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Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by kivis, Dec 19, 2010.
I've heard it's the F3Hp, true? others?
My FM2N with the B3 focusing screen is obviously brighter and snappier to focus than any other Nikon I have used, including the F3. A 3-series screen is probably what you have in your FM3 already.
Still, I grab the "darker" F2 boxes (all with B screens) far more often when heading out for a walk. I've never tried to quantify or even understand it, but they're "easier" to focus somehow.
The K3 split image screen that originally came with the FM3A - can also be used in FE2 and FM2, is the brightest and never goes dark regardless of slow lens or stopping down. I don't wear glasses but understand the F3HP is best for those who do but it is not the brightest.
I wear glasses too. I've had an F3HP, I have an F100, an FE but I like the viewfinder on my F4 the best.
Although the F3(HP) DE-2/DE-3 finders are always trotted out as the brightest, the finders on later models like the 801s/8008s and N90s/F90x are also quite bright with good coverage and high-eyepoint relief.
I agree. The only problem with the later model viewfinders, IMO, is that they seem to be a microprism of some type. They work well for manual focusing, and are bright, but their rendering of out of focus areas is not as accurate as a ground glass screen. For example, an out-of-focus specular highlight viewed through a lens wide open is rendered as a pentagon, and straight lines easily become doubled
Not sure I follow you here. I'm not seeing this effect to any greater or lesser degree among these cameras. Aren't specular highlights' shape set by the number of aperture blades? My 45/2.8P has 7 blades and great bokeh--way better than my 50/1.8AFD.
The shape occurs with a wide open lens. I have an N8008S and that's the one it happens with. With the F3 I just get the standard realistic blur. Looking at a specular highlight, or for example a small LED light on a printer, and defocusing, what I get is a pentagon with a darker center. The center has a lighter spot inside it. Light and dark lines run through the pentagon extending beyond it, making its edges soft. When focused closer than the object the pentagon is flat on the bottom, when focused farther it inverts. An out of focus straight line, like a tree trunk or roofline of a house appears as a double line, though the lens does not render it that way.
All very "prismatic".
Stopped down the shape of the diaphragm "trims the edges" of the pentagon and the diaphragm shape prevails. The other characteristics remain, diminishing as depth of field brings the image closer to focus.
I'm not sure if you would care for auto-focus, but I really enjoy using my Nikon F6s. I wear glasses, and can see the entire viewfinder and the display while wearing my glasses. I'm nearsighted, so I also got the -3 diopter. Further, I have installed the focus screen with the microprisms in the center (no split image, only microprisms).
The brightest viewfinder on a Nikon SLR is probably one with a G screen.
That, or one with an H screen. Tried a G series screen in my F5. Was whichever one Nikon says is good for the 50/1.8 AF. Pretty cool seeing the center spot go 100% clear as I was manually focusing.
LXDUDE, I think you may actually mean "Fresnel" and not "prismatic". Microprisms are what's in the focus aid donut. Most newer viewfinders have a Fresnel etched into them to focus light towards the viewfinder instead of randomly like a ground glass screen does. I'm not sure when Nikon started using Fresnel screens.
The answer is probably a focusing screen that is well matched to a certain lens, rather than a certain camera body. A screen that is the brightest for one lens will not be the brightest for a lens that is significantly faster or slower.
Also, the focusing screens that are the "snappiest" (i.e. that show the shallowest depth of field) are usually not the brightest. For example, Canon's newer type S screens show the depth of field at f/1.8, but they are about a stop darker than their standard screen, which show D of F at only f/2.8.
So, I would say the answer for you is the Nikon body that accepts the largest variety of useful focusing screens.
Modern screens do indeed have a pattern of tiny shapes on them, and their effects on point sources of light are probably what you are seeing.
The trouble is that most later model viewfinders are usually equipped with screens that have patterns optimized for f/2.8 maximum aperture lenses. Put a slower lens on, and the viewfinder gets very dark and focusing aids can black out. (This is why special focusing screens with different patterns are made for slower lenses.) Put a faster lens on, and you still only see the D of F at f/2.8. This means that any time you shoot your camera more wide open than f/2.8, you get less D of F on the picture than you see in the viewfinder. There are screen optimized for fast lenses, but TMK they still show the D of F at only 1.8; this means that if you have an f/1.4 or f/1.2 lens, you still do nt see the wide open D of F on the screen.
Kind of hampers the effectiveness of fast glass. I wish there was a screen that would show the D of F at f/1.2. But I guess the camera makers think that most people don't even bother to check critical focus any more, and that they rely on AF and/or focus confirmation lamps.
However, IMHO, this isn't really an issue of things being terribly better in the good old days. Most of my old cameras (FTb, F-1, Nikon F, Pentax Spotmatic) seem to have come from the factory with focusing screens that show D of F at only f/2.0. Lock D of F preview, set the lens to wide open, and stop down click by click with these cameras; you will not see D of F or viewfinder brightness change until you click past f/2.0. With my 10D or EOS 3, following the same routine described above, I don't see any changes till I move past f/2.8.
I really dislike the viewfinder in my FM2n, only because I've experience better (Olympus OM2n...great even with glasses). The F3HP IS the best I've seen of the manual focus Nikons. I'd rather have my FM2n though
It's definitely not fresnel. Fresnel lenses in viewfinders are concentric rings and are often faintly visible, but do not materially change the appearance of out-of-focus highlights. For example I can clearly see the fresnel rings in my Bronica's viewfinder with slow lenses but they don't affect the appearance of OoF images at all. They have been used for many many years and certainly precede the later Nikon screens.
The effect I'm talking about is somewhat like the effect given by the all-microprism screens I have for my Nikon F3, but finer.
The H4 works well with my 500mm f/8 Tamron mirror lens in dim light. With the 2X converter (makes a 1000mm f/16) there's what looks like an interference pattern but it's still usable. My overall favorite for that combo and just about everything else is the good ol' B screen. I was going to get a D for the long lenses and macro, but haven't bothered.
I have to say the stock screen in the N8008s is also good for the 1000mm combo, and I don't mind the OoF image rendition because, hey, it's a mirror lens. And it's almost always at infinity anyway, with no OoF images.
I grab whatever camera grabs my mood. The FM3A and the the F2AS did pretty well this weekend in Viña Del Mar ( Nikkor-SC Auto 1:1.2 f=55mm and Zoom 35-105)
Bright is not always better.. Many of the modern clear screens actually make it harder to accurately focus.
That is because some of the light from the lens passes straight through the screen and your eyes focus through the lens instead on the screen.
For an example just look at a screen with a 'clear spot' to see the effect. Or look st the split image portion of a screen an notice that the two images dont really go out of focus.
Coarser screens will 'snap into focus' better but loose some light in the process.
The best I've seen so far is the E screen on the Nikon F3HP. Yes, I wear glasses and I can see the whole frame. The E screen works very well with lenses in he 24 mm to 135 mm range, and only a bit less so with longer lenses.
When a camera has interchangeble screens I usually use a grid type. This means E screens with Nikons and D screens with Canons. When I couldn't change the screens myself I had Nikon E screens out into two Konicas. I have E screens now in two N2020s, an N8008S and an FE. I am waiting to try an E screen from the N8008S in an F90X I just got. Both of these cameras have decent eye relief and finder brightness. For my Canon F-1 bodies I have two Speed Finders. These give great eye relief but low magnification. The L D screen makes my F-1 or F-1n bodies almost as bright as my F-1Ns. I use a -2 diopter for all of these cameras instead of wearing glasses. For extreme close-up work I prefer a plain matte screen. The screen and finder brightness with the Minolta X-700 with either a grid or plain mate screen is very good. With a fast 50mm lens almost any screen will do but in most other corcumstances a grid type screen is better for me. This is especially true with zoom lenses and slow telephotos. The only time it is not so good is when I'm using a slow and wide lens. This summer I had to switch a 21/3.8 lens from a Canon F-1 which had an L D screen to an FTbN with a microprism screen. I find the out of focus areas on a Nikkormat screen to be a little odd.
I have a Beatie Intesscreen on my FM2n, don't think I would want a screen any brighter, oh and b4 I get a ton of screams, I know this is an ols post but a lot of us go back and look at old posts
I for one am glad you brought this thread back. I am finding rather recently as my eyesight IS getting worse and I have gotten a pair of glassed which are only needed for reading closeup stuff, I am wondering if they will make a difference on using my cameras.
For now, I don't use my glasses when using the cameras, but I imagine that day is close by. There is enough adjustments on the F4 and F5 that I use the most and honestly, I don't hardly use the MF cameras much anymore, which I know is a real shame.
What do most of you glass toting photographers do then when using your camera.......glassed or no glasses? Special diopter? I started having trouble focusing about 3 years ago with dark viewing and did a search then for new or available screens for all my Nikons but never went any further.
Appreciate any comments on what you are using.
I use an F3HP with a Beattie intense screen, and it is brighter than my FM3a with it's K-type screen. The standard F3 screens are not especially bright, but are perfectly fine for most use, but it takes time to find the one you like.