Hi All,

I was just browsing the threads and the discussion of auto-focus cameras vs manual focus reminded me of some thoughts I've been having on the subject of focusing screens.
This all started when I recently purchased a Canon EF and when it arrived I realized it was a very early model, with no split-image focusing aid built into the screen. For quite some time now, I have grown very accustomed to the split image feature (as it seems almost all manual SLR's came with such a feature). I was actually a little alarmed (I bought the camera on eBay, and while aware of this difference between newer and older production runs.... I simply didn't think of asking - no harm done, but lesson learned!). When I unpacked it, looked through the viewfinder - it struck me: its jus a normal matte circle!
Well, to get to the point: I don't miss it! Actually, I realized how infuriating the split image can be! The little matte area around it is always small and dim and near useless, the two halfs go black in all but perfect light, and when there is no straight line to reference it gets outright aggrevating! As I've been doing some shooting with my "new" EF, I realized I felt almost liberated - able to focus more quickly, more precisely and paying much more attention to the composition rather than peering into a tiny little spot to figure out wether two halfs fo that often blacked out circle are lined up or not! Come to think of it, I have been shooting for years and years with an old Zenit, and always thought that a split image would be so "cool" to have (give me some slack - this goes back to childhood years - things were either cool or not) - but now that I have had them... I don't miss it at all, as a matter of fact - I like it better without!
I have spoken to some folks here who had similar experiences, how about the rest of you? Is the splitimage focusing aid a bit of an overrated feature? Does it not sacrifice some fine points on the altar of simplicity?
Just thought I'd share my experiences on something that I never really gave much thought before,