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Embarrassing n00b question - bright red light?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Gyroscope, May 4, 2012.

  1. Gyroscope

    Gyroscope Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Apr 20, 2012
    SE London
    OK, so I'm going to kick myself for asking, but ...

    The OM-D sometimes (and sometimes not) displays a bright red light from the front when auto-focussing.

    What gives?

    Is it trying to judge distances or something?

    I've not noticed this before, but when I pointed the camera at a blank TV screen it got really quite keen on the whole red light thing.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. slith

    slith Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Apr 4, 2012
    Dublin, Ireland
    Alfonso
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Gyroscope

    Gyroscope Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Apr 20, 2012
    SE London
    That sounds about right. If the old E-P1 had one I hadn't noticed it.

    Thanks very much.
     
  4. dfatty

    dfatty Mu-43 Rookie

    22
    May 2, 2012
    Yup, AF assist lamp, helps focus in low light. You can turn it off, it can be annoying to people you're photographing. OMD seems to focus pretty well without it.

    And pretty sure EP1 didn't have it, I think that was one of the complaints about it in the reviews. On the EP1 it was more needed because it didn't have as good an AF system as the OMD.
     
  5. everythingsablur

    everythingsablur Mu-43 Veteran

    412
    Aug 4, 2010
    Toronto, ON
    As slith pointed out, that's the AF illuminator. It activated when you aimed at your blank TV because it could not discern any contrast to identify a focus point (understandable, where would you focus on a big, flat black slab?). It can be a little annoying for people you are taking pictures of, but it is a bit of a necessary evil. Much better for a camera to have one, then to struggle and rack hopelessly in the dark without one. Some cameras even allow you to shut it off if you find it annoying/bothersome.

    I don't know if Sony still does this, but they used to use a far more interesting "hologram" laser AF system that projected this on your target:
    _K5L0564-laser. (credit: PHOTOGRAPHIC CENTRAL: Sony Cybershot DSC-V3 Review- A Cybershot Powerhouse)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    Olympus only added this feature with the mid-2011 cameras (E-P3/E-PL3/E-PM1) and they've included it now with the E-M5; previous models did not have AF assist. It's a standard feature of all of the Panasonic bodies.

    It's definitely something you can turn off if it is annoying you or (more likely) your subjects.
     
  7. slith

    slith Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Apr 4, 2012
    Dublin, Ireland
    Alfonso
    Oh, and on the matter of being a n00b... we all are at some point in time. I think about 3 weeks ago I did not know that this light came from that 'thing' there by the lens. The thing that I often covered with my clumsy fingers because I kept forgetting what it was for (after I figured it had to do with the autofocus), and even then I had no idea exactly how it was related to the autofocus... :D
     
  8. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    Which is great if you want someone to think they are being hunted by a Predator lol.
     
  9. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    Nothing personal, and please don't take offense, as none is intended. But you're going to miss out on a lot of what the little camera can do if you don't sit down and spend some quality time with the manual in one hand, and the camera in the other, going through all the settings and options one by one
     
    • Like Like x 2
  10. slith

    slith Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Apr 4, 2012
    Dublin, Ireland
    Alfonso
    That's one method, the other method is to read little by little and learn to solve problems with the knowledge you have so far, when you read a bit more, you learn some more. It is not the most efficient way, but it is more likely to suit some of us that lack the discipline of reading a whole manual.
     
  11. Gyroscope

    Gyroscope Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Apr 20, 2012
    SE London
    I agree, but one of the key problems is that the manual is nothing more than a PDF file on disc.

    I have gone through the manual quite a few times (honest!) but I'll admit that my eyes may well have glazed over a couple of times :smile: so I must have missed mention of this feature.

    Anyhoos - I'm off one a much-anticipated trip tomorrow so hoping to give the new camera a good run through its paces.
     
  12. slith

    slith Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Apr 4, 2012
    Dublin, Ireland
    Alfonso
    Well, maybe the manual talks about the existence of an AF assist mechanism, but it might take you a while to realize that the red light is how the mechanism assists AF. Read the manual forwards and backwards if you will...
     
  13. dfatty

    dfatty Mu-43 Rookie

    22
    May 2, 2012
    I'm with you, it's very annoying that there's no manual. I just checked Olympus' web site to see if they sell a hard copy but I couldn't find one. Printing it out just isn't the same as a small bound version you can carry with you. It seems like a pretty basic idea that if you want your customers to like all the great things in your product, you should provide an easy way for them to read up on the product.
     
  14. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    I agree that it's annoying that a hard-copy of the manual is not provided by the manufacturer, but I personally find a PDF more usable due to the ability to quickly search. Olympus is certainly not alone in the consumer electronics industry in abandoning printed manuals. The thing that annoys me most is that the PDF manual is still being formatted to be printed as a small booklet format; if you're not going to actually CREATE the booklet, why not format the manual to a standard letter paper size?

    All that said, there's nothing to prevent you from printing out the PDF if you prefer a hard copy. Also, given the apparent popularity of this model I would expect that we may see a third-party guide/manual in the near future.