1990's Point and shoot how do they focus ?

Discussion in 'Lo-Fi Cameras' started by BADGER.BRAD, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. BADGER.BRAD

    BADGER.BRAD Member

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    Hello all,
    I'm currently using a a point and shoot camera to document the build of my Dog kennel (to home 7 dogs) There was a film already in it which could be from the 90's but I thought I would shoot it anyway along side a digital point and press just in case.The camera is a Praktica Regal which is much like many point and press cameras from the late 80's /90's. It has a light to say it is too dark (should I use flash in daylight if this comes on) so there is some level of metering but wondered is the focusing likely just to be fixed. I also wondered is there likely to be a brain in the camera to measure this and what is it likely to change in order to expose correctly ,aperture or time or both ? The digital hated the images as there was a line of light/ dark due to shadow through most of the day which just bleached the bright parts out so it will be interesting to see how the lowfi film camera copes! I have a couple more of these to try so it will be interesting to see how they work. The camera also has a motor drive to advance the film. I guess I'm just asking about the level of sophistication in these cheapish camera at the time ?

    Ps if nothing else I have enjoyed using it as I reminded me of cameras I used in the past as a teen.
     
  2. Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson Subscriber

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  3. jim10219

    jim10219 Member

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    They usually have a fixed focal length set to the hyperfocal distance. So they're set to focus just a bit short of infinity, and have a very small, fixed aperture that gives them a large depth of field. The exact point of focus varies as you change the lenses focal length and size of the aperture. Then they vary the exposure by adjusting the shutter speed. If the meter comes on telling you it is too dark, then you should probably use a flash, even outdoors. It may still not expose properly, but it's probably the best you can do. They usually have a very limited range of shutter speeds.

    Some point and shoot cameras will have autofocus motors and more control over the aperture and shutter speed. It all depends on the model. But if yours doesn't seem to have autofocus, then a fixed focal length set at the hyperfocal distance and aperture is the most likely scenario.
     
  4. AgX

    AgX Member

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    BADGER.BRAD

    BADGER.BRAD Member

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    Next question !! I have shot all the film in the Paktica so am going to move on to another point and press I have a Panasonic C-420af. This camera actually says auto focus on the front but as far as I can tell the lens does not move, I cannot find much info on this actual camera but have found other Panasonic cameras which state that the focusing is multi element does this mean there are different lenses put in line with the main lens to get various focal points ? How does it sense which one is needed ? Again as the view finder on this one has a central square I'm guessing this needs to cover the main subject in the photo ! Thanks everyone, I'm still learning.

    Ps it also says DX on the film view window on the back of the camera from other info I have seen it appears the film will need to be 100 or 400 ASA am I best to stick to this or would I get away with the 200asa film I have plenty of.

    Thanks.
     
  6. AgX

    AgX Member

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    As with manual focusing cameras the principle of "front cell focusing" may be applied. Such is harder to see than a complete lens moving.
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Perform a Google search on the camera name and "butkus". That will lead you to Mike Butkus' camera manual site (butkus.org)
    Mike Butkus' site is really useful - I'd recommend sending him his requested donation.
    Your camera is an autofocus camera using a "pre-focus". 200 ISO negative film will work fine, because the camera will use the setting for 100 ASA, and give you very usable negatives.
     
  8. AgX

    AgX Member

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    None of the two.
    But yes, I know at least one camera model with fixed focus that got something of "autofocus" on its body.
     
  9. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The instruction manual describes it as thus.
     
  10. AgX

    AgX Member

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    In that manual "prefocus" does not mean "fixed-focus" but "focus-lock": reframing whilst keeping the focus at the setting before reframing.

    This is already an advanced feature.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  11. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Manufacturers' speech...
    It could mean that there is a fan of metering beams which allows one to either set the camera on spot focus metering (within that classic autofocus rectangle) or select focusing over the whole viewer width, and then the camera focuses on the nearest subject within the finder.
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The manual I have looked at is here: http://www.cameramanuals.org/pdf_files/panasonic_c-420af.pdf
    Note the reference to the two "infrared auto focus window(s)" - one on each side of the viewfinder window.
    As well as the description of the "Special Auto Focus Situations".
    Reads like auto focus to me.
     
  13. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I never doubted that very camera to have autofocus.
    As I said it even has the additional feature of focus-lock. Which is not to be mixed up with fixed-focus...
     
  14. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I think we have a language difficulty, but I now think that we might actually be agreeing on this.
     
  15. OP
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    BADGER.BRAD

    BADGER.BRAD Member

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    Thanks everyone ,much appreciated.I amazed two people today when out at a local Country House when they realized I was using film, they thought it dead ! Can anyone suggest a point and shoot that will give me more scope with regards to different light conditions ? Both the Praktica and the Panasonic just give me the no no don't do it red light if the conditions are dull, this I think will be a big problem in British winter.
     
  16. Ko.Fe.

    Ko.Fe. Member

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