t2i / 550d FOCUSING SCREEN lessons!

Started Mar 11, 2010 | Discussions thread
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midtownnyc New Member • Posts: 13
t2i / 550d FOCUSING SCREEN lessons!


I did a bunch of googling and could not find answers for my situation with the rebel t2i / 550d which I purchased one week ago.

I was using my new camera for about 1 week, never took the lens off. Two days ago a large black speck was showing up in my viewfinder. I didn’t know what it was. I used a camera air pump to try getting it out, but it did not work. I eventually found out the large speck was on my FOCUSING SCREEN. I didn’t even know what a focusing screen was at the time. I tried shooting air with the air pump directly at the focusing screen; the speck would not go away. I then tried it with a can of compressed air. It still would not go away.

I then decided to get a q-tip and dipped it in alcohol. I wiped the focusing screen with it, BOY WAS THIS A BIG MISTAKE! After I wiped the focusing screen with alcohol and let it dry I noticed that I could barely see my FOCUSING RED LIGHT POINTS and things looked WORSE from the view finder.

It appeared that wiping the focusing screen with alcohol washed off the FOCUS POINTS. I was devastated. I thought I destroyed a brand new camera. I was embarrassed too.

I’ve been working with technology for 23 years, and played with digital cameras since 1997. My first digital camera was a Kodak DC50 with 0.38 megapixels. ( http://www.dcviews.com/_kodak/dc50.htm ) I usually purchased a new digital camera almost every year as technology progressed. I’ve been a digital Canon fan for many years and have recommended canon to thousands. I never owned an SLR till now. I wanted to wait for the 5d mark 3, and was going to get the 7d as an in between, BUT THEN THE T2i came out.  Why the rush for an SLR? We are having a baby in less then two months, and I wanted to take the best possible pictures I can afford.

I then started to google and found other people doing similar dumb things with the focusing screen. I eventually found out you can easily replace the focusing screen, BUT I could not find one for the REBEL t2i / 550d. I even contacted Canon's parts department, apparently they do not have any parts for the t2i / 550d yet as it’s too new of a camera. I asked them how long do parts become available for new cameras and they told me that usually 1-3 months after the release of the camera.

They did find the focusing screen for the t1i, which was about $2.00. The part number was tn2-9803-000. Unfortunately they did not have ANY in stock. I really needed to get this issue resolved since I could not see the focusing red points and I needed the camera for an event this coming weekend and exchanging the camera was IMPOSSIBLE since NOBODY has it in stock.

Obviously I wasn’t sure if it would fit since it was for the t1i. It looked different then the focusing screen in the t2i. The t2i had a large notch on the left side of it, but looking at the pictures online it appeared to be in the exact same location, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

I then googled for the part #, and found a number of places selling it. I found it for $10.00 + express shipping. I got it the next day.

I never installed a focusing screen, and only was a 1 week old slr owner. I am very technical and work with technology for a living so I was not nervous.

I found instructions for changing the focusing screen on the t1i at:
http://www.focusingscreen.com/work/500den.htm .

I went to Right Aid and purchased finger cots (finger rubber gloves / in the band aid section of the store) so that I would not smudge the new focusing screen. I removed the old one, and managed to get the new one in. It wasn’t very easy since I did not want to damage it. I looked through the view finder and saw A LOT OF DUST. I pumped some air on it and only some dust was removed. I assumed that the dust was on both sides of the focusing screen, so I took it back out and sprayed it with compressed air on both sides and put it back in the camera. Putting the focusing screen back in the camera the second time was a lot easier. The dust was gone, but I somehow managed to get smudge marks on the focusing screen even with the finger cots.

Even with the small smudge marks I am very happy, I can now see the red focusing points perfectly, and there is almost no dust. I WILL NOT ATTEMPT TO EVER CLEAN THE FOCUSING SCREEN AGAIN. I will only use air and when it gets bad I will replace it. Unless there is some sort of cleaning trick that I am unaware of, I’d love to clean off the smudges.

Anyway I will order a 3rd focusing screen once canon gets them in stock for $2.00, maybe I’ll order a few.. 

I think I can manage getting the next focusing screen in the camera without smudging it.

The lesson:

2. THE Focusing Screen for the T1i fits in the t2i even though it looks a little different.
3. Google is your friend. (Even though I think GOOGLE IS BECOMING EVIL) .

T1i focusing part # (Works on the t2i): yn2-9803-000 Cost: about $2.00 from canon parts department.
Canon parts department #: (866) 481-2569
Instructions: http://www.focusingscreen.com/work/500den.htm

I have attached pictures of the focusing screen for the t1i and t2i so you can see the difference.

I hope this helps others. I know it would have been very helpful if I found a post like this during my entire focusing screen ordeal.

I’d love to hear everyone’s experience, advise, suggestions regarding the focusing screen in the rebel t2i, or even the t1i.

Midtown NYC

Focusing Screen in the t2i:

Focusing Screen in the t1i:

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