Was there ever any such thing as a fully microprism focusing screen?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by BetterSense, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

    Messages:
    3,126
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I notice that I use the microprism donut on my MF cameras more often than I use the split-image prism in the center. I would probably like a focusing screen that ditches the split-image prism and fills in the space with more micro-prism. But then I was thinking that it might actually be pretty cool to have a focusing screen that was completely micro-prism. Then only objects that were in focus would be clear and everything else would be all well, micro-prism'd. Has there ever been such a focusing screen available?
     
  2. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

    Messages:
    1,897
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Location:
    Saint Paul, MN
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  3. nyoung

    nyoung Member

    Messages:
    371
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I've never heard of a full screen micro prism but I've shot with a camera - a Pentax of 1980s vintage I think - that had no split image, just a circle of micro prism in teh center of the screen.
     
  4. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Hamburg
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The Leicaflex SL.

    Though outside the centre, the microprisms are extremely fine so that the image looks normal, but you still get enough microprism effect for focusing.

    There's a reason why that's my absolutely favourite camera for difficult focusing situations and long teles...

    Yes, also the Nikon H screen (I use one on an F & F2), but it's nowhere as good as the Leicaflex's, and you need to compensate the exposure and sometimes screen type with each lens (a real PITA).
     
  5. Andy K

    Andy K Member

    Messages:
    9,422
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Location:
    Sunny Southe
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I think my old Zenit TTL has a full microprism centre circle, I'll have to dig it out and check.
     
  6. Jon King

    Jon King Member

    Messages:
    360
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2002
    Location:
    New Hampshir
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
  7. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,930
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm not sure but I think there is one for the Canon FD system.

    Jeff
     
  8. Lee L

    Lee L Member

    Messages:
    3,247
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The Leica SL and R3 through R7 cameras all had a either rough microprism or split image + rough microprism rings at the center, with the rest of the screen being fine microprisms. There were also "all microprism" screens available for models with interchangeable screens. I'm not sure about the R8 and R9 stock screen main field, which are written up as ground glass outside the central area, but they also had an all microprism screen available.

    The fine microprisms snap in and out of focus much more obviously than ground glass.

    Lee
     
  9. budrichard

    budrichard Member

    Messages:
    167
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Nikon F had one and it was not my first choice and I ever hardly used the one I had. I purchased it for long lenses with small apertures and althoug it did somehwat brighten the image I believe there were other problems like vingetting but it was 40 years ago so don't quote me. It also renderd the FTN finder inaccurate.-Dick
     
  10. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Hamburg
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ehmmmm... Exactly the reasons for the previously mentioned need with the Nikon H screens to adapt the exposure and (sometimes) screen type according to the lens used
     
  11. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

    Messages:
    806
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    When I was using a Nikon F2 to shoot theater, I needed something to help me manually focus in dim light. I used the Nikon H screens with their micro prism-focusing pattern over the entire field to do the job.

    If I had been shooting with only one body, the H2 screen would have worked with all three of my lenses. However, since I only had one H2 screen and I needed to carry three bodies so I did not have to change lenses, I used a different screen for each focal length. One body had an H2 screen and a 35mm f/2 lens, one body had an H3 screen and an 85mm f/1.8 lens, and one body had an H4 screen and a 180mm f/2.8 lens.

    Since the screens and the focal lengths were properly matched, there was no problem with vingetting.
     
  12. rthomas

    rthomas Member

    Messages:
    1,184
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC, USA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I've never used the H2 but I have a G2, which has a huge 12mm microprism circle in the center. It's in Dad's old Nikon F and it is great, especially in low light (which is what I think it was designed for but I don't have the manual handy).
     
  13. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,459
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    There are microprism-spot screens for most cameras that allow for removable screens. Nikon, canon F1, Olympus 1/2/3/4, Minolta X700 and XD, there are more but these are what I have books on.
     
  14. Mike P

    Mike P Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Fully microprism - the original Leicaflex SLR. It wasn't very popular, and they changed it for a more conventional screen for subsequent models.

    Microprism spot - quite a few cameras, including most of the later Pentax screw mount cameras. Ones I have to hand which have this type of screen include the Spotmatic F and the SP 500. And of course, yes, most cameras that have removable screens probably have the possibility.
     
  15. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,518
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Location:
    SF Bay area
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Olympus focusing screens with solid microprism centers:
    1-1 matte field for most lenses
    1-2 matte field for std and tele lenses
    1-5 clear field for WAlenses
    1-6 clear field for std and tele lenses
    1-7 clear field for long tele lenses

    Bronica had them for their medium format SLRs, too, but only with a coarse collar and matte field
     
  16. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Hamburg
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The *original* Leicaflex had a microprism centre with the rest being clear (not able to focus), which indeed wasn't very popular.

    The Leicaflex SL had a fully microprism screen, which according to many, including myself, is the best screen/viewfinder ever produced for a SLR camera (for manual focusing).
    Compared to the Nikon H screens, it it finer, brighter, works with all lenses and doesn't require compensating the exposure with each lens. How Leica managed to pull that off, I don't know...
     
  17. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

    Messages:
    1,009
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have all of the standard focusing screens for the Canon F-1/F-1n cameras including some L types. As far as I know Canon did not make a screen for this series which had the microprism for the whole viewing area. My favorite screen for general work is the L D. This is the brighter Lasermatte version of the grid screen. I especially like the a grid screen for macro work and for using slower lenses like zooms. The grid lines serve as a sharpness reference and can aid in composition. The screen allows me to focus equally well on any area of the scene. For macro work I find split image, microprism and combination focusing aids distracting. For high magnification macro shooting I prefer a plain matte screen.

    There are many factors which go into making a screen desirable for various uses. These include brightness, contrast, usability in low light and others. A grid type screen is my standard one when shooting with a Canon F-1/F-1n, Minolta X-700, Nikon FE, Bronica ETR/S, Bronica SQ-A and Bronica GS-1. I also have two Konica FT-1s and a Konica Autoreflex T2 with Nikon E screens installed. I used the T2 earlier this month to photograph some enormous mushrooms which popped up on my neighbor's lawn. I still enjoy using cameras with fixed screens like the Konica Autoreflex T3N or Canon EF (microprism) or Nikkormat FT2 but I find them more difficult to use for macro work. Somewhere I have a Mamiya NC1000S. The standard screen is in it now and in anoter box I have a grid screen for it. I would like to see the Leicaflex with the full microprism screen.
     
  18. telyt

    telyt Member

    Messages:
    33
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2004
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Agree completely, the SL's viewscreen is easily my favorite. Until I tried the SL I thought the Nikon F with E screen was as good as it gets.