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I have a Canon 1000D and it doesn't come with a focusing screen. Sometimes my camera cannot focus in low-light. I'd like to manually focus, but without a focusing screen I haven't been able to do it accurately.

How do you manually focus accurately without a focusing screen? Or is the standard solution to get a focusing screen?

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Relevant question:… – Karel Aug 9 '10 at 21:04
No focusing screen sounds a bit weird - do you mean an old-style split-prism focusing screen? Fundamentally any SLR has a focusing screen, otherwise you couldn't use the viewfinder. – ex-ms Aug 9 '10 at 21:12
If you need a focusing screen, you can find some here: – jrista Aug 9 '10 at 21:31
up vote 5 down vote accepted

The 1000D has live view. If you're on a tripod, you could zoom the live view to 100% and use that to focus. This is going to be more accurate than a focusing screen anyway.

(Of course, the camera needs to support live view zoom, and I don't know whether that's the case for the 1000D).

Or you could turn on the focus assist, which will use the flash to illuminate the subject so the AF works.

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Live View Zoom is a feature on the 1000D, and sounds like a good idea. I'll also check if I can use AF-Assist (Auto-Focus Assist) without popping the flash. Thanks, Everyone, for the tips. – Mike M. Lin Aug 10 '10 at 22:42
After disabling the flash in the menu, I flipped the flash up and it used light to auto-focus, but didn't pop when I took the picture. It works great, and that's all I really needed, not manual focus. I also experimented with zooming in Live View, which was a little slower, but also works. Thanks. – Mike M. Lin Aug 13 '10 at 20:13

I would recommend getting a focus screen, but that's not specifically going to help your manual focus efforts. My suspicion would be that camera shake, either by hand or mirror slap, is a more likely culprit for the blur. This is entirely common in low light, slow shutter situations, especially when hand-held.

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The easiest solution is a focus screen, however in lieu of a focus screen, I recommend focus and recompose.

Find an object that is on the same plane as your subject, and focus on that, then while maintaining focus lock, recompose your shot, then take the picture.

Additionally, since the 1000D has a built in flash, you can use it to illuminate your subject long enough for the AF to kick in.

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You can also try the "focus confirmation light" in your VF. It's not always accurate, but it gives you a better chance than nothing.

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