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Old Aug 15, 2007, 4:12 PM   #11
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DarkDTSHD wrote:
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Thanks JimC. I was aware of that. And that in the case of the 30D the flash will strobe when "AF Assisting". Which would be pretty annoying in portrait situaitons. So, if I do go with the 30D's replacement I'd probably rely more on an external flash or end up manual focusing in low light.

Have a good day.
Jim's given some good points, but I'm confused by this point above. If lighting is so poor that you need focus assist beam it's poor enough you're going to have an extremely slow shutter speed. That isn't very practical for most shots involving people. 1/15 exposures aren't going to work very well in most shots with people (sure there are some exceptions). But if you don't want to ruin the mood of the shot, you certainly don't want to tell someone - "Don't move while I take this photo".

So I'm a little unclear of what situation you think you'll be in where you think the light level will be so poor you need assist, but yet you don't want to use flash and you can still get away with very slow shutter speeds.

If you're getting fast enough shutter speeds for candid shots (1/60 or so) you won't need focus assist.
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Old Aug 15, 2007, 4:26 PM   #12
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You can leave AF assist turned off with many models, whether or not the light is good enough to get away without using a flash. ;-)

I think AF assist can spoil facial expressions, especially the kind that uses a camera's flash for AF assist.

It's the first thing I changed in the menus when I got my Maxxum 5D. I found it very annoying and of limited value anyway with a good lens in most indoor conditions.

P.S.

I feel the same way about redeye reduction. I keep it turned off, even on compact cameras with "demon eye". I'd rather try to correct the redeye versus ruin facial expressions because of extra flashes alerting subjects.

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Old Aug 15, 2007, 7:42 PM   #13
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JohnG wrote:
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DarkDTSHD wrote:
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Thanks JimC. I was aware of that. And that in the case of the 30D the flash will strobe when "AF Assisting". Which would be pretty annoying in portrait situaitons. So, if I do go with the 30D's replacement I'd probably rely more on an external flash or end up manual focusing in low light.

Have a good day.
Jim's given some good points, but I'm confused by this point above. If lighting is so poor that you need focus assist beam it's poor enough you're going to have an extremely slow shutter speed. That isn't very practical for most shots involving people. 1/15 exposures aren't going to work very well in most shots with people (sure there are some exceptions). But if you don't want to ruin the mood of the shot, you certainly don't want to tell someone - "Don't move while I take this photo".

So I'm a little unclear of what situation you think you'll be in where you think the light level will be so poor you need assist, but yet you don't want to use flash and you can still get away with very slow shutter speeds.

If you're getting fast enough shutter speeds for candid shots (1/60 or so) you won't need focus assist.


Hello JohnG,

I'm not really sure if I follow your confusion.I was just speaking in general terms. As the degree of darkness in one bar can vary. As would be the case in any venue.

One of the first people who posted comments on this thread said that AF Assist is really only needed in low-light scenarios. So, I just noted that I would consider using AF Assist in "typical low-light"situaitons. Such as a dimly lit bar as an example.

I had no ideathat a good lens (small aperture) would play into getting the shot nore than if I used AF Assist or not. As JimC mentioned. Which is why I posted my question here in the newbie forum.

As for asking some one not to move...not sure I understand what you mean. And how would using AF Assist (or redeye reduction) ruin a shot? (JimC) Are you referring to the Canon 30D when you're using the built-in flash which strobes? Annoying guys like JimC to the point wherethey don't even bother using them.


And, when you are using the external AF Assist lamp (Nikon's) in cameras or external flashes do they all strobe? Or do they simply send a beam of light invisible to the subject?

I simply assumed AF Assist was a good thing. And a necessary feature to look for in choosing a DSLR. Guess I was wrong.

Can you (JimC as well or any one else) briefly outline what vital features I should be looking for in a DSLR? You and JimC both sound fairly experienced. I'm just a hobbyist shooting for the fun when I find the time.

Thanks.

P.S. Sometimes it's hard to explain oneslef in posts. Needing to wait for the other to reply. If any one is interested we could continue this chat some time vis MSN Messenger Live. Please PM me for my e-mail.


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Old Aug 15, 2007, 8:44 PM   #14
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DarkDTSHD wrote:
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As for asking some one not to move...not sure I understand what you mean. And how would using AF Assist (or redeye reduction) ruin a shot? (JimC) Are you referring to the Canon 30D when you're using the built-in flash which strobes? Annoying guys like JimC to the point wherethey don't even bother using them.
OK, I may have misread your post. My point is simply - if you're in a dimly lit place - take the bar for instance - if the camera needs the AF assist beam to focus, chances are the light levels are too low to get an acceptable shutter speed WITHOUT using flash. I'm not sure why I thought you were trying to use the ASSIST BEAM but NOT use the flash. Again, I misread.

To Jim's point, some flashes strobe to provide focus assist - it's a very annoying thing. Most external flashes produce a red light to use as an assist - a lot less annoying than the burst of white light but some photographers may not even want that. They don't want people to react to even that lesser amount of light. So their preference would be (if lighting was too poor for autofocus to work) to focus manually so there is no 'warning' to the subject until the flash fires at the time the exposure is taken. In this manner you capture more natural expressions.

As to focusing better with different lenses - that works until a certain point. For instance an f2.0 lens lets in 8 times as much light as a 5.6 lens. So the camera has more light to focus with. But you still reach a point where the camera can't detect enough light to focus by. So just about any dslr will focus better with a f2.0 lens than 5.6. But it's also true that certain cameras will focus better with a 2.0 lens than others will because their focusing system is more sensitive to light.

Also, not sure if it has been mentioned but the AF assist on an internal or external doesn't always fire. The camera determines if it's necessary and uses it.

As to what to look for in a DSLR, unfortunately there is no single answer. There is no one camera that is the perfect fit for every photographer. The key is to figure out what types of photography interest you. Given that information, the people here can tell you what camera, lens and accessory features are beneficial for that type of photography. More often than not there are still multiple camera/lens combinations that will meet your needs. That's when you start factoring in desired but not necessary features, ergonomics and brand preferences.
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Old Aug 15, 2007, 8:49 PM   #15
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I like taking lots of candid type photos, I think you lose a bit of the candidness of the expressions you catch if you alert people with extra flashes (either from focus assist or red eye reduction).

The AF assist see on modern external flashes is a separate visible light source (most use a red light pattern), and they're less annoying compared to the flash based systems.

It's a matter of preference. Some people like AF Assist. I'd prefer a bit harder time locking focus when light gets real low versus using it myself.

But, not all lenses are as easy to use in low light. Some focus a lot better than others when light gets real low. You'll see some differences between camera models, too.

However, we're hijacking a two year old thread having to do with Autofocus speed in low light. ;-)

Since it sounds like you're also trying to find out what camera kit may best fit your needs, it's probably better if you start a new thread for that purpose in the What Camera Should I Buy Forum



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Old Aug 15, 2007, 9:09 PM   #16
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JohnG wrote:
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DarkDTSHD wrote:
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As for asking some one not to move...not sure I understand what you mean. And how would using AF Assist (or redeye reduction) ruin a shot? (JimC) Are you referring to the Canon 30D when you're using the built-in flash which strobes? Annoying guys like JimC to the point wherethey don't even bother using them.
OK, I may have misread your post. My point is simply - if you're in a dimly lit place - take the bar for instance - if the camera needs the AF assist beam to focus, chances are the light levels are too low to get an acceptable shutter speed WITHOUT using flash. I'm not sure why I thought you were trying to use the ASSIST BEAM but NOT use the flash. Again, I misread.

Also, not sure if it has been mentioned but the AF assist on an internal or external doesn't always fire. The camera determines if it's necessary and uses it.

.
I see what you're saying now. I also didn't know that AF Assist is only intended under extreme low-light situations. I thought by "low-light" that included everything from shooting outdoors under shade to a dark bar that relied on candles for illumination. And everything in-between.

And your other point about when AF Asisst fires...no no one mentioned it yet. Noted.

JimC,

Me, I like to take both. Candid natural shots and at times "posed" shots. Just depends on the situation I think. Of course natural expression on subjects look better. No disagreement there!

Any how thanks for your help guys. Much appreciated!! I'll ask my other quetion in the orher forum.

Have a good week.
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Old Aug 15, 2007, 10:05 PM   #17
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DarkDTSHD wrote:
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I also didn't know that AF Assist is only intended under extreme low-light situations. I thought by "low-light" that included everything from shooting outdoors under shade to a dark bar that relied on candles for illumination. And everything in-between.
That's going to depend on the camera and lens you're using. Some are going to cope much better in low light compared to others.

A lens that's not very bright or sharp may hunt and be unable to focus in light that a brighter and higher quality lens would have no problem in.

But, any camera/lens combination is going to have limits. When you hit those limits, you'll need to decide how to handle it, and some of that comes down to preference.

For example, you can "coax" the camera a bit by finding a better focus target to lock on, reframing as necessary after getting a lock, or you can use AF assist, or you can use manual focus).

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