Manual focussing through the OVF eyepiece. Experiences please.

Started Jan 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
Andy Hewitt Veteran Member • Posts: 3,322
Re: Manual focussing through the OVF eyepiece. Experiences please.

OM User wrote:

In film SLR days, all (perhaps not all) the eyepieces had split image viewfinders and/or microprism collars to help focus. The top end OM SLRs (like my OM4Ti) had interchangeable focussing screens. Split image viewfinders were fast, but how accurate were they?

I used to own an OM-10 and then an OM-40, the split prism was very useful for sure, but only on very bright lenses. If you stuck a modest telephoto on, they became useless (one half used to go black), and you had to judge focus by eye on the matte screen.

Using magnified live view on the rear LCD screen (or on MILCs that come with an EVF) is very accurate but is not all that fast in my opinion. Its also difficult if you need reading glasses (and they are buried at the botom of a bag) as there is no dioptre asjustment on the rear screen!

I feel for you there. I wear specs for distance, but need to remove them for reading now (only started happening recently). I have to take them off to see the screen in focus - which is a bit easier, but you still have to find somewhere to put them. It is all wasted time.

So my question is how do you cope manually focussing through the OVF eyepiece on today's 4/3rd DSLRs? Is it accurate and is it fast or is it impossible. I know one answer is to find a model where you can install 3rd party Katseye focussing screens (so back to split image focussing), but what do most people do who haven't done this and if you have done this how fast/accurate is it compared to magnified live view?

I actually get on OK with the OVF on my E-420, and use the technique on 'centring' the focus by moving backwards and forwards either side of the focus point, then judging where the centre is.

FWIW I tried an alternative focus screen on my E-1, but it really screwed up metering (by as much as 2 stops).

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Andy Hewitt
Using Olympus E-420 and Apple Mac Mini '09.

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