This lens, XF30mm Macro f2.8 is actually a game changer for macro photography the lens that allow extremely close almost a point-blank range to subject without a macro reverse ring. With minimum shooting distance 10cm from sensor or as close as 1.2cm from the lens front, we can move super close to subject and pursue great level of magnification.
Light-weighted and small-sized lens is another new dimension for macro photography and also outdoor work. Macro photographers are expected to carry bulky camera and lens built-up with many supporting accessories. Carrying heavy equipment all the time will sooner or later reduce the body capability to keep subject in focus. Especially, when working with small subjects and narrow focus, slight body movement may drastically affect the composition and in-focus range. Therefore, the smaller size camera and lens are, the longer we can work with our full potential of our body.
Fast auto focus is essential for capture the moving/ flying insect or even to freeze some behaviors that in short period of time. We are chasing and waiting for the subject to locate at the right position, be in the right posture and behave in the right action. And when the moment come we need anything to capture it. Some macro photographers are familiar with using Manual Focus and move the body to get subject in focus instead of roll the focus ring because Auto Focus is, some times, unfortunately result in wasting more time trying to find focus point of tiny subject. Great thing about Fujifilm X2H/ XT-5 and XF30mmF2.8 is it Auto Focus can work pretty fast. It even try to track the movement of insect and make in-focus motion capture more possible.
As my another favorite lens design, the inner focus mechanism allows me to move focus without changing the external length of the lens, it puts less disturbance and less intimidation to the living subjects during their action. Many insects are highly responsive to even slight change in the surrounding. And to capture them in their action, in their natural environment, is always a great challenge for living subject macro photography. Inner focus mechanism make this challenge easier.
Working on the outdoor field work, weather is uncontrollable. From water droplet to rain fall, whether resistance can guarantee camera and lens safety that we can still working under any circumstance. Especially, when some insect behaviors can be seen only under bad’ weather condition like raining, We still can capture them.
Setting Environment and Focus Stacking
For passionate macro photographers, focus-stacking technique is actually a must. It is the way to combat shallow depth nature of macro lens by combining several images from foreground to background. And it makes head-to-tail of insect in focus.
For museum archive photography project, the work need me to deal with up to 50 to more than 100 sample specimens. The full-body insects and also close-up on specific parts are the job requirement and the specimens themselves can stay outside the controlled environment for only limited time. So, the photoshoot need to be done with fast and effective workflow. Many models of Fujifilm cameras are equipped with ‘auto focus bracketing’ function, which is automated and stable focus stacking. Instead of doing every manually, the function itself in combination with XF30mm lens allow me to finish the project at ease and fast manner. I can complete the full-body and partial close-up with the only one lens.
Standard focal length can give a different impression to macro photography. Generally, macro photographers needs greater focal length to fill the frame with a subject, which is in fact essential for capturing the details. XF30mm Macro f2.8 can perform the task with incredible minimal object distancing and/or combine with 2X teleconverter. While its standard focal length nature also important for capture the insect and their interaction with surrounding environment and sometimes nature landscape. In my situation, where the photos need to show all-round perspectives of specific species or creature group, both focal length are essential in data collection. I would decide to pack this lens into my camera bag for all type of work.