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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens Review

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens for Micro Four Thirds

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro
Price : £365
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Handling and features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Olympus M Zuiko 60mm Macro Lens Large (4)

This telephoto macro lens for Micro Four Thirds system cameras from Olympus provides an angle of view equivalent to a 120mm lens used on a 35mm camera, has a silent MSC focusing motor and produces life size magnification at its closest focus distance.

Olympus M Zuiko 60mm Macro Lens Large (5)

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro Handling and features

Weighing only 185g this lens is incredibly lightweight and compact when compared to equivalent telephoto macro lenses for 35mm or APS-C system cameras. This lens is sealed against dust and moisture and the light weight means it balances well with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 body used for testing, and should be equally at home on even the most compact Micro Four Thirds system cameras.

Autofocus is performed internally and is very quick and precise, locking onto subjects at normal shooting distances in an instant. If the lens does need to hunt for focus, which may happen in low light conditions, or at close distances, then a focus limiter switch is provided to limit the amount of hunting that can take place. This switch also has a setting to automatically move focus to its closest point. Occasionally on the Panasonic camera used for testing, this feature will produce a warning asking you to use manual focus, but not in every instance. The manual focusing ring has a very smooth action and it is reasonably well damped, which makes applying fine focus adjustments relatively straightforward.


Olympus M Zuiko 60mm Macro Lens Large (1)

Closest focus is 19cm, which allows you to get reasonably close for frame filling shots, whilst providing a reasonable working distance at the same time. A useful distance scale with magnification values clearly marked is provided on top of the lens.

A 46mm filter thread is supplied, which does not rotate during focusing and the lens does not extend. This makes the lens ideal for use with graduated or polarising filters.  No lens hood is supplied as standard. The optional LH-49 hood retails for a rather-expensive £45 if you require one. This hood sports a novel sliding design, allowing it to be pulled back over the lens barrel when not needed, or when shooting at close distances.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro Performance

This little macro lens impresses with outstanding sharpness in the centre of the frame at maximum aperture, with clarity towards the edges of the frame being very good. Stopping down the aperture results in improved sharpness in the centre until f/4, and improved sharpness towards the edges of the frame until f/5.6. Diffraction starts to limit sharpness at smaller apertures, but clarity is still excellent across the frame down to f/8.

MTF@60mm
Resolution at 60mm

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix G3 using Imatest.

Levels of chromatic aberrations are reasonably well-controlled, just exceeding half a pixel width towards the edges of the frame for most apertures. Stopping down beyond f/16 results in a marked increase in fringing towards the edges of the frame, so care may need to be taken photographing high contrast subjects using very small apertures.

CA@60mm
Chromatic aberration at 60mm

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc. to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix G3 using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is well controlled for a lens of this type. At f/2.8 the corners of the frame are 1.02 stops darker than the image centre and illumination is visually uniform with the lens stopped down to f/4 or beyond.

Imatest was only able to detect 0.253% barrel distortion during testing, which is an incredibly low level indeed. This level of distortion is so low that lines parallel to the edges of the image area appear dead straight.

Even when shooting towards the light, this lens is resistant to flare and contrast remains high in all but the most challenging lighting conditions.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro Sample Photos

Value for Money

There is currently no direct equivalent for this lens in the Micro Four Thirds range. It is available for around £370, which is quite a tempting price point, given the quality this lens can deliver and features on offer.

The closest equivalent available for Micro Four Thirds system cameras is Panasonic's Leica branded 45mm f/2.8 macro lens, which retails for around £550.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro Verdict

This lens provides a great combination of great optical performance, lightweight, compact design and value for money.

Micro four Thirds camera owners interested in macro photography should add this lens to their wish list. In fact, even if you have no interest in macro photography, the quality this lens delivers, at such a low price point will make a good option for portraiture on a relative budget also.

     
  The Olympus ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro delivers extremely good optical performance with compact and lightwieght build quality  

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro Pros

Extremely good optical performance for the price
Excellent build quality
Lightweight
Compact
Sealed against dust and moisture

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro Cons

No hood supplied as standard
Optional sliding hood is expensive

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
OVERALL  

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro Specifications

ManufacturerOlympus
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Lens
Focal Length60mm
Angle of View20
Max Aperturef/2.8
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size46mm
35mm equivalent120mm
Internal focusingYes
Focusing
Min Focus19cm
StabilisedNo
Construction
Blades7
Elements13
Groups10
Box Contents
Box ContentsM.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro, LC-46 Lens Cap, Micro Four Thirds lens rear cap (LR-2), Warranty Card, Operating Instructions
Dimensions
Weight185g
Height82mm

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Comments


brian1208 e2
11 10.6k 12 United Kingdom
31 May 2013 11:31AM
One of my favourite lenses and yes, the hood is expensive but its extremely well made and very useful (for me anyway)

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StrayCat e2
10 15.5k 2 Canada
31 May 2013 6:05PM
I had the lens and sold it. No refection on the lens itself, I just couldn't get into the tiny world of macro, finding it physically painful.Tongue One thing I did notice while using the lens is that the focal range switch can be a boon or a beast; for me it was a beast, I missed so many shots because I had it in the wrong setting when a momentary opportunity showed itself. I would recommend becoming very familiar with its use. Other than that, I think it deserves to be a 5 star lens and is destined to become a classic M4/3 tool.

Denny
11 Jun 2013 11:31PM
Best macro lens for the price! Amazing optic quality!
19 Feb 2014 4:38PM
Interesting review, I am thinking of buying it.
However, it will replace my Canon Macro FD 50mm lens so I should like to do a direct comparison. Past reviews of the Canon provide a resoution chart (e.g. http://erphotoreview.com/wordpress/?p=2254) with numbers e.g. MFT50. So I cannot compare your resoution chart with the normally accepted methods.
A measured experimental result that omits the numbers is not very useful. Define excellent in this context! Is it MFT50 =1000 or =2000?

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