Using mostly the standard 18-55mm ƒ2.8 zoom on our evening walk I often wish I had a tripod and a macro lens with me. Scott Bourne criticised the Macro button a few ‘We shoot Fuji podcasts ago’ and until I heard Scotts condemnation of this function button I have to say I paid very little attention to it.
To a large extent there were very few ‘Macro Lenses’ available until the 1970’s. The first one I owned was a Canon FDM 50mmƒ3.5. There was an ‘exotic’ FL50 produced in the mid sixties but I don’t think it ever arrived in the UK.
The FDM 50 manifestation needed an adaptor to take it to a full 1:1 magnification that was also very difficult to buy. However the FDM 50 worked well on Canons beautifully machined bellows and copy attachment.
Other than that most people used +1, +2, +3, closeup filters, the problem with filters in my experience is that unless they have been paired and made by the host lens manufacturer there will invariably be chromatic aberrations or fringing as it later became known to photoshop users. In the sixties and seventies extension rings were probably the most popular device to obtain close focus or macro photos. The cheapest device was a reversing ring where one obtained a filter size ring that had a lens mount on the other side so the lens was just reversed. I personally never worked out what the reproduction size was as my only experience with this device was a loner from a shop where I eventually purchased the 50mm macro lens.
The Macro button on the XPro1 seems to reduce the focus distance down to roughly 200mm with the native Fuji lenses that I own. I have no idea how it does this but I suspect it is achieved electronically something like the reverse of a digital zoom function found in many digital point and shoot cameras. My only quibble is that the auto focus seems to miss a lot in that Macro button mode. Personally having shot thousands of macro photos for employers there is no substitute for a macro lens and a tripod, it is the only way to achieve fine focus. More so than with any other photographic subject matter, how and what you focus on when close up makes of breaks the overall look and feel of the photograph. For me thats why manual focus is better. I used Canons for many years and when they switched to AF that predictive auto focus at times drove me bonkers. Fortunately the Xpro1 doesn’t have it I don’t know about the other Fuji’s.
The Azalea’s above were shot hand held using said macro button!
I recently took delivery of a Novoflex Canon FD to Fuji X adaptor and it works well. I may be flamed for saying this but the only way I have found that macro auto focus to be better than manual focus is where the camera has a touch sensitive monitor and preferably one whose monitor swings out from the camera. This makes macro work in rural areas a more comfortable pursuit.
While working in bush environments too many times have I been bitten, stung and sucked on by various creatures of the Australian bush. Having kangaroo ticks removed from testicles is not nice. One time while working in sand dunes East of Albany W.A. I was so busy battling the wind which was moving my subject all over the place I completely forgot about snakes. Then it happened a two metre Black Dugite slide past me at 45 degrees. I saw its tail end in one corner of the viewfinder and froze. Fortunately they move quickly and it had no interest in me, but it made my heart race for a few moments.
On a practical level I sincerely hope that Fuji adds a swinging touch screen to the XPro2 it makes macro auto focus really functional. In following blogs of other professional botanical and garden photographers I have been surprised by how many have actually adapted to using the touch screen technology.