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Old Jul 1, 2003, 11:01 AM   #1
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Default Hi and need some Help!

First off let me say hello and thanks to everyone here. This is a great forum I've spent entirely too much time over the past couple of days, and weeks browsing it.
Now my question is this. I was wondering if anyone knew if the Panasonic DMCLC33 had an autofocus illuminator. I see what appears to be two little lights under the flash, I'm assuming one is for the self timer and maybe the other one is for the AF?
The last camera I owned didn't have this feature I'm not really sure how important it is by todays standards. What would I be missing by not having it and, what would I be gaining by having it.

Thanks,
Mark
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Old Jul 2, 2003, 12:38 AM   #2
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Just by typing DMC-LC33 into Google.com I came up with http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/ca...il.php?cam=477 which says:

"Auto Focus Illuminator? No"
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Old Jul 2, 2003, 9:11 AM   #3
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Mike,

Thanks I just downloaded the manual from the Panasonic site so, I discovered the same thing. Can you tell me any more about the importance of the AF illuminator?

Mark
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Old Jul 2, 2003, 8:16 PM   #4
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Digital cameras need a certain amount of light and contrast to focus...when there's not enough light, the camera can't focus. AF illuminator (sometimes a red light, sometimes infrared) lights up the scene for just enough time for the camera to focus, and then shuts off for the camera to take the picture. Here's a page talking about how most digital cameras focus:
http://www.howstuffworks.com/autofocus3.htm
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Old Jul 2, 2003, 8:43 PM   #5
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Well Mike, thanks again for your reply and again, I have another query. I do realize that the autofocus system needs light and contrast in order to work but, how much. In other words, when would it become neccessary to use an AF illuminator? Is it impossible to use a camera without one in normal indoor situations? How low of a light level warrants the use of one?

Thanks,
Mark
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Old Jul 2, 2003, 9:57 PM   #6
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From my exprience which is limited to the two digi-cams cited below, if there is enough light for my eye balls to see the subject clearly even though dimly, then there seems to be enough light for (at least) these two cameras to focus without any assist lighting.

So, IMHO, unless you are intending to shoot outdoor unlit night shots or shoot unlit rooms indoors, you probably don't _need_ a focus assist illuminator.
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Old Jul 3, 2003, 3:30 AM   #7
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Default Focus illumination or not

My last camera (Olympus C3020Z) didn't have a focus illuminator, but didn't need one because its manual focus mode had a distance scale visible on the monitor on which you set a focus ditance that you'd estimated or measured.

My new camera (Casio QV-5700), has one, and probably needs it, because manual focus (done by eye on the monitor) is very slow & difficult. If I want to set focus manually (e.g., for action shots), I autofocus on something that's the same distance away, and then switch off autofocus. This leaves the focus setting unchanged. This won't work, of course, in the dark, because autofocus doesn't work.

I'm not sure how effective the focus illuminator will be, because its range will obviously be limited. So I conclude that a good pair of eyes or a tape measure for estimating distance, plus a good manual focus mechanism is more useful than an illuminator.
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Old Jul 3, 2003, 3:53 AM   #8
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Depends on the camera...some of the mega zoom cameras like the Olympus C-7x0UZ series really need it for indoors due to the limited f-stops they have...other Olys like the C-5050Z and the C-2100UZ do have it, but Olympus is too stupid and cheap (and a lot of other things I can't say here) to put it in the C-7x0 cameras (I own a C-700).

There are flashes that do add focus assist to certain cameras, Olympus has the FL-40 (but that costs almost as much as the camera), and there's some third party flashes with focus assist like Promaster (but the assist doesn't work right with some cameras including the C-7x0, and they're not available outside the US).
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Old Jul 3, 2003, 10:33 AM   #9
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Well, thanks for all your input, you've been quite helpful. If you don't mind, I have one of those dreaded which one would you questioins as a follow up. I'm considering the Panasonic DMCLC33, the Canon A70 and the Sony P72. Any thoughts or comments from the group of resident experts??

Mark
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Old Jul 7, 2003, 2:22 PM   #10
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Nothing at all??????
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