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Thread: Is a focusing screen a need?

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    Default Is a focusing screen a need?

    I just had a small debate with one of my friends, on the topic of "Is a focusing screen so important, in a digital camera?" It sounds like a silly question, but the thought of digital cameras having the focusing indicator (on a Nikon, this yellow dot that lights up on the bottom left corner of the viewfinder), is the focusing screen still important? What if you do without one? Will it make a lot of difference? Will it be any faster if you were to use one? I would like to hear some views from everyone. New and old in experiences of photography. Thanks.

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    Default Re: Is a focusing screen a need?

    Quote Originally Posted by clipper79 View Post
    I just had a small debate with one of my friends, on the topic of "Is a focusing screen so important, in a digital camera?" It sounds like a silly question, but the thought of digital cameras having the focusing indicator (on a Nikon, this yellow dot that lights up on the bottom left corner of the viewfinder), is the focusing screen still important? What if you do without one? Will it make a lot of difference? Will it be any faster if you were to use one? I would like to hear some views from everyone. New and old in experiences of photography. Thanks.
    If your DSLR doesn't have a focusing screen, how are u going to even use it in the first place??
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    Default Re: Is a focusing screen a need?

    Sometimes the AF doesn't work so well, especially when it's dark. In some cases where it can't even lock on, having a focusing screen can be useful even if it is very dark. Better to use manual focus and maybe achieve a 50% hit rate then a AF that can't even lock on. I guess the screen helps to some extend when doing manual focus, althou it might make the VF darker. The advantage is greater when using fast lens.


    Quote Originally Posted by clipper79 View Post
    I just had a small debate with one of my friends, on the topic of "Is a focusing screen so important, in a digital camera?" It sounds like a silly question, but the thought of digital cameras having the focusing indicator (on a Nikon, this yellow dot that lights up on the bottom left corner of the viewfinder), is the focusing screen still important? What if you do without one? Will it make a lot of difference? Will it be any faster if you were to use one? I would like to hear some views from everyone. New and old in experiences of photography. Thanks.

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    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a focusing screen a need?

    Quote Originally Posted by clipper79 View Post
    I just had a small debate with one of my friends, on the topic of "Is a focusing screen so important, in a digital camera?" It sounds like a silly question, but the thought of digital cameras having the focusing indicator (on a Nikon, this yellow dot that lights up on the bottom left corner of the viewfinder), is the focusing screen still important? What if you do without one? Will it make a lot of difference? Will it be any faster if you were to use one? I would like to hear some views from everyone. New and old in experiences of photography. Thanks.
    Is there an option to do away with focussing screens to begin with??

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    Default Re: Is a focusing screen a need?

    Quote Originally Posted by clipper79 View Post
    I just had a small debate with one of my friends, on the topic of "Is a focusing screen so important, in a digital camera?" It sounds like a silly question, but the thought of digital cameras having the focusing indicator (on a Nikon, this yellow dot that lights up on the bottom left corner of the viewfinder), is the focusing screen still important? What if you do without one? Will it make a lot of difference? Will it be any faster if you were to use one? I would like to hear some views from everyone. New and old in experiences of photography. Thanks.
    without focusing screen, what can you see inside the viewfinder? nothing! so how are you going to compose the framing?

    don't want the focusing screen, you also can take out the mirror, take out the prism, than why you need a DLSR in the first place?
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  6. #6
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Is a focusing screen a need?

    I guess you are referring to the microprisms/split prisms that we used to use with MF cameras. But I hope that you are also aware that in dark situations, the split prism will not work either - one half will be permanently black.

    Quote Originally Posted by Limsgp View Post
    Sometimes the AF doesn't work so well, especially when it's dark. In some cases where it can't even lock on, having a focusing screen can be useful even if it is very dark. Better to use manual focus and maybe achieve a 50% hit rate then a AF that can't even lock on. I guess the screen helps to some extend when doing manual focus, althou it might make the VF darker. The advantage is greater when using fast lens.

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    Default Re: Is a focusing screen a need?

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    without focusing screen, what can you see inside the viewfinder? nothing! so how are you going to compose the framing?

    don't want the focusing screen, you also can take out the mirror, take out the prism, than why you need a DLSR in the first place?
    I actually tried shooting without my focusing screen after damaging it (itchy hand go and clean). Your view thru the viewfinder becomes blur and the corners become dark. Totally unusable.

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    Default Re: Is a focusing screen a need?

    Will the camera be able to AF and meter without a focusing screen?

    If yes, then technically, it's not essential for a DSLR to have a focusing screen to take photos. But as others have pointed out, you won't be able to see anything or compose.

    Note: While many DSLR's AF systems are not dependent on the focusing screen per se to achieve accurate focus, IIRC most metering cells meter off said screen. But you could always wack in manual, check LCD then adjust. Could be quite an adventure. Like shooting blind from the hips etc!

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    Default Re: Is a focusing screen a need?

    Quote Originally Posted by clipper79 View Post
    I just had a small debate with one of my friends, on the topic of "Is a focusing screen so important, in a digital camera?" It sounds like a silly question, but the thought of digital cameras having the focusing indicator (on a Nikon, this yellow dot that lights up on the bottom left corner of the viewfinder), is the focusing screen still important? What if you do without one? Will it make a lot of difference? Will it be any faster if you were to use one? I would like to hear some views from everyone. New and old in experiences of photography. Thanks.
    First of all I think your question is vague.

    Focusing screens are only used in reflex lens systems - SLR and TLR, as one of the key parts of the optical view finder system. It is used for previewing the image before capture, and is used to help with manual focusing.

    Most digital SLRs have the focusing screen. Some DSLRs do not, but they use an LCD to display the preview image, called the electronic view finder (EVF).

    Digital cameras that are not DSLRs do not have a focusing screen. Some have a range finder type of view finder, and some just uses the LCD display as a view finder.

    So when you ask the question "Is a focusing screen so important, in a digital camera?" it does sound like a silly question

    On a DSLR, if you don't have the screen then you have a severly crippled view finder. The camera can still take pictures and most likely focus correctly, but you wiull have a hard time getting the framing correct.

    On non SLR typoe cameras, there isn't a focusing screen in the first place.
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    Default Re: Is a focusing screen a need?

    I replaced my original focusing screen with a split screen I bought online for my D200 anyways.

    It improves the speed of focusing with manual focus lens greatly. Mainly the 35mm f/1.4 and 105mm f/2.5. Do I need a "focusing screen"? Yes. Since I like to actually see properly what I'll be taking before pressing the shutter.

  11. #11
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Is a focusing screen a need?

    I still think what he is trying to ask is "Is a focusing screen with a split prism a need?"

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    Default Re: Is a focusing screen a need?

    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post
    I still think what he is trying to ask is "Is a focusing screen with a split prism a need?"
    Yes,... that is what I meant. Thanks for clarifying mate. Sorry I was not clear at first. I am just saying,... is there a need if I am using Manual Focusing on the DSLR. Even when the little yellow dot tells you, you are in focus when you focus point is adjusted to the point you want it to be sharpest.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Is a focusing screen a need?

    It's not a need if you have electronic focus confirm, which isn't always accurate BTW.

    Or in some instances, EFC will not work.

    That's when a central focusing aid like a microprism or split-image will help.

  14. #14
    Senior Member denniskee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a focusing screen a need?

    best is still use live view lar.
    photography makes one sees things from all angles.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Is a focusing screen a need?

    I got cheated. My kamela donch haf lifevoo!

    Cannot attach seksi battrie glip oso!

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    Senior Member denniskee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a focusing screen a need?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    I got cheated. My kamela donch haf lifevoo!

    Cannot attach seksi battrie glip oso!
    not to mention no flash and heavy.
    photography makes one sees things from all angles.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Is a focusing screen a need?

    Quote Originally Posted by denniskee View Post
    not to mention no flash and heavy.
    Yah lor!

    At least not as bad as my demented unker's kamela!

    Dat wan is ultra stooped!

    So big and klunkie! And can take like ONE pouto in FIUVE seconds!

    Dunno simik wat Hasselballs weef wad stooped plant digital back!

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    Default Re: Is a focusing screen a need?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    Yah lor!

    At least not as bad as my demented unker's kamela!

    Dat wan is ultra stooped!

    So big and klunkie! And can take like ONE pouto in FIUVE seconds!

    Dunno simik wat Hasselballs weef wad stooped plant digital back!
    care to stop the weird language? this' not kopitiam
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Is a focusing screen a need?

    OOPS!

    Yah hor.

    Sorry Sir.

  20. #20
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a focusing screen a need?

    Quote Originally Posted by clipper79 View Post
    Yes,... that is what I meant. Thanks for clarifying mate. Sorry I was not clear at first. I am just saying,... is there a need if I am using Manual Focusing on the DSLR. Even when the little yellow dot tells you, you are in focus when you focus point is adjusted to the point you want it to be sharpest.
    a split image focusing screen will make your life much easier the the plain matte focusing screen when you are using manual focusing.
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