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Old Jan 23, 2006, 10:09 PM   #1
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Just a scenario, and wondering how it comes across. If you are a guest at a formal outing, say a wedding or similair, and one is taking pictures... and the camera's flash has the little red beam (mine is sony,) that shoots on a subject when shooting in dim lighting. how is that percieved? Does the photographer come off a cheap...or cheezy? or do you just say it is part of a job. The reason I bring it up, is because I have a sony,that does it, and I haven't seen any others...though I don't have a ton of experience... I think I saw a canon flash (420?) that had a constantly flashing red led on it, facing the subjects...and it drove me nuts (I wasn't the photographer on that one) Any opinions?


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Old Jan 24, 2006, 7:32 AM   #2
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The red light is the focus assist lamp that will typically go about 12 feet. You need it especially for low light conditions. The other method that some cameras use for focus is contrast detection.. I have found that the result can vary. With a flash on there is often a pre-flash for focusing and perhaps another for red eye and still one more to take the picture. You have to watch very closely to detect these if at all? Some Sony cameras will take a photo in complete darkness. That is they can focus and then fire a flash for the photo. In auto mode the flash will control the shutter andaperature settings so you should become familar with the flash settingslike normal and slow sync and any other settings that could be there.

If you turn the flash off you will need steady hands or a tri-pod. Then you need to watch your LCD as you adjust the exposer comphensation (EV) settings to + to increase the light in the photo. Some of the cameras that use contrast detection will also do thiis automatically?


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Old Jan 24, 2006, 11:00 AM   #3
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I understand why it is there,, but picture being the photographer at a formal outing, and shooting your little red light at everyone.. (a christmas party, or a wedding, lights are dim) are people laughing at you? or will my little red light become a nuisance? I am afraid people will hate me because of my little red light, even though it is necessary. Any opinions on this?
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Old Jan 24, 2006, 11:03 AM   #4
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Most better flashes include some kind AF assist lamp or system but use of it depends on camera, not all cameras compatible with flash in question use it.
Also I'm quite sure that using it requires proprietary flash shoe with special functions so that camera is able to tell flash to start AF assist.

Also AF assist light should be some constantly flashing strobe but one which is activated while camera is focusing so that might have been some indicator light.
(Metz 54 I have for KonicaMinolta A2 has such red light flashing once in every few seconds when its in wireless mode)


normc wrote:
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The red light is the focus assist lamp that will typically go about 12 feet. You need it especially for low light conditions. The other method that some cameras use for focus is contrast detection.

If you turn the flash off you will need steady hands or a tri-pod. Then you need to watch your LCD as you adjust the exposer comphensation (EV) settings to + to increase the light in the photo. Some of the cameras that use contrast detection will also do thiis automatically?
1. All consumer non-SLR digicams use contrast detection.
It's just that contrast detection of many cheaper cameras requires quite bright lightning/edge contrast to work and that's where these AF assist system come to play, some just turn light on and other project precise brighter pattern which gives contrast detection something to focus when overall light level is low.
While cameras with those can focus in darkness that's only for close shots because range of those systems is quite limited.
On the other hand more expensive cameras with high quality contrast detection can still focus in quite dim light without such system which mean they don't have such focusing range limit, but in complete darkness they require using manual focus.


2. Any camera with decent automatic mode should make right exposure without flash unless there's some limitation like support only for short exposure times.
Also bigger exposure times cause blurring even without handshake if target isn't stationary.
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Old Jan 24, 2006, 1:36 PM   #5
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thanks again for the help,



What I am asking though, is when you see me at your party, and I am taking pictures....and my little red light comes on....and shines on your best friends face....are you laughing at me, or ...



Do I look like a schmuck because my camera needs the red grid/beam from focusing?
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Old Jan 24, 2006, 2:51 PM   #6
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NOT ME!
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Old Jan 25, 2006, 3:59 AM   #7
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i would not be thinking anything of it because i know what it is for.
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