Focus / split screen for D850

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by kevin_beretta, Nov 20, 2019.

  1. I found an outfit in Taiwan that supplies split screens for the D850. Not much else seems to come up in searches and B&H comes up dry too. There seem to be a lot of focusing screens on B&H for other cameras though ... is there a compatibility? I am debating shooting more manual focus so likely need something more old school to help me focus. Rear screen works but is not conducive to what I want to do.
  2. When I want to try MF for such things, I do use the back screen, but with one of those 3x Loupe Attachments.

    They essentially make the back LCD into an EVF. Zooming in for critical focusing is easy.

    I use mine with my D850 and AF-dead 600mm f4 AF-S for long range stuff. It's OK for birdies sitting on branches but not really for anything moving much.
  3. You will find that a split-prism screen is not very effective for manual focusing. You need to find a suitable contrasting edge in the subject, and the sensitivity is relatively small compared to a rangefinder camera (e.g., Leica M). One or both halves of the split screen goes dark at f/5.6 or smaller.

    The D850 has a focus indicator in the margins of the viewfinder, which tells you if the subject is in focus, or which direction to turn. It is based on which focusing bracket is selected in the viewfinder, so you can place it off center when needed.

    Live view is very effective for manual focusing, with several problems. It is very hard to see the rear screen in daylight, and you can't use it close to your eye without assistance. Most important is that you have to raise the mirror, which is not conducive to spontaneous photography. A loupe solves the first two issues, shielding the screen from extraneous light, and moving your eye close to the camera. Combined with the "magnify" focusing mode, manual focusing is very precise.
    mag_miksch likes this.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I find live view an effective way to focus manually. Another concern is that such focusing screen may interfere with metering, which is inside the prism. But this is digital: you can always check an image and reshoot with adjustment.
  5. Trade the D850 for the Z7. If I like split screen I much rather use a mirrorless.
  6. Split screen is a thing of distant past. D850 has a "focus peaking" feature for manual focus.

    See instruction here.

  7. Which only works on the D850's back screen, which the OP doesn't want to use....:(
  8. And that is why I told him to switch to the Z7 instead. I like to manual focus my SLR with only the plain ground glass. I hate the split screen as it turns my SLR into a rangefinder.
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  9. Kevin, Nikon and Beattie made nice focusing screens, one of the the last being a Nikon E (grid) screen for the D3s. I still own that proud camera. Everything since that time has been done digitally. I have not taken the focus screen out of my DSLRs since that time. Now I typically use live view and zoom in to where I want critical manual focus. Focus peaking on the D850 provides additional assistance by highlighting areas that are in focus. I would imagine that the digital method is more accurate and precise down to the pixel than relying on the human eye. Give it a try. Also I was never into gadgets but I love my Hoodman loop. Its really helps doing anything critical with the back screen of my camera and also helps when reviewing in bright light. Good hunting.
  10. If you like high resolution with manual focusing, then switching to a Z7 (or other MILC) makes good sense. You have the advantage of 100% live view with effective focusing aids, or auto focus if it suits you. All of this comes in a package with a footprint comparable to a Leica M.

    Since my first MILC, I've used prime and manual lenses more often than zooms. I've even chased grandchildren with manual lenses, but it's a whole lot easier with auto focus. For precise, selective focus, it's hard to beat an MILC and manual lens.
  11. Hasn't this been discussed and beaten to death quite recently already?

    I distinctly remember a thread where the OP bought a black circle split image screen, only to discover it completely messed up the camera's exposure metering.
  12. Any question worth asking is worth a considered response.
  13. @rodeo_joe|1 I don't think that was me ... I've never tinkered with split screen.
    @BeBu Lamar Switching systems is not an option ... I have a small fortune in good glass I don't want to recycle.
    @2Oceans I'll take a look at a Hoodman loop.
    Thanks all for your feedback, we can let this one go :)
  14. Have a good look at some of the MUCH cheaper clones, here in the UK they are 3X as expensive as some of the very good alternatives.

    Ideally find a 'real' camera store so you actually look through them. Some of the cheap ones have poor optics and a very poor method of attachment.
  15. The thread that I recalled is here.

    If you scroll down to posting #10 you'll see that PapaTango, the OP, reaches a very unfavourable conclusion on the usefulness of his substitute screen.
    kevin_beretta likes this.
  16. Kevin, I agree with Mike. Take a look at some of the less expensive view finder loupes. I bought my Hoodman 8 years ago before checking out the alternatives and I would say that there is nothing special about Hoodman's build quality. My German made loupes for film are much nicer quality and the 4X Rodenstock that was my primary film loupe cost less than the Hoodman. Amazon carries affordable view finder loupes that have good ratings.

    By-the-way Rodeo, I really like the Ansel Adams look of your new photograph. The first day it came on it switch back and forth with the old photo. I thought I was hallucinating.
    rodeo_joe|1 likes this.
  17. The Hoodman loupe does not magnify. The image is 1:1, but allows you to hold the camera at eye level. I can strap it in place with a couple of large rubber bands, or a bungi cord like strap sold by Hoodman. That's not possible with a photo loupe. Besides, you need a photo loupe for MF film, at least 3" in diameter.

    It's much easier to use the rear screen for video than the viewfinder, especially if you attach a Hoodman.
  18. I haven't tried it on a DSLR, but somewhere I have a Nikon optical magnifier that screws directly to the camera eyepiece. I believe it gives a 6x magnification, but only allows viewing of the central 1/4 to 1/3rd of the screen. It allowed very precise focussing with an uncluttered type B screen, which was my preferred screen back in the manual-focus and film era.

    The magnifier flips up when not needed BTW and, come to think of it, probably wouldn't clear the larger prism of a DSLR.

    I recently had my hands on a 3rd party RA finder attachment that offered a 3x mag at the touch of a lever. The image was surprisingly clear, and I would have bought it if the dioptre adjustment suited my unaided eyesight. Unfortunately it just fell a bit short, but for someone with better eyesight than mine I'd seriously consider getting one.
    (The eye relief wearing spectacles just wasn't long enough to permit a full and easy view of the screen either - pooh!)
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
  20. I've had a bit of time to play with the manual lens I borrowed. I had no problem whatsoever to get it tack sharp when I was working with it, without using live view or any other aids. It's an F2 50 AI lens, 20+ years old. I compared it to my 1.4 G 50 mm AFS and when focusing closely, the manual lens was sharper. From 4 feet onward it was the same. The big difference was that the new lens rendered color a lot better and had less vignetting. But the purpose of the exercise was met. Sometime before the end of March next year I am going to add a 1.4 50 mm Zeiss to the collection.
    Fiddlefye likes this.

Share This Page