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Old Aug 13, 2010, 3:20 PM   #1
spy
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Default Focus by Laser light

I am very excited to write this article which addresses the photographer's need to photograph at night and the camera's inability to get a focus lock in darkness.

If you like going out at night or even during an early morning heavy fog and you get all set up to take a photo of something nearby and you reach for that flashlight to light up your subject but then you quickly find out that your flashlight just isn't powerful enough for your camera to get a focus lock, then your in the camp of many other photographers who have dealt with the same frustrations.

One night as I was playing around with my 580ex speedlight, I got to thinking about the infra red light it emits in low light which enables the camera to get a focus lock on the subject nearby and one thing led to another and before I knew it, I thought 'why wouldn't a small red laser work just as well'? The next day I raced down to 'The Dollar Store' and bought my first $1 red laser with the little watch batteries and found a dark room in my house to try it out.

IT WORKED! I was so pumped and used it everywhere during my night outings. There was only one problem, it only worked on subjects around 30 or so feet away and I quickly found it's limitations. From this point, I was working on a commercial construction job site and these electricians were using high powered green lasers to point around with. They bought them on ebay and that is were I bought my second laser. For $45, it was 100 times brighter and better than the little $1 red laser so I then used it to help my camera focus at night. It had a focus reach of about 150 ft.

It wasn't long after getting my ebay 5 mW green laser 2 AAA pointer that I was trying to focus on subjects too far away for this laser to work and I started doing some research and landed here www.wickedlasers.com

I saved up some money and bought my 3rd green laser for $200. The 60 mW green laser 2 AA is what I use today for all my night photography and has a focus reach of 600 ft. It is extremely bright as you can see by the photos.

Of all the research into these lasers I've done, I will steer everyone to www.wickedlasers.com instead of ebay just because of their laser technology is superior.

I went out last night again for another photo shoot getting home at 5:30am! The subject in the first photo is at 300 ft. The subjects in the second photo are at 600 ft.
Kevin
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 3:26 PM   #2
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be careful with the 60w laser, it will cause retina damage. It might not be a good idea to laze something you can not see.
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 3:34 PM   #3
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Very valuable point shoturtle. Extreme caution is advisable as lasers can bounce around when glass or windows is nearby and can reflect the beam back at you.
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 3:40 PM   #4
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back about 15 years ago, when US military helo pilots were doing drug interdiction missions. The bad guys used commercial grade laser to hit the pilots in the eye. That is why all helio pilots and ground combat soldiers are issue energy dispersing eyewear. It also made us look meaner, but it has a protection purpose also.
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 5:51 PM   #5
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That's pretty cool, Kevin!

By coincidence, I happened to read an article today on "cheap" green lasers and infrared. More of a safety article, but I thought it was interesting.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38692291...ce-innovation/

Mike
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 10:18 PM   #6
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Very interesting about the laser pointer. We have one that our kids bought for the cats to play with. I'll try that sometime. Thanks!
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Old Aug 14, 2010, 12:06 AM   #7
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interesting idea... i haven't needed to resort to lasers - i've had pretty good luck just using manual focus. then again, for most of my low-light stuff, i'm outdoors, and my subject is, for all practical purposes, at infinity, and i can just set the focus ring by hand. either that or my flashlight will reach far enough to let me focus at the hyperfocal distance... the laser sight on one of my pistols will send a dot 1/4 mile, though - maybe i'll try that next time i'm "shooting in the dark"...
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Old Aug 14, 2010, 4:03 AM   #8
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I'ts much to dangerous to use laser light for focusing in low light , I'ts much safer to use a large bank or serveral banks of infra-red diodes.
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Old Aug 14, 2010, 10:35 AM   #9
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Musket, I have not heard of using several banks of infra-red diodes. Is this possible plus it sounds like it's not something you can put in your pocket or around your neck with a lanyard.
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Old Aug 14, 2010, 12:37 PM   #10
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Have you tried those led flash lights at home depot, and change the front lens from clear to red, It does not reach as far as 60W laser, but it good for 200 feet.
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