Minimum focusing distance is the closest point at which the lens will actually focus. (before depth of field due to stopping down the lens is considered) I’ve noticed that Many Olympus lenses are rated for one minimum focus distance, but can really offer a much closer one!
If the lens has a manual focus clutch like the 12-40mm Pro for example, engaging the manual focus clutch will actually limit your closest focus! By staying with normal manual focus drive mode (such as Single + MF or just MF) you can actually gain some ground!
Look at this example! You can click to enlarge.
The Olympus 17mm F/1.8 is listed to have a MFD of 9.84″ or 25cm. The image on the left side shows approximately that. The left side image has the manual clutch engaged and is all the way against the minimum hardstop.
The image on the right shows almost 3″ or 7.6cm CLOSER focus! This is manually focused all the way to its minimum in MF drive mode. That’s a big difference.
I found this also happened with the 12-40mm F/2.8 at 12mm…but not at 40mm. This also happened to a lesser extent with the 40-150mm F/2.8 at 40 and not 150. I have yet to try the 12mm F/2.0 or the 7-14mm F/2.8. If someone can try those out I would love to see your results.
There you go! Focus closer with your lenses than your thought you could!