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While using my camera in a relatively low light scenario I noticed some shots I missed because my camera was struggling to focus.

I use a Nikon D7100 and noticed that the AF assist light only came on when I was using full auto focus not just single point. The photos I did capture came out well and the camera could clearly handle the light even if the AF couldn't!

Does anyone have any tips for getting around this?

marked as duplicate by mattdm, AJ Henderson, Esa Paulasto, John Cavan Feb 14 '14 at 0:56

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    You can switch to manual focus, or use a different button for focusing than the one you use to take the shot: youtube.com/watch?v=FzqQskGoURE&feature=youtu.be – Lasse Vågsæther Karlsen Feb 11 '14 at 12:50
  • @mattdm, it is slightly different. My question is more based on focus searching in low light whereas the one you link to appears to be the shortfalls of full auto-focus tracking. – Andy Feb 11 '14 at 13:40
  • @Andy No, I don't think the other one talks about focus tracking at all. Low light comes into it because low light often means low contrast. (Or if the AF sensor can't cleanly register light that low, it means effectively no contrast, so nothing to focus on.) – mattdm Feb 11 '14 at 14:56
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The AF assist light comes up only if:

  • Using AF-A or AF-S modes (not AF-C)
  • In case you are using a single focus point, only some points support the AF assist light: for sure the central one, check the manual if more points support that. Note that the center point of the D7100 as far as I know is also more sensitive to light (works up to f/8, the other points only to f/5.6).

If you use an external flash (which is often a good idea in low light anyway), you can also benefit of an improved assist light.

  • That is brilliant, I never knew these. This will definitely help me with low light photos in the future. – Andy Feb 11 '14 at 12:58
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    It's worth noting that the assist-light has limited reach of a few meters at best. – Itai Feb 11 '14 at 14:04

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