M42 SLR with simple ground glass screen?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by grommi, Dec 25, 2013.

  1. grommi

    grommi Member

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    Hi everybody, Im looking for such a M42 SLR. The Zenit B has such a ground glass screen, but I would prefer a camera less bulky. The ground glass screen without split image or microprisms is important for me to judge the real depth of field. Please don't recommend expensive pro cams with interchangable screens, I need M42 without adapters and a Zenit goes for 20 bucks. Please don't recommend other systems than M42, I know what I want but have no overview about the M42 cameras. No split image, no microprism, no fresnel, I want simple plain ground glas. Prism viewfinder is a must and mirror lock-up is welcome. Exposure meter is not necessary but also welcome.

    Thanks in advance and best regards

    Reinhold
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 25, 2013
  2. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I have a Pentax S3 which I paid a little higher than you paid for the Zenit B as $40 with the f/1.8 lens. I don't think it has either microprism or split image but not sure it fits your need.
     
  3. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    I cannot think of any SLR that had no focusing aid in the center, with the M42 mount. Even the relatively lowly Pentax H1a had a central microprism! Focusing aids were pretty standard, and SLRs with interchangeable screens sometimes offered plain groundglass focus screens as options.
     
  4. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I think the Praktika might have one, or some models of Praktika anyway.

    EDIT: Google says no, but maybe interchangeable screens were available?
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  5. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    Early Prakticas are the go, the FX3 would be a good bet.
     
  6. elekm

    elekm Member

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    The early Prakticas - FX1, FX2 and FX3 - have only a ground glass screen. They also lack a prism and have only waist-level viewfinders. There is available a pentaprism accessory. The view through it is very dark.
     
  7. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    A Pentax Spotmatic has a rather small microprism center and the rest being gg. But I'm failing to see why one would think it hampered DOF preview anyway.
     
  8. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    You can only judge depth of field if the camera or lens offers stop down use.
    The presence or absence of a micro prism or range finder is irrelevant as they just go black
    a Fresnel outer is better as you can still see an image
    you need to clarify your requirement
    eg a COSINA CSL will stop down any auto M42 lens and you can view depth of field but has a microprism spot
     
  9. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I have a Pentax H1a and never used to have a problem seeing the DOF preview. The only reason I do now (and not a big problem seeing it) is that I've been shooting 4x5 more and it's easier to see it there. Whatever screen it has is the least annoying screen I've used. I have a couple with split image ones and they drive me bonkers.
     
  10. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I re-read the original note. The earliest SLRs (Contax, later renamed Pentacon) had a pentaprism and a simple ground glass viewing screen. However, these are sometimes seen as collectibles. You must check the shutter curtains for pinholes and also to see if the camera works. The view can be very dim. There is no depth of field preview. Just stop down the lens, using the M/A switch, if the lens has one.

    These cameras do not have mirror lockup, although if you tap on the shutter release lightly, it will lock up the mirror.

    By the way, the Contax that I mention here is the East German Contax made not long after the end of World War II and is not the Yashica/Kyocera Contax that was made in Japan. Totally different camera.
     
  11. grommi

    grommi Member

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    Thank you so far for the replies.

    It is not commonly known that f.e. fresnel screens do not show the real depth of field, it's shown always much bigger and on the final picture it is much smaller. Even a ground glass screen shows a bigger dof because of the "thickness" of the ground layer, but comes much closer to the final result. I have selfmade single element lens with a quite big aperture and many aberrations and was shocked how much smaller the real dof on the pics was compared to the fresnel screen image. Sometimes the screen makes a huge difference and the better screen on first sight might be the worse choice.

    After all, it could be the best solution to get a working Zenith B and pass on the mirror lock-up. The screen image is not so dark as on the early post-war cameras and it has a usable prism. And you have a weapon for self defense :-D

    To get an impression of what I'm talking about here's a "real" picture. Neither microprisms nor split images make any sense with such a lens.

    [​IMG]
    nighthawk at the diner by imagesfrugales, on Flickr
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2013
  12. AgX

    AgX Member

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    This is the first time ever I hear such about a fresnel screen.
    That screen, as the classic field lens, acts to bend the rays comíng from the rear of the taking lens through/from the ground glass to the eye of the photographer, by this yierlding even brightness over the whole ground glass.
    By they do not ad DOF.
    Due to the staggered construction of a fresnel lens such can add distortion and this added distortion may hamper focusing.
     
  13. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    Search/ research Edixa and Exa cameras.
     
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  15. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    But your Pentax lens has a manual/auto switch not all auto M42 lenses have one, the Fuji lens I use does not.
    When you stop down a split image spot goes black a microprism goes black so they are not compelling.
    There are three outers you can get clear glass which does not show any depth of field but is bright.
    Plain ground glass which will be real dark,
    and Frenel ground glass which is brighter these last two do show depth of field/focus.
    The OP needs to be careful what he asks for.
    A Zenith is an ok camera he may have to 'Stick'...
     
  16. pen s

    pen s Member

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    The OP is starting out with a very difficult set of requirments. With the price of film (and perhaps processing for color) and printing, the price of the camera quickly becomes a minor precentage of total outlay for for film photography.

    Therefore, it is logical to move to a system that has features that you absolutly cannot compromise on. For your needs, interchangable screens would seem to be a non negotiable requirement. For film systems that would put Nikon, either a F or F2 on top. There were several other systems with this feature available in the 1970's but the sheer number produced when current now makes Nikon the most available on the used market.

    Really, I can sympathize with your dislike of focusing aids. I too cannot abide them and use the 1-10 screen, matte with grid lines, for all my OM bodies. The OM-1 or OM-1n is another good choice with a brilliant viewfinder. The standard matte screens are the 1-4 and 1-10 (the 1-4 does not have grid lines). The cameras are fairly well available but accessories such a focusing screens somewhat less so.

    Unless you are absolutely already heavly invested in M42 lenses I fear the search will turn out to be a frustrating experience.

    I know you said do not recomend other systems and 'that you know what you want' but realistically just wanting something does not make it available, at least for the price you want to pay.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2013
  17. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    And how cheap are Ming vases?
     
  18. pen s

    pen s Member

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    Don't quite get the reference Xmas. My argument is sound and logical. The extra expense of a useable systen that has the specific requirments the OP desires will quickly fade into the background as ongoing film and printing costs are considered. Any M42 mount camera with a plain matte screen will be quite old. Will it work properly? What if you have to spend extra money to have it repaired? Early GG screens were very dim with dark corners. I suppose one could deliver a early 70's Spotmatic to a repair person to see if a adapted matte screen could be fitted but here again there is quite a lot of expense and such a modification must be done precisely to insure accurate focusing.

    I just don't know if there is any practical way to achive the OP's goals with a severly limited budget.
     
  19. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    either of the plain ground glass OM screens in nice condition are a bit more expensive than one Zenith typically 4x Zenith = One off screen?

    They are sought after collectors.

    Film is cheap if you are existing on cast of bulk.

    Your logic is ignoring the OP's text.
     
  20. grommi

    grommi Member

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    That's a good point of course. I never thought I could need a system camera with exchangeable screens. But indeed my budget is very limited.

    Probably I should check some different models at the next camera fair. And I just watched through the Zenit B finder, it's dark but not too dark to be unusable and it's dof is much more accurate than the bright fresnel screens. The latter are great for many purposes but for some applications they are not the best, to put it mildly.
     
  21. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Just because some cameras say you cant switch screens doesnt mean you cant modify it to take it out and possibly put another in. In the past i have removed the newer lumibrite screen from a junk om40 body (which does not support swapping screens) and installed it into a om4t. People also used to take apart the focusing screen holders on the nikon system and sandwich a newer screen into an older holder. Many of the current dslr screens on prosumer cameras can be removed and swapped with a cut down screen as well for focusing aid. So if you are really dedicated to this m42 system then try cutting a similar screen of the same thickness and replacing the prism screen. All matte screens are common for micro/macro, and astrophotography. You can also try to make one with a piece if glass and scotch magic tape thats frosted. The glass needs to accommodate for the thickness of the tape to give you correct focus.
     
  22. pen s

    pen s Member

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    Well, I take it the OP lives in Germany so I cannot advise about used prices in Europe. Hewever in the US KEH is a good standard for used prices and an EX condition 1-4 screen is $25 and a BGN OM-1md body is $56 so $81 plus shipping for people in this country.

    I completely understand limited budgets. Retired and on a fixed income I have to save carefully to afford film. Fortnately I do not shoot a lot of frames anymore and am exploring 4X5 (after finding 6 4X5 DDS holders for $5 at a garage sale) with a homemade plywood box sporting a gifted 130mm f7.7 Kodak Anastigmat and using photo paper as a negative. All in all fairly cheap compared to 4X5 film.

    Finally, I really wish grommi well on his search. Sometimes finding the best possible solution within a limited budget can bring out a great deal of inventiveness and provide many a day of pleasureable activity in out shared hobby.
     
  23. aoresteen

    aoresteen Subscriber

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    Here's what I would do (in fact I did it years ago). Get a Spotmatic SL (no meter) and put a Nikon F screen in it. Yes it will fit. Yes 90% of the repairmen will tell you they won't fit. But they do. In the 70's you could get replacement screens put into your Spotmatic by sending it into Honeywell. They used Nikon screens!

    http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/michaeliu/cameras/shared/ff2screens.htm


    In the late 70's early 80's I had a Nikon E screen put into one of my Spotmatics (I had 9 Spotmatic bodies at the time). I also had a P Apollo screen put into my Spotmatic SL (which I still have).

    Ebay is full of Nikon F & F2 screens.
     
  24. grommi

    grommi Member

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    Thank you all very much for the help and encouragement. A Spotmatic with a Nikon screen, that sounds compelling. Now I have some ideas how the jouney could go on.

    Have a good new year everybody - grommi
     
  25. AstroZon

    AstroZon Member

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    The Pentax MX / LX cameras had several screens available. They're K-mount of course but can accommodate M42 lenses with an adapter. I changed the screen in my MX to one with a circle and grid (SG-30838.) There was no split screen center, just a printed grid and circle on a matte glass. Unfortunately, these are very hard to find nowdays - even on eBay. Even more unfortunately (for me anyway,) I sold my MX in 1985. :sad:

    Here's a link to Pentax MX / LX screens: http://www.bdimitrov.de/kmp/misc/focus/screens/index.html (with thanks to APUG member Les Sarile for the original link.)
     
  26. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    I don't care much for the low finder brightness of most M42 mount bodies. Even though I give up auto diaphragm control I use M42 lenses more often with other cameras like Minolta X-700s or Canon F-1s. The Minolta X-700 had interchangeable focusing screens but they are very hard to find. I keep a grid screen in one and a plain matte screen in another. The rest all have the standard screen. An X-700 is often found in non-working cndition because of the capacitors but that's easy to fix or get fixed.