Change D200 focus screen for manual focus lenses?
I've been having trouble setting the focus of my Nikon 500mm manual focus lens. I have found the little green dot on the lower left corner of the focus screen to be marginally useful because it is hard to set quickly. I just learned that the focussing screen of the D200 can be changed to incorporate the classic microprisms found on SLRs of many years ago. This seems like it would work great. Anybody tried it?
I too use manual focus lenses on my D200, so would be interested to hear comments on this concept.
Don, its been a couple of months since your post- did you get one of these screens?
Just ordered it today
I just ordered the Katz Eye focusing screen with the "optbrite" treatment for my D200. I chickened out and ordered their installation service.
As I understand the process, they'll manufacture the screen in the next few days to weeks and send me an email when the screen in ready. I'll then ship my camera to them and they'll install the screen and ship it back.
I'll be sure to report back on my experiences.
I note that there are a number of happy users of the Katz Eye focussing screen over at nikonians.com
Thanks, will look forward to your findings.
I received my Katz Eye Focusing screen with optibrite treatment installed on my Nikon D200 last week. My results are mixed.
I elected to have the screen installed by Katz Eye Optics. I did that because they stated that they will confirm that the focusing screen in properly adjusted for manual focus (my D200 native screen was a little off). The communication with them was excellent. They had a screen available to install in my camera three days after I placed my order. I sent my camera in and received it back promptly. The packaging was fine and I received an email telling me when my screen was ready, an email when they received my camera, and another email with a tracking number when the camera was shipped. I asked several questions via email and always received a prompt and courteous response. So far as I can tell (I'm going to do more testing) the focus calibration is right on for manual focus (auto focus is supposed to be unaffected by the focusing screen change).
Now, the not so good news. The screen works great for fast lenses. The split screen prism works well down to at least f11. However, the microprism surround (which I want to use to focus on fast moving people and animals) works well only to about f 3.2. My 500mm lens is f4 and with a moderate amount of effort it works a little better than OK but certainly not great. With a 1.4x teleconverter on the 500mm lens I can get the microprism to work with great difficulty. I can't get the microprism to work with a 2x teleconverter and the 500mm lens. When the microprism doesn't work, it appears as black area around the central spit screen finder right in the middle of the view finder.
I have a 70-300mm AFS f4.5-f5.6 VR zoom that I used to photograph my kids sports. The Katz Eye focusing screen is a pain with this lens. The microprisms only works at short focal lengths and then with difficulty. At longer focal lengths, the microprism is a simply a black area in the center of the view-finder.
I'm going to work with the new focusing screen for a while to see if I can get used to the microprism. I'm so disappointed, though, that I will probably switch back to the old focusing screen.
Here is an email that I received from Katz Eye Optics on a Sunday less that 12hours after writing to them. In my opinion, Katz Eye Optics is a first class operation!
You are correct in that you have reached a physical limitation of the
design. The microprisms are only functional up to f5.6. With your 500mm f4
and a 1.4x TC, you're at exactly f5.6, so the fact that you can use them
only with difficulty makes perfect sense. With the 2x TC, you'd be at f8
and the microprisms won't be effective at that aperture, as you have found.
The reason is that the microprisms are too small to apply the principle used
the split prism which increases the useful range down to smaller apertures.
With the TCs on, the split prism will still work well in those situations
where you can use it. But in faster action situations, your only options
would be to pre-focus using the split and wait for the target or to focus
during the action using the matte surface of the screen. Since the Katz Eye
screen also has a better matte than the OEM screen, you should be able to
focus more effectively even under those conditions.
If you do finally decide the screen won't work for you, then by all means
send the camera in and we'll reinstall the original screen. I will
authorize our technicians to perform the reinstall at no cost and the cost
of the Katz Eye screen will be refunded. We will have to charge you for the
return shipping of the camera, but that can be deducted from the screen
refund. Should you decide to go that route, please let me know and we can
make appropriate arrangements.
In answer to your other question, there are no plans to redesign the
microprism area at this time. But your suggestion is well taken and if an
opportunity to rebuild the molds presents itself, we will certainly consider
your feedback. If there is anything else I can do for you, please let me
Katz Eye Optics
Thought this email exchange might be interesting.
From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Sunday, October 07, 2007 12:28 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: Problems with Katz Eye Optics Focusing Screen
Thanks for your kind note. I still want to work with the focusing screen a bit but I think the split screen and microprism surround will not work for me. My native focusing screen was a little off and not that great. Could you make just a matte focusing screen without the split prism and microprism? If so, I think I would be happy if my current screen could be exchanged for that (with no refund to me). Of course I would be happy to pay for shipping too.
Is this possible?
You are very welcome. We are able to make a matte-only screen for the D200. We donít list it on the website, since it is not as common a request as the prism screen; but with your particular requirements, it sounds like the matte screen might be the better option. It would be an even exchange as far as the screen goes and Iím happy to have our technician do the install if you pick up the shipping. Just let me know if you want to go that route and Iíll get a matte-only screen into production for you. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!
Katz Eye Optics
Just realized that I have not finished this thread.
I exchanged my Katz screen with microprisms for a pain Katz screen with optibrite treatment.
The new Katz screen works great.
Was it worth it? For me, yes, because I now have a properly adjusted focussing screen and can use my manual focus lens much better. My wife also has a D200 so I can compare the Katz screen to the original Nikon screen. The Katz screen with optibrite treatment is a little brighter than the original Nikon screen.
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