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Old Sep 20, 2006, 1:20 PM   #1
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OK. I've had the S3-IS for approx. 2 weeks. I'm beginning to get slightly aggrevated with it.

The problem is while indoors, and seemingly any lighting condition while indoors. Take in my office right now. I am approx. 15 feet from another desk across the hall. At almost any zoom, I find it very difficult to get the AF to grab anything on or around the desk. Sometimes it does, but it takes some effort. I am in the P mode, but I do not want to have to manually focus my digital camera all the time. Is this a defect? Or do other people have this problem while indoors? How can it be resolved?

Honestly, generally speaking, it is very difficult for me to get the AF to do a good job, in almost any range, and any mode. Macro, Auto, Program, Av, etc etc. Could it just be a defective sensor that sometimes works?

This is making me seriously consider going back to the Sony DSC-H2...

Please help.

-John-
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Old Sep 20, 2006, 2:28 PM   #2
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Check the specs on the effective distance of the AF beam. I think the actual working distance is less than 10 feet and the more you zoom in the worse it gets. Canon's AF "assist" beam on many of it's P&Scameras, and Isay this in the best possible terms, in my experience have always been ineffective at best and always worse beyond the widest focal length. I used to use a Powershot G5. Great camera, but the built-inAF assist light was pitiful, barely useable up to 5-6 feet. As good as they do some things, AF assist beams are woefully inadequate for even moderately serious users.
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Old Sep 20, 2006, 2:43 PM   #3
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In looking at Steve's review in the conclusions, yep, he says 10 feet is the max distance on the AF assist light, and (this is me talking now)woe to those who try zooming in and using it. It is, quite simply, one "feature" on Canon digicams that is grossly inadequate, especially on these newer super-zoom cameras.
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Old Sep 20, 2006, 3:06 PM   #4
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Yes. Thank you for your help. One thing that does help is having the continuous auto-focus on, and as the item goes into and out of focus, pressing the shutter button when it most clear. This helps focus to some degree on things far away, but what is to be done about closer people and things? Such as the camera's inability to auto-focus on someone lying on my bed, which is 5-7 feet away, in relatively decent lighting. Zoomed or not, it seems unable to focus on that person. I guess I do experience more problems with the camera zoomed, but unzoomed, I still do have problems.

Then, I'm at work, and I look out the window, down from the 2nd floor, and across the parking lot and zoom up to my car. Focus, Shoot, Fine. ARGH. It's just getting irritating, and I'm trying to find out if it's just the AF, and I somehow got a dud camera.

I'm contemplating exchanging it for another S3, just to ease my mind..:?
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Old Sep 20, 2006, 3:35 PM   #5
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Remember auto focus (on digicams)needs contrast , preferably vertical, so if (for example) you aim the camera at a smooth even surface the cam will struggle to find the contrast needed.

Look for a vertical edge of some sort and try to focus on that then recompose the shot.
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Old Sep 20, 2006, 3:43 PM   #6
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I understand. But, from 5-7 feet away, I would think a digital auto-focus could focus on someone's forehead/cheek. No?
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Old Sep 20, 2006, 6:21 PM   #7
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Is IS on or off?

Have you tried turning the AiAF off to see if that makes a difference?
Otherwise, try selecting the AF zone manually (check the manual if you are not sure how to do this) and seeing if that makes a difference.

Finally (and I apologise if this is obvious) make sure when you half press the shutter button you give the camera time to get focus lock (green rectangle appears on the screen) before pressing the full way down.

If none of that works, try a couple of shots when you get home - if its still out of focus you may want to exchange it
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Old Sep 21, 2006, 12:42 PM   #8
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IS is on. AiAF, I don't find a setting for that exact item, but I've tried the "shoot only" and "continuous" AF settings, etc. I think it's just that I was in a hurry, and it sometimes takes a second to focus. And yes, I'm holding the shutter down halfway. I'm just used to my old sony, where I point, press, focus, shoot. This camera is just a little more involved. I'm gonna resist going and exchanging it for another S3, bc this one works fine, I'm just impatient. Like I said in the earlier posts, I just need to play with this thing for a few weeks or months.. Thanks for the help guys, I was just wondering if anyone else had had a problem with the AF, or if there was a chance it was an isolated instance, and I should just return it. Anyway, looking forward to many more posts and info from this site. Thanks again.
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Old Sep 21, 2006, 1:08 PM   #9
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try turning off the auto focus assist beam, the only time you really need that is in low light anyway.My little everyday SD400 focuses fast and accuratly indoors or out with the assist beam turned off.
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Old Sep 21, 2006, 1:20 PM   #10
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yeah, i try to keep it off as much as i can. the one night i was getting very frustrated though, i was in fairly low light, and the assist beam was right on my girlfriend's cheek, and it wouldn't focus. gosh was it frustrating. . i'm working through it though.
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