28 January, 2016

Focus Assist Lamps

Zeiss 50mm Loxia - Rainy Camberwell Markets [Click image to enlarge.]

The Focus Assist Lamp that's on many modern cameras (called the "AF Illuminator" on the Sony A7RII) is an amazing innovation — that I hardly ever use.

In really poor light the lamp enables the auto focus to find the subject and find focus. And it's a smart feature: It only switches on when the light is very low — but I hardly ever use it.

The main reason why I don't use it, is that I usually shoot with a manual focus lens. So, even in poor light I'm good to go, or I'll zone focus.

And, I don't need it with an ultra wide lens, as almost everything is in focus anyway. And, I can't use it for subjects far away, as the lamp's effective range is limited to two or three yards/meters.

Since, for me, it's off by default, it's usually too much trouble to go to the menu to switch on the feature.

And, in any case, I hate shining that little light in people's faces. Plus, it signals your intention to take a shot; so, it's the enemy of candid shooting.

But, I suppose that it's better to have an AF Illuminator, and not need it, than need one and not have it. Maybe.

[My apologies for only two posts this month. Renovations on the house and busy times at work made blogging hard. It also made taking and printing pictures hard. My punishment arrived today in the form of printer clogs — requiring three cleaning cycles for the 3880. Use it or lose it.]

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