We had a reader ask:
“My camera is supposed to be able to focus down to 4 inches, but I can’t get anywhere close to that. Do you think the camera is defective?”
Your camera is probably fine. I’ve seen this happen to several friends, so I know you’re not alone.
In order to get in really close, you’ll need to switch your digicam to Macro mode (usually an icon with a flower on it). This should allow your lens to focus as advertised. Look for a button or setting that shows the little flower icon and you should be all set.
Oh, a couple more tips –
1. When shooting in macro mode, you might find a tripod helpful. All camera and lens movement is amplified when doing close-ups, and a tripod can save the day.
2. Try to get your camera parallel to the subject as much as possible, and watch your focus zone. When shooting in macro mode, you don’t have as much depth of field as you normally do. Think of depth of field as photo-talk for “depth of focus”.
Basically, when you shoot macros, less of the photograph will be in focus than with other types of photography. So, keep as much as you can in that “focus zone” by keeping your camera parallel to it.
Note how in this sample photo, the flower is sharp (well, the front if it anyway) and the background is blurry. Had I not been parallel to the subject, (if I was shooting down at an angle, for instance) it would not have been as sharp top to bottom.