ITT: More that just
>"it's good" "it sucks" "it affects spot metering" "use auto focus f4g"
I'm talking real descriptive pros and cons—mainly cons.
Have shot film since high school, using an SLR with a split- or multi-prism screen I rarely had an out-of-focus shot. I'm not exaggerating though: unless I'm nice and tight, they're almost 50/50 misses on the DSLR but were 10/90 misses with an old mechanical beast.
Manual focusing on a flat DSLR seems to be giving me a challenge. (yes, MF is my main workflow)
Is there something I'm not doing? I wear glasses, would a viewfinder magnifier be a better solution?
Also choice: focusingscreen dot com seems to be the only producer of split-image screens (Katzeye is retired). Are there any others out there?
Focusing screens have different thicknesses. The thickness of the ground glass dictates how much of out of focus areas will seem to be in focus on the ground glass.
Focusing screens that are common defaults in DSLRs only accurately show up to about f/2.8 of aperture. You could try a thinner screen before you go split circle. Such screens are less contrasty in general because more of light hits outside of it's plane of focus, but if you use fast lenses it compensates.
If want a digital image sensor and you prefer to MF, then you'd idiotic not to join the mirrorless master race. Focus peaking with an EVF is just the sex.
That said though I have the Eg-S "Super Precision" focusing screen for my 6D but haven't used it much since I prefer my 24-70mm f/2.8 anyway.
>mirrorless master race
I sincerely hope you're just trolling, son, 'cause I got 99 problems but an overheating Sony POS ain't one.
I used to use split hemispheres with my film cameras 30 years ago. They were ok, but encouraged habitual centre focus, and or focus and recompose. Both are bad habits compositionally and for missed focus on wider lenses.
Even worse was the way the hemispheres start to blacken in low light. On FF it just renders them useless if you are shooting telephoto in cloud, or wide in evening/night light levels. On crop it makes a huge blob in screen cnetre that not only negates the ability to see, but to even see much as well.
Using a split hemi on a DSLR was annoying, same bad habits formed, and it effected exposure metering in a way that wasn't random, but was so variable it made it impossible to predict. Generally not so far off that it couldn't easily be compensated in post, but fuck that.
focusingscreens.com use a canon screen and cut it back (like many of their screens) to produce a high contrast screen that has NO markings, hemispheres, or prisms.
This removed the bad centre focus habit, and generally improves compositional habits and makes it speedier to shoot. Weather the focus is less accurate or not is debateable, because most of the time the optimum focus is not on an arbitrarily chosen vertical line, its on a plane of focus that may or may not be as expected.
I still have a bare high contrast screen in one of my K5's, mostly just becasue that camera is semi-retired and it's sometimes useful for when i need to manually focus a loooooong focallenght, for which there is no substitute. But becasue i don't otherwise generally need to manually focus any lenses, and f/2.8 represents almost all of my favorite lenses I just stick with the default screens. Which fortunately are largely bare, as is my preference in general.
The other thing you might be doing wrong is focus-and-recompose, ie petzval field curvature.
On a long focal length - upward of 100mm - it is less noticeable.
And it's possible to focus on one corner and then recompose so the subject is in the equal-opposite corner and still maintain accurate focus. Even with wider faster lenses. It's dodgy, and you could/should switch to the focusing point that was in the desired position anyway, but i find it better to be fast and never tinker with focus points unless i have tons of time.
Relevant to that statement is that i almost always shoot in portrait orientation, and use a cluster of points on the right oof the classic landscape oriented viewport. So in portrait is on the subjects face area. Occasionally I'll hit a particualr face in a group, or a feature on a facee with the primary point, and recompose. Either glibly on 70-200mm knowing that the shift will be tracked by the surrounding focus points as long as its in that general face area of points i use... or if im shooting wider, eg a 17-50mm, then I try to make sure that I recompose such that the point i use is in the opposite side of the screen to what i want in focus after i recompose.
And most likely I'll do it quickly several times till I can SEE that the screen shows the bits I want in focus.
It's a bit weird to explain, and it's not as autist-accurate as a hemisphere alignment, but it works. Just know that if yo are unaware of it then a fast lens and recomposing... or ANY delay between focusing and shooting will likely cause misfocus.
Similarly if your screen isnt shimmed correctly then it isn't showing correct focus.
Avoid believing focus indicator lights, they aren't always as accurate as people assume.
Also, maybe your fast lens is just soft. That's very common.
[EXIF data available. Click here to show/hide.]
Camera-Specific Properties: Equipment Make PENTAX Camera Model PENTAX K-5 Camera Software GIMP 2.6.12 Photographer Andrew Wade Eglington oh-hi.info Sensing Method One-Chip Color Area Focal Length (35mm Equiv) 75 mm Image-Specific Properties: Image Orientation Top, Left-Hand Horizontal Resolution 72 dpi Vertical Resolution 72 dpi Image Created 2013:01:08 11:58:17 Exposure Time 1/10 sec F-Number f/1.2 Exposure Program Not Defined ISO Speed Rating 250 Exposure Bias 0 EV Metering Mode Pattern Flash No Flash Focal Length 50.00 mm Color Space Information Uncalibrated Rendering Normal Exposure Mode Auto White Balance Auto Scene Capture Type Standard Contrast Normal Saturation Normal Sharpness Normal Subject Distance Range Distant View
Thanks for the reply. I wish that screen was in stock for the D700. The factory screen is still in there and I took some just the other day with a better batting average. Maybe I just need lots more practice...
I try and do as little focus recompose as possible and use the rocker method (?) And kind of treat it like target shooting: squeeze and surprise.
I don't even look at the focus confirm lights.