Modern Classic SLR Series
Nikon F2 Series Models
Focusing Screens for Nikon F2 Series Bodies- Part II

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Although to most of us, we can't be bother and usually stick to one-for-all attitude, but some photographers are so conscious of the suitability of one screen or another for their work that they permanently reserve one F2 body/screen combination for use with specific lenses. Well, theory is, in such way, it would assure them of very fast handling in actual shooting situations, with maximum focusing accuracy. Anyway, one way or another, everyone has a personal shooting habit, my personal preference is a plain Type H2.

Nikon DP12 metered finder prism for Nikon F2AS SLR camera Focusing screen section
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Well, personally, I would think Nikon screens for professional bodies are very well made even up to screens for the Nikon F5. Unlike screens made for the midrange Nikon bodies which are "high-class plastic" ("acrilan"), these screens are a precision optical system in itself; I also like the way how it locks the screen in place although removing them from the body need more attention than installing. The screen will securely locked into a retaining frame that serves to both mount the screen in the camera and to protect it from damage when handling. Once in place, the screen is very positively locked in position by powerful spring-loaded clamps which aimed to ensure that it cannot move out of position and degrade focusing accuracy.

type A: This was the screen that came standard with the Nikon F and for brief spell, a standard Screen for the Nikon F2 during its early days. Matte/Fresnel field with a 12mm-diameter reference circle which defines the area of center-weighting used by the Photomic meters and a split-image rangefinder spot at the center. Ideal for quick and accurate focusing in general photography,

"..... 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....." - Michael liu -

type B: Contains a Matte/Fresnel field with a 12mm-diameter fine-ground matte focusing spot which also uses as the metering reference spot for Photomic Finders. For viewing and focusing without distraction in the center. Also recommended for lenses with small maximum aperture, such as 200mm f/5.6 Medical-Nikkor, 500mm f/8 and 1,000mm f/11 Reflex Nikkors, etc.

"..... 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)...." - Michael liu -

type C: Fine matte field with a cross hair reticle in a clear 4mm-diameter center spot. It is a special application focusing screen used for assignments suchas photo-micrography and astrophotography, and other applications involving high magnifications, for parallax or aerial-image focusing Requires viewfinder with focusing control. (It is an ideal screen with 6X DW-2 Finder. or 2X magnifier, both with variable diopter eyepiece). Not recommended for general photography.

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

type D: A plain Matte screen which contains only a fine-matte field. Overall, the plain fine matte field that comes without any outlines, circle reference, collar and other guide lines ensures unobstructed viewing, Used especially with long telephoto lenses, or extreme-wideangles or Fisheyes lenses or for close-up work.

"..... 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...." - Michael liu -

The standard Type K screen may not be a perfect solution to all photographic needs, but it is an all rounder screen type.

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type E: One of the more popular use screens with minimal incompatibility. Matte/Fresnel field with a 12mm-diameter circle and etched vertical and horizontal reference lines. For picture taking that requires accurate image placement or alignment such as architectural photography with PC-Nikkor for architectural photography, and copying work. You can also make use of the grid lines to register subject in multiple exposures 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...." - Michael liu -

Type F Screen: 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 1-4: Contains a clear fresnel with Microprism Focusing Spot. Provides an extremely brilliant image for bright viewing and focusing in low light. However, compromise is , they are not too good for depth of field observation. Available in 4 models to match various focal length lenses. As a Guideline, each provide matching functions with various lenses. Four models correspond to lenses with different focal lengths:

G1 - For most Wide angle lenses with focal lengths of 35mm or less.
G2 - For most Lenses with focal lengths of 200mm or less.
G3 - For most Telephoto lenses in the 200mm to 880mm focal length range.
G4 - For most Telephoto lenses in the 180mm to 1200mm focal length range.

".... 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...."- Michael liu -

type H 1-4: One of my favourite screen where I am using the H2 for my Nikon F2S and even the Nikon F3. Clear Fresnel field with microprism pattern over entire screen area. Permits rapid focusing and pleasnt viewing with optimum brightness. Suitable for use in low light and with moving subjects. Similar to G series screens where depth of field is not too distinguishable. Available in 4 models, as a rough using guide:

H1 - For most lenses with focal lengths of 85mm or less.
H2 - For most Lenses with focal lengths of 400mm or less.
H3 - For most Telephoto lenses with focal lengths between 180mm and 600mm.
H4 - For most Telephoto lenses with focal lengths between 180mm and 1200mm.

"..... 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...." - Michael liu -

type J: Matte/Fresnel field with a 4mm-diameter microprism focusing spot within the 12mm-diameter circle where it correspond with Photomic Finder's metering reference. Nikon suggests used it with lenses with minimum aperture of f/8.0 or brighter. A good screen to cover most general purpose photography.

| Previous | N E X T | 2/3 More Screen Types, removing Finder & Changing Screens

Relative: Nikon Focusing Screens for Nikon F, Nikon F3, Nikon F4, Nikon F5 & Screens for MF-Nikon Mid-compact Bodies.

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Credit: Chuck Hester, US for his patience, encouragement and help to setup the various content in this site; Robert Johnson for some of his original images on the F2H-MD appeared in this site; my ex-staff, KiaSu for his superb 3-D logo appeared in this Nikon F2 site; Marc Vorgers from Holland who generously provide me with some of his images of F2AS; MCLau®, who has so much time with me to re-edit the content in this site and not to mention buying a Nikon Coolpix 990 just for this site. Keat Photo, Kuala Lumpur for providing their Nikon F2A to take some images for this site; again, Mr Edward Ngoh the great camera collector who provides us his collection of F2AS with MD-2; for their images on the Speed Magny film backs; Sean Cranor for his image on Nikon F2 25th Anniversary Model; Ted Wengelaar®, Holland for his continuous flow of input on some of the early Nikon bodies; CYLeow ® , photo editor of the Star newspaper, Malaysia for some of his images used in this site. Ms Rissa Chan, Sales manager from Shriro Malaysia who has helped to provide some of the very useful input. HiuraShinsaku®, Nikomat ML, Japan for some of his images on various F2 models; my staff, Wati, Maisa, Mai and my nephew, EEWyn®, who volunteered and helping me did so many of the film scanning works. Contributing photographers or resellers: Jen Siow, Foo KokKin, Arthur Teng, Mark Fallander, John Ishii, Ed Hassel, YoonKi Kim, Jean-Louis, M.Dugentas (Dell, Mr "Arsenall" and a few images mailed in from surfers with no appropriate reference to their origin. Dedicated to KU Yeo, just to express our mutual regrets over the outcome of a recent corporate event. Made with a PowerMac, broadcast with a Redhat Linux powered server.

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