Low Light Focusing with EOS Cameras

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Roger, Aug 6, 2003.

  1. Roger

    Roger Guest

    Hi, all,

    I have a Canon G3 and overall it is a superb camera. About the only thing I
    don't like is its somewhat poor ability to focus in low light. I was at a
    wedding party last weekend and took lots of pics, with my Canon 380EX flash
    on the hotshoe. With my Elan IIE, if you activate the center focus point,
    the camera uses the infra-red device on the 380EX flash to do its focusing,
    and it is quick and sharp even in near-darkness. Whereas the G3 has a hard
    time with low light focus. Its autofocus assist beam is OK in a small room
    but can't cope with a larger hall. The G3 can't seem to use the 380EX
    infrared beam which is such a pity. Something to do with the G3 using the
    green horizontal sensor or some such thing. I tried the spot and center
    weighted metering modes to see if that would activate the 380EX infra-red,
    but no go.

    Someone had a new Canon 10D digital at the party, and they seemed to
    struggle a little bit as well, as it has a similar auto focus assist light
    as the G3.

    Ah well. My next digital will be sure to have an infra-red assist light for
    low light focus!!!! Or at least the ability to use an external flash's
    infra-red device. With some EOS cameras, like for instance the EOS 3, you
    can slide a little remote device called the ST-E2 on the hotshoe and can use
    its infra-red transmitter to help focus. But the problem is that you cannot
    use the flash of the camera. This makes the ST-E2 useless: what's the use of
    accurate focus in the dark if you don't have a flash!!!???

    Roger, Aug 6, 2003
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  2. Roger

    Jim Townsend Guest

    I use the 380EX with my 10D.. The focus assist lamp works great. Even in
    total darkness.

    The AF lamp on my 380EX is hardly infra-red.. It's a very bright red light and
    casts a pattern of vertical stripes on the subject. I find it very bright.
    (Enough to make you squint if you look directly at it in the dark).

    It's a shame the speedlight AF assist only works with EOS cameras.. I used it
    for quite a while on my old Pro90 and I would have loved to be able to have
    used the AF assist.
    Jim Townsend, Aug 7, 2003
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  3. Roger

    Todd Walker Guest

    Actually it doesn't. The light on the front of the 10D is just for
    redeye reduction and self timer countdown. For low light assist, the 10D
    strobes the flash, like many cameras do for redeye reduction. It looks
    kinda funny but it works very well, allowing the 10D to focus in
    complete darkness.

    Yes it is VERY annoying that the Powershot cameras can't use the AF
    light on the EX series of external speedlights. I went through this with
    my Pro90/420EX combo and even called Canon. They basically told me that
    the camera wasn't engineered to use it and didn't have the "necessary
    connections" inside to do so. Very annoying. My 420EX to go with my 10D
    will be here tomorrow and I'll enjoy low light focusing with the bright
    red light :)

    Todd Walker
    Canon 10D:
    My Digital Photography Weblog:
    Todd Walker, Aug 7, 2003
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