night focusing

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Jcoffee, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. Jcoffee

    Jcoffee TPF Noob!

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    I went out the other night and found out that it is really hard to focus on something you cant see very well so if anyone had any tips on how to focus at night i would appreciate it. thanks
     
  2. Philip Weir

    Philip Weir TPF Noob!

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    I assume you are shooting digital, so the lens should automatically focus, but as you say, if it's very dark the camera does have a problem. All you can do is set your camera on manual and focus through the viewfinder. The lens though should have distance markings on it. Good luck.
     
  3. Tiberius

    Tiberius TPF Noob!

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    In Low-Light settings, I usually switch to Manual Focus as well. Your choice is really to spend the cash to buy a faster lens (and f/2.8 zooms don't come cheap), which even then doesn't guarantee results in low light, or to learn to manually focus.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    What camera are we talking about here? Is it that auto-focus won't work...or that you just can't see well enough?

    Autofocus needs something that it can see...something with contrast. (a blank wall won't help much).

    A lot of cameras have AF assist. There are several different types. Some shine a small light onto the subject. Some fire the flash several times. Some use an IR beam to get the distance. Sometimes a dedicated accessory flash will assist the camera to focus.

    Back in the day, most lenses had distance scales on them. You could estimate the focus by knowing or estimating the distance to the subject and set the lens with the scale. Most newer lenses do not have this feature anymore.
     
  5. Jcoffee

    Jcoffee TPF Noob!

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    im using a 350d with a 17- 40mm l lens. I have been using manual and basically doing what you guys said, kinda estimate the length and set the lens that way. I didnt know if there was some special technique that was easier or not. thanks everyone for the quick responses
     
  6. THORHAMMER

    THORHAMMER TPF Noob!

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    I dont know if this will solve your problem, but it works for me...

    Sometimes If the subject I want to focus on isnt too far away I can use a flashlight and light it well enough to see in the viewfinder to manual focus it, or it may trigger enough light for the auto focus...

    with the kit lens, you can swivel the tripod head around and find something same distance bright enough to lock focus onto while you are zoomed into it
    then unzoom and swivel and recompose.
     
  7. Unimaxium

    Unimaxium TPF Noob!

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    If the subject is close enough, the pop-up flash will act as an AF assist light when you pop it up. If you're shooting something like a landscape or building, however, you're kinda outta luck (unless, of course, the object is past infinity; then you just set the lens to its farthest focus)
     
  8. electrickiisses

    electrickiisses TPF Noob!

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  9. darin3200

    darin3200 TPF Noob!

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    Use autofocus and focus on the lights.

    Or manual focus and do a couple shot. Maybe set the lens to infinity, turn the camera to burst mode. As you hold down the shutter button slowly turn the lens to the closer focus.
     
  10. omeletteman

    omeletteman TPF Noob!

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    I like darin's idea... and also the suggestion of a flashlight, though that can only work in certain situations. Other thing to try is focus on an bright object that is an equal distance (approx) away from the camera to whatever your shooting, then recompose for the shot you actually want to take.
     

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