E-PL2 no AF Assist Lamp--how important is it?

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by bbq797, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. bbq797

    bbq797 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 7, 2011
    I'm looking to step up from a P&S, and I'm considering a m4/3. I'm looking at either the GH2 or possibly the E-PL2.

    I'd mostly be taking pictures of kids (little fast moving ones!)/vacation--enlarged no bigger than an occasional 8x10. I guess I should first be asking if a m4/3 is the right tool for the job over a DSLR. Also, the specs on the E-PL2 show no AF assist lamp. How important is that? I would be taking pictures in low light at times. I know no one really knows how the E-PL2 will perform, but in the meantime just generally speaking, I'm wondering how important it is (should I rule it out as an option).

  2. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Real Name:
    We won't know until reviews come out. In my experience, AF assist lamps were only good for close subjects. CDAF systems depend on contrast of the subject. Without light, there isn't any contrast.
  3. robertro

    robertro Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 22, 2010
    AF systems focus faster when there is a focus assist light. Focus assist lamps are especially useful for indoor nighttime shots, typically short distance and low-light.

    Many manufacturers of interchangable lens cameras have left them out or have replaced them with strobing flashes (who thought of that one?). Some will argue that you can work around this, by pre-focus or finding a contrasty spot and using focus and recompose, or that AF-assist has limited usage, or that you should use a flash - they are correct to an extent, but miss the point that the machine should be designed to make the craft simpler.
  4. Camerafrog

    Camerafrog Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 12, 2010
    I have found that E-PL2 does surprisingly well without an AF assist light. I tried to focus on the back of some books when it was too dark to read the titles and AF worked fine. There was some contrast there though, because one book was dark another bright etc.. A face would probably have been more difficult.

    However, I have noticed that people and animals generally find the assist light annoying (I have owned two cameras that have one, and I mean a real AF assist lamp, not a strobing flash). Also, sometimes the light seemed to lower the contrast on the subjects (by making them too evenly lit) which made it harder for AF to lock on, so I ended up turning the assist off.

    I bought a small pocket LED that I plan to use when it's too dark for AF to work, but so far I have never had to use it.

    All this said; fast moving kids in low light sounds like DSLR territory.
  5. PeterB666

    PeterB666 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 14, 2010
    Tura Beach, Australia
    Real Name:
    None of the Olympus Pen series have had an AF assist lamp.

    I also have a Nikon D90 with an AF assist lamp and as others have noted, they are only designed to work over short distances, normally up to 3 to 5 metres. I have it turned off in the Nikon.

    The only camera I had that had a decent AF assist lamp was my Sony DSC-V3 which emitted a laser pattern and could focus in no light over quite a reasonalbe distance - certainly over 7 metres.
  6. kytra

    kytra Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 28, 2011
    Agree with the above statements. I usually turn off the AF assist because people get distracted by it or aware they are photographed (not ok in a lot of settings, theatres, street, candids etc) I find the cdaf in panasonic gf1 surprisingly reliable even in low light, on par (or at least close) with the pdaf in my nikon d90. In good light the dslr focuses visibly faster. Now about fast moving kids, one would want to use prefocus or a fast bursting camera like a sony alpha 33/55, nikon d300/d7000 or others in order to get more keepers.