The description stated that it's closest focusing range is around 7 inches and I have been just playing with this lens and I took some pictures of some news print as close as 2 inches away and it focused perfectly!
I am not having the problems mentioned here with Auto focusing.
I am using a canon 350 XT and it works great.
I like the heavy solid feel compared to the 18-55 mm canon lens that I got with my XT.
I cannot wait to get in the field and take some flower and foliage shots.
So far I am well pleased with this lens and its performance.