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Canon low light AF assist question


domh 17 17
21 Feb 2004 4:29PM
Until I recently upgraded to a Canon 300D I used to have a Canon 50E sporting a red AF active assist beam. The red AF assist was very useful for me as a lot of my photos are taken in nightclubs at relatively close distances with dark/unusual lighting using ambient light & fast lenses without flash.

The 300D hasn't got one, and the annoying stroboscopic facility only seems to work with flash on. Trying to focus manually in the murky or rapidly changing lighting is tricky and time consuming. My pocket Ixus V3 is taking better pics as it does have an AF beam which I can use without flash!

I understand the Canon Speedlites have red AF lamps built into them, can you use them just for the red beam with the flash disabled?

Any suggestions would be appreciated :o)
Big Bri 19 16.7k United Kingdom
21 Feb 2004 5:14PM
Manual focus ?
Little Jo 19 2.3k United Kingdom
21 Feb 2004 6:04PM
Hello

Yes, Canon Speedlites do have a focus assist light, but disabling the flash is only available on cameras with custom functions. I suggest you try using a Maglite torch or something to help your 300D focus, or as Brian suggests, use manual focus.

If you are already using a fast lens, then perhaps the 10D would have been a superior choice of camera.

Jo
User_Removed 19 7.3k 6 United Kingdom
21 Feb 2004 6:16PM
Why not use cover the flash itself but leave the AF assist beam active?
domh 17 17
21 Feb 2004 7:01PM
Thanks for the replies :o)

Manual focus is fine if I'm in one spot but if I'm wandering around I find it tricky for on the spot pics, esp as the viewfinder seems darker on the 300d and the lighting is such that its difficult to be sure I'm in focus sometimes.

I would have liked a 10D ideally but cash was tight. Barrie - I'll consider buying a speedlight and some black pvc to tape over it Smile

I've trawled the net for info and someone with a similar problem uses a ST-E2 which has a very bright AF assist - has anyone used one?


domh 17 17
23 Feb 2004 12:00AM
I tried the mini maglight I keep in my kitbag but it was a bit off a juggle with the twist switch.

Had an experiment last night in the club with a cheapo laser pointer, it seemed to do the job, the AF picked up the bright spot straight away. Not ever so keen at shining it at people though! So I would prefer something on camera - those ST-E2s don't look particularly cheap but I'd be interested to hear from anyone who's used one.
deviant 17 3.1k 1 United Kingdom
23 Feb 2004 5:25PM
You can stick a speedlite wireless transmitter (ST-E2) on top and this uses red-af beam but has no flash. Works a treat in total darkness even. I have a hedgehog that'll vouch for that in my garden.
domh 17 17
23 Feb 2004 6:42PM
^^^ Sounds good. The dilemma now is do I bite the bullet and get a 250 550ex (which can be set to just fire the AF assist if you set it to TTL as my 300d doesn't support it) or do I stick with my sigma gun and get a 120 ST-E2?

Decisions decisions!
Little Jo 19 2.3k United Kingdom
23 Feb 2004 7:04PM
The cheapest supplier at the moment is Mifsud, there you'll get a brand new 550EX for 239. You can also use the 420EX if you don't want to spend that much, but I think the extra is well worth it. Purdys are charging more, but include ten packs of AA batteries. You can use AA lithiums - these give good life and fast recycle times.

Using off-camera flash and the 550EX is ideal for large groups - with two guns I can still get nice even lighting.

Jo
park my ferret 17 1.0k United Kingdom
24 Feb 2004 1:27AM
I had this exact problem ... I got the ST-E2 transmitter which is 140 quid and has the a/f light on it, but on my 10D I can still attach my metz flash to the pc socket. on the 300D it doesn't have this so you're scuppered!, you will have to get a flash with an a/f illuminator built in. I think jessops do models that fit canon that are cheaper than the canon flashes
gary71 17 14
24 Feb 2004 11:31AM
how about usuing the 550ex facing backwards in manual mode set to about 1/128 you still get to use the focus beam but no flash
domh 17 17
24 Feb 2004 5:52PM
I'm settling for a 550ex with an ST-E2 on the list of things to get - this is on the assumption that:

As the flash facility on the 550ex can be set to TTL from E-TTL on custom function 3, as the 300d doesn't support TTL the flash won't fire - only the AF beam, plus I get to have a better flash. If anyone can confirm this before I go and order one it would be much appreciated!
domh 17 17
24 Feb 2004 5:54PM
I'm settling for a 550ex in preference to a dedicated sigam or a metz with a view to an ST-E2 later - this is based on this assumption:

As the flash facility on the 550ex can be set to TTL from E-TTL on custom function 3, as the 300d doesn't support TTL the flash won't fire - only the AF beam, which means I can fudge the 'no flash' custom option that you enjoy on the 10d - plus I get to enjoy all the other custom functions.

If anyone can confirm this before I go and order one it would be much appreciated!
domh 17 17
24 Feb 2004 6:12PM
Repeats again - I should stop using Opera :o.
park my ferret 17 1.0k United Kingdom
24 Feb 2004 7:35PM
sorry you lost me (and I have all 4 items your talking about!!) do you have the 10d or the 300d? because the 300d has no custom functions as far as I'm aware! saying that I am getting used to using the 550ex on my 300d now, and the results are ok, still miss the rechargeable batterys on the metz though.
just don't try to cut costs and buy the 440ex - it's useless ... I had one and ended up takin it back and paying the extra for the 550 afterall.

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