23 – fast lenses and macro

Shallow depth of field and macro do not go together.

I’ve been testing my new-to-me ZD 50/2.0, and obviously, exploiting the fast 2.0 aperture, but every time I tested it, I kept saying, “man, this lens is backfocusing” or “this is frontfocusing”…but it turns out, it was me. I’m not accustomed to such a shallow depth of field for macro or for normal shots. Both of my new lenses are quite fast (from an aperture perspective), therefore require a bit more diligence with aperture control to get proper focus.

The Sigma 18-50/2.8 does backfocus a bit, so I had to adjust it to -1 on my body for full telephoto, but 0 for wide. The ZD 50/2.0 performed better with 0 adjustment. I did notice that if I use f/2.0 with macro, I need to set my focus area to SMALL rather than NORMAL – since critical focus for such a shallow depth of field requires a much smaller focus area.

I had the Sigma 30/1.4 for a while and I didn’t like it specifically because of the frustration I had with the f/1.4 aperture. Sure it was nice to be able to control depth of field – and yes, the keepers were quite ‘dramatic’, but in real-world use, it really didn’t matter.

I now have a total of three macro lenses – the ZD35/3.5 for 1:1, the ZD50/2.0 for 1:2, and the Sigma 18-50/2.8 for 1:3. The Sigma is also a constant aperture zoom, so it’s a good walkaround lens.

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