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KatzEye Focusing Screen

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I just had the focusing screen on my 7D replaced with a KatzEye split-prism/microprism focusing screen, more like an older SLR would have.  So far I like it quite a bit.

In addition to the split-prism bullseye, the KatzEye screen offers higher contrast, more visual "snap" when acheiving focus, and much better indication of depth of field.  The camera's AF points continue to function normally. 

The 7D's focusing screen is not user servicable due to the adjacent transmissive LCD screen, so I had KatzEye install, align and calibrate the new screen.  They also cleaned the mirror and the focusing screen area.  My split-prism and the AF confirmation appear to be in perfect agreement.  Plus, I love that I don't have to rely on Live View to nail my focal plane when shooting wide open.  The viewfinder is very accurate.

I opted for the OptiBrite treatment to the matte portion of the screen.  This helps to keep the screen bright when using a very slow lens or stopping down significantly.  I was pleased to find that although darker than the factory screen when stopped down to f/16 it wasn't by a lot.  It was quite usable in an unlit interior on a cloudy day.  With the lens opened up it quickly becomes bright and contrasty.

One of the reasons for choosing a high contrast focusing screen is that I have an FL 55mm f/1.2 with an Ed Mika adapter.  So shooting manually with a shallow depth of field, the new screen helps get the focus right, especially with moving subjects.  It is also influencing me to choose manual focus when using my EF lenses. 

The side effect is feeling more connected to the camera than I have in years.  I forgot how fun it is, like with an old SLR, to handle the controls and see via the viewfinder rather than trigger servos and scan for blipping AF points.  I think anyone could benefit from the upgrade.

By the way, I knew next to nothing about focusing screens a couple months ago but learned a bunch from several people on this forum like Neuroanatomist and Mt Spokane to name just a couple.  Thanks to everybody who helped me gain a better understanding with this and so many other things.  You make this a good forum.  Much appreciated.

Interesting. I have only heard about these not too long ago. Will be keeping an eye on this one. Maybe it will help me nail the focus with the 85L. Let us know how you go.

congrats on the purchase.  I love the Katz Eye on my 40D.  I use a Nikon DK21M magnifier to set the eyepoint back a little further & improve the overall experience (it stays on well with a little double stick tape under it).

I have about 5 manual lenses (either native or on adapters) that I'd be unsatisfied using without it.  BTW the 20mm Voigtlander Color Skopar is really fantastic.

Very curious and interested about this focusing screen. When I purchased my 7D that was the only real negative I came up with that the focus screen is not user replaceable.

So if I'm understanding this correctly, the Katzeye focus screen was installed by a dealer and not yourself and it has a split prism similar to old manual focus SLRs.

I too want a screen that is optimized for manual focusing such as moon shots but I want to be able to replace it myself and revert back to the original screen (or other screens) when I want to.  Has anybody had success doing this and if so how what screens are you using?  Thanks


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