what's your trick for focusing at night

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by TurboRaddo, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. TurboRaddo

    TurboRaddo TPF Noob!

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    so what is everyone's trick for focusing for night shots. dark enough that auto focus won't work. i was just playing around with some shots that had like 25 second exposure times, and they would have looked really nice, if they were in focus.

    also in some shots there was some light, and it was causing a rainbowish glare in a spot on the picture. i was shooting with a canon XT with canon 50mm f/1.8 II. is there a filter that will help with this?
     
  2. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    WAG! Seriously, this is where the scale marked on the lens comes in handy. It ain't exactly precise but it's better than nothing.

    If it's what I think, you don't want a filter, you want a hood.
     
  3. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    manual

    [​IMG]
    D80 w/ 50mm f/1.4D @ f/2, 1/15s, iso3200.
     
  4. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Only chance you have is MANUAL focussing. Particularly with the 50mm 1.8 all autofocus will downright fail at night, with no reference point for the lens to find.

    There were times when I was uncertain I'd focus right manually (after long sessions, me wearing glasses, too, my vision tends to get blurred, more so in darkness when adaptation to different light and distance situations is more strenuous for the eyes, anyway), I try to spot-metre the BRIGHTEST point (and sometimes the lens will comply), lock, and recompose from there, but it is not quite as easily done with the camera on the tripod...
     
  5. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    MF plain and simple Manually focusing on the subject at hand.


    For the rainbowish glare you speak of, that is likely lens flare, Picking up a hood should help elininate or atleast reduce it.
     
  6. TurboRaddo

    TurboRaddo TPF Noob!

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    thanks everyone. i was only using manual focus (just tried the auto focus to see what it would do), but i just couldn't see very good.
    i guess i'm gonna go back out tonight and just keep guessing at manual focus settings (maybe do like 5 of the same shots with 5 different manual focus settings), along with trying to guesstimate how far i am from objects to try and help.
    the funniest part is that i took one last night, looked at it on the lcd on the camera and was like... yea that one came out great. then i got it on the computer and it was not even close. the dark really plays with my eyes.
    haha

    also thanks for the advice on the hood. i don't have any experience with them, and being a beginner i thought something like that would only help in very bright situations.
     
  7. Sobek5150

    Sobek5150 TPF Noob!

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    Well, the hood will help with any situation where light that is coming into your lens from a frontal angle that is not intended to be there. Like that street light you might have seen off the the side of your shot? You probably didn't include it in your shot, but that light is still making its way to your lens. Having that lens hood will help reduce that light from hitting the lens elements. Good luck!
     
  8. passerby

    passerby TPF Noob!

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    I think if the focusing light beam hit the solid object - the lens auto focusing will work. I am talking about light beam fired from tiny bulb located next to the shutter button. I don't know if it is a laser beam, but it lit up the the object I intent to shoot. If there is no solid object within it's reach - the lens automatically will set the focusing mechanism to infinity. When the beam hit the ever changing object that is when the focusing goes "nut". So far that is what I know.
     
  9. Dubious Drewski

    Dubious Drewski TPF Noob!

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    A focusing screen! Seriously though, people have told me it doesn't work so well in low light, but I disagree entirely. Now that I have this thing installed on my K10, I'm never taking it out.

    Instead of having to see if an object is blury or clear, which can be impossible in low light, you just have to line-up two images. I'll admit this is also made more difficult by low light, but it's still 10 times easier and more reliable than not using a screen.
     

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