get a picture to show the police!

    A split-prism focus screen acts like an in-camera rangefinder: one half redirects light coming from one side of the lens to the user's eye and the other half the other. When the lens is in focus, the light from both sides of the lens comes from the same part of the split-prism, so the lines in the image "match up" and you know you've nailed focus.

    Ground glass ditches the prisms to redirect light in all directions from all parts of the lens (as close to an ideal diffuser as it can be). What you see is then exactly what you get on the whole screen.

    Hooray for @Capt_Spaulding! There, I said it. To answer your question, the AF system of the camera is actually below the mirror of your SLR. There's a secondary mirror behind the primary mirror that flips up against it during exposure. The bottom line is that your camera's AF system doesn't care or even know what focus screen you have installed. The viewfinder will still display the focus spot selection and everything else that it normally does, because the LCD is unaffected by the focus screen.
    Post edited by jonnyapple on
    CC is welcome. DC is also welcome when I deserve it.
  • user001user001 Posts: 5Member
    Hello all, I'm wondering if anyone can follow up on any more potential issues regarding these focusing screens. From what I've researched on different platforms, it seems some screens work better than others in terms of not interfering with metering accuracy (particularly, spot and center weighted). I'm also wondering if anyone feels the AF focus dot's default center location interferes with using the split screen effectively, or do you manually move it away.

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