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04-18-2008, 08:23 AM   #1
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Cheapest K10D AF assist

One of the biggest reasons that I bought my K10 was because of the horrific low-light performance of my P&S. While I can do about 5 stops better now, I really miss the AF assist lamp on my P&S. All the reviews said the K10 would flash the strobe if needed, but that only happens around EV 1 or 2, and my house at night is about EV4.

Anyway, I'm not really in the marked for a flash, as I have a Sunpak 383 that does fine with its thyristor (though I use it on manual a lot), but I would really like some AF assist. Now, I know that the K10 dropped TTL support in favor of P-TTL, so what's the cheapest way to get an AF assist lamp up there, if I'm perfectly fine using a manual flash?

And on that note, why does no one make a shoe-mount AF assist lamp sans strobe. I yearned for one on my old Minolta Z2, and I'm yearning again.

Thanks, guys.

04-18-2008, 08:41 AM   #2
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Step 1: Dollar store
Step 2: Buy small flashlight
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04-18-2008, 09:05 AM   #3
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Okay, technically, that would work. But it's terribly clunky, and it would throw off the exposure. Plus, I'd be shining a flashlight in people's faces. Not that that's that much better than shining an AF assist light at them, but at least they're probably used to that.

"That that's that." Whoa.

And yes, I get that you're kidding.
04-18-2008, 09:26 AM   #4
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Will this item work for you?
At around $50, it should be purchasable.

kyrios


Last edited by kyrios; 04-18-2008 at 09:32 AM.
04-18-2008, 09:45 AM   #5
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Actually, that looks excellent! But do you have one? Are you sure it can be used without a flash attached?
04-18-2008, 10:41 AM   #6
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I'm not sure. You should contact Promaster and ask them a question. Whether it uses power from camera or from the flash module. I'm interested as well.

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04-18-2008, 10:49 AM   #7
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The Promaster modules obtain their power from the flash. I used to have the pinout for about half of the Promaster flash-module connector from when I reverse engineered it to build a digital slave module in 2000 or so, but don't have the info any more.
04-18-2008, 12:27 PM   #8
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In December I bought an over ear led light for about $10. It looks a bit like a Bluetooth earpiece. It works great because it's hands free for focusing and it shines in exactly the right spot. Just don't forget it is going to throw out exposure so allow for that when choosing shooting mode.

04-18-2008, 12:57 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by joefru Quote
...(snip) And on that note, why does no one make a shoe-mount AF assist lamp sans strobe. I yearned for one on my old Minolta Z2, and I'm yearning again. Thanks, guys.

I've done a bit of studying on this. While I haven't actually tried anything yet, I'll gladly share my insights. In my search, I came across the Sima SL-9 shoe-mount video light which uses two rechargeable AAA-size NiMH batteries to power a 3-watt halogen lamp. The front cover easily removes to allow bulb replacement.

With this in mind, it may be possible to replace the halogen lamp with a 3-watt infrared lamp to serve as a focus assist beam. Another possibility is inserting a filter over the existing lamp which only allows infrared to pass, again serving as a focus assist.

stewart
04-18-2008, 01:22 PM   #10
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where do you get a 3-watt infrared lamp and how do yo know if it fits thats a HELL of a good idea
04-18-2008, 02:43 PM   #11
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tonight i did shoot people who were dancing in low light.
it was really painful to focus, i didn't even focus manually, i am like pentax i can't focus in low light, too
i was thinking to have an af-assist.
please helppppppppppppppp
04-18-2008, 02:57 PM   #12
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have you tried the builtin flash? just put it down before taking the shot if you don't want flash?
04-18-2008, 02:59 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stewart_photo Quote
I've done a bit of studying on this. While I haven't actually tried anything yet, I'll gladly share my insights. In my search, I came across the Sima SL-9 shoe-mount video light which uses two rechargeable AAA-size NiMH batteries to power a 3-watt halogen lamp. The front cover easily removes to allow bulb replacement.

With this in mind, it may be possible to replace the halogen lamp with a 3-watt infrared lamp to serve as a focus assist beam. Another possibility is inserting a filter over the existing lamp which only allows infrared to pass, again serving as a focus assist.

stewart
Isn't the SAFOX module protected by an IR filter as well? Correct me if I'm wrong. (in this case, I really do hope I'm wrong)
04-18-2008, 02:59 PM   #14
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((
i tried...
04-18-2008, 03:44 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by nathancombs Quote
where do you get a 3-watt infrared lamp and how do yo know if it fits thats a HELL of a good idea

Finding the right bulb may require some experimenting. The technical name is an infrared emitting diode, a type of LED found at most electronics outlets. Just make sure to find one capable of handling the 3-volts delivered by the two AAA batteries (most LED's are rated at 3.2v. which is just fine). At that point, it's just a matter of finding a diode with enough actual light output, combined with any reflective surface inside the Sima SL-9, to serve as a focus assist. Something close to 3-watts might be nice, but likely nearly impossible to find. If anyone finds one, please let me know.

One might also be able to scrounge a diode from an old flash unit with a focus assist, but pay attention to the voltage. Again, the diode, used in this manner, must be capable of handling at least 3-volts (the two AAA batteries). Note voltage and wattage are two different things here - the 3-volts are required, while the 3-watts are not. To explain, the light bulbs in your home are either 120-volts (USA) or 230-volts (Eur), but different wattage light bulbs (60-watts, 75-watts, etc) can be used in those light sockets safely.

As for fit, the pins of a new diode are often long enough to bend to fit nearly any application. One final note. The Sima SL-9 is a simple on/off light with no electrical connections to the camera, so there is no risk of damage or incompatibilities with your Pentax gear. Simply turn the Sima on when focus assist is needed and off again when not. Good luck with any experments done in this regard.

stewart


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Last edited by stewart_photo; 04-18-2008 at 04:00 PM.
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