At long last, we have finally received a Leica S-Camera Microprism Focusing Screen to evaluate, and it did not disappoint.
All Leica S2 bodies have come from the factory with the Universal Focusing Screen. While ideal for general use, the standard focusing screen sometimes left users who prefer manual focus wanting more. Leica later released the S-Camera Screen with Grid, which aided those with compositional perfection in mind. Soon, Leica will start shipping the last piece of the puzzle, the Leica S-Camera Microprism Focusing Screen.
Also known as a split-image focusing screen, it maintains full auto focus while allowing for extremely precise manual focus control. This is especially beneficial for those using alternative, manual-focus-only lenses with adapters on the S2. During the course of our testing, we observed that the microprism screen is actually brighter than the standard (and already extremely bright) Universal Screen.
The Leica S-Camera Microprism Screen, when the image is in focus. Click for larger view.
The Leica S-Camera Microprism Screen, when the image is out of focus. Click for larger view.
The area around the central prism transitions from semi-translucent to perfectly clear once the subject is in focus; the central prism itself is bright enough to allow manual focusing even when an alternative-mount lens is stopped down to f/11.
This video demonstrates manual focusing with the Microprism Screen through the viewfinder of the Leica S2, shot with a Leica D-Lux 5:
Dale Photo & Digital is currently taking preorders for the Leica S2 Microprism Focusing Screen.
This is a wonderful addition to the S system. I got to use it once on the Fall tour, and put myself on the waiting list. It has to be seen to believed. I had not used a split prism in years, and the big bright S viewfinder makes it work incredibly well. There are times when using a 35mm on distant tree leaves that the auto focus just can’t focus on infinity. It chooses as close as 15 feet on occasion. A micro prism allows for manual confirmation that the focus is on in those unusual circumstances.
I just got the focusing screen part # 16001. You are right it is incredible