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I went on a night hike with my friends, and we decided to take a group picture so I pulled out my Fujifilm camera with a 23mm 1.4.

There was no natural light so we had to use the on-camera flash, which illuminated the scene fine. However it was too dark to auto-focus, so I switched it to manual.

The 23mm 1.4 is peculiar in Fujifilm lenses in that it has a hard-stop focus ring with an etched-on focus scale. In normal conditions you would read the focus ring, then turn it to the right zone and shoot. However at this time it was too dark to read the scale and Fujifilm has disabled the on-screen focus scale for this lens in manual. (It is present in the AF+correction mode, although this also has problems

Reading the focus scale in the dark, MF was a crap-shoot so we switched it to AF and hoped for the best. Now I'm back home and have no good pictures of me and my friends because they're all blurry. How do I prevent this from happening again?

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  • Shine a flashlight ("torch" if you're speaking British English rather than American English) on your target.
  • Focus using MF.
  • Don't move the focus setting again.
  • Turn off the flashlight (torch).
  • Take the photo.

If the Fuji camera and flash you are using includes an AF illumination assist option, that would be the simplest way to do what you want.

  • This would work if Fuji lenses weren't fly-by-wire. The focus ring is digital so as soon as you switch to MF it will shift focus to wherever the ring is set. – enthdegree Sep 12 '16 at 7:02
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    Then focus manually using the flashlight to illuminate your target. Then don't turn the focus ring, turn off the flashlight, and take the picture. – Michael C Sep 12 '16 at 7:04
  • Yep, silly me. thanks. The AF Illumination was also off, so that might have helped too. – enthdegree Sep 12 '16 at 7:04
  • If you've got a flash with AF illumination assist that would be the simplest solution. – Michael C Sep 12 '16 at 7:05
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    re: switching from AF to MF with focus-by-wire lenses. In the Canon world where I live even the focus-by-wire lenses hold a focus position when they're switched from AF to MF. Why in the world would Fuji at least not provide such a user selectable option? – Michael C Sep 12 '16 at 7:07
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On the Fuji X cameras you can turn off the option were the viewfinder display matches the exposure (I have forgotten Fuji's precise menu option for this and do have my camera to hand). With this option off it will turn up the gain for the display under darker light and make it easier to focus. I would suggest trying this option together with the "zoom" focus assist if AF illumination and autofocus doesn't work. The focus peaking doesn't work so well under dark conditions. Also these lenses does hold focus when you switch from AF to MF so some of the other options suggested should work as expected.

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