Although the whole throw is plenty long, only a small portion is for the rest. I only learned this after getting it in my hands so it was kind of a surprise.It's crazy how small the portion of the focus ring is outside of the macro range on macro lenses, isn't it???
Seriously crazy. I struggled with it a lot at first which is what led me to my journey through searching for/testing all the alternative methods of focusing with it.
John -- my intent for this lens would be mostly as a walk around. I don't do a whole lot of macro and for portraits I'm keeping an eye out for the 135 APO. I'll look into the LCDVF that you mentioned, I'm not really familiar with that so I'll have to do some research on it.
If you had to do it over again, is the short focus throw at longer subject distances a deal breaker for this lens?
If you plan on shooting wide open a lot and you don't plan on using an alternative means of focus regularly, I'd say yes (for me at least). If I had to do it all over again, I probably would've gotten the 100 instead based on my primary usage for it now (shooting tight portraits and macro).
The initial struggle I had with using this lens regularly, led me down a long road of trial and further expenditure. The LCDVF I bought originally was meant solely to assist me with focusing with this specific lens. When I realized I couldn't use it as a walk around very easily, I started researching other ways for me to get the supposed "Zeiss Look" in a 50mm and found the Contax Zeiss 50/1.4 (then modded it through Conurus in Canada to retain autofocus on my 5D3). Between the LCDVF and the other lens, I put myself $1500 further into the hole only to find out I still didn't have exactly what I wanted as the 1.4 is optically junk compared to the Makro.
In a nutshell, I now have 3 main 50mm lenses that all get used for different things. The one I grab for the most is the 50L as it is the old faithful one that I can rely on in the most situations. I use the Makro whenever I feel as though I need maximum resolution from between 1-5 ft. Beyond that distance (even when I nail focus), the IQ isn't noticeably different from many other 50mm lenses which doesn't provide me with a justification for using it for general walk around shooting. I have also retained the 1.4 since it does have a "look," just not the one I was originally hoping for when I purchased it (uncorrected aberration that causes swirly bokeh highlights).
My original vision? Started with the 50L. Hoped to replace it with the Makro. Ended up with 3 lenses that all do something I love and none that encompass all the things I love about each. If you are hoping for the "Zeiss Look" that people speak of and you absolutely need it in a 50mm as a walk around, then just get the Makro and practice a lot with it (or don't shoot at f2 all the time). Your only other choice would be to save up a while longer and get the Otus. Yes, I know it is outrageous, but if you have to have it and need the longer focus throw for general shooting it's the only game in town.