I recently attended a 5 day music festival (Kinetik Festival) in montreal, Canada where I was asked to photograph the 35 bands playing. A month before the festival I had a chance to try out my first AF Assist tool. After seeing the results I knew I wanted to take such a helpful tool with me to the music festival to help in the making of images. This is the second incarnation of my AF Assist tool.
The new tool fits on the hotshoe of the camera. The laser is enables by the 1/2 push of the shutter button or the AF-ON (auto focus enable button) on the camera body. The switch on the side cuts power to the circuit (on-off button) and the potentiometer next to it varies the power to the laser LED.
The tool helped me tremendously in capturing these shots at Kinetik Festival 4.0 in Montreal, but it’s not without faults.
First off, the laser is too strong, and very visible and may be visually distracting to the other concert goers to see a red laser patch on the side of the artists face as I try to focus. I was talking to another photographer at the festival and he showed me some photos he took where my red laser was on the artists’ face. Not cool.
I tried my best to keep the intensity to a bear minimum after that, and was still cautious.
Even thought the design “should” turn the laser off during the time of exposure, it doesn’t quite do it. (details here)
Because the signal to turn on comes from one of the hot shoe pins, that pin remains on for 4 seconds after the image is taken. Ideally I would want the laser to turn off right after the image is taken. No solution to this has been found yet.
The de-focused laser pointer works great, but I would like to find another solution for a light source. Maybe try to find a broken flash from which I can salvage its AF assist light, which is designed specifically for this. The light is less visible, and works very well to help the camera acquire focus.
For details on the build log along with more details, visit these posts:
- AF assist v2 – May 12th, 2011
- AF Assist V2 (Update 17 May 2011) – May 17th, 2011
- AF Assist V2 (Update 19 May 2011) – May 19th, 2011
Below is a set of photos of the unit. (Click for larger view)