Low­light aut­o­fo­cus

How to use Nikon’s Aut­o­fo­cus As­sist Il­lu­mi­na­tor when light is low

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There was a time where we had to man­u­ally fo­cus our lenses. And be­fore that, in the very ear­li­est days of pho­tog­ra­phy, cam­eras had no con­trol over fo­cus­ing at all. You’d have to be more of a sci­en­tist than an artist to set up a shot, po­si­tion­ing the cam­era to fo­cus it, but to­day we have it easy since the in­tro­duc­tion of aut­o­fo­cus.

Aut­o­fo­cus works as soon as you de­press the shut­ter re­lease but­ton half­way (or use a but­ton on the back of your Nikon, if set up). It analy­ses the scene in front of you and makes ad­just­ments in the fo­cus of the lens un­til things are nice and sharp.

It’s a huge step up from where pho­tog­ra­phy was when it started out, but aut­o­fo­cus still strug­gles in low light. If it’s too dark the Nikon won’t be able to an­a­lyse the en­vi­ron­ment ac­cu­rately and will be un­able to fo­cus.

That’s where the AF-as­sist il­lu­mi­na­tor comes in. It shoots out a small light from the cam­era body onto a sub­ject in or­der for the sys­tem to pin-point fo­cus. Fol­low the steps in our handy guide to find out how to do it.

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