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Canon expands digital SLR focusing screen options  
Monday, January 30, 2006 | by Rob Galbraith

Canon is in the process of expanding the range of accessory focusing screens available for its line of 1-series digital SLR cameras and the EOS 5D. The new screens are based on the standard screens for each model, but incorporate a crop line or mask to aid in shooting to a fixed aspect ratio.

Several sets of focusing screens are already either shipping or planned. Each set consists of two screens, one delineating a square format and the other a 4x5/8x10 format. The Crop Lines set, as the name suggests, is comprised of screens with the aspect ratio area marked with a thin border. Both screens are otherwise identical to the standard screen for that camera and no adjustment is required for proper ambient or flash metering. The two screens in the Black Mask set are an opaque black outside the aspect ratio area. Both ambient and flash metering are affected when using this screen type.

The screen sets and their availability are listed below. This information has been supplied by Canon USA; product numbers and ship dates may be different in other Canon regions.

005T165 Focusing Screen Set Ec-1Ds Black Mask For EOS-1Ds/EOS-1Ds Mark II Shipping now
005T166 Focusing Screen Set Ec-1Ds Crop Lines For EOS-1Ds/EOS-1Ds Mark II Shipping now
005T167 Focusing Screen Set Ec-1D Black Mask For EOS-1D/EOS-1D Mark II Shipping now
005T168 Focusing Screen Set Ec-1D Crop Lines For EOS-1D/EOS-1D Mark II Shipping now
0056T095 Focusing Screen Set Ee Black Mask For EOS 5D Shipping by March 2006
0056T098 Focusing Screen Set Ee Crop Lines For EOS 5D Shipping by March 2006

The manufacturer's suggested list price for each set is US$170 in the U.S. (As of this writing, the street price for each screen set at reputable U.S. dealers appears to be about US$120.) Chuck Westfall, Director/Media & Customer Relationship at Canon USA, notes that the new screens can't be purchased individually, and that the Black Mask versions require a change in how the cameras' metering system is utilized. Says Westfall:

"The screens can only be purchased in the sets listed above. Individual screens will not be available "a la carte." The screens are based on the standard focusing screens for each camera, i.e., Ec-CIII for the 1Ds and 1D screens and Ee-A for the 5D screens. Canon has no plan to offer other screen types (e.g., Ec-S or Ee-S, etc.) with crop lines or masks. Additionally, when using the Black Mask screens, automatic exposure is only usable in partial, spot, or multi-spot metering patterns. For E-TTL or E-TTL II autoflash with Canon EX Speedlites, only FEL (Flash Exposure Lock) together with partial or spot metering is recommended."

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