Question about Canon EF-S 17-85MM F/4-5.6 IS USM Lens

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Unsure of how to use the extra functionality

Hi, In addition to zooming, i can twist another ring around that moves a line from macro to infinity.  What is this for?  how am i meant to use it?  I didn't get any instructions with my EFS 17-85 mm lens and am at a loss. thanks kate

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Re: unsure of how to use the extra functionality

Every lens has a natural range of depth for which it is in focus. The width of this range is called the "Depth of field". The macro ring moves this range closer or further from the camera.  Use "macro" for focussing on very close scenes (less than 2 feet). Use infinity for photographing distant objects. 

Posted on Apr 05, 2008

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Re: unsure of how to use the extra functionality

The extra ring is for "full time focus" or whatever it's called. Yes it is for manual focus, but with (some/most) USM lenses, that ring will also allow you to 'fine-tune' the focus without having to set the selector switch to Manual.

Posted on Dec 12, 2007

Re: unsure of how to use the extra functionality

That is the focusing ring. I'm guessing your camera is set to focus automatically (Little switch on the side of the lens should have settings for either AF or MF, or something similar.)

If its on AF, you don't need to adjust the focus ring.
However, if you have problems with the AF (sometimes it has trouble, especially in low light) you can switch it to MF, and focus manually by changing the ring.

As a general guideline, the more you twist to towards macro, it focuses closer and closer, and infinity futher away (if you're taking a shot of the moon, you want it on infinity)

Posted on Dec 06, 2007

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Just bought this lens and the MACRO button doesn't move. is there something I have to do in order to switch it?

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With an SLR you only get true macro focussing on a lens that has proper macro focussing abilities. Unfortunately in the photogaraphy world, there are a huge number of lenses which claim to have macro ability but are stretching the term far too much.

Strictly speaking, macro means that the lens is capable of producing images on the sensor which are the same size as the actual subject or even bigger, at life size this is described as 1:1 macro. Your Tamron lens is only capable of a maximum 1:3.7 "macro", and that's only at the 200mm zoom setting with the subject no closer than 45cm from the lens. By SLR zoom lens standards, that's actually pretty good, but if you want to go closer and get greater magnification you need to either use a supplementary close-up filter lens or for better optical quality use a set of extension rings. The trade off with close up filter lenses is poor image quality and usually plenty of colour fringing and with extension rings is that if you're using a 2x magnification at 200mm, your f5-ish maximum aperture at 200mm becomes a very dark f10.

The only way to get good macro results is to either use a proper (=expensive) macro lens and excellent lighting, or use extension rings plus a good ring flash unit. However you can improve your macro by investing in a more capable zoom lens with a closer minimum focus distance and a better aperture at the telephoto end of the range. This can be expensive, or you can pick up some very cheap 35mm film SLR lenses. Using an adapter will never allow you to achieve infinity focus on a Canon digital SLR but you can get a close focussing 200mm f3.8 very cheaply. The crop factor of your smaller sensor means it will have the same angle of view as a 310mm lens but the aperture will remain at f3.8. As Canon digital SLR's have the deepest body register (lens to sensor distance) of the current systems then you'll also have the effect of using it on an extension ring. The downside is that you'll have to use the lens in a totally manual mode as no information will be communicated to your camera body. By mounting the lens back to front using a reversing ring you can achieve some really stunning macro magnifications but then you need a tripod, powerful flash and absolutely no wind... There was also a Makinon 80-200mm zoom which sells for next to nothing on auction websites, but it had a macro collar which allowed it to achieve around half size macro (1:2).

Alternatively, if the Fuji still works and does the job just keep it in your camera bag ready for those types of shots. overall, that seems the easiest and best solution unless you really want to get heavily into macro shooting.

I hope that I've helped you, please ask more if there's anything unclear. I've tried to keep a very complicated subject as simple as possible. Please also take a moment to rate my answer.

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One touch zooms as used on 35mm film SLRs used to have the same mechanism, the zoom ring twisted as well to achieve focus but now that most lenses are autofocus that's unnecessary. So you have a lens which just retains the push-pull, a far more natural action in my opinion and usually faster than a rotating zoom. Once you get used to it I think that you'll prefer it.

By contrast, most modern zooms have what was considered in 35mm terms to be an old-fashioned twin touch zoom: one ring was turned to zoom the lens and another was turned to focus it. This sometimes meant that after zooming you had to refocus; your push pull zoom will likely have a more technically demanding constant focus zoom action, there will be an additional manual focus control as well, but it's very much a minor secondary control used only when your AF has broken or is switched off.

I hope that my reply has been of use to you, please return the favour by rating my answer.

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