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Need tips to improve AF in dark reception.
  
 
hvu2012
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Need tips to improve AF in dark reception.


Hi,
I'm using 5DIII with flash in dim reception. Even though I have AF assist on, but I feel that camera is still struggle to AF quickly enough. Therefore, I missed some shots that I like sometimes.
I'm looking for tip to light up subject with led to help camera to focus quick. Something like small led that stick to the flash..etc... So, any suggestions? or please share your experience and what you overcome the situation like what I describe above.

Thanks.



Aug 27, 2017 at 04:44 PM
LeeSimms
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Need tips to improve AF in dark reception.


Flashpoint (Adorama) makes a small LED light that straps onto a speed light and it's functional. We use ours more as a end-of-night camera bag pack-up light but it's nice to have its functionality when you need it. If you're shooting late night bride+groom images away from lights, you need something just so you can see what's in the viewfinder (as dSLRs don't have EVFs)

That's a good first step, short of opening the door on full reception LEDs like the Youngnuo 360's




Aug 27, 2017 at 05:25 PM
ZachOly
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Need tips to improve AF in dark reception.


What are you struggling with? Moving subjects? Candid stuff? Dances?


Aug 27, 2017 at 05:29 PM
hvu2012
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Need tips to improve AF in dark reception.


Thanks for the replying. I'll check flashpoint led.

to answer ZachOly, yes I struggled moving subjects and dances. Not so much with candid stuff. THanks.



Aug 27, 2017 at 07:32 PM
Ziffl3
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Need tips to improve AF in dark reception.


what is your af setup in-camera?

One-shot vs AI servo
AF spot size?



Aug 27, 2017 at 10:55 PM
InSanE
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Need tips to improve AF in dark reception.


WOW!!! Canon must have really bad AF

I use d610 (bashed for bad low light af) and v860II (bashed for bad af assist) and have no problems while using center focus point.

Using leds to focus in 2017 with flash on camera sounds crazy !!!

What lens are you using and @ what f stop?



Aug 28, 2017 at 11:01 AM
heikoM
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Need tips to improve AF in dark reception.


zone focussing

needs practice, but otherwise very good


heiko



Aug 28, 2017 at 12:17 PM
 

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hardlyboring
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Need tips to improve AF in dark reception.


The 5d3 should be able to focus on servo with no assist in most regular shooting situations if you are using the center point for focus.

We use Nikon D3s cameras and use servo focus 100% of the time. Never any flash assist or other lights to assist with focus.

Couple things. You should be able to work your light ratios out with your off camera flashes so that you can shoot stopped down a bit with each lens. F4 or F5. This will help give you a bigger zone of focus so even if you are off say 1ft the subject will still be in focus.
Next thing: You need to find a place of high contrast to focus on. If you focus on just the dress or the suit it is going to be one color with no real contrast. Hit a spot between the bride and groom or between skin and dark hair, or between the shirt and jacket. White/Black. The camera will pick that up easier than it would just a single color of white or black or otherwise.

Wider lenses will have a larger focus area (front to back) than longer lenses will have. So if you need to shoot closer to wide open a wider lens 35 or wider will do a better job keeping things in focus.
For longer lenses you can be at F4 or F5 and still have nice blurry backgrounds etc.

Examples
Longer lens stopped down...good subject sharpness and isolation, slightly blurry background.





Wider lens (also stopped down). I used some of the elements of the scene to lead the eye to he subject and provide framing because more of the frame is sharp. Also used the light to go dark, light on subject, somewhat darker background.










Aug 28, 2017 at 03:36 PM
elkhornsun
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Need tips to improve AF in dark reception.


Start by having a f/2.8 or faster lens. A f/1.4 lens provides 4 times as much light to the camera's autofocus sensors as a f/2.8 lens.

Use a speedlight and check its user guide for the IR assist limitations. The IR function will only work with certain focal lengths and at certain distances.

Lastly, focus on an area of contrast differentiation, and that is not the face. A neckline area between a man's shirt and neck or between lapel and shirt or with a woman's dress will provide a hard line that is much easier for the camera to detect contrast and focus. An ear is better than an eye in this respect.

In super dark situations I will pull out a 35mm f/1.4 to get the autofocus speed and depth of field without a lot of perspective distortion. Works well for the hail Mary shots where I hold the camera up and shoot down on the crowded dance floor and over people's heads.

Flash provides autofocus assist with the IR beam and it provides catchlights in the subject's eyes and equally important it can provide subject separation from the background. I will have the overall exposure at -1 EV for the shot and flash for fill and so the people in the background will be darker and the viewer's eyes when seeing the image will go to the brightest areas, which should be your primary subjects in the shot.

I have found that I need a minimum shutter speed of 1/80s to minimize and usually eliminate subject motion blur in an image. Too often people blame the lens as being soft when actually they have used too slow a shutter speed.



Aug 28, 2017 at 06:08 PM
glort
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Need tips to improve AF in dark reception.



I have always thought it marvelous how modern camera's will focus in the dark.
I can get sharp pics in levels of light lower than I can see to focus in. Even going back to the film days with AF built into flashes you could just point and shoot and have a good image. I'm sure things have improved greatly since then and got even better.

In the old days you did a quick estimate of distance, set the lens an got it right with the help of a bit of DOF 90% of the time.



Aug 29, 2017 at 12:00 AM
MRomine
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Need tips to improve AF in dark reception.


Some good tips here. Like Doug wrote, I too do not use AF assist lights, never have and probably never will. I don't like the fact they they telegraph to the subject that you are about to take a shot. Frequently that makes the subject look in camera. I too found that when I switched to Nikon my AF keepers improved.

Over the years I have found that the ultra fast lenses, the f1.2, f1.4 are not the fastest AF especially in low light situations like receptions. I have fond both in the Canon and Nikon camps that the f1.8 -> f2.8 lenses focus faster because the AF motors have less glass to move than the big f1.2 and f1.4 glass. Plus the aforementioned lenses are much easier on the pocketbook and your wrists. Therefore, I long ago ditched my big fast glass and have better results.

Like Doug wrote, don't be afraid to stop down a little.



Aug 29, 2017 at 04:45 PM
hardlyboring
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Need tips to improve AF in dark reception.


MRomine wrote:
Some good tips here. Like Doug wrote, I too do not use AF assist lights, never have and probably never will. I don't like the fact they they telegraph to the subject that you are about to take a shot. Frequently that makes the subject look in camera. I too found that when I switched to Nikon my AF keepers improved.

Over the years I have found that the ultra fast lenses, the f1.2, f1.4 are not the fastest AF especially in low light situations like receptions. I have fond both in the Canon and Nikon camps that the f1.8
...Show more

This.
I do not have any ultra fast lenses (and have not recently) so I cannot say how they do. When I did have the 24 1.4 and 35 1.4 nikon I always got good results with them but ditched them for the cheap 1.8 lenses a while back because the 1.8 lenses are cheap, well built, sharp, fast focusing, and if you wreck it you can toss it and get another without crapping yourself over a $1000+ loss.
My wife uses the 24-70 and 70-200 and she never has issues focusing. The 70-200 is hella sharp especially when stopped down to like f4 during a reception. She gets some phenomenal stuff with it.

Working with no AF assist will also open up a MUCH wider range of shooting possibilities during a reception or whatever. You can move about the room, be really far away, include compositional elements you otherwise wouldn't be able to etc. Frees you up A LOT. I would hate having to be like only 10 feet away all the time so the AF assist could do it's thing.



Aug 30, 2017 at 02:17 PM
MRomine
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Need tips to improve AF in dark reception.


hardlyboring wrote:
This.
I do not have any ultra fast lenses (and have not recently) so I cannot say how they do. When I did have the 24 1.4 and 35 1.4 nikon I always got good results with them but ditched them for the cheap 1.8 lenses a while back because the 1.8 lenses are cheap, well built, sharp, fast focusing, and if you wreck it you can toss it and get another without crapping yourself over a $1000+ loss.
My wife uses the 24-70 and 70-200 and she never has issues focusing. The 70-200 is hella sharp especially when
...Show more

Oh yeah, the Nikon f2.8G zooms are incredibly fast AF, 14-24, 24-70 and 70-200. All of those are remarkable.

hardlyboring wrote:
Working with no AF assist will also open up a MUCH wider range of shooting possibilities during a reception or whatever. You can move about the room, be really far away, include compositional elements you otherwise wouldn't be able to etc. Frees you up A LOT. I would hate having to be like only 10 feet away all the time so the AF assist could do it's thing.


Very true, I had never thought of it that way before because I never use AF assist lights so I never consider myself with having to worry about where the AF light is pointing or what subject it is hitting. Adding to that, suppose you are using a focus box on the edge of the frame, what is the AF light pointing at especially with a wide angle lens? This will probably be a fail.



Aug 30, 2017 at 02:54 PM







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