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I recently bought a new YN-560 II hotshoe flash but found that it has neither TTL nor assist beam for focusing in low light situations.

The problem now is that I'm starting my career as a night photographer (usually night clubs and concerts and so on, where everything is constantly moving) and my Canon 650D can't focus at all when the YN-560 II is attached to the hotshoe mount. Further, there is no assist beam in my flash unit and the camera's assist beam is disabled when the external flash is attached.

The question now is, how can I achieve auto focusing in these low light situations? Is buying a new flash with TTL & assist beam a must? Or is there a way to force camera's assist beam into being enabled even when the YN-560 II is attached?

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I think your only options are to buy either a flash suited to your needs, or a faster lens. –  Darkcat Studios Jun 20 '13 at 7:16
    
And possibly a camera body with better low-light focusing. –  mattdm Jun 20 '13 at 11:15

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You could try a small torch (eg a Mini Maglite) to provide the light to aid focussing (though I admit I've not tried that in a nighclub!). You could even try a red filter on it to minimise the light it puts out.

Either point the torch away once you've achieved focus, or use a short shutter speed so that the flash dominates the exposure, to prevent the torch having an impact on the exposure.

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You might be able to use a hotshoe adapter to split the hotshoe signal to both your flash and an ST-E2 transmitter or something similar that has a dedicated "IR" assist (actually just a red projected grid). This should allow for using the flash and the focus assist, though at that point, you may be better off simply buying a better flash for more all around benefit.

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