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If you get too close to your subject -- that is closer than your lens's minimum focusing distance, -- then your lens won't be able to focus. So, if you get up close, and you can't get focused -- your lens just searches back and forth, -- the first thing you need to do is start to back away. Now, you can continue to try to auto focus as you pull the camera further from the subject, but that kind of trial-and-error approach can take a while, because the camera is going to keep focusing every time you try. You might find it easier to employ a manual focus approach. First thing I do is set my camera's focus to its closest focusing distance.
Now, on this lens, I can actually turn the manual focusing ring without having to switch it to manual focus. For other lenses, you have to make that change first. So, what I do now is -- rather than trying to auto focus the camera to get it in focus; I'm at my minimum focusing distance, -- I'm just going to move the camera back and forth until I get focus. So, you can see that there I'm in focus, and there I'm not, and here I'm in focus, and here I'm not, so I can zero in on my focus that way.
Now, watch what happens if I'm shooting more at an angle where there is more depth in the scene. You can see that there the kind of back part of the flower is in focus; here the front part of the flower is in focus. So, I can really work exactly the part that I want without handling my lens at all. All I'm doing is moving the camera forward and backward. There's another reason to focus this way. As you may have noticed from looking at close-up in macro photos, or simply from your own experience, when you get close to your subject, your depth of field will drop off dramatically.
So, as depth of field gets more shallow, you may find you need to make very, very slight adjustments to focus to get a specific detail of your subject sharp. It's going to be easier to make this change by moving the camera back and forth than it would be to try to work the focus ring on your lens. We'll be talking about these issues in greater detail when we cover true macro shooting. For now, go ahead and start practicing focus adjustments through camera moves. Being comfortable with this practice will give you a leg-up when we get to macro close-distance shooting.
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