The Green Cross Of Focusness - With Fujifilm

on March 29, 2015

As photographers - workers with light - we do seem to spend a lot of time standing around in dark places...

It used to be in a cave full of chemical fumes, like latter day Greek soothsayers. Some of us still do stand around in smelly caves full of Greeks, but they are generally pubs in Northbridge. At least they sell retsina...

We also stand around in dim theatres trying to capture dancers and singers in their natural stage habitat. The people who use Nikon D3s cameras fitted with f:0.95 lenses and who crowd right up near the front have it easy - their equipment easily goes up to ISO 5 billion and they can do what they like with the shutter speed dial. The rest of us have to ride the edge of darkness or blaze like a hundred suns all night.

Ielected to do the later - an old Metz hammerhead light and a Quantum battery pack meant I stopped action, got bright colours, and excited the resentment of everyone else in the hall. The light was no problem during the time the shutter was open.

It was during the run-up to the explosion that the trouble occurs. Shooting from the back of the hall, a 55-20 lens was necessary for framing - but the stage was dim, as most Perth stages are, and the dancers moved rapidly, as most Perth dancers do, and the lens wouldn't lock on focus - it is only an f:3.5 maximum aperture.

Thrown back upon my resources, I resorted to reading the book...and found that the remedy recommended was the AF-C position. It continuously tracks at about where the action is and snaps into the focus position as you mash the button down. It isn't exactly right all the time, but I'm married so I'm used to being wrong. It was certainly a better chance for focus than either the MF or the AF-S in these hectic conditions.

The downside is it used up lots of power as it was trying to focus all the time. Lucky I took spare batteries - the cameras that use this form of focussing can do marvellously if you know the trick.