August 20, 2014, 04:49:35 PM

Author Topic: Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III  (Read 10804 times)

georgecpappas

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Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III
« on: June 30, 2013, 08:14:04 AM »
In general, I have been very pleased with my Canon 5DIII.  However, the one weakness that I have finally addressed is the use of a manual focusing screen.  I wanted to let folks here know in case this was an issue for them.

Scenario:

I have several Zeiss Lenses and use Canon tilt-shift lenses that are all manual focus.  While the focus confirmation "works" and allows me to achieve accurate focus (especially with the micro adjustment), I find the manual focusing process distracting with focus points and the focus indicator being the prime means of verifying focus when I am concentrating on the image.  I longed for a good "old fashioned" microprism where I can simply look at the subject and focus the lens until it looks sharp and the microprisms are clear.  This is less of an issue with my tilt-shift lenses as I almost always use live-view with the camera on a tripod.  This is real issue with my Zeiss lenses that I focus  hand-held, especially the 85mm.

I found a source for focusing screens from a review story linked to the Zeiss website; the provider can be found at <dead link removed by mod>.  I believe the gentleman who runs this is based in Taiwan.  He custom cuts Canon 1-series focusing screens to fit the 5DIII and includes installation tools and shims to achieve proper focus.  In addition, he provides very clear instructions how to install the screen - it is fairly simple, if a somewhat nervous, exercise.

I have been using his microprism screen in my 5DIII for a month and am very satisfied with its performance.  I did not need to use any shims as the thickness of the screen is exactly the same as the standard screen in my 5DIII.  I have easily verified this by focusing the camera on a tripod and examining the image with magnified live view.

By turning the display of AF illumination points off in the viewfinder (custom settings anyone?), I now have a simple way to configure the camera for excellent manual focus at flick of a switch.  It has changed the way I use my manual lenses and greatly enhanced my experience with the 5DII, which was already sky-high.

If you have the same manual focus issue that I do, this could be helpful for you.

A side note: after going through this, I have arrived at the conclusion that the only reason Canon did not provide interchangeable screens on the 5DIII is to maintain enough "separation" between it and the 1DX.  I don't make this statement lightly as I have great respect for Canon and its products.  However, the removal of the 5DIII screen only requires two screws and is a simple affair.  Canon could have provided interchangeable screens for the 5DIII at low incremental cost if they wanted to..  I am thankful that I have an alternative..

I hope this is helpful for others..

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Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III
« on: June 30, 2013, 08:14:04 AM »

THX723

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Re: Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2013, 02:37:09 PM »
Very cool. I'm looking into doing something similar eventually, so thank you for the review!

Btw, it's www.focusingscreen.com (without the 's').  ;D

Sporgon

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Re: Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2013, 04:46:01 PM »
I had assumed that the 5Diii had a fixed screen as it uses a translucent LCD to put various features onto the screen. If you take the battery out of the camera the screen goes dark, in the same way it does on a Nikon.

I'm curious to know if you're loosing any features  such as AF point markings by putting a different screen in.

I don't think the fixed screen was to differentiate from the 1Dx as the 6D has interchangeable ones, albeit probably because it uses many 5Dii parts such as prism, mirror box etc.

THX723

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Re: Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2013, 05:16:10 PM »
The focusing screen stacks over the transmissive LCD screen, so you would still have all the AF/grid elements in place and you certainly still need battery power for that. The question is if the added screen affects exposure metering in anyway.

georgecpappas

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Re: Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2013, 06:48:35 PM »
Hi Guys,

I can confirm no effects on exposure..it is the same.  The screen does sit on top of the transparent LCD panel so there no loss of AF features in anyway.  The AF actually happens "below the mirror"  through translucent transmission to the AF sensor not up in the pentaprism so the focusing screen does not affect AF function.

To clarify my earlier comment, I turn off the AF point display in the view finder when using manual focus lenses so that I can clearly see the central microprism without distraction.  I turn on AF Point display when using auto focus lenses and everything else works the same as the standard screen.

Sorry for the mis-spelled link.

Regards,
George

Easer

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Re: Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2013, 11:21:30 PM »
-Hi I have been looking for this ever since they released the mk3, very good news, so a heartfelt thankYou to the original poster...

So I hate a little to do this, but I need to ask, have any of You other done this, is it something someone with ten thumps can do....???

Just, I am (now that the s-screen is an option) thinking of buying the camera, so before I take the plunge I need to know, can I do this....???

Guess warranty is a problem but I am willing to take that risk as the camera probably will not fail the first two years anyway, and if it does then the chances of someone actually realize it is an different screen is rather small, so who cares....

mackguyver

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Re: Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2013, 10:08:28 AM »
Interesting post - and why I kept my 5DII with the EF-S screen.  I love everything else about the 5DIII, but manual focusing just isn't the same and I curse it every time I use the my 85 f/1.2.
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Re: Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2013, 10:08:28 AM »

tphillips63

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Re: Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2013, 12:38:48 PM »
I just ordered the EOS 5D Mark III Ec-B Focusing Screen.  Manual focusing and having to use reading glasses the change from TTL to Live View is too disruptive for me and makes it no fun.
So I avoid the use of my favorite lenses
I hope this brings me more functionality.
Thanks for the post.  It sounds like we have similar desires for the focus screen.
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East Wind Photography

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Re: Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2013, 09:46:43 AM »
Just ordered the S screen.  Used that on another body and makes it much easier to focus manually.  Just note that in the ordering process I had to use the 2 letter state code in The shipping address where it was spelled out n the billing address.

The guy is probably losing a lot of orders because some can't get through the cart process.

mackguyver

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Re: Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2013, 09:59:39 AM »
Just ordered the S screen.  Used that on another body and makes it much easier to focus manually.  Just note that in the ordering process I had to use the 2 letter state code in The shipping address where it was spelled out n the billing address.

The guy is probably losing a lot of orders because some can't get through the cart process.
I'll be interested to see how this works out for you as I love the S screen in my 5DII.  It definitely changes exposure, though, which is why the xxD, 5DII, and 1D series have a custom function to compensate for the S (super precision matte) and D (precision matte with grid) screens.  Whether or not the transmissive LCD is affected or not is what I wonder about.
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cayenne

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Re: Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2013, 05:32:46 PM »
Funny..I was just reading and researching on this subject.

Is there not an official Canon screen replacement...vs this 3rd party one the OP was talking about?

TIA,

cayenne

mackguyver

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Re: Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2013, 07:45:00 AM »
Funny..I was just reading and researching on this subject.

Is there not an official Canon screen replacement...vs this 3rd party one the OP was talking about?
Nope, Canon dropped support of interchangeable screens that are available for the 5DII and now only offers them for the 1DX.  Not sure if they dropped it from the 70D as well, but the 60D had them.
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East Wind Photography

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Re: Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2013, 08:20:28 AM »
Funny..I was just reading and researching on this subject.

Is there not an official Canon screen replacement...vs this 3rd party one the OP was talking about?

TIA,

cayenne

Just to clarify, the screens offered by focus screen.com are actual new canon mfg screens that have been modified for use in 5diii.  They are not 3rd party screens.  The trick is modifying them without damaging or getting the screen dirty.  We'll see the condition when mine arrives.  I will run some exposure tests before and after and will report back to this thread.

Previous reports have indicated a slight over exposure which in my opinion is en enhancement on the 5diii.  I'll let you all know how it goes.

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Re: Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2013, 08:20:28 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2013, 08:40:36 AM »
Is there not an official Canon screen replacement...vs this 3rd party one the OP was talking about?
Nope, Canon dropped support of interchangeable screens that are available for the 5DII and now only offers them for the 1DX.  Not sure if they dropped it from the 70D as well, but the 60D had them.
[/quote]

Canon does not consider the focus screen of the 5DIII nor the 7D to be user replaceable, most likely because of proximity to the transmissive LCD (aka "intelligent viewfinder").  IIRC, the focus screen in those bodies is held in place with small screws and shims are used for alignment, complicating replacement.  The 5DII had a fixed and shim-aligned frame, into which an easily replaceable focus screen could be inserted.  The 1D X was given a similar design, meaning presumably Canon could have included that in the 5DIII but chose not to, either for production cost reasons, or more likely, product differentiation.
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e17paul

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Re: Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2013, 08:55:44 AM »
Funny..I was just reading and researching on this subject.

Is there not an official Canon screen replacement...vs this 3rd party one the OP was talking about?
Nope, Canon dropped support of interchangeable screens that are available for the 5DII and now only offers them for the 1DX.  Not sure if they dropped it from the 70D as well, but the 60D had them.

The 6D also supports interchangeable screens - I have fitted an Eg-S to mine. I suspect that Canon has listened to customer feedback on the 5D3, and the 5D4 may see the return of interchangeable screen. That's one of my reasons for saving some cash by buying a 6D instead of a 5D3

If future Canons do not allow a better MF screen, then I will be looking for live view with focus peaking. That will probably mean a switch to Sony.
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Re: Focusing Screens for better Manual Focus with 5D Mark III
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2013, 08:55:44 AM »