D70 supports interchangable focusing screens!

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by joseph_wisniewski, Jul 11, 2004.

  1. I just posted this in dpReview. But why should they get all the fun?

    There have been several threads where people have asked about fitting a D70 with a split image screen or a "bright screen" or something other than the stock screen.

    Tonight, I learned that this is not just possible, it's actually fairly easy.

    In the D70 mirror box, there's a spring that runs around the front edge and both side edges of the viewfinder. It has a bend in it in the front, forming a protrusion that you can hook with a small screwdriver. Press this protrusion inwards, into the camera, and the spring unlatches from a black plastic projection at the front of the mirror chamber, and the spring hinges downward, then the focusing screen holder also hinges downward.

    With flat bladed tweezers, you now can slide the entire focusing screen out of the camera.

    The screen is small, a DX sized screen, so you can't simply pop in a split image Nikon FM3A screen or a Beattie IntenScreen for an F100. You'd have to measure the original D70 screen, and then mill the new screen down to fit.

    I'm going to give it a try later this week.
  2. Inspired by my experiments with the D70, I took a long look at the D100.

    It has a similar spring bail, hinged at the back. The release mechanism is different from that of the D70. It's tricky to release, but possible. I'd probably want to make a little tool to do it, something that can hook the spring through the little notch on the D100 viewscreen frame.

    D100 takes a full sized screen. For a split image screen, it cam probably use a Beattie screen for F100, or a Nikon screen for FM3a. You would have to file off the little "handling tab" on those screens, but this wouldn't be a big deal.
  3. Are you sure this won't mess with the meter or normal AF? I know that on at least one Canon body using a different screen required changing a setting in the camera so that the meter was still accurate. I would love to have a split image but I could see it screwing the normal AF.
  4. Interesting information. Quite likely, any change in the screen would need exposure adjustments.

    If the that penta mirror is interchangeable with a real glass penta prism, it will improve that view finder dramatically.

  5. Why does Bjorn Rorslett keep saying the D70 has a *pentaprism*?
  6. You know, I'm SURE Nikon said that the D70 has a pentaprism. Are you guys SURE it has a pentamirror?
  7. Okay, just answered my own question by going to www.nikonusa.com. You were right. Here it is (edited a little):

    Viewfinder: Fixed-eyelevel penta-Dach-mirror type

    Eyepoint: 18 mm (-1.0 m -1)

    Focusing Screen: B-type BriteView clear matte screen II with superimposed focus brackets and On-Demand grid lines

    Viewfinder Frame Coverage: Approx. 95%

    Still, I am CERTAIN it was previously announced (not just rumored) that the D70 would have a pentaprism. Oh, well...maybe that was preprodution. By the way, notice that they claim to have 95% veiw coverage, but I'm sure that's not right. Does anyone know for sure?
  8. As discussed to a long length before, if you guys are lucky to have a D-70 with a pentaprism, all the more power to you!

    Mine, unfortunately, has a lowly pentamirror (not sure if it is glass or plastic).

    There were possibilities raised as to the lack of room because of the inclusion of a peanut flash. I know that even smaller pentaprisms were made and incorporated into SLRs. The Pentax 110 has a real glass pentaprism, for example.

  9. Peter - It's not going to bother AF at all. The AF system is under the main mirror, light goes through a semitransparent area on teh main mirror, then reflects off the "secondary mirror" under the main mirror and reflects downward into tha AF sensors. The AF sensors never see the focusing screen.

    Vivek - I don't think it's going to bother metering. But I will check. D70 and FM3a should both be using Nikon's latest type 3 screen finish. It would be nice if it increased exposure 1/3 stop. I think D70 needs that. ;) ;) BUt we probably won't get that lucky.
  10. Joseph,

    Yes, this will not mess up the AF. If the metering is unaffected/not perturbed by a great degree, it will be great.

    Oh, yes! Any brightening achieved (if possible) by modifying the screen would give a very big hint to the folks designing to think coherently.

    If a simpler screen would achieve that, it may even (further) cut the costs of D-70 production and add a few more beans to the counters.

  11. Joseph,

    Bravo to you for taking the initiative and coming up with a great idea...

    Don't forget to report back-I bet you a lot of folks are waiting with bated breath...

    I know I am.

    And if metering is affected, then surely all segment of matrix metering will be similarly affected? And surely a simple exposure compensation setting will take care of that? Good to hear AF is not affected. That's key...
  12. I have my D70 in front with me. Just wonder how can I know which small rectangle the camera is focusing in "auto mode" if the focusing screen is changed.
  13. WP - there's two screens in a D70. The focusing screen, which is absolutly plain, and a second transparent LCD (guest-host LCD) behind it. The focus zone indicators, and the "on demand" gridlines, are on the second screen. That won't be changed.
  14. "Oh, yes! Any brightening achieved (if possible) by modifying the screen would give a very big hint to the folks designing to think coherently." --Vivek Iyer

    It’s not the engineers that need to "think coherently" it’s management, marketing and the bean counters in the accounting department that need to see the "Big Picture." Yes, that pun was intended.

    Brightening of the screen isn’t such a good idea. An optical glass pentaprism, higher finder magnification with interchangeable focus screens is needed rather than the cheap-ass LCD with grid lines on demand focus screen, penta-Dach-mirror and tunnel vision of 92% frame coverage. These are all dictated by the built in flash and price point. The picture modes should also go. The D70 should stay as it is as it fulfills the needs and or desires of those for whom it was designed.

    What is really needed is a camera between the D70 and the D2H (as well as a D2X and Nikon F6D). A camera designed with photographers not snap shooters in mind. It should sell for about $1,799.95 (USD) and feature the AF performance and build quality of the F100. It should offer matrix, center-weighted and spotmetering in stop-down metering mode only via the DOF preview button and auto-aperture function with lenses that lack a CPU. Telephone assistance for these features should be provided on a pay-as-you-go basis so as not to inflate the price of the camera.


    Dave Hartman.
  15. Alright, I stand corrected. The bean counters (or whomever) and not the "designers".

    Too bad about those two screens. That makes it more complicated does it not? I would hate to deal with those flimsy, precision LCD screens.

  16. the confusion about the VF comes from the fact that the owner's manual says "pentaprism."
  17. i have to say that poor nikon comes in for a lot of bashing around here over the d70. frankly, for $1000, i think it is an absolutely superb camera. i don't think any of us who have been involved with digital SLRs for a while could have imagined, say two or three years ago, that anybody was going to be able to pack so much performance into a $1000 camera so quickly. i would also suggest that, contrary to much of what is said here, the d70 actually reflects the work of a design squad that was very much in tune with users' real world needs. all of the changes/improvements over the very good d100 are the kinds of things real users will appreciate.

    you can mistake the d70 for an amateur camera if you like because it has a plastic body, pentamirror and picture modes. a lot of people mistook the nikkormat for an amateur camera too . . . .

    having said that, put the d70 guts into an f100 (including f100 prism and AF), and for probably half the money of a mark ii, you'd have a camera that could seriously compete with that new canon offering -- 3fps and 6MP notwithstanding.
  18. frankly, for $1000, i think it is an absolutely superb camera.
    Agreed, but as David said, the problem is that there's a conspicuous gap between the D70 and D2H. I'd gladly shell out $1800-$2000 for something with the specs of the D70 mated to the response, viewfinder and features of an F100.
  19. Quick note. It worked. Metering appears OK. AF and MF are both OK.

    I'll post a longer note.
  21. joseph..ok found the metal wire retangular bail that holds down the focusing screen...it was hiding behind the dust catcher...came right out.

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