PDA

View Full Version : Another use for the AF lamp



stevage
10-14-2005, 07:49 AM
Hi all,
I've noticed with the Fuji Finepix F10 that the AF lamp is so bright (green) that you can use it sort of like a laser sight on a sniper rifle. At 3-7 metre range, I can point the camera at someone, half-press the trigger, see where the green light lands, re-aim and eventually take a well-focused image, all without looking at the LCD screen. This is very handy for "shooting from the hip", and taking unusual angles like holding the camera over your head, which would otherwise be complete guesswork. It also works well for candid shots, as the subjects are less aware (once the green beam goes away) that you're taking a photo, as you can hold the camera well off to one side. I've also had success holding the camera behind me, in order to get the flash further away from the subject, so that even if I'm only a metre away, the camera ends up 1.5m, enough to avoid a complete white-out image.

Do other cameras have such a strong AF lamp? Mostly it's a bit of a pain as people find it annoying, but at least it has one use...

Steve

gary_hendricks
10-14-2005, 08:34 AM
This is indeed interesting. I've known cameras to have a red light focus lamp but I've never heard of a green one!

Anyway, I think your view point here is interesting. To many of us rely on the LCD screen to shoot pictures. In a way, the focus assist lamp is way underused in many digital cameras. I think if we promote it's use and subsequently have less reliance on the LCD screen - that's great!

I remember in the days of old (not too long ago) where we didn't have all these fancy LCD screens and one had to rely fully on technique, technique and technique!

If you focus the light on someone, sniping in a way, can you ensure that the image is well focused? I guess so. I've tried using the auto focus lamp on my Panasonic FZ20 (http://www.basic-digital-photography.com/panasonic-lumix-dmc-fz20-review.html) before and I think it's great! If you want to improve your photography skills, I'd certainly recommend doing something like that.

gary_hendricks
10-14-2005, 08:35 AM
This is indeed interesting. I've known cameras to have a red light focus lamp but I've never heard of a green one!

Anyway, I think your view point here is interesting. To many of us rely on the LCD screen to shoot pictures. In a way, the focus assist lamp is way underused in many digital cameras. I think if we promote it's use and subsequently have less reliance on the LCD screen - that's great!

I remember in the days of old (not too long ago) where we didn't have all these fancy LCD screens and one had to rely fully on technique, technique and technique!

If you focus the light on someone, sniping in a way, can you ensure that the image is well focused? I guess so. I've tried using the auto focus lamp on my Panasonic FZ20 (http://www.basic-digital-photography.com/panasonic-lumix-dmc-fz20-review.html) before and I think it's great! If you want to improve your photography skills, I'd certainly recommend doing something like that.

Dawoofo
10-14-2005, 02:45 PM
The Canon Powershot S2 IS has a green focus assist light also. Took me a while to figure out what it was because all the ones I'd seen before were also red. :p It's a pretty bright one too.

stevage
10-16-2005, 07:32 AM
If you focus the light on someone, sniping in a way, can you ensure that the image is well focused?

I think so. Basically, the first thing the green beam hits will tell you the focal length. So if that's the wall behind the person, then you hold the shutter button down and eventually take the photo, it'll definitely be out. But if I hit the subject's legs first, or "even more advanced" hit someone else standing at the same distance, then it's usually about right.

So far I probably get it in focus about 2/3 of the time, but I'm sure with practice that will get better.

Steve

MBCook
10-18-2005, 10:46 AM
That's an interesting idea. I have a Powershot S2 IS and the light is more than a light. While other cameras (my Nikon Coolpix 5200, for example) just shine a light in an attempt to improve focus, the S2 shines a light, with 4 squares in the middle (in a checkerboard) and I think there are four squares in the middle of that. It gives the camera something to focus on, and in the dark it is VERY bright. I'd never thought of using it like that. If you know where the light lands (around the middle of the frame, if not dead center, as I remember), you could use that to accurately aim (although you wouldn't know what else was in frame).

Neat idea.

stevage
10-18-2005, 03:24 PM
No, you definitely don't know what else is in frame. But you quickly get an idea of visually how much is in frame at what zoom. You have to expect to crop the shot later on to get rid of unwanted people, frame things etc. Definitely "after the fact" photography...

Spoken as if I was an expert...

Steve

Phill D
10-18-2005, 10:58 PM
Yes I've done that too & it works pretty well on the FZ20. I used it for some macros with flash as well when the light had gone far too dark & I could track the movement of a spider with the AF lamp just like using a torch to make sure he had not crawled out of the frame. The AF light did not seem to disturb the spider as a torch probably would have done. One thing I did notice was that when you get very close in macro the AF lamp is slightly off centre & gets obstructed by the lense a bit. I thought it was a problem with my camera at first but I think it is just the geometry of the AF lamp's position when you get very close. Anyway image captured with this technique attached - not brilliant but it was fun chasing him round his web.