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Old Sep 26, 2010, 10:26 AM   #1
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Default Focusing

Apologies, this is a bit of a clueless question, but I'm new to camera language and I'm struggling to understand macros and focusing - after reading about a bit I still don't understand and its driving me nuts!

On my FZ45, if its on AF Macro, you can focus easily 1cm away, which isn't great trying to get bugs as they get scared and fly off. You can also focus from about 1/2 a foot away using the zoom to 5 or 6x. If however you want to zoom in really close from 1/2 a foot away and zoom past the 6x it refuses to focus at all. If I look at something say, a metre and a half away though I can zoom right to 24x and it will focus. I get the same thing on P mode also, so I'm guessing its to do with the lense and not the mode. I don't understand though why it can focus on something if you bring the camera right next to it, but can't focus if you're 1/2 a foot away and zoom in. IA mode just throws a general fit on close shots, so I'm doing something wrong on that.

Can anyone explain in v.basic language or point me to an idiots guide to focusing? I really didn't understand what the manual was saying at all!

Whilst I'm on the subject, sorry, but is the macro mode you reach through turning the dial on the top, the same as the macro mode you reach through pressing the AF/AF Macro/MF button? I think I remember someone saying they were different, but I didn't understand what was different. If you know of an idiots guide to macros (complete with basic diagrams for the clueless) that would also be great as I don't understand the different between a macro and a zoomed in normal shot. I know its something to do with it being 1:1 but I don't know what that means and why it makes a difference to the shot...
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Old Sep 26, 2010, 5:24 PM   #2
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In Macro mode, the camera lens moves some of the lens groups to allow focus very close-up. In doing so, it loses the ability to focus farther away. If you take a Slr lens, and turn it around, you will see that you can focus on things very close, and get nice magnification. In fact, this was one way people use to get macro photos. In essence, this is what the camera does to your lens when you set it to the macro mode.
The purists will tell you that a lens isn't truly macro unless it projects a life size image onto the film or sensor. Most people, though, would agree that if the image is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1:4 up to 4:1, that it qualifies as macro.

You should be able to find the focus ranges for the different macro modes, in your camera's manual. It depends on the design of the lens. If you find you need greater magnification, you may want to look at add-on diopter lenses.

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Old Sep 26, 2010, 7:37 PM   #3
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@Samble,
I can't help with the FZ45. What does your manual say about AF, Zoom, and Macro modes?

@VTphotog,
A couple quibbles about macros. I guess I'm semi-purist; I'll call 1:2 as macro, while less magnification is a close-up. But there's an arbitrary line somewhere between 1:5 and 1:1 that's not worth fighting over. Pax.

And magnification comes from extension, not from reversing the lens. The main impacts of reversal are 1) a sharper image, and 2) forcing you to work REAL close. Almost everything looks big if you're close enough.
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Old Sep 26, 2010, 10:42 PM   #4
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If we were always talking about the same size sensor format, it would be a bit easier to come up with a definition. A 1:1 image on a sensor with a crop factor of 5, would look five times larger, when viewed pixel for pixel, than the same 1:1 on 35mm full frame, which we would likel call micro rather than macro. So I just go along with the general view that if it is real close and looks large, it's macro.

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