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Old March 15th, 2016, 03:33 AM   #1
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Macro on or off?

Shooting with the macro on can help you shoot close interviews/voxpops. What is the disadvantage of shooting with the macro always on? Some camera's like the EX3 have as special switch on the lens. In the canon xf205 the macro is on out of the box. Thanks
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Old March 15th, 2016, 04:31 AM   #2
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Re: Macro on or off?

I think it's the same as on some long zoom lenses where there'll be a slide switch for choosing 1.5m to infinity or 4m to infinity (for example). For auto focus operation, this will reduce the time it takes the camera to achieve focus, since it only looks within the range you've selected.

With MACRO selected, I think you are telling the camera that the subject is within close range and therefore it won't run the lens all the way to infinity, while trying to focus.

Disadvantage of staying in macro mode all the time. - If you are filming from a location such as in a car or at an aquarium and have the lens shooting through a nearby glass, you might find that the auto focus is trying to focus on the glass. Take it out of MACRO to help it focus on subjects beyond the glass.

Sorry if I confused you!

Mark
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Old March 15th, 2016, 08:10 AM   #3
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Re: Macro on or off?

Bit confused :) So in you opinion its only a problem when autofocusing?
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Old March 15th, 2016, 10:56 AM   #4
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Re: Macro on or off?

Short answer:

I'd say that with the gear I've used and the way I shoot, there are more downsides to shooting in macro mode when using autofocus (it's slower and will focus on the dirt on the window of the taxi rather than look through the window). But how much of a problem it is in manual focus depends on how it's implemented in a particular camera or lens.

Longer version:

Not all lenses operate the same with regard to this feature. On my XF305, in the menu I can select focus limit ON/OFF. OFF would be the equivalent of selecting MACRO. If OFF, the camera can focus on an object .5m from the lens, but with focus limit ON, it cannot focus on something that close. This is in both MF and AF. But one advantage is that when the camera is trying to autofocus, if you have focus limit set to ON, it won't try to adjust the lens within that close focus range, which means you can get a faster focus.

For the Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, there's a switch on the lens marked FULL, 0.5m-infinity, 0.3m - 0.5m. FULL would be the equivalent to selecting MACRO. If set to FULL, most of the time when I am shooting in AF, it will run the focus all the way down to the 0.3m mark and then head back towards the infinity mark until it hits focus. This can be a slow process. If I know the subject is more than 0.5m away, and I set the switch to 0.5 - infinity, then it will only run down to 0.5m and come back towards infinity until it hits focus. So, on this lens, it helps speed up the AF. Now if I am in MF mode, the focus ring lets me run the dial from 0.3m to infinity and will focus over the entire range regardless of the selector switch position; there's nothing mechanically preventing the lens from being adjusted throughout the whole range.

On the Sigma 50mm f/2.8 DG macro lens, it works a little different. There's a slide switch marked "LIMIT" and "FULL". FULL of course, is full range whether in AF or MF. But in LIMIT, the lens is mechanically locked into a limited focus range, either 0.188m - 0.24m or from 0.24m to infinity. It depends on where the focus ring is at when you engage the switch. So even in MF, if you have it on LIMIT, then you cannot move the focus dial full range. And again, if in AF mode, this lens seems to run all the way to the 0.188m end and work it's way back until it hits focus. Very, very slow focusing in FULL.

Personally, I keep the cameras and lenses out of macro/limit mode unless I need to focus very close.

Mark
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Old March 15th, 2016, 10:07 PM   #5
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Re: Macro on or off?

I leave the macro on all the time on my EX1. With it on, you can focus to infinity, no problem. Then if you need to focus on something really close, it'll do it too. The macro switch doesn't affect infinity focus, only near focus. In a way it widens the range of focus ability. Test it for yourself and see.
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