RE: G1-X Autofocus in Dim Light - the final word

Started Oct 3, 2012 | Discussions thread
Marco Nero
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Let THIS be the final word... (EXAMPLES)
In reply to Hoboken Michelle, Oct 3, 2012

Hoboken Michelle wrote:

Looking for the real answer to something. Have read plenty of posts on here suggesting that people are mistaking the camera's inability to autofocus specifically to the camera's close/macro focus capability.

Yes, that is a problem when you first use the G1 X and are not aware of this difference. But try using a DSLR with a $3,000L series lens and you'll have exactly the same problem if the lens doesn't allow you to shoot within a certain distance.

"The problem is though, that this camera is completely incapable of focusing in even slightly dim light. I don’t just mean slow focusing or hunting–I mean often unable to establish focus at all in less than stellar lighting conditions."

Grrrr! See my reply below.

Autofocus in decent lighting seems to be tolerable. Not lightning fast, but it certainly didn’t have the trouble that it does as soon as the sun sets. ....In addition, on the rare occasional that it does happen to lock on my subject correctly, it has taken so long to do so that I’ve likely missed the shot anyway. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been this frustrated with a camera’s autofocus system, and I can’t believe Canon let this camera out like this."

I can't believe people like that are allowed to write reviews on devices they clearly don't understand. Shooting a sunset? Should be easy. But capturing the setting sun or other parts of the environment should be easy, plus you can switch to MF and scroll to "infinity" if the shot is really important. My own G1 X won't focus lock on a blue sky with no clouds... and that makes sense too.

There's no problem with the G1 X's autofocus and there's no problem with how the camera handles low light scenes. It normally does so brilliantly. All the shots below were taken handheld in very low light conditions. Everyone one of them should have been a problem if the G1 X has a problem locking focus in low light. Take a look at those pictures and below each one, I will describe the area which I targeted with the Focus Reticule (the little white rectangle that turns green when focus is locked). I trust that the moderators will permit me to bend the rules here on image posting due to the nature of this important thread... I also kept the images super-small for a change:

  • Focus locked on the moving vehicle at night by panning the camera with the speed of the car, tracking it with the reticule.

  • Targeted the edge of the moon and recomposed the image.

  • Aimed the reticule at the windows of the buildings.

  • Aimed the reticule at the plasma strand.

  • Aimed reticule at the edge of the glass where there was a reflection.

  • Aimed the reticule at the registration plate of the vehicle ahead.

  • Aimed the reticule at the rocks cresting the horizon.

  • Aimed the reticule at the stationary cab.

  • Aimed the reticule at the building lights on the carpark (the vertical yellow stripes).

  • Aimed the reticule at my speedometer.

  • Aimed the reticule the legs of the people walking.

  • Aimed the reticule at the edge of my wife's shoulder.

Now I don't even need to click on the review that you've linked to (and I didn't) because it's clear that the reviewer has no comprehension of the subject. It was infuriating to see so-called "reviewers" who couldn't handle the concept that the G1X requires the same sort of space for closeup photography as DSLRs do due to the distances involved between the sensor and the lens. I have more trouble with older PowerShots and older IXUS cameras. But not with the G1 X.

If you use the Handheld NightScene, you may find the camera hunting for something to focus on in near darkness but that's not really a problem.

  • Do this: Change the targeting reticule from LARGE to SMALL and you will find the camera isn't trying as hard to find an area to lock focus on.

Have I ever had a problem? Yes, out of 2,700 photographs taken just two days ago, three were out of focus that used the AF. Why? Take a look at one of the images below:

  • Aimed the reticule at the left hand side-edge of my wife's face.

The problem was that my reticule was overlapping her face and the background... and the background had brighter sunlit areas of greater contrast. I resolved the problem by re-shooting the image whilst using my wife's chest (where the top of her clothing met her skin) instead. I was surprised but I understood why. The camera needs contrast to determine the area to be focused on.

With ANY camera I use, I always target an area of contrast. I lock focus and recompose... A reflection in the eyes, the light falling on the side of a face, the edge of a building or a treetop, the panel on the side of a sign, a stop sign on the road, a crack in the concrete, etc etc etc. If you find that the re-composure affect the exposure, then lock the exposure (the little button on the right of the camera rear with the Asterix on it) and then refocus using the method I suggested. It will become second nature and you won't miss a shot.

Do this with any camera and you should always be able to capture the shots you need.

There's nothing wrong with the G1 X. I'd be complaining about it quite vocally here if there was.

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