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Old Oct 5, 2010, 4:51 AM   #1
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Default FZ35 Focus help

Hello everyone, first post here.

Been reading and reviewing posts for quite a while now so thought I would toss my hat in the ring with a question.

I've had my FZ35 for about 2 months now and am very happy with it. Took about 2000 images over in Vietnam & Cambodia recently and most impressed with the results.

In my garden at present I have heaps of green tree frogs which is amazing as we haven't had many in the past 12 months, we've had a lot of rain on the north coast of NSW in Australia which presents some great photo opportunities.

Last night I was trying to get close ups of the frogs, say about 12" away and in the dark, but the AF assist lamp was of no assistance. The camera just couldn't seem to focus on the frogs until my wife added light on the subject from a flashlight. I tried on the I-Auto, Program mode and various Scene settings. In Program mode I have it set to spot focus so I can zoom in on birds in heavy foliage in trees, but I don't think that would be the problem. This is the first time I've tried taking close ups at night since owning the camera.

Any comments on this subjest will be appreciated.

Cheers

Pat
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Old Oct 5, 2010, 5:19 AM   #2
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Spot focus could be the problem. The focus works by trying to get the best contrast in the focus area but if your frogs have smooth skin there might not be enough detail in that area. I also think the AF assist lamp isn't designed for close-up work. I've just tried a quick test and at 12" the AF lamp is illuminating a spot above and left of the spot focus area so you really need to use an area focus for it to work.
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Old Oct 5, 2010, 5:40 AM   #3
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The AF assist lamp probably didnt work because you were so close to the subject that the parallax between the AF lamp and CCD line of sight resulted in the AF lamp not illuminating the subject (eg, illuminated over it). There are a couple ways to handle this:

1. Do a compose on a sufficiently lit nearby object 12" away to attain focus, then while holding the PIX button half way (or use the AF/AE lock) move over to the actual intended subject (12" estimated) and snap the PIX.

2. Just use manual focus as the camera has, for a given close setting, an operational focus range (eg, you should see that the camera will show, via a red indicator bar, that the set focus has a valid operational range window 3" to 12" from the CCD). Use the MF assist option to fine tune the distance for best focus. Also in manual, you will be able to control shutter and DOF easily.
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Old Oct 5, 2010, 9:51 AM   #4
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Also a tripod will get much better results and free up your hands.
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Old Oct 5, 2010, 10:45 AM   #5
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As mentioned by sdromel, you could be too close for the focus to work.
If you have zoomed in, you have to be at least certain feet away from the subject depending upon the zoom.
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Old Oct 5, 2010, 11:54 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. I reckon it's a combination of being too close and the shiny wet ? frogs maybe. I'll try the manual focus within the distance needed and I'm sure it will fix the issue.

Thanks everyone

Pat
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Old Oct 7, 2010, 1:32 PM   #7
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That's funny, I just bought the FZ40 recently and I was having the same problem taking pictures of my pet rats last night in low light (they are mostly black). I was getting frustrated with the inability to focus and the autofocus lamp, as with you, was no help at all. I am glad to hear this issue seems to be limited to this situation. I have not used the FZ40 much yet, so I was afraid this was a problem in other situations.
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Old Oct 8, 2010, 1:35 AM   #8
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I'll get out in the garden this weekend and hunt down some more frogs so I can use them as models ! I'll try a few shots from a metre away and just use the zoom and check out the difference and post the images in a few days.

Pat
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Old Oct 8, 2010, 3:01 AM   #9
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I noticed a similar thing taking close up shots in low light. I was taking some pictures very late in the afternoon, and as the sun went down and got darker, my camera (FZ35) also started having trouble focusing on the subject, and I had to keep zooming out. I don't know exactly why this is, but I'm positive it has to do with surrounding low light.
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