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Old Oct 28, 2003, 12:46 PM   #1
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Default Low light tips?

Hi everyone,

As I indicated in a different post, the one thing bothering me with my new digicam is the low-light focusing problem. Are there any tips that could help me improve my low light focus?

TIA

Shraga
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Old Oct 28, 2003, 1:50 PM   #2
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Default Youo can...

Raise your cameras ISO speed (ie. 100 to 400), use the largest aperture (ie. f2.8 vs f6.0) or slow down your shutter speed to allow more light to enter the lens.

The shot below was made with a Minolta Dimage 7i in a totally dark room (& the camera focused on the subject without a bit of trouble...so much for the 7i's poor low light focusing abilities)! I believe my aperture was about f4.0 & I used a shutter speed of 4 seconds (on a tripod). After the shutter tripped, I "painted" the light on the subject using a small flashlight.

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Old Oct 28, 2003, 2:25 PM   #3
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Nothing at all wrong with that exposure.
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Old Oct 28, 2003, 4:08 PM   #4
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Shraga and Kalypso, what kind of cameras are you using?

I'm researching cameras right now (my first digi) and one of the things I'm worried about is low light focusing. I was wondering if I was worrying needlessly and if there were ways around it, which is how I came upon this post.

I'm also wondering about manual focusing. I was looking at the Canon G5 and read that people had trouble with the manual focus. I guess I need to see the camera in the flesh to figure that one out, tho.
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Old Oct 28, 2003, 4:21 PM   #5
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And if I may, I'd like to comment purely on the model. She is beautiful!
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Old Oct 28, 2003, 4:27 PM   #6
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For what it's worth: I have a Sony 717 and when it is dark, it shoots out a "laser pattern" on the subject to provide contrast for focusing. It will auto-focus in total darkness.
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Old Oct 28, 2003, 5:19 PM   #7
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It helps when you ask this type of question to mention which camera you have...that way we can help you better.

If it doesn't have an auto focus illuminator/assist, you are limited to the limitations on this page:

http://www.howstuffworks.com/autofocus3.htm

With this type of focusing you need a certain amount of light to work, or use the manual focus (if your camera has it).
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Old Oct 28, 2003, 6:16 PM   #8
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I donít think the ISO you have set has anything to do with whether the camera will focus. It will reduce camera shake and give a sharper image if the camera does focus though.

The laser holograph thing on Sony cameras like the V1 and 717 will focus in complete darkness. Focus assist lights donít always seem to help too much.

For flash photography you can pre-focus on something with better light and contrast that is the same distance. The difference in ambient light doesnít seem to affect the result in a flash shot.
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Old Oct 28, 2003, 6:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slipe
I don’t think the ISO you have set has anything to do with whether the camera will focus. It will reduce camera shake and give a sharper image if the camera does focus though.
Well, since cameras use contrast detection for focusing, turning up the gain on the CCD so it's better in lower light can work.
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Old Oct 28, 2003, 8:17 PM   #10
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The Oly C3020 doesn't have a focus assist feature of any kind. I've had reasonable success in low light situations using an ordinary laser pointer which projects a graphic image rather than a pin-point spot as a focusing aid (mine makes a large dollar sign). Shine the laser on the subject and let the camera autofocus on the laser image projection (sort of a poor man's 717). This seems to work well, except I find it awkward as heck to hold the laser pointer with my left hand and keep it steady on the subject whilst aiming and half pressing the shutter on the camera in my right hand.

This techinique is not suitable for use with human or animal subject since you don't want to risk shining the laser pointer beam into the subject's eyes. The Sony cameras are eye-safe since they produce a much lower power beam and it is pulsed on for only a fraction of a second.
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