Does anyone miss split-circle focusing?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by NightElfWarrior, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. NightElfWarrior

    NightElfWarrior TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2008
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I'm an old dude. I remember back when SLR cameras used a split-circle in the viewfinder to help you focus, and I miss it. A few years back, I owned a Canon Elan IIe, which was billed as one of the best consumer-level cameras at the time. Feeling the age of my old Olympus OM-PC, I decided to upgrade and see what all this newfangled technology could do for me. I was shocked and disappointed that the autofocus on the Elan IIe was sometimes a bit off. I found that if I tried to override the autofocus, I was left with either judging the focus by the sharpness of the image in the viewfinder, which was hit-or-miss, or I could rely on the same electronic indicators that the autofocus system depended on, which was pointless. I was very sad to discover this, because I knew that autofocus should have been a mature technology by the time the Elan IIe came out, as I recalled the first autofocus system came from Minolta about 15 years earlier, when I was in high school. Today, i own a $150 pocket-sized point-and-shoot camera, and it also sometimes has autofocus issues. But I don't let that bother me as much, since it is, after all, a camera designed with convenience as a major goal. My nearly 3-decade old Olympus OM-PC still gives the sharpest, most reliable focus, and I can focus it in a split second. It's not that hard to line up the split images in the viewfinder. I would like to join the digital age and get a D-SLR, but I am very afraid that I am going to spend $600+ for a camera that sometimes can't focus properly, gives me no manual alternative, and won't let me know anything is wrong until I upload my pictures to a computer with a full-screen view.

    I've looked into after-market solutions, and it appears that one can buy a split-image focus screen to retrofit an existing camera. However, I've read that such retrofits result in metering problems, particularly with spot metering and slower lenses. To me, that's a bad trade off when you spend $600 for a camera. It appears to me that the camera body needs to compensate for the split-circle interference to its exposure reading, something that I know is possible, because all the old film-based SLR's from the 1970's did it. but this is something that needs to be done by the manufacturer.

    So, does anyone on these forums care about this subject? I registered on this forum specifically to bring up this topic. I also did a search on this topic, and it doesn't appear that anyone else has brought it up, which I find surprising. I've also written emails to Canon, Pentax, and Olympus to request this feature, and they all said "thank you for your input, we'll look into it". I suspect they are waiting for more people to ask for it though. Nikon did not have any convenient way for consumers to provide product feature feedback, so I didn't get to them yet. I would appreciate your thoughts on this topic, and even better, would love if you could also contact the various camera manufacturers for this feature. thanks for reading this post!

    You can email some of the well-known camera manufacturers at the following addresses:

    Pentax: pentaxinfo@pentax.com
    Olympus: website@olympus.com
    Canon: carecenter2@cits.canon.com

    If anyone has the Nikon email, I'd appreciate getting that link too!


    -Elf
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2008
  2. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,411
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Metro Atlanta
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I agree with you, I kinda miss my old Olympus OM1 screens, big and bright, with several options for interchangeable screens, from split-screen to microprism screens, easy to chamge youself in just a couple of minutes.

    Also miss where you could set the ASA / ISO, then look through the viewfinder where
    you could make adjustments to where the pointer was where you wanted it in the space on the meter, where you could easily make small adjustments to exposure just by looking at the meter.

    Guess I'm an old fart too, will be 59 this month.

    But I DO like digital technology, where we don't pay what film and processing used to cost.
     
  3. Chris of Arabia

    Chris of Arabia Herding cats since 1988... Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2007
    Messages:
    7,825
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    The Magic Kingdom
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I'd love to see split prisms being the standard on DSLRs. There are too many times where I find autofocus unreliable and use the manual option, only to find it a struggle to get accurate focus in the viewfinder
     
  4. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Messages:
    9,523
    Likes Received:
    344
    Location:
    North New Jersey, United States of America
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    YES...

    i am still hoping someone develops the "digital film" that could be used in my older manual cameras WITH the split prism focus. I think that would be fun.
     
  5. MikeBcos

    MikeBcos TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    Messages:
    548
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    St. Louis, Missouri
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I'm another old fart, I too miss the split screen, I find I just cannot focus accurately using the standard screen in my D40, I have to rely on autofocus.
     
  6. JKnobelock

    JKnobelock TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    St.Peters, Missouri
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    im not an old fart, but am working with a split-circle focus, and i love it, easiest way for a quick focus.
     
  7. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    5,327
    Likes Received:
    264
    Location:
    The Upper West Side of Mississippi (you have no i
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Yep!
     
  8. keith204

    keith204 No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,643
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Bolivar, MO
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    split circle? What's that? :)
     
  9. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,411
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Metro Atlanta
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Maybe the image below will give you an idea of what an unfocused image looks like through a viewfinder with a split-screen / circle. You bring the lines into focus within the circle, thus bringing the entire photograph into focus.

    http://flickr.com/photos/13684348@N06/3088039706/
     
  10. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2003
    Messages:
    7,021
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I've installed after market focus screens in 3 of my Canon DSLRs. I've used Katzeye (split ring) screens in 2 20Ds, and an SLR Daren (split cross) screen in my 5D. Been using them for years with no problems.
     
  11. bs63366

    bs63366 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I am definitley not an old fart, but that is where I got started on my dads old SLR that had the split circle for focusing, and i think it was manual focus only. But I got my first SLR a pentax when I was about 15 or so and it did not have the split ring and I noticed it alot with that camera. I believe it was an M-50 possibly I would need to check to be sure. But I have now gotten a Canon XSi and it still happens on low light. If you could pm me the details for contacting Canon, I would be interested in getting the word out to Canon.

    Kyle
     
  12. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    6,111
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Montreal, QC, Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    There are ways to get around it and install a split circle viewer in some digital cameras like the D200, D300 and others, and it is not that expensive (like under $25).

    The thing is, I'm not really missing it, even in dark situations. Maybe I am lucky, maybe I set the camera a little better, but I have yet to miss a pic due to focusing manually. The D200 has this small focus aid in the bottom left side of the view that tells me when it is in focus or not. The D700 goes 1 step further and tells me if I am too much one way or the other before being well focused... so I don't see the need for one.

    In my case, for me, it would be nothing much more than a cool novelty.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
camera with split circle focus
,
digital split circle focus
,

elan iie split focusing screen

,
how slr focus circle works
,

katz-eye alternative for 5d mark ii

,

slr daren focus screen

,

slr focus circle

,

split circle focus

,

split circle focus viewer for canon 5d mark ii

,
the focus circle in the film cameras