Olympus 60mm Macro For Micro 43rds Review (On an Olympus OMD EM-5)
I’ve been shooting with the Olympus OMD EM-5 for 6 months now, and for the most part, loving the results. This camera has great image quality for a camera it’s size, an amazing in body stabilizer system, and great build quality and features like a touch screen which can be used to focus on specific points. Additionally, the tilting screen of the OMD EM-5 body, it’s relatively fast auto focus, and very responsive live view allows me to get handheld macro shots at odd angles that I was never able to get on my DSLR system.
The Olympus 60mm f2.8 Macro lens is one of my favorite primes of the Micro Four Thirds system for it’s sharpness, pleasing bokeh, and ability to focus very close (1:1 magnification on a 2x crop sensor, so effectively 2:1).
This post highlights some of my favorite macro images taken with the 60mm 2.8 macro lens.
Close up of a bee gathering pollen from a Green Antelope Horn flower – shot from a very low angle taking advantage of the tilting screen of the OMD.
Tiny bird house – creamy bokeh f2.8 – ISO 800
Water on parsley – ISO 200 f3.5 – Olympus 60mm Macro – this image is VERY SHARP
Very shallow depth of field – the female anole in our garden. The 120mm effective focal length of the lens lets you get pretty close to animals without them flinching much.
Butterfly on a green horn antelope flower wildflower – see the creamy bokeh in the background
Strawberry flower in bloom at Sweet Berry Farm
The 60mm macro isn’t bad for portraits either – f2.8 ISO 2000
Bee on a green antelope wildflower
Flower close-up – 60mm macro lens
Yellow crab spider on a yellow wildflower
Small yellow crab spider on a large purple flower
Green anole hiding behind a catnip leaf
Closeup of a Bluebonnet flower – taken using a screw on close up filter attached to the macro lens. The focal point is still quite sharp even with the use of close up filters.
Bee gathering pollen from a Texas bluebonnet
Yellow and green crab spider on a yellow and green flower
Overall, I recommend the lens if you want to do close up photography. The Olympus 60mm 2.8 macro lens for Micro 43rds is a very sharp, close focusing lens that works well as a macro lens or a portrait lens. It runs $499 MSRP and is worth the price in my opinion.
The main advantages of the lens are it’s light weight, small size (compared to my Canon 100mm 2.8 Macro). The sensor stabilization of the OMD EM-5 and good focus on the camera body make getting the shot easier when working handheld, and the tilting screen allows you to get shots from angles not possible with a DSLR.
Do you have this lens too? What do you think?
Purchase the 60mm macro lens on Amazon.com
Nikki Johnson -
Hi there, I’ve just read your review on the Oly 60mm Macro lens and really enjoyed your photo’s. I have just gotten into photography and have had the OMD for 1 year now. I am still a beginner but studying hard to accomplish good shots.
Are you shot’s cropped at 1:1. and were they taken hand held and also with a flash?
I have been trying to do work with manual focusing but require some help. Once you have the subject in focus manually, (I usally set my range to 0.19m-0.4 for macro work) then focus manully and press the shutter, I can’t work out how the 1:1 is used – can you please help me. Kind regards Nikki Johnson
Hi Nikki, thanks for leaving a comment on my blog! I appreciate the kind words.
For the most part, I didn’t alter the crop my images except to straighten them out. They were all shot hand held because I kind of hate tripods unless I absolutely need them for long exposures.
I didn’t use any lighting on the images except for on the very last one – I have an inexpensive LED ring light for Macros that I use occasionally – http://amzn.to/19B3C09
To answer your question about focusing – it’s one of the big challenges of macro photography. The focal plane where your images will be sharp is very narrow when you are between .19m-0.4m. It doesn’t help when the Texas winds are blowing your flower / insect around wildly while you are trying to take the shot.
There are a few keys to getting a sharp macro image. Here are several that I am always thinking about:
– focusing precisely on the subject
– making sure the subject doesn’t move / fly / crawl out of focus before you take the picture
– making sure you don’t shake the camera (any small movement gets magnified greatly with macro photos)
– making sure your shutter speed is fast enough so there is no blur
This usually has me shooting in manual mode setting a shutter speed around 1/200 using auto ISO. I don’t focus manually. I do make the autofocus point much smaller though ( http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/41404877 ) so I can focus on an eyball, flower petal, drop of water more precisely. Finally, I shot A LOT of pictures and pick the best one.
The 1:1 function on the Olympus 60mm macro lens itself, when you turn the dial the focus automatically goes to focus on objects .19m away from the lens. If I’m trying to get as close as possible, I’ll use that function, get an approximate focus, then let the autofocus do it’s job from there. This is especially useful when my autofocus wants to focus on the background instead of the subject. I’ll just zoom all the way in, get the focus close, then let the AF finish the task of giving me accurate focus.
It takes a lot of practice, a steady hand, and patience to get good photos this way, but the results can be fantastic. It is very easy to miss focus because of small movements though, so take a lot of pictures :)
Zsombor Lacza -
Good review and nice photos. Just to add a bit: I am using this lens on a GF2 with no image stabilization. Still a great combination for street photography, although I do sometimes loose an image because of camera shake or focus hunting. My other lens is a 14 pancake, and this is all I need for this kind of photography. Results at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/92142303@N05/
Nikkii Johnson -
Thanks for getting back to me. That’s great. This lens is gorgeous! Now I have another question. Since this lens can be used also for portraits and general walkaround. Would you recommend I sell my 45mm? – I was thinking of getting a telephoto – maybe the Pano 100-300 or Oly 75-300 but both quite pricey. I obviously purchased the 45mm prior to getting the 60mm. Then my kit would include the 12-50mm, 17mm, 60mm and a telephoto.
Would love your advice.
@Zsombor – I checked out your Flickr stream, you have some great images there. Glad you like the 60mm for street photography and I like your results. I’ve only used the 60 for street shots a couple times, but it did give me great pictures. http://www.flickr.com/photos/supertsai/8557786920/
@Nikkii – I have the 45 as well, I would hold on to that lens. Sometimes the 60mm is too long for me and the 45 is one of the best m43 lenses (and not that expensive). Walking around, I find myself using the 45mm more often b/c I don’t have to back up a great deal, and the f1.8 apeture is useful in low light. I also have the Pano 100-300, which is a large lens, but I’ve gotten some great results… but you have to make sure your shutter speed is pretty fast to avoid camera shake. I need to do a write-up of that lens as well. Here’s a few good pics I got with it recently:
Which lens in your opinion is sharper between the 60mm marco and 75mn f1.8 ??
Hi Jen, I don’t have the 75mm 1.8 – but from everything I hear, it’s an awesome lens. It’s very expensive though.