Nikon 5400 Low light poor focus

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Mike, Feb 13, 2004.

  1. Mike

    Mike Guest

    My new Nikon 5400 is very bad at automatic focusing in poor light. I usually
    use it in the automatic mode using the viewfinder, not the screen, and I am
    trying to decide if the thing is
    faulty or not. It is now over 4 months old so I would need to return it
    directly to Nikon. Reading various reports on this camera suggest a in built
    auto focus problem, hence my dilemma.

    If I try to take a picture at night in a room illuminated by say a 100w bulb
    the auto focus will only lock in 20 to 30 % of the time. I tried to take
    some photos of a new born baby in a hospital room and found great difficulty
    in getting a focus lock. If I use the zoom this problem seems to be worse.
    In daylight the camera works fine.

    My last camera (Fuji F601) did not seem to have any problem.

    Any feedback from other owners would be appreciated, please reply to group -
    Thank you.

    Mike.
    Mike, Feb 13, 2004
    #1
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  2. "Mike" <> wrote in message
    news:c0jij3$b2t$...
    > My new Nikon 5400 is very bad at automatic focusing in poor light.


    People have said this about the 5700 as well. You may need to find a
    contrasty edge at the same distance and focus on that, in low-light
    conditions, and obvious experience helps. Try pressing the shuuter
    release half-way to focus, then just press the full distance when your
    composition is correct.

    Whether it varies between cameras enough to justify sending one back I
    wouldn't like to guess. Try and gain more experience using pre-focus as I
    described, or a fixed distance setting (particularly when zoomed to
    wide-angle).

    Cheers,
    David
    David J Taylor, Feb 14, 2004
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  3. Mike

    Ed Ruf Guest

    On Fri, 13 Feb 2004 22:20:20 +0000 (UTC), in rec.photo.digital "Mike"
    <> wrote:

    >My new Nikon 5400 is very bad at automatic focusing in poor light. I usually
    >use it in the automatic mode using the viewfinder, not the screen, and I am
    >trying to decide if the thing is
    >faulty or not. It is now over 4 months old so I would need to return it
    >directly to Nikon. Reading various reports on this camera suggest a in built
    >auto focus problem, hence my dilemma.
    >
    >If I try to take a picture at night in a room illuminated by say a 100w bulb
    >the auto focus will only lock in 20 to 30 % of the time. I tried to take
    >some photos of a new born baby in a hospital room and found great difficulty
    >in getting a focus lock. If I use the zoom this problem seems to be worse.
    >In daylight the camera works fine.
    >
    >My last camera (Fuji F601) did not seem to have any problem.


    First if you look at the specs for the lenses for the two cameras, you will
    see that the Nikon is slower, larger f-number, for all but the shortest
    focal length setting, so it's gathering respectively less light than the
    Fuji. The Nikon focus mechanism/algorithm is know for having some trouble
    in low light situations and Nikon has dropped the ball IMO by doing away
    with the distance readout for manual focusing on newer model. There are
    some steps you can take to hopefully improve the situation. Most will
    require you to not use the auto mode and begin at least using Programmed
    mode. Don't be afraid of this, for in reality Programmed mode at it's
    simplest is exactly like Auto mode, only with the additional benefit of
    giving you access to other features as well.

    From p. 69 of the "Fabulous Manual:"

    In (auto) mode (and at all scene-mode settings
    except Portrait and Close up), the camera
    automatically focuses on the subject in the focus
    area at the center of the frame, shown by the
    focus brackets in the viewfinder.

    Try using AF Area Auto:

    Auto
    Camera automatically selects focus area containing subject closest to
    camera. Selected focus area is displayed in red when shutter-release button
    is pressed halfway. Choose this setting to minimize risk of pictures
    being out of focus when subject is moving erratically or in other
    situations in which there is little time to check focus.

    Note:
    Restrictions on Focus Area Selection
    Focus-area selection is not available when the monitor is off or digital
    zoom ( 26) is in effect. In these cases, the center focus area is used.

    Try upping the ISO to 100 or 200. While the auto setting is supposed to up
    the ISO in low light situations, my experience with my 990 and 5700 is it
    likes to stay as low as possible, even to the point of focus issues. In
    fact given it's preferred tenancies for low ISO and shutter speeds you need
    to be aware of how slow a shutter speed it sets in lower light situations
    where any camera shake will cause blurring. You may even consider using
    shutter priority in such instances.

    ________________________________________________________
    Ed Ruf Lifetime AMA# 344007 ()
    http://members.cox.net/egruf
    See images taken with my CP-990 and 5700 at
    http://members.cox.net/egruf-digicam
    Ed Ruf, Feb 14, 2004
    #3
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