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Old Jan 3, 2005, 3:13 AM   #1
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Does anyone have a proven way to render the autofocusefficient in dark conditions?

I've tried a laser pointer with patterns, but the pattern results in a light that is too diffused, and so cannot be captured by the autofocus - it's not bright enough. The regular laser pointer 'dot' is bright enough - but it's not large enough, nor does it have any sort of vertical or horizontal pattern.

Has anyone tried the relatively new L.E.D. flashlights? Perhaps one that attaches to the head?

Any other ideas?
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Old Jan 3, 2005, 6:43 AM   #2
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I have no experience with it, but Steve has this deviceshown in the Stocking Stuffers Under $100.00Section of the Holiday Wish List:

CameraBright!™ X1



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Old Jan 3, 2005, 8:01 AM   #3
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If I have no gadgets to help me in dark situations, I work out what the average distance to my subject will be for the shoot, set the lens on that distance on manual focus. Make sure you use at least f.8 to counter any minor fluctuations in depth of field...works for me
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Old Jan 3, 2005, 8:28 AM   #4
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You may want to let users know what camera you're using (and if you have an external flash).

Many models have fixed focus choices (or manual focus) that could be used, as Freefly suggested.

But, you'll need to be careful about stopping down the aperture. For one thing, you're likely to reduce your flash range so much that it may become virtually unusable on some models, if you're using a built in flash. Also, the Depth of Field you'll get at any given aperture, focus distance and 35mm equivalent focal length will depend on your camera.

For example, a small sensored model shooting at f/2.8 may have more depth of field compared to a DSLR model shooting at f/11. So, stopping down the aperture to a smaller setting may not be required (and could impact your flash range too negatively -- depending on your equipment).

I've got a little pocket camera (Konica KD-510z) that I'll often set to a fixed focus point of 2 meters, shooting at full wide angle (with the aperture wide open at f/2.8 ). Because the depth of field is pretty darn good from a camera with a sensor this small (because the actual focal length of the lens is so short), I get good photos at most distances within the flash range (using this camera with these settings). So, the equipment you use will need to dictate what approach will work best.


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Old Jan 4, 2005, 2:26 AM   #5
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All important things to consider, Jim - thanks much.

I do have a distance scale in Manual Focus (something I wanted for this very reason) - but I would prefer a better solution in the form of an improvised 'focus assist light' which reaches further than they typical 6 feet or so the built in assist beams reach.

The 'CameraBright' looks interesting and practical - although it seems to use the same type of LED bulbs that some strap-on-to-the-head flashlights use.

Why doesn't anyone make a laser pointer type of device for this very purpose? Something that can easily attach to the camera and be pointed in the direction of the lens aim...
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