E-PL1 AF Light Add On

Started May 27, 2010 | Discussions
ZappB Regular Member • Posts: 132
E-PL1 AF Light Add On
1

I finally finished my project of adding an AF light to my E-PL1. I posted my intenetions last week: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1041&message=35371655

With the AF light, I can take photos in pitch black conditions using the flash. Normally, this would be impossible. The light automatically turns off during the exposure as to not effect the image. I also added a mode for the light to stay on constantly for video or whatever you desire with a constant light. The main use is for party settings where a tripod or a large flash would be troublesome.

It runs on CR2025 batteries. I mounted the device onto an unused flash shoe cover, and then molded a cover for it. It looks ok for a prototype. You could mount this on any camera you wanted that has a flash shoe, and it will not effect the light within the image taken.

Is anyone else interested in such a device? I'm thinking of teaming up with a manufacturer to produce these. Let me know what you think.

Focusing

Taking Image

Sample Image With Flash Using LED Light to Focus In Pitch Black Room

Sample Image Without Flash Using LED Light Set To Always On In Pitch Black Room

ljf5000 New Member • Posts: 13
Re: E-PL1 AF Light Add On

Wow! that's incredible! I think that I'm going to build one for my camera as well!

I don't know that there's much market for this, though--people here pooh-pooh'ed me when I complained about EPL1 low-light autofocus in another post. They seem to think it's not a real problem.

Anyway, enough complaining here. How did you build it? Which parts? Any chance that an IR-light will work, or do digital cameras filter out IR wavelengths?

cococat Contributing Member • Posts: 502
Re: E-PL1 AF Light Add On

Shame they cant come up with a s/w upgrade to allow the flash to be the focus assist.... that cant be that hard.
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mclarenf3 Forum Member • Posts: 61
Re: E-PL1 AF Light Add On

I'm not sure if I'd actually get it, as I haven't needed it yet, but I think it's absolutely awesome what you've made here. And if it works on the E-PL1 it will work on all of the four thirds bodies also. You've got a good niche here.

Bluephotons Veteran Member • Posts: 6,720
Cool!! I Want One (nt)
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OP ZappB Regular Member • Posts: 132
Re: E-PL1 AF Light Add On

It should work for all cameras that have a flash shoe, not just Olympus. Although, most cameras come with some sort of AF assist these days...Just not Olympus cameras.

efix Senior Member • Posts: 2,028
Re: E-PL1 AF Light Add On

Great stuff! I think I'd get one

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kiri Senior Member • Posts: 1,649
Re: E-PL1 AF Light Add On

Very cool. How did you get it to automatically turn off during exposure??

OP ZappB Regular Member • Posts: 132
Re: E-PL1 AF Light Add On

It acts like a reverse flash. The LEDs are on by default. When the flash shoe sends the signal for the flash, the LEDs are told to power down instead. They stay off for a pre-programmed amount of time (I have it set to 1 sec right now). If I knew more about the Olympus flash system, I could possibly make it work with the extra pins in the flash shoe. Right now, I'm only using the center pin to detect the flash trigger.

kiri Senior Member • Posts: 1,649
Re: E-PL1 AF Light Add On

Well I'm impressed. Perhaps your next project can be something like this:
http://www.litepanels.com/lp/products/micropro_hybrid.html

Ray Sachs
Ray Sachs Forum Pro • Posts: 10,580
Re: E-PL1 AF Light Add On

Definitely a cool idea and well done. Not sure if I'd actually buy one if you have them made. Probably depends on cost. I love the idea but I've realistically only found myself in a situation where my camera wouldn't focus a couple of times and I'm not sure I'd go to the trouble of fishing around for this and sticking it on. Also, if its on whenever you're not actually taking a shot, it could add to the level of intrusion of the photographer in the room. If it was in the $20-30 range, I'd probably buy it for those rare occasions I'd need it. Much more and I probably wouldn't.

-Ray

ryan2007 Forum Pro • Posts: 12,001
Re: E-PL1 AF Light Add On

I have a GF-1, that said maybe contact Richard Franiec. He has custom made some really nice things for the Canon "G" camera's which I bought for the G7 at the time. I see he has expanded. I don't know all the costs and overhead. At the time I used a postal money order to do business.

To that end, anything you can do to enhance the product because the manufacture just misses something. If this takes off it will be beneficial to look at other camera's in the class as well and can be a simply upgrade. He is the link:

http://www.kleptography.com/rf/

I have to add that if you want a shot at success I personally would not tell the world how you did what you did (trade secret). I don't know much about patents but I would get your idea officially registered. I am just assuming you are in the USA.

David V
David V Senior Member • Posts: 1,196
Re: E-PL1 AF Light Add On

I wish that the camera manufacturers would start making LED flashes. You could probably GN 20 type performance out of something the size and weight of a quarter. You could also add the ability to have them change colors for some creative possibilites in the place of gels.

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SamRgrafx New Member • Posts: 11
Re: E-PL1 AF Light Add On

I'm very interesting !!

Can post another picture in available light but in high ISO ( 800 or 1600 ) to compare with your iso200 shot

Thanks a lot !!!

JoeBenjamin
JoeBenjamin Regular Member • Posts: 380
Very clever! (n/t)
farrukh Senior Member • Posts: 2,720
Re: E-PL1 AF Light Add On

Very well done!

Thomas_A Regular Member • Posts: 382
Yes!

Several have mentioned and asked for a similar device (including me) that "replaces" the current protective cap, but with a built-in-led that can be used both for focus and for video (constant).

Bilgy_no1
Bilgy_no1 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,880
Re: E-PL1 AF Light Add On

What a good idea!

It would be perfect if the led's were triggered by the half-press of the shutter. Olympus flashes (FL36, FL50) do have an AF assist function that is triggerd this way (just not on the PENs apparently).

I'd get one for a price between US$ 20 and 30.

Damien
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cococat Contributing Member • Posts: 502
Re: E-PL1 AF Light Add On

Bilgy_no1 wrote:

What a good idea!

It would be perfect if the led's were triggered by the half-press of the shutter. Olympus flashes (FL36, FL50) do have an AF assist function that is triggerd this way (just not on the PENs apparently).

I'd get one for a price between US$ 20 and 30.

Damien
--
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bilgy_no1

I am sure a s/w tweak could get the EPL in-built flash to do the same function. A bit like red-eye reduction.

I guess they will release the Focus Assist in the next model as they seem to be aiming this at the P&S market who are used to such basics....

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Beth Veteran Member • Posts: 9,262
Great idea!

Thanks Zapp!!

Looks like a wonderful solution! By the way, what is the orange gadget? I am gathering that you are talking about the small lighted device that sits in the flash shoe?

I'd definately be interested and wish you much good fortune in finding a manufacturer!

Beth

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