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Old Jun 22, 2004, 3:20 AM   #1
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I have been playing sucd3ssfully with a Crafstman Laser Trac as a focus assist device.
The laser track is ae made in china small leveling laser ($about $30 us) that projects a line that can be rotated 90 degrees. I attach mine using a large flat head bolt called a 1/4 x 20 refrigerator bolt from Lowe's (85 cents us $). This bolt screws into the tripod socket on the camera and has a machined flat head about an inch in diameter that the magnet on the level base holds. This type of mount requires no machining. It seems secure and can generate a nice vertical line for manual focus in the dark or on indistinct low contrast copy close ups. The magnet can also swivel on the bolt head. A knob rotates the beam line 90 degrees if taking a shot with the camera turned sideways. It can be rotated out of the viewing are quickly without bothering to turn the beam off.


(I don't recommend shining lasers in peoples eyes, even low power distributed over an entire line length, although probably harmless.)
If anyone else plays with this let me know what you think.
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Old Jun 22, 2004, 4:21 AM   #2
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Very interesting, could you post some pictures of your setup on the web? I solved this problem with a manual focus scale on my FZ10 which works very well but I think your solution is better.

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Old Jun 22, 2004, 11:02 AM   #3
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Here you can find an article about my manual focus distance scale:

http://www.users.bigpond.com/vkelim/DMCFZ10/node94.html

Here are a couple of shots I did using this scale and my external flash:

http://www.photodex.com/sharing/view...html?alb=79105

They were taken at a disco party, the only illumination were flashing colored lights. On most shots it was impossible to use auto or manual focus but all my pictures came out in focus!

Klaas Bloem
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Old Jun 23, 2004, 1:29 PM   #4
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How exactly does this work? Are you projecting the beam so you have something to focus on?
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Old Jun 23, 2004, 2:24 PM   #5
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What distance will it allow you to focus to? I suppose you turn the laser off after you focus or it would show in the image.

I like Klaas' solution. Simple and effective.

I put a little LED light on mine. It has a switch rather than momentary button and will allow focus out to at least 12 feet. The laser might give better focus range for an external flash though. The nice thing about the LED is that you can leave it on all the time without it being in the way.
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Old Jun 23, 2004, 5:31 PM   #6
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I project a vertical laser line. I can manual focus on the line as far as I can see it in the viewfinder and that depends on the light. The cameral can also use the vertical line to focus assist or autofocus.

In dark condition at night, the I find the line of this laser is only visible in the viewfinder for an absolute maximum of 18 feet. 12 feet would be a good operating maximum.

After focussing or outofocussing, the laser line can be rotated out of the field of view with the support hand with a slight twist of the wrist prior to pressing the shutter button all the way down.

It worked well when taking test pictures at 3-6 feet in the pantry with autofocus and seems nice for macro work of low definition subjects.

Scales are good, too. A scale would work better when you don't want to disturb your subject with a projected light and is light weight and convenient. The laser may be handy for low definition macro work.

I'm still playing.
I'll post some pictures this weekend.



Dan






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Old Jun 24, 2004, 10:59 PM   #7
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This sounds interesting. One problem may be having a magnet close to your sd card. Also, is there anyting inside of the camera that a magnet may effect?



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Old Jun 24, 2004, 11:50 PM   #8
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jtwatson wrote:
Quote:
This sounds interesting.¬* One problem¬* may be having a magnet close to your sd card.
I'd be surprised if a magnet affected a flash card.

Quote:
Also, is there anything inside of the camera that a magnet may affect?
I'm told the image stabiliser runs on electromagnets. If you had a big enough magnet, I suppose it would pull that off centre or limit its effectiveness.
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Old Jun 30, 2004, 3:16 AM   #9
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I took multiple pictures this weekend. ThisThis idea is maybe good only for afew applications. For close up copy work on x-rays the laser gets burned out by the viewbox and isn't seen in light areas. It works for macro on solid not too brightly lit objects. Doesn't work very far, and doesn't work on people. The magnet is at the bottom of bolt with a flat head screwed into the camera. The bolt is 3 or 4 cm long and the field poles are shorted by the bolt when attached so the field is not a problem. But, a 12 foot range and limited utility for bright or well lit objects makes it not worth the trouble unless a particular need, at least with a weak laser. I will use the laser level for hanging pictures.

For general work, Klaas' scale or a led flashlight or small led light wins hands down.

Dan
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