I’m Going To Have a Lot of These

Our cat Emma plays with a string in her mouth in January 2008. Original: _MG_6859.cr2

Emma’s black fur throws my camera’s autofocus for a loop — something I expected given how many mis-focused bear pictures I’ve taken in Wyoming. I certainly don’t expect the camera to be able to lock on dark fur, but I thought it would be able to pick up the line between her dark pupils and her green eyes. In strong light it seems to do okay, but in low light it does poorly, even with the focus assist light of the flash.

In this shot, I preset the focus on the chair and waited for her to pop up after the string. She caught the string and stayed for several seconds with the string hanging from her mouth, but the camera couldn’t find focus. Emma’s eyes are out of focus, which is the part of the image I really wanted in focus. In the image below, her eyes are in decent focus, but that’s because she moved and her eyes are near the plane of focus along the chair’s edge.

I’m going to end up with a lot of out-of-focus shots of Emma, on top of the number I’ve deleted already.

Our cat Emma looks over the back of the chair in January 2008. Original: _MG_6862.cr2

I suspect Canon’s pro line of cameras would do a better job here (not perfect, but better). I’ve long thought about upgrading, but to my dismay Canon has only put their pro autofocus in large, heavy bodies. I’ve been trying to lighten my load on long hikes, so perhaps I’ll end up with a heavy body for normal use and a lightweight camera like the new Rebel for hiking.

Nikon makes a body I like but switching would be expensive. Still, watching the bald eagles last week in low light and seeing how many pictures were not sharply focused, it makes me wonder just how much better the pro bodies would be.

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