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Old 12-03-2009, 07:18 PM   #1
bunnyfoo
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Pictures in the Haunted Mansion question

Hi!

After seeing some of the HM/Madame Leota pictures on the thread, I decided to go and buy a 50 f/1.4 lens to take my own pictures with. The problem is I can't seem to focus properly in ultra low light (just practicing in at home). I read on another forum that the way to get around this is to attach the flash onto the camera for AF assist, but I can't stop the flash from going off. Any suggestions? Am I going about this the wrong way? I have a Canon 5Dm2, and I'm shooting wide open at ISO 6400.

TIA
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Old 12-03-2009, 07:22 PM   #2
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For Madame Leota I wouldn't think you'd have these same hunting for focus problems... she is light enough compared to everything else that I'd think your camera shouldn't hunt for focus.

What are you practicing on? Are you trying to focus on something with some contrast or not?

Also, there is always manual focus.

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Old 12-03-2009, 07:25 PM   #3
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Todd_H also shoots Canon and I have seen him mention several times that his camera has a hard time locking focus on dark rides and as a result he ends up manually focusing a lot of the time. I'm not sure if Madame Leota is one of the parts of Haunted Mansion that has given him trouble, but when we were there in October I had no problem locking focus on her---but the hitchhiking ghosts are another story.
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:00 PM   #4
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I have brought my 50mm f/1.4 lens into Haunted Mansion, but I don't recall having problems getting pictures of Madame Leota (but then, it was about a year ago, so I might not remember the exact details).

I would think that manual focus would be very tough to do, especially since you've only got a few seconds with Madame Leota.

Yes, you can use your external flash to help with focusing, but I would think that it'd be pretty tough to do & annoying for other guests. There's a menu option within your camera to turn off the flash. (I'm not sure about this for your 5Dii : Setup #3 > External Speedlite Control > Flash Function Settings > Flash Mode > ? ) That should turn off your external flash, but allow for the red auto-focus assist beam to shine from your flash.

Because Madame Leota is in a very dark room, your laser-red auto-focus assist beam will probably attract everyone's attention. Plus, the red auto-focus assist beam doesn't instantly provide focus. If you're using that red beam in that particular situation, there's still a little delay before the camera's shutter goes off.

I still think your best bet is to continue trying your center autofocus point in your camera, and make sure you've got an area of contrast to focus on. Looking back at my photos, I was able to fire off 6 shots of Madame Leota during my time in the room.

ISO 1600, f/1.4, 1/50 sec, LOTS of cropping (the 50mm lens still made her head look like a tiny dot):

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Old 12-03-2009, 08:04 PM   #5
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Even if you could stop the flash, AF assist should not be used in those type rides. It is just as disrupting to the other guests as a flash. As for Leota, I should hope your camera can lock on her b/c my K100D can and the AF system in it is not as good as your camera. You should also be able to stop the lens down a little bit at 6400, giving you a little bigger DOF.
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:04 PM   #6
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Manual focus will do the trick.
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ukcatfan View Post
You should also be able to stop the lens down a little bit at 6400, giving you a little bigger DOF.
Agreed. I took this shot at f/1.4 and ISO 3200, so if you used ISO 6400 you definitely shouldn't need to shoot at f/1.4.

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Old 12-04-2009, 10:09 AM   #8
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Also set your camera to burst shooting mode. That way if you can fire off a bunch of shots while manually focusing.
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Old 12-04-2009, 06:32 PM   #9
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I've stopped trying to take photos in Haunted Mansion UNLESS the doom buggies stop. If we're stopped, I whip up the camera and start snapping away. Alas, that doesn't last long.
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Old 12-06-2009, 07:53 AM   #10
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DoF shouldn't matter too much, but stopping down an F1.4 lens to F1.8 or so will generally give you a sharper image.

Like ukcatfan said - pllllllllllease do not use AF assist! That will definitely be a distraction to others.

If you have live view, you can try using that and zooming in on the image to check your manual focus. Since you're in your own doom buggy, your LCD will not be distracting to any other riders.

Ultimately though, your camera probably won't have a problem focusing on Leota; like others said, she is relatively bright so there's lots of contrast for the AF system to use.
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:58 AM   #11
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You won't have any problems getting AF to lock onto Madame Leota with the 5Dii. No need to attach the flash for the AF assist (and as others have suggested, please don't ).
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Old 12-07-2009, 07:59 PM   #12
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Hi everyone! I'm still learning how to use an SLR (if that wasn't obvious enough) so really appreciate all the suggestions - especially about the AF assist. Thanks again for the help!!
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