According to Wikipedia: The word hoar comes from an Old English adjective that means "showing signs of old age"; in this context it refers to the frost that makes trees and bushes look like white hair. Nearing the end of 2015 it looked as though everything in our yard was showing signs of old age. I was supposed to go on another winter flight before the year's end but because fog rolled in I had to cancel. Since the flight was off, I took the opportunity to head out into the yard and use a lens I seldom pay any attention to: the Fuji XF60mm f2.4 Macro.
The lens is a very high quality lens. However, my main complaint is that it is slow to focus. As I understand it, the reason for this is twofold: First; the lens has a very large focus range. It can focus from infinity all the way down to about 26cm. As a result the build-in motor must move the ten elements of glass a relatively large distance. Second; the lens was build as part of the first generation of lenses for the Fuji X series of mirrorless cameras. And the motor used then was somewhat underpowered for the job. I have found that in most cases the slow-to-focus problem is minor. I tend to use the lens for portraits and macro work and generally manually focus in those instances. If I need auto focus and more focus speed, I choose my XF 35mm f 1.4 R.
Here are the shots I got the Fuji 60mm. All were at or near the closest focus I could manage. All where handheld so to minimize camera shake, I increased my ISO to 800. I experimented with varying the aperture as you can see form the camera settings I have posted below each shot. However, in general, at such a close focus distance, the background fades off into a nice blur at almost any setting. The trick is choosing an aperture setting that will result in a high enough shutter speed to freeze any camera shake. Or, alternatively, for best results, use a tripod.
Finally, while shooting at very close focus distances (without a tripod), focusing can be quite difficult. Camera shake can be somewhat overcome with high ISO and shutter speed settings. However, while in close, the plane of focus is so narrow that any movement to or from the subject can throw the image out of focus. A steady hand is required as even a shift of a millimeter can push everything into a messy blur. That being said, the Fuji X-E2 has an excellent focus peaking feature which helps tremendously while focusing manually.
Until next time,