Nikon F and F2 Screens


need to add exposure compensations.

Type A

Nikon description: Matte/Fresnel field with 12mm center reference circle and (horizontal) split-image rangefinder.

Personally, although I've used this screen for better than three years, I prefer the type E screen -- uncluttered, and the darned rangefinder always seems to black out when I'm working with macro lenses.

Type B

Nikon description: Matte/Fresnel field with 5mm and 12mm diameter concentric reference circles.

The reference circles are there, presumably, to denote where the centerweighted metering's emphasis is. Incidentally, the Photomic Tn finder was the one that established Nikon's now-traditional 60/40 split (which varies up to 80/20 on the F3).

Type C

Nikon description: Fine-ground matte field with 5mm center clear spot and cross-hair reticle. For photomicrography, astrophotography, and other high magnification applications using parallax focussing on aerial images.

Note that without the 6x finder, you really shouldn't even consider this screen.

Type D

Nikon description: Fine-ground matte field.

It darkens in the corners! Put one in, feel the power of 1950's era SLRs (or if you want to be really masochistic, start eschewing automatic-diaphragm lenses; better yet, get a camera with a spinning shutter dial) ... and then get the E screen.

Type E

Nikon description: Matte/Fresnel field with 5mm and 12mm diameter concentric reference circles, and (3) etched horizontal and (5) vertical lines. Ideal for architectural photography.

Everyone seems to love this screen, and I am no exception. It does take about a roll or two to get used to not having any focussing aids, but having an uncluttered, undistracting field improved my composition skills by leaps and bounds -- I was no longer tempted to focus on the center of the screen and then forget to recompose.

Type F

Nikon description: Matte/Fresnel field with 12mm diameter microprism focussing spot. Briteview. Suitable for general photography.

Similar to Type K; the choice boils down to whether you're used to the split-image or microprism focussing. Neither is really more precise than the other.

Type G (G1, G2, G3, G4)

Nikon description: Clear Fresnel field with extra-bright 12mm-diameter microprism focussing spot for use in poor light. Four models correspond to lenses with different focal lengths:
  • G1 for fisheye
  • G2 for wideangles
  • G3 for 50f/1.2 and 300f/2.8
  • G4 for 300f/2.8

Note that since the field is clear, not matte, everything outside the microprism spot will be in focus. It may or may not be disconcertening to you, but it certainly does mean that your DOF preview will not help you at all.

Type H (H1, H2, H3, H4)

Nikon description: Clear Fresnel focussing screen with microprisms over the entire field. Recommended for photography in poor lighting conditions. Four models correspond to lenses with different maximum apertures:
  • H1 for most f/2.8 lenses <=200mm
  • H2 for most f/5.6 or faster lenses <=200mm
  • H3 for most f/4 or faster lenses >200mm
  • H4 for most f/5.6 or faster lenses >200mm

A word on microprisms and split-image rangefinders: these work by preferentially refracting light based on its angle relative to the screen. Both are essentially glass wedges; the steeper the angle, the greater the effect (and therefore, the accuracy of focussing). However, as the angle steepens, they become less responsive to off-axis light, and thus, with slow lenses, they will tend to black out. Therefore, the tradeoff is between focussing accuracy and light-gathering ability, which is why Nikon offers four (each) type G and H screens: they vary only in the wedge angle of the microprisms.

Type J

Nikon description: Matte/Fresnel field with central 5mm diameter microprism focussing spot and 12mm diameter concentric reference circle. For general photography.

Type K

Nikon description: Matte/Fresnel field with 3mm diameter BriteView (horizontal) split-image rangefinder spot surrounded by 1mm wide microprism donut. Rapid, accurate focussing for subjects with both straight and ill-defined contours. For general photography.

This is the standard screen that came with the F2. I find it much more useful than the A, although they are generally similar, except for the microprism donut. This donut is genuinely useful, and the split-image gives great results when used with unforgivingly shallow-DOF lenses, such as the 85f/1.8 wide-open.

Type L

Nikon description: Matte/Fresnel field with 12mm center reference circle and 45 degree (diagonal) split-image rangefinder. Similar to Type A.

Because the world is not solely made out of vertical lines, this screen is more useful than A. Because composition dictates that subjects should not always be in the middle of the frame, this screen is probably less useful than you think.

Type M

Nikon description: Fine ground Fresnel field with 5mm diameter clear spot and cross-hair for use in parallax focussing on aerial images, plus millimeter scales for calculation of individual magnification of objects or for measuring objects. Brilliant image in dim light. Suitable for close-ups, photomicrography, and other high-magnification applications.

Again, get the 6x finder before considering this one.

Type P

Nikon description: Matte/Fresnel field with 3mm diameter BriteView (diagonal) split-image rangefinder spot surrounded by 1mm wide microprism donut. One etched horizontal and one etched vertical line divides field into four quadrants. Rapid, accurate focussing for subjects with both straight and ill-defined contours. For general photography. Similar to Type K.

In other words, Type P is to Type K as L is to A.

Type R

Nikon description: Focussing screen with matte fresnel field and (horizontal) split image rangefinder which does not darken when slow lenses are used. Incorporates (3) etched horizontal and (5) vertical grid lines. Excellent for architectural photography.

If I didn't know that my eye would be irresistibly drawn to the center of the screen because of the RF, I might have considered this one instead of the Type E. When Nikon claims that the RF doesn't black out with slow lenses, they mean that the RF accuracy is decreased even more by having a shallower angle to the splitting prisms -- so that it might transmit more light to an off-axis eye.

Type S

Nikon description: Matte/Fresnel field with 3mm diameter BriteView (horizontal) split-image rangefinder spot surrounded by 1mm wide microprism donut. Rapid, accurate focussing for subjects with both straight and ill-defined contours. Shows area masked on left side of screen by hand-written data plates. Designated for MF-10 and MF-11 only. Similar to Type K.

This is the appropriate screen for collectors of F2 Data's.

Type T (TV)

Nikon description: Matte/Fresnel field with TV screen frame lines.

This screen is designated for still-photo preparation for television use.


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