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Old Aug 15, 2002, 9:22 PM   #1
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Default low-light&autofocus

I'm generally quite happy with my Ricoh, that is, for studio or full-light work. however, sometimes I need to document something I observe in low light, and I have trouble with focus. I can see it okay, but the camera cannot. I generally try to illuminate the field with not-too direct light from a flashlight , and sometimes that works enough for the camera to autofocus. More often, though, I get a blur, or an image that is distorted by the unevenness or glare or reflection of the light from my flashlight.

Where I don't have sufficient ambient light, nor a decent independent light source to add, what do you suggest? I don't have the kind of estimating knack to pick another, better-lit object to lock the focus distance on and then move the camera to what I'm trying to shoot.

A typical subject would be cracked insulation on old wires a couple of inches deep inside a switch box, shooting at/through a 2 x 3" front opening.
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Old Aug 15, 2002, 10:01 PM   #2
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You don't mention what camera your using. Many of of the higher end digitals have either a iluminating focus lamp or IR focus on the camera wich will lock on to some sort of contrast that is in the focus view.

I'm sorry, but I have the higher end d-SLR and focus in wonderful even at macro, close-up.
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Old Aug 27, 2002, 6:09 PM   #3
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Sorry, it's a Ricoh 5000.

I actually haven't done too, too shabbily by focusing on something well-lit that seems about the same distance as my target, and then holidng htat focus while moving back into the murk. Just wondered whether there was anything better to try. It just seems incongruous to me that there are so many things I can see that my camera cannot.
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Old Aug 27, 2002, 7:40 PM   #4
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One of the mods here on this forum had an interesting suggestion of using a laser pointer with the grid effect, getting a good focus lock on the pattern, and then taking the picture.

This won't help in some situations, but it seemed like a good idea and should work good for some low light shooting situations.
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Old Aug 27, 2002, 8:44 PM   #5
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Thanks. I'll have to try that.
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Old Aug 28, 2002, 1:00 PM   #6
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Default laser pointer

I use a Fuji S602 and I have the same focusing problem.
The laser pointer idea sounded nice, so I decided to try it:
I turned off the light in the room, pointed the laser at the wall ahead (it showed a wide grid, not the dot), and tried to focus the camera on it. It didn't work.
I first thought that maybe the light area is too small, so I used the zoom to enlarge it until it filled the whole frame. The battery was new and the light was steady and strong. Still, it didn't work.
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