GG focusing tip! : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Next time you're in the field, consider taking a couple or three little, tiny MagLite "Solitare" keychain flashlights. They have a tiny micro buld that is very bright...and use one, AAA battery. Unscrew the entire reflector/front cap assembly and the buld is on, and bright even in daylight. If your using front standard 'tilt' and want to check your focal plane, just place the lighted 'Solitare' where you want sharp focus. Even with your lens stopped down, the bright little buld can be seen, and is a great focusing aid. At a distance farther away, it works great as a near pin-point light source, and believe me it's easy to know when your either in focus...or out. Just a tip that has always worked great for me. Solitares only cost about $7-8 bucks.

-- Richard Boulware (, August 24, 2001


Richard, I use to use the mini-mag at night for that, never tried it in daylight, thanks for the tip. Pat

-- pat krentz (, August 24, 2001.

Some people use a laser pointer for that purpose but it harder to see in the daytime and you need three arms to hold it, the loupe, and focus knob.

-- John Hennessy (, August 24, 2001.

I guess I should have explained further. First, by removing the entire front assembly, you have a bright, illuminated lamp about 1mm by 3mm (roughly). You can just put the 'Spolitare on the ground,...I often wrap my 'Solitares' in soft aluminum wire that I can stick in the ground or bend a small stand to hold it in a vertical position, or wrap them around a limb. I don't have three hands either!

-- Richard Boulware (, August 24, 2001.


That's a great idea! I've been using the same trick when I shoot interiors for a few years now as an ultimate depth of field focus check. The laser pointer trick doesn't work even when the laser pointer is mounted on a stand because the beam spread is too diffuse when it hits the target and is reliant on the reflective characteristics of the target.

Thanks for sharing!

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, August 25, 2001.

I've replaced my Solitaires with Photon's micro lights. They are even smaller and you don't need to disassemble the front.

-- Q.-Tuan Luong (, September 04, 2001.

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