What SLR focus screen do you use and why?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Hamster, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. Hamster

    Hamster Member

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    I have been borrowing a friends camera with split prism screen for a while and I realise I really miss the microprism screen of my spotmatic. Seems to be a allround good option.

    What type of screen do you prefer? Is it a conscious choice?

    I do a lot of close focus work at about 0.5m, what do you think is a good option?
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The standard screen in all my Pentax's has been perfect so now wish to change. Should be fine for you too.

    Ian
     
  3. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    I have an Olympus OM 1n with interchangeable screens and have been using the split prism + micro prisms the most on it.
    They work fast and presize.

    For MF I tend to use those focussing screens aswell.

    Peter
     
  4. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I use a focusing screen without any form of focusing help. I want the screen to be the same all over. I want to focus on any part of the screen and not only in the center. That makes my manual focusing better than AF because instead of focusing on 1 of the focusing point, by manually focusing the camera I can focus at any part of the screen. There is no need for the focus and then recompose.
     
  5. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    Many years ago, for general shooting, I preferred the plain matte focusing screen. However, when my eyesight changed, I discovered that I had a hard time focusing with the plain screen. I then had to change to a screen with a focusing aid. The split-image focusing aid works best for me for general shooting.

    When I do a lot of architectural photography or flat copy work, I use a screen with horizontal and vertical grid lines to help me with composition and the proper alignment of the subject.

    When I attach my camera to a telescope, I use a fine-ground Fresnel field screen with a 5.5mm clear spot and double cross hairs which allow me to perform parallax focusing on an aerial image.
     
  6. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Split image screen with fresnel in my Nikon F. Not only is it the only screen I own, but I like the ease of which I can focus. However, I sometimes wish that it was turned at a 45* angle, to make it easier to focus on things.
     
  7. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Best screen in the World:
    The one on the Leicaflex SL; very fine micro-prisms all over the field (similar to Nikon's H screens but much better) with thicker ones at the centre.
    Can focus even long and dark telephotos easily anywhere on the screen.

    Second choice, any good screen with a grid.

    Absolute Junk:
    Those on AF cameras.
     
  8. Allan Swindles

    Allan Swindles Member

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    I have replaced the split-image/microprism screens in all my OM bodies with plain fresnel types. I find them far less distracting. However, a recently purchased OM-4Ti body came with the first mentioned type and as my eyesight is not what it used to be I thought I would give it a try. I'm not sure I can stick with it though, useful, yes very, but so much clutter! I have a plain 1-4N screen to hand which I'm pretty certain will be in use before long.
     
  9. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    The split image on the Acute Matte D screen was too dark on my Hasselblad as I used lens with smaller apertures. The worst being the CF f/5.6 250mm lens. I replaced it with an Acute Matte D screen without a split image and I am much happier.

    Steve
     
  10. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I use a screen specifically made for fast lenses whenever one is available. For Canon FD, this is the F screen, which is a microprism screen. Otherwise, I like a microprism for high contrast light and shooting action, and a split image screen in low contrast light (overcast, evening, etc.).
     
  11. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I have five Canon FD SLRs and I'm happy with the screen they all came with.
     
  12. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    My Nikon N80 has gridlines that can go in or out at the touch of a button (there is almost like an LCD in the viewfinder). I like to use those to line things up but otherwise my Nikkormats have the focusing aid and rangefinder cameras a rangefinder and that's it for me.
     
  13. Ira Rush

    Ira Rush Member

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    Try the Nikon P or L screen (45° angle). I use them both, (one in my F2, the other in my FTN) and yes 100% easier to focus.

    For my Hassy, the 1st generation Acute-Matte screen w/grid and split image.
    (Yes, yes I know... this is the 35mm domain... my bad :D :D)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 31, 2009
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  15. marcmarc

    marcmarc Member

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    I'm using a standard screen with grid lines for my F2. I'd really like to get a hold of an H1 (as mentioned earlier it has a microprisim across the entire screen) since I figure this will allow quicker focusing for my street photography. Sadly, they don't seem to be very common; I've only come across one in San Jose CA and it was in poor condition for the price.
     
  16. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I use the E screen (grid lines) in most of my Nikons. I use a P screen (focusing aids plus quadrant grid lines) in my F3HP. The lines really help me to avoid a problem I tend to have - crooked horizons.
     
  17. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    My OM focusing screen of choice for general shooting is one which as a center microprism with a coarse focusing ring surround.
     
  18. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Be sure you get the right "H"... Some wont focus (properly) with some lenses.

    I have the H2, which is the most compatible with the lenses I have (and maybe in general). Check before buying!

    An annoying thing is that you usually have to change the exposure compensation for each lens.
     
  19. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    I'm using the plain matte with grid lines on my EOS3, I don't want to be annoyed by focusing aids (OK, I agree the AF does it for me, but I also use manual focusing when using a tripod, about 50% of the time) and the grid help composing and keeping this $*%# horizon line straight
     
  20. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    For my EOS 1N and 1NRS, plain matte screen with gridlines (for horizontal, vertical alignment) and 3.5% centre-spot, 2.3% fine spot rings; similar screen for my ancient EOS 5. All cameras are used with a right angle magnifier for critical focusing with manual focus TS-E lenses (where introducing tilt, shift or both causes gross derangement of any central microprism spot); I've found the split image microprism type screens very imprecise and distracting for critical work, and routinely disable the red superimposed AF points, mostly for their irritation. What you actually fancy in your camera will to a large degree depend on what type of work you do.

    The Beattie Intensecreens were interesting for their extra stop or so of brightness, though prone to introducing exposure errors. They seem not to be available now.
     
  21. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    For manual focus (especially with old eyes like mine), a split prism rocks. I can focus on the subject directly and shoot or I can find both ends of the DOF I want in the scene and then set aperture and focus using the lens's DOF scale.
     
  22. elekm

    elekm Member

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    For most cameras, I use the one that is installed because it can't be changed.

    The ones that I like best have a diagonally split rangefinder.

    For me, that's my Nikon F2A, Rolleiflex SL 35 M and Rolleiflex SL 35 E.
     
  23. glockman99

    glockman99 Member

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    I have the P screen in my Nikon F4s, and I love that screen, as it has the diagonal split focus aide, as well as microprism circle, and a "cross hair".
     
  24. marcmarc

    marcmarc Member

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    Be sure you get the right "H"... Some wont focus (properly) with some lenses.

    I have the H2, which is the most compatible with the lenses I have (and maybe in general). Check before buying!

    An annoying thing is that you usually have to change the exposure compensation for each lens.
    __________________
    Thanks for the advice. Since I'm using an 28mm lens (soon to be replaced by a 35mm) the H1 is the suggested screen. Now if I can only find one someplace lol!

    As for metering, I got a sweetheart of a deal on a DE-1 prisim so I'm using my hand held meter.
     
  25. Marc Akemann

    Marc Akemann Subscriber

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    For my Nikon F2, F4E, FA & FM2N:
    Type D - Overall fine-ground matte field,
    or,
    Type E - Matte/Fresnel field with 3mm fine-ground matte spot, 12mm reference circle, and etched horizontal and vertical lines.
     
  26. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    SLR Focusing Screen

    My favorite screen for general use is a grid type. I find changing the screens in my Minolta X-700s more annoying than in my Canon F-1s or Nikon F2 so I keep one X-700 with a grid screen all the time, one X-700 with a plain matte screen all the time and two with the standard screens. In My Canon F-1s I like the L D screen best although I have many other types. In 1984 I had an Nikon E screen from the FE installed in a Konica FT-1. I used the camera for many years and found it very useful for macro work and for work with slower lenses like zooms. That camera now needs work. I later had a Nikon E screen installed in an Autoreflex T2 body. I used that camera earlier this week.

    I have grid screens for my Bronica ETR, SQ and GS series cameras. One of my Nikon FE cameras has an E screen in it. I was interested in getting an E screen for my two N2020 bodies but manual focusing with the standard screen is very easy. Several years ago I bought a few different screens, including a grid screen, for a Mamiya NC1000S. I find the standard screens in the Canon EF, Nikkormat FT2 and FT3, Konica Autoreflex T3 and T3N, Pentax K1000 and many other cameras to be adequate for general shooting but not so easy to use for macro work or with slower lenses. For higher magnification macro work, anything more than about 2:1, I prefer a plain matte screen. The grid screen sometimes also aids in composition and in keeping lines straight with wide angles.