A Nurse with a Gun

Monday, May 04, 2009

Katz Eye Installation

I came home from work today to find my Katz Eye focusing screen in the mail. It was packaged very securely, as a fine piece of optical equipment should be. It came in a plastic case, padded by foam, and sealed inside a heavy plastic sheath. Along with the focusing screen, I received a tool to assist with the installation. I took a few photos.

Although I was exhausted from work, I decided to set about installing it. I cleared off a wide area on my work bench, and I stapled down some fresh cardboard to try to control the dust. Initially I tried to lay a lens cloth across the mirror as the instructions advised, but I quickly found that doing so gave me little working room. It took me about two minutes to release the retaining wire and the plain screen and shim fell down onto the mirror. I snapped another picture with my point and shoot camera.

I lifted out the plain screen with some a fine needle holder that I had borrowed from work. The shim came out with it, as the instructions said it might. Not to worry, I gingerly placed it back against the prism. Then the base of the retaining wire popped out of socket. Damn. Now I had to determine how that fit into place and I couldn't see the holes.

I gripped a flashlight between my teeth and over the course of thirty minutes or so, I struggled and cursed the wire and the lighting in the hole I was working in. I forgot about the point and shoot camera and taking photos for the blog.

Finally I held my tongue just right, and the retaining wire slipped into place. I picked up the Katz Eye screen with the needle holders and placed it against the metal shim. Katz Eye screen in Nikon D-200 Click to enlargeI pivoted the damned retaining wire upwards and locked it into place. Easy enough, I thought.

I put on my 50mm AF lens and peered through the viewfinder. There was a speck of dust on the right of the screen. I took off the lens and brushed the screen with a soft blower brush. Looking through the lens again, the speck was still there. The good thing though is that the metering indicators lined up precisely.

I thought about removing the focusing screen to get the speck of dust off the top of it, but I opted not to. My old manual cameras all suffer from dust on the focusing screens. Of course, it's much easier to brush off a Nikon F or F2 screen.

I decided to take a few photos and see how well the screen functioned. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the screen provided positive confirmation that the auto focus had chosen what I wanted. I put a 50mm ƒ1.4 Ai-S lens on the D-200. I focused it quickly and efficiently, just as I had on the Nikon F. In fact, the Katz Eye screen is superior to the Nikon F screen. It is brighter and has more snap across the matte portion to indicate focus.

A generous reader sold me a good bit of his old Nikon equipment over the past week, from a 500mm reflex lens to a Vivitar bellows attachment for macro work. With the Katz Eye screen in the D-200, I can effectively focus all of the new equipment, not to mention my old Nikkor lenses. Is the Katz Eye worth it? Yes. If you own a digital camera and an array of manual lenses that fit it, the Katz Eye focusing screen may be the single most important upgrade you can give your digital camera. I look forward to putting my old lenses, as well as the new to me equipment, to good use on the D-200.



Blogger Ruth said...

Sweet! I wish you'd gotten more pictures of the process, but I can understand where concentration became more important (that would have been me....). Other than the wire it sounds like it went pretty smoothly. I might just have to add a Katz eye to my Christmas wish list this year!

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As you say, "Finally I held my tongue just right" that is all that is required. please send diagrams of proper lingual position
Also if you can cut your hand on something...
I like to get these out of the way at the start...

12:13 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Well anon, there was still some dried blood on the needle holder that chipped off and fell inside the camera........ But the blood wasn't mine.........

4:06 AM  

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