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I’m Having Trouble Using My KatzEye™... Any Tips?
  • The split prism portion of the focusing aid is most useful on still subjects; it is very tough to use the split prism on anything that is moving. The subject also needs to have a clearly defined vertical edge or line that you can use.

  • The microprism collar (the donut shaped area around the split circle) is much more useful on moving targets or targets where there is no well defined line. Many people also find the microprisms easier to use than the split prism in situations which require rapid focus.

  • The matte portion of the KatzEye™ screen (everything outside the prisms) is also much better than most OEM screens, so in situations where neither prism is helpful, you can always just use the matte area to make the target look in focus. Having your diopter setting adjusted correctly will make that portion of the screen easier to use.

  • If you wear eyeglasses, it will be harder to use the split prism because of the parallax effect from having your eye further from the camera. If at all possible, adjust the diopter so you can shoot without your glasses. If the diopter setting of the camera does not allow sufficient correction, check with your camera manufacturer to see if there is an optional diopter correction lens that will allow you to shoot without your glasses.

  • Some manufaccturers have viewfinder magnifiers available. There are also a few aftermarket companies that make these devices. While not ideal for every photo, a magnifier can make it easier to find critical focus in some situations, like still life portraits.

  • Wildlife and sports photography present special challenges for manual focus because the targets are moving around so much. One common technique is to focus on a still object that is near the target and then wait for the target to move into the right position. This can take some patience in the case of wildlife, but that is definitely one way to do it. As another example, sports photographers will set their focus on the empty track and then just wait for the racecar to get to that point - their target is moving too fast to do it any other way.

  • And of course, the obvious... practice, practice, practice. To get the feel for the prisms, start with a simpler situation. Try to find something that isn’t moving, in average light, and just take a lot of pictures from different angles and distances. A bunch of still life portraits of a potted plant or the dining room table would be a good place to start. Line up books on a shelf... anything really... just set up a situation where there are objects at a range of distances and shoot with the lens wide open. That way, the depth of field will be small and you will be able to easily tell if you got the focus you intended. Don’t worry so much about the quality of the photos - noise from a high ISO setting wouldn’t matter, for example. Just work on getting the right focus point. After you get pretty consistent with the focal point, work up the complexity by adding challenges one at a time. You might progress first to focus-recompose-shoot techniques, then to outdoor situations where the light is more difficult, and eventually to moving targets.
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