View Full Version : Accessories Virtual Village E1 Split Image Focus Screen

05-09-2007, 01:16 PM
Purchased: eBay UK, 17.98 inc postage

About Me:
What you need to know about me is that I like a bargain. Not so long ago, I bought an old Nikkor 50mm f1.4 for 40, so I didn't have to shell out for a 250 Sigma 30mm f1.4. Then, rather than paying $175 for a Nikon-4/3 adapter from Cameraquest, I bought one of those cheap ones you can get off eBay for under 10. And, rather than shooting on Sandisk Extreme IV cards, I'd rather buy unbranded ones for half the price. So, of course, when I saw the Virtual Village E1 Split Image Focus Screen going for less than half the money of a KatzEye screen, I thought, what the heck...

Purchased this on eBay with Paypal at the beginning of the month, and it arrived eight days later, neatly packed in a transparent SD card holder (and a plastic bag).

I have focus screen tweezers already, so it was simple enough to lift my existing FS-1 screen out. Putting the VV screen back in, however, was not so easy. There's no tab for the tweezers, so I ended up picking it up on the sides between my fingers and simply dropping it into my camera (matt side facing up).

When it comes to taking it out (as I did a few times to clean some stray dust off it), I simply turn the camera upside down and have it fall into my cupped hand underneath.

Once the screen's in place, it works surprisingly well. There's a split screen in the middle, and then a microprism collar around that. I haven't noticed any discrepancies creeping into metering yet (watch this space for updates!). Autofocus continues to work as normal, but there's no indication where your other, not-in-the-centre AF points are. I've not done a back-to-back comparison but I don't find the viewfinder any darker than when using an FS-1.

Focusing manually works a treat. Seems to provide positive and accurate focusing in low light when the lens aperture is wide open. When using a manual lens, however, I'd feel uncomfortable about saying for sure whether I'd nailed focusing if working at an aperture below f5.6.

Build quality: Certainly doesn't ooze luxury, precision optics. The left side of the microprism collar on mine often shows the prisms even when the lens is in focus. At first, I thought it was dirt but it wasn't. The corners of the split prism have little dark specks - either from where it was machined, or dirt. I know enough from my 35mm days to leave this be! The amount of light is constant throughout the screen and, if it appears otherwise on the attached photos, that's because I don't quite know how other people are photographing their viewfinders yet.

Conclusions (tentative until more testing):

- cheap
- retro 35mm feel
- makes it easier to focus manually

- Installation's fiddly without a tab
- Split prism and microprisms lack the precision feel of a more expensive product
- No indication where your non-centre AF points are

Still to test
Real-world shifts in metering
Real-world test in low light situations

Would I buy again? Undecided. I'm actually quite good when it comes to focusing in low light with the regular screen so...hmm... Conclusion at the moment is that it does the job it's meant to do reasonably well, and fine if you don't mind it not being the prettiest focus screen ever.

Useful references

05-10-2007, 08:44 AM
Now if only they would make one for the E330 and come up with an easy way to change it out. Katz-Eye won't even publich directions to swap out an E330 screen - they want you to send in the body and have them change it!

I wonder if a firmware update from Oly could add a digital split-screen in Live View mode B? Probably wishful thinking...

05-10-2007, 10:57 PM
I wonder if a firmware update from Oly could add a digital split-screen in Live View mode B? ...
Let me know when that is available.. I switch back to a E-330.

05-11-2007, 12:37 PM
Let me know when that is available.. I switch back to a E-330.

I am confused by you.You start with E500,switch to a lemon E330,back to E500 then E330??

Sorry for the ot.

05-13-2007, 02:12 PM
It IS off topic, but not all E-330's are lemons. I love mine :) Not weird banding at high ISO doing Bokeh either... ;)

But a live-view B split screen focusing ring would be heaven :) Or better yet, an OEM split focus screen for the viewfinder!

05-16-2007, 09:55 AM
Stop paying too much of hope.

05-16-2007, 01:56 PM
Now that you've had it a while, are you noticing the exposures being off at all? Or are they bang-on?

05-17-2007, 01:45 PM
I have the same screen mounted in my E-1 since about a month. I have heard stories about metering being wildly off with these screens, but that is not my impression. At least not when using the digital lenses, where metering is done with the lens wide open.

With my old manual OM glass, however, there is a clear tendency for overexposure. An exception is spot metering, where underexposure is the norm instead. I haven't done any extensive tests yet, but my feeling is that at F2 the metering is spot on, at F4 I get about one stop overexposure and at F5.6 and beyond 2 stops overexposure. Since the metering is done with the lens stopped down, this might imply that metering could be off in low light situations. Also the metering mode (ESP, average or spot) seems to have a large impact on metering. I plan to do a more thorough test with some old OM lenses in the next few days and will post those results too.

Price paid: I paid $31 US incl. P&P

I have posted some incredibly boring test shots of my back yard, featuring a garden chair and a bird feeder here (http://www.jensenjensen.com/fsetest/).

All in all, it works very well. Manual focussing is a snap in most situations. I have to remember to dial in the right amount of exposure compensation when I switch lenses, though.

- As a focussing aid, it works.
- Cheap.

- Installation is somewhat difficult, since it lacks the little tab the Oly screens have. No instructions were provided.
- Affects exposure metering at smaller apertures/with slower lenses.
- When using stopped-down metering or really slow lenses, the split-image darkens to unusable at F5.6 and smaller.

Still to test:
- Really low light situations.

05-21-2007, 09:58 AM
I've been struggling with nailing the exposure, too, particularly with OM lenses for some reason... Agree with above: there is a tendency to overexpose. I'm constantly dialing in -1 exposure compensation but the discrepancy seems to vary, depending on light conditions. Started reverting to the Sunny 16 rule the other day!

Trying it side-by-side with the regular screen, I've *almost* decided to swap it out again. But the split-screen offers me nostalgia and, for that reason only, it's staying in for another week or so :-)

05-30-2007, 10:51 PM
Hi All;

I took the chance and ordered in the screen for the E300 and installed it in my E330, It installed and worked like it was a E300. I have not done much for pictures yet, it is late and too dark to do much, but I would say it is pretty much as the E300 reviews.


06-04-2007, 09:34 PM
I have had a chance to take a few pictures now. I got the screen to use with my E330 - OM50mm and Vivitar 70-210. I did modify my OM/4-3 adapter by removing the aperture stop. This allows me to focus wide open, preset the f stop and I just have to hold the aperture preview, when I shoot. The attached photos are the OM50 & Vivitar 2X macro converter, @ ~f8. The first 2 images are typical of what I was getting trying to focus before the last 4 are typical of what I do now. I am very happy with the results of the screen change.


06-13-2007, 03:41 AM
Hi Ragnar,

I have the KatzEyeOptics screen and that gives good exposure for lenses faster than f/2.8 but about 2 stops over exposures for f/4.0 or slower. I see that you have the ZD 7-14/4.0 which meters at f/4. So I wonder if you could do a metering comparison with your screen using the ZD 7-14 and the ZD 14-54 both at at 14 mm?

Thanks for the tests.

Cheers, Jens.

06-16-2007, 02:49 PM
Sure thing, Jens!

I have added a comparison (http://www.jensenjensen.com/fsetest/index.html#compare284) between the two lenses to the test page. It shows that the 7-14mm consistently gives about a stop of overexposure in average metering mode and slightly less in ESP.
I didn't test spot metering this time because it's totally off the wall when using this screen.

06-18-2007, 09:14 AM
Thanks Ragnar,

you could have tried spot metering with these lenses. Your tests with the ZD 14-54 appeared to be spot on (as is the KEO screen). However, legacy lenses are way off the scale with spot metering but that is expected - it is even mentioned in the MF-1 Manual.

Cheers, Jens.

06-18-2007, 12:48 PM
Duh! I didn't think that far. And I have read the MF-1 instructions!:doh:
Anyway, I think it's safe to draw the conclusion that this screen gives correct measurements at F2.8, about a stop of overexposure at F4 and two stops at F5.6 and beyond. When using ESP or average metering, that is.

06-22-2007, 08:04 AM
Thanks Ragnar,

you could have tried spot metering with these lenses.

Your'e right of course. For completeness' sake, if nothing else, I have augmented the comparison (http://www.jensenjensen.com/fsetest/index.html#compare284) between the 14-54 and the 7-14 with some shots using spot metering. No surprises there, the 7-14 gives about a stop of underexposure, as expected.