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RF24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM: The Surreal World of Centre Focus Macro

The RF24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM isn’t just compact, lightweight and great for travel, it also has macro shooting capabilities that you usually would not expect in a standard zoom lens. For example, there is the unique, dreamy-looking Centre Focus Macro effect that you can get when you take close-up shots with manual focusing. We explore this feature in this article.

Centre Focus MAcro hero

 

What is Centre Focus Macro?

“Centre Focus Macro” is the name that Canon gave to the unique effect that you can achieve when shooting close-up on the RF24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM. It’s not really a mode—think of it as a form of expression or even a shooting technique!

What’s so unique about this effect? First, let’s take a look at the normal close-up shooting capabilities on the RF24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM:

At 24mm (during AF)
- Closest focusing distance: 20cm
- Maximum magnification: 0.21x

At 105mm
- Closest focusing distance: 34cm
- Maximum magnification: 0.40x

To be called a macro lens, a lens needs to have a maximum magnification of at least 0.5x. As macro lenses tend to be either wide-angle (like the RF35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM) or medium telephoto (like the EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM), it is rather amazing for a standard zoom lens to come so close to being one. Of course, the AF can be used for focusing right up to the closest focusing distance.


Going beyond the “closest focusing distance”

It is usually not possible for a lens to achieve focus when the subject is closer than the closest focusing distance, regardless of whether it is by AF or manual focus (MF).

But on the RF24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM, Canon has made the following possible:

24mm (during MF)
- Closest focusing distance: 13cm
- Maximum magnification: 0.50x

In effect, using manual focus allows you to shoot closer and achieve a larger magnification than possible through AF. The result is Centre Focus Macro.

Comparison of closest focusing distance 20cm, 34cm and 13cm

As you are shooting closer than the closest focusing distance achievable with AF, only the centre of the image is in focus, and the corners are blurred out. This gives a unique, dreamy feel to the resulting shot.

 

Step into the Centre Focus Macro world

Let’s look at a few more examples of Centre Focus Macro:

Lamps shot with Centre Focus Macro

EOS RP/ RF24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM/ FL: 24mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/5, 30 sec, EV +0.3)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto/ MF


Seashell close-up with Centre Focus Macro

EOS RP/ RF24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM/ FL: 24mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/4, 15 sec, EV +0.7)/ ISO 100/ WB: Daylight/ MF


spangles close-up with Centre Focus Macro

EOS RP/ RF24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM/ FL: 24mm/ Manual exposure (f/4, 1/50 sec)/ ISO 100/ WB: Daylight/ MF


toy car close up with Centre Focus Macro

EOS RP/ RF24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM/ FL: 24mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/4, 1/20 sec, EV +0.3)/ ISO 200/ WB: Auto/ MF


flower in blown glass with Centre Focus Macro

EOS RP/ RF24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM/ FL: 24mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/5.6, 1/50 sec, EV +2)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto/ MF

What do you think?

It’s amazing how even the most ordinary things like the cosmetics on your dresser, bottles of condiments in your kitchen or the miniature figurines decorating your table are transformed, all thanks to Centre Focus Macro.

So how do you do it?

 

How to use Centre Focus Macro

Method 1: Switch to MF mode

1. On your camera menu, change the focus mode to ‘MF’.

2. Switch the control ring on the lens to ‘FOCUS’.

3. Move the camera close to your subject. Use the control ring to control the focus.

Method 2: Use full-time manual focusing

With this method, you can make adjustments with MF while keeping the focus mode as AF.

1. In the Lens electronic MF menu, set either of the following to ‘ON’:
- One-Shot→enabled
- One-Shot→enabled (magnify)

2. Set the AF operation to ‘ONE SHOT’.

3. Set the control ring to ‘FOCUS’ to turn it into a focus ring.

4. Keeping the shutter button half-pressed, turn the control ring away from infinity.

5. To adjust focus, keep your shutter button half-pressed and turn the control ring. When you achieve the focus that you desire, fully press the shutter button.

 


Note: Remember to reset focus to infinity when you’re done!

- For both methods, when you are done shooting Centre Focus Macro, remember to turn the ring back to infinity, too. If the focus is set to the MF-only range, the AF won’t work.
- For Method 1, also remember to switch back to AF mode!


Simple tips to get effective Centre Focus Macro

There is no dedicated ‘Centre Focus Macro” mode, so to achieve the effects, you need to carry out manual focusing close to your subject, as described above. From there, just carry out the following to get the best results:

- Aperture: Use the widest aperture possible
- Focal length: As close to 24mm as you can
- Distance from subject: As close as you can

The super-shallow depth-of-field during close-up shooting can make focusing tricky, even in manual focus. These tips should help make your job easier: 

- Use the magnification function to fine-tune the focus.
- Use a tripod to keep your gear steady

Lastly, ensure good lighting: When you shoot so close, your gear could cast a shadow on the subject.

 

Happy shooting! 

 

Watch this video to learn more about this new lens and Centre Focus Macro!

 

RF24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM

RF24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM

Key specifications
Lens construction: 13 elements in 11 groups
Closest focusing distance: 0.13m (MF)
Maximum magnification: 0.50x (MF)
No. of aperture blades: 7 (circular blade)
Filter diameter: 67mm
Size: φ76.6 x 88.8mm
Weight: approx. 395g

 

The following tutorials and tips are meant for other macro lenses, but why don't you try putting your own spin to them with Centre Focus Macro? Share the results with us on My Canon Story with #centrefocusmacro! 
EOS M5 Shooting Techniques: Macro Photography
Macro Lens Techniques – Get Fresh, Appetising Pictures of Tarts & Pastries
Lens FAQ #10: Which Lens to Photograph Flowers With a Large Foreground Bokeh?

 


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