AF illuminator on the Maxxum 7D

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Alan Browne, Oct 15, 2004.

  1. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Another fart from the mind of Minolta. They have removed the body based AF
    illuminator (as on the Maxxum 9 and 7 and most older Maxxums). Instead the
    flash will be used to help the AF. But, once the flash is used for AF, flash is
    also activated for the shot (I believe from the manual, Maxxum 5 owners please
    confirm).

    So, if you need AF assist, but you don't want flash, you're screwed (as on the
    Maxxum 5).

    You might say "Well, if you need flash to focus, then you need flash for the
    shot." but this of course is simply not so. Exposures below -1 EV or so do not
    need flash, just more time...

    Cheers,
    Alan

    http://kmpi.konicaminolta.us/eprise/main/kmpi/content/cam/cam_product_pages/Maxxum_7D?mDetail=Faqs
    Question: Is the Maxxum 7D equipped with AF illuminator?
    Answer: Yes. This model employs an AF illuminator function by built-in flash
    firing. (Flash must be raised by hand.) When using an external flash which
    employs AF illuminator function, the AF illuminator of the external flash functions.
     
    Alan Browne, Oct 15, 2004
    #1
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  2. Alan Browne

    Jer Guest


    Well, the way it was explained to me at the shop some days ago, the
    pop-up flash is used in a pre-flash mode for AF only - actual exposure
    is computed between AF pre-flash and shutter. But the internal flash
    will only fire if flash is enabled via menu and still in up position,
    even though it was used for AF. Yes, the external flash uses a separate
    AF lamp (I think he said IR) for it's AF function, but will still only
    fire if enabled via menu.

    Seems odd but that's the story I got.
     
    Jer, Oct 16, 2004
    #2
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  3. Alan Browne

    Dallas Guest

    Um...focus manually?
     
    Dallas, Oct 16, 2004
    #3
  4. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    It all comes down to K-M eliminating the body AF-illuminator to shave costs.
    The downside here is that if the flash is enabled and up it will fire during the
    actual shot as well. (I'll have to experiment with my SO's Max 5).
     
    Alan Browne, Oct 16, 2004
    #4
  5. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Dallas wrote:

    That is what I do 99% of the time.

    However people with poor eyesight depend more on AF than others, in particular
    in low light conditions.
     
    Alan Browne, Oct 16, 2004
    #5
  6. Alan Browne

    Nostrobino Guest

    Dunno about the Maxxum 7D of course, but the Maxxum 5 will focus reliably
    (flash disabled) in lower light than I would ever care to hand-hold it. I
    don't really see the absence of an AF illuminator as a problem. If you need
    or want to shoot sans flash in semidarkness and are going to the bother of
    setting up a tripod anyway, I should think you could use a small flashlight
    as an AF aid.

    Personally, I can't see this as being something I would ever want to do in
    the first place. Just out of curiosity, what sort of shot would you want to
    take where this would be a problem?

    N.
     
    Nostrobino, Oct 16, 2004
    #6
  7. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    For myself I don't use AF often at all. Two years ago maybe 25% of the time,
    now, damn near 0. But in some situations it is valuable such as shooting people
    at a party in low light... in that case, while the red illuminator is a pain,
    the flash illuminator will really be a distraction... folks with declining
    eyesight will also use AF a lot more ... I'm not there (yet).

    Cheers,
    Alan
     
    Alan Browne, Oct 16, 2004
    #7
  8. Alan Browne

    Magnus W Guest


    Please read again.
     
    Magnus W, Oct 17, 2004
    #8
  9. Alan Browne

    Jer Guest


    Well, since I posted last, I may have misunderstood the shop fella.
    Looking further in the Maxxum 7D .pdf files that someone pointed us to
    in another thread, it says below that the pop-up flash will fire
    regardless of the ambient light. Page 97 also says the AF illuminator
    can be turned on/off, not the flash function itself.

    So, sans an accessory flash, it seems to presume that if ambient light
    is low enough to need AF illumination, and one raises the pop-up flash,
    then the pop-up flash will be used for both AF illumination AND flash,
    whether one really wanted flash or not.

    So, my original shop question stands... Will the AF system still perform
    in low-light situations, albeit where one might want to use flash, but
    what if I don't want to use flash?

    I do know that the 700i (film) system uses the built-in AF illuminator
    (red-patterned), even though the pop-up flash is down (and off).


    Using the built-in flash (p.31)

    To use the flash, simply pull up the unit by the tabs on each side.
    This flash position must be set manually, and once up, the flash unit
    always fires regardless of the amount of ambient light. The flash mode
    is changed with the recording menu (p. 71).

    Push down the built-in flash when the camera is not in use. The flash
    is also used as an AF illuminator, see page 97.


    AF Illuminator (p.97)

    The built-in flash is used as an AF Illuminator. When the scene is too
    dark for the camera to focus, raise the built-in flash. It fires a few
    short bursts to provide light for the camera to focus. When an
    accessory flash is attached, the accessory flash unit is used as the AF
    illuminator. The AF illuminator can be turned on and off in section 2
    of the custom menu (p. 92).
     
    Jer, Oct 17, 2004
    #9
  10. Alan Browne

    Paul Coen Guest

    Based on the Maxxum 5 and the 7, it's got to be so #(#$*@# dark for it not
    to be able to AF that you're going to either need a flash or a tripod
    anyway. I tried turning off the AF Illuminator on my Maxxum 7 (set at ISO
    400) -- the room I was in was dark enough to need between a 2 and 4 second
    exposure at f/4 (depending on the spot in the room) and it still managed to
    autofocus quickly. It's also not unlikely that they've improved the AF
    system in the past 4 years. With the anti-shake technology, much slower
    speeds are doable with the 7D, and it looks like the existing, 4-year-old
    AF system in the Dynax/Maxxum 7 would be up to the job.

    I doubt cost was the issue -- I suspect it might've been a space / size
    issue. They also probably figured that if you were using a 5600HS(D), you'd
    have the AF-illuminator on the flash, and in really low light you'd need
    the flash anyway. Is anyone going to be doing ISO1600 candid shots sans
    flash with a Digital SLR the way you might with B&W film?
     
    Paul Coen, Oct 17, 2004
    #10
  11. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Read for me; it is quite ambiguous.

    "AF ILLUMINATOR
    The built-in flash is used as an AF Illuminator. When the scene is too dark for
    the camera to focus, raise the built-in flash. It fires a few short bursts to
    provide light for the camera to focus. When an accessory flash is attached, the
    flash unit is used as the AF illuminator. The AF illuminator can be turned on
    and off in section 2 of the custom menu (p. 92)."

    This says what it does but does not clarify that the shot itslef will be without
    flash. How does the Max 5 behave Magnus?

    Cheers,
    Alan
     
    Alan Browne, Oct 17, 2004
    #11
  12. Alan Browne

    Nostrobino Guest

    I've used my F300 without flash in a low-light party setting such that there
    was considerable blur from subject movement (I think the shutter speed was
    1/4 sec, something close to that anyway), actually more than from camera
    shake, and the camera still seemed to be autofocusing correctly--but the
    photo was practically useless because of motion blur in some parts. I didn't
    bother repeating the experiment. Of course an SLR has a different (and much
    superior) autofocusing system and presumably will give better results at
    higher ISO settings too; as a practical matter I don't think lack of an AF
    illuminator will be a shortcoming for anyone. The low-light photographer
    will still run out of usable shutter speeds long before he runs out of
    autofocusing capability.

    N.
     
    Nostrobino, Oct 17, 2004
    #12
  13. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    ...photography in any light does not require absense of motion blur. Blur may be
    part of the statement.

    ...low light photography of moving subjects is usually enhanced by motion blur
    and this may include a light pop of flash at the end to freeze motion.

    ...focusing in low light is difficult for the human eye and more so for an AF
    sensor (unless aided).

    Cheers,
    Alan
     
    Alan Browne, Oct 17, 2004
    #13
  14. Alan Browne

    Jer Guest

    Paul Coen wrote:
    [....]
    Well, yeah, I thought I'd give it a go for grins. If it doesn't work
    out, I can still use the old 700xi in IR mode.
     
    Jer, Oct 17, 2004
    #14
  15. Alan Browne

    Nostrobino Guest

    And I don't think you have any "old 700xi" either.

    Maybe a 7xi, maybe a 700si, but a 700xi I doubt. :)

    N.
     
    Nostrobino, Oct 17, 2004
    #15
  16. Alan Browne

    Nostrobino Guest

    The Maxxum 5's AF illuminator can be turned on or off in the custom
    functions, but even when turned on it "does not fire when flash cancel is
    selected" (the manual, p. 112).

    N.
     
    Nostrobino, Oct 17, 2004
    #16
  17. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    It's the opposite case that is ambiguous:

    --AF assist on
    --flash not required

    How does the camera behave/can this state be achieved?

    Cheers,
    Alan
     
    Alan Browne, Oct 17, 2004
    #17
  18. Alan Browne

    Patrick L. Guest

    Can the camera focus in low light without flash? If it can shoot in low
    light without flash because of AS, it would of little use to not be able
    to AF in low light without flash.



    Patrick
     
    Patrick L., Oct 18, 2004
    #18
  19. Alan Browne

    Patrick L. Guest

    Is anyone going to be doing ISO1600 candid shots sans


    Yes. In a church wedding ceremony, for one thing, and any where I can get
    away without flash.


    Patrick
     
    Patrick L., Oct 18, 2004
    #19
  20. Alan Browne

    Patrick L. Guest



    I couldn't make a living without AF.


    Patrick
     
    Patrick L., Oct 18, 2004
    #20
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