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Nikon D800 Focusing Screens

Nikon D800

With the Canon 5D Mark III not offering interchangeable focusing screens, readers out there are telling me they are interested in switching to the Nikon D800. See my thoughts on the D800 in yesterday’s blog entry.

For users of manual focus lenses, interchangeable screens can be a defining feature for a camera. Fortunately, it appears that the Nikon D800 offers that option.

The D800/D800 use the Nikon “Type B BriteView Clear Matte Mark VIII screen with AF area brackets and framing grid” by default. Its unclear which of Nikon’s other focusing screens can be used on the D800.

Actually, it’s not even clear that Nikon officially supports interchangeable screens with the D800. I can find no mention of focusing screen alternatives in the D800 user manual, with nothing found under accessories (pgs 387-390).

I notice that lists several screens for the D800/D800E. I have not used these screens, but they show promise for those who want improved manual focus characteristics. I also cannot speak to the auto-exposure or autofocus implications of changing the screen.

Also, Aa 3rd party focusing screen won’t support the LCD grid overlay and similar features as far as I know.

  • NUMBER 1. PLAIN MATTE — offers basic traditional ground glass simulated focusing, which is very popular in portrait photography and for use in micro and telephoto applications.
  • #1
  • NUMBER 2. MICROPRISM SPOT CENTER: offers a central focusing aid microprism which shows a pattern of dots (microprisms) that are highly visible when the camera is not in focus, and gradually disappear when the subject is calibrated into correct focus. This aid is particularly beneficial for moving subjects. A new larger 13 mm microprism spot center Proscreen™ is also now available for all 645, 6x6, 6x7 and selected 35mm / digital cameras.

  • #2
  • NUMBER 4. AND 5. SPLIT IMAGE WITH MICROPRISM COLLAR: The #4 has always been our most popular screen style until the #5 screen was produced. These screens combine both of the features of our #2 and #3 screens. This screen is very commonly found in cameras and is often furnished by camera manufacturers as a standard style screen. When available, for most 35mm and 120 format cameras, this screen offers the best variety of overall general focusing features for both still and moving subjects. The NUMBER 5. PROSCREEN™ is available for most medium-format cameras, selected 35mm / digital and some long-roll cameras. It has the same features as #4, but with a larger than normal 6mm split image, and larger microprism collar.
  • #4 / #5

Wythe W writes:

There is also a company that modifies what appears to be a Canon S screen for use in the D700. What I like about these screens is that there's no bothersome split-image prism nonsense. The whole screen is bright and clear. Not sure how well they fit in the D700 or whether the D800 screen has the same dimensions. Will have to wait and see.

DIGLLOYD: No experience here. Seems like trying too hard to have to modify something.

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