on October 8, 2012
This is a fantastic micro 4/3 successor to Olympus' impressive but now dated 50mm f/2.0 macro lens for 4/3 cameras. Small, light, and fast to focus, it handles well on all the micro 4/3 bodies I could find to test it on. It produces sharp images with little distortion and smooth, circular bokeh in out-of-focus parts of the frame. Unlike all other macro lenses currently available for the system, this lens is fully weather sealed -- put it on a weather-sealed micro 4/3 camera, and you're ready for the outdoors.
As to features, it's got a focus limiter switch (although it's a bit tricky to use with gloves on), a scale showing your macro magnification and focusing distance, and can be set at the lens to a 1:1 macro magnification. Oh, and it's got a video-rated focusing motor, so you won't hear the lens focusing in your movies.
on November 5, 2012
I hate to merely parrot what others have already said here, but it's really all I can do.
In my experience the lens is sharp right from 2.8, with stopping down grabbing you a bit more. But the reality is it's sharp right from jump.
I've not noticed any particularly glaring defects or aberrations of any kind. The bokeh is good. The build quality is good, though it is a plastic lens (and I'm so glad, as metal would have been $300 more), and the weather sealing merely adds to an already fantastic presentation.
I will echo one reviewer here by saying that the af is not the best. It's not terrible by any means, but I've definitely experienced hunting in situations I wouldn't expect it. The focus limiter absolutely helps with this and is an invaluable inclusion, but it doesn't fix it. Often we're manual focusing with macro anyway, so it's not a big problem. I love the 1:1 option on the dial, but I wish you could simply click it and have it stay there.
The fact that it doesn't include a lens hood is simply inexcusable. I think this is an unfortunate move by Olympus. That and the sometimes odd af issues would have forced me to give the lens 4 stars, were it not for the price. You could buy a lens hood for this lens and still (imo) be making out like a bandit, with a fabulous piece of glass for far less than the cost of a macro lens in a similar range for any larger dslr. I used the Sigma 150mm macro, and that thing is twice the price. Not only that, it weighs 1150 grams; this lens weighs less than 200. Ridiculous.
All things considered I have to, without reservation, provide this lens with its 5-star rating.
This lens continues to impress. Frankly at this point I'm shocked at the pricing vs quality equation regarding the lens. I firmly believe that this is a perfect example of the type of lenses both Olympus and Panasonic should be focusing on for this system. Who cares about metal lenses? You can make a lens plenty sturdy out of plastic while keeping cost and weight down. I think it's obvious from all the pro reviews and the growing base of user reviews that this lens is one of the most exceptional pieces of glass ever produced in its category, for any system, including the big guys. Absolutely stellar image quality, and in a package that is, when compared to the much larger and heavier competition, simply astounding.
Keep making lenses like this, and m43 is here to stay.
With regards to the AF; while it can be slow at times, and I stand by my original statement, it should be noted that macro lenses generally focus slower than normal lenses, due to the increased focus range. In the category of macro lenses this lens is plenty fast. I merely think this is an area where there is still room for improvement.
That said, I am obviously exceedingly happy with the lens; it is the best lens in my bag, without question.
on November 1, 2012
Let me concur with E. Seale's beautifully stated review and add a few notes. I have a resolution test montage consisting of several sets of lines per mm charts (edges and center) as well as textural fabrics and other objects. After stepping through f2.8 to f11 and allowing for some bit of tester error (me) the proper conclusion is that it is a tie between the Olympus 60mm macro and the Panasonic 45mm macro (Leica). If I were to totally trust my set up the nod would go to the Olympus 60mm. (BTW centers of both compared well with the Olympus 75mm f1.8, extreme edges of the 75mm are definitely sharper.)
Another consideration is the lack of image stabilization on the Olympus macro lens. After shooting the same test subject with shutter speeds from 1/25th down to 1/5th of a second (bad), there appears to be some advantage for the 45mm around the 25th of a second. Not a very well controlled test, sorry, and very difficult to actually measure.
A quick trip to the lake and flower gardens yielded comparable pictures. The Olympus was more reliable at focusing on a small close subject (a flower bud with the background several feet behind), but both lenses had problems at times. Of the 8 test shots I think most would choose 5 shot by the Olympus, 2 tied, and 1 for the 45mm; surprising.
The bokeh is nice and f2.8 gives a shallow enough depth of field to offer wonderful opportunities. The 60mm allows a nice working distance and modestly better for my insect macro work.
My tests were on a panasonic Lumix GH2 (16 meg). For slow shutter speeds I would stay with the Panasonic 45mm Leica, for all the rest I'm taking the Olympus. The fit and finish are excellent, sad Olympus doesn't include a simple lens case and hood. Otherwise a truly delightful lens I look forward to taking everywhere. Hope this helps. Pura Vida
on December 19, 2012
Build Quality and Handling: 4/5
It's long, skinny and light.
Plastic with metal mount but feels solid.
Weather-sealing is definitely a plus and pairs well with the OMD EM5.
Glass looks almost invisible with all the special coatings.
Image Quality: 5/5
One of the sharpest lens I've ever owned on any system including DSLRs.
Very low vignetting wide open.
CA and flare is very well controlled.
Not the fastest focusing lens on m4/3 in low light. Still faster than the Panasonic 20mm 1.7 though and this is a macro lens.
Manual focusing ring is nice and smooth but takes forever to turn.
Focus limiter switch helps a lot with focusing speed but might be awkward to access.
Focusing is quiet, which is great for video recording.
Quality Control: 2/5
This is mainly the reason why I gave this lens 4/5 stars. This lens is made in China and I just don't think it has the same quality control and manufacturing as in Japan. The first lens I ordered came with visible specs of internal dust. Second lens had black spots in the bokeh (possibly from dust or small air pockets). The third lens is fine as far as I can tell but it shouldn't have taken 3 tries. Just be sure to check your copy.
A very sharp lens that is a must have. I believe at $500 this lens is well worth it. It does macro but is versatile enough for a mid-telephoto / portrait lens. It's lenses like these that puts m4/3 sensors in the same league as the larger sensors. I normally would have to pay thousands to get an L lens for this kind of sharpness. The trouble of exchanging the lens until I got a good copy was worth it in the end.
on February 25, 2013
I rented this lens before I bought it and hated sending it back that I extended my rental. I love the size, much slimmer than the 12-50 kit lens, very sharp and a joy to photograph with. It does hunt at times when doing macro shots, much like the 50mm four-thirds lens, but the results are amazing that I can overlook this. The bokeh is also very nice for those who love a creamy blur. The focal length is also versitile for me. I also rented the 75mm and it was a bit too long for my taste, but the 60 was perfect. A little longer than standard view makes this lens great for inside (macro), street and portrait photography. Great addition to any micro four-thirds bag.
on June 13, 2013
I have really fallen in love with this lens. It is very sharp. It is very small and exceptionally light. I also like the optional boyonet hood though Olympus milks its customers for it. I like the focus range selector and the fact that the lens is weather/dust sealed.I have had some trouble focusing in 1:1 mode but that's not the fault of the lens per se more just me getting used to shooting with such a small focul point. My only real complaint is that the autofocus is a bit slow and results in a hit-or-miss focus of your subject. This may be the fact it is a macro lens with CDAF or I just need more practice. When compared to the Olympus 17mm f1.8 or the 12-50mm kit, it's night and day. I usually only use the autofocus to get a general focul point then hold my breath and slowly move the camera forward or backwards to get my subject in focus. Occasionally I will fine tune with the manual focus ring. I leave the focus set to S-AF/M on my OMD. The spider shots were taken with one hand on the camera and one hand on a 800 lumen flashlight to light my subject up. Check out some samples above. Enjoy!
on December 5, 2012
I used the Olympus E-system since 2006 owning the E-500, E-30 and OM-D E-M5. I also have both Zuiko Digital 50mm f2 and 35mm f3.5 since I do plenty of macro works. Most of my macro shots are taken in the field with minimal intrusion to the subjects, usually insects and spiders.
My years of experience using the 4/3 macro lenses are generally very pleasing. I use autofocus most of the time except when I couple the 50mm with EX-25 which often causes erratic autofocus in dim light. It is also gives only 1:2 magnification but I use it often because it is significantly sharper than the 35mm. So I was wondering if there is a sharp macro lens with a comfortable working distance than can do 1:1 and functions well in autofocus. Enter the M.ZD 60mm.
The autofocus works very fine on the OM-D although sometimes the AF box tend to hit at the wrong area causing a slight misfocus when the box covers something curvy. Not really a big deal as manual focus is quite easy to use with the enlargement button. The weight is just nice, it doesn't dip the lens forward like the heavier Sigma 105/2.8. In terms of ergonomics, it is a fun lens to use. In the forest I had little difficulty to use it in awkward positions and AF with liveview was reliable.
Image quality is insanely pleasing, even sharper than the alreay magnificent ZD50/2. I was very skeptical if the lens, being smaller, can match ZD50/2 resolution but surprisingly it does. Details are well rendered and I could not have asked for anything more. I have no need to sharpen anything in postproduction.
I took some portrait shots and found that even at f2.8 the images are very sharp. Color reproduction is slightly inferior to ZD50/2 but not really noticible and in fact so much better than most prime lenses out there. I was spoiled by the excellent ZD50/2 (which is almost a perfect lens if not for it's cranky autofocus) so for the 60mm to match it for portrait shows that Olympus had it in the right track. The circular iris gives nice round and pleasing bokeh. The only lens I found to beat it clearly in this department was the M.ZD 75mm f1.8 which costs almost double.
While in the forest I tried to capture video with this lens. Image quality was excellent but the C-AF tracking was not 100% reliable. The lens doesn't need a stabilizer as the OM-D comes with an already excellent in-body IS system. The lens was silent enough that the video did not capture the sound of the AF motor.
As a macro photographer I value several things in a lens- ergonomics, image resolution and price. At $499 I think this lens gives a very good value for users of the micro 4/3 system. I haven't tried it on other cameras but for the OM-D, this lens is very pleasing for macro and portrait photography.
on February 19, 2013
After reading up on reviews and initial commentary surrounding this lens, I pulled the trigger. After three weeks, this lens was returned. From many reviewers, I was lead to believe that this lens performed reasonably well in AF operation, which isn't crucial for macro work (I'll get to that in a second) but was important when working toward the other perceived quality of this lens being a short-mid tele portrait lens. Not a stretch to assume a macro lens could pull double duty as most other macros I've used for other systems, while not the fastest to focus, were accurate and produced sharp results. The Oly is well below average (compared to other macro lenses I use for various other DSLR systems) in both AF accuracy and speed in lower light. By "lower light" I mean in normal indoor lighting. I chalk this up largely to the CDAF system which requires strong contrast, and in many cases (certainly with this lens), decent light for best results. If you do not have good contrast and/or shoot indoors you may see the performance of this lens drop considerably as it did through the 1,000+ frames I shot under varying conditions that I tested this lens through. Now, for macro we don't need AF right? Well, the MF implementation can be frustrating as well and isn't really good to begin with considering its a focus by wire setup (non tactile) meaning you don't know where you are in your focusing throw as you spin the focus ring. I did like the focus limiter switch which helped a little by enabling a quick AF throw to MFD, but you have to really have your focusing technique down if you plan to utilize an AF+MF approach to fine tune as there isn't an AF/MF switch on the lens, and depending on which camera you shoot could be multiple button pushes to disable AF if you don't want to have to hold down your shutter button half way to disable the AF from throwing itself all the way back and forth again while trying to fine tune your focus. Because this lens will (or in my case did) reset its focus distance between shots (focus by wire operation being entirely electronic), it makes it difficult to manually focus anything that may be moving from frame to frame.
The pros: It's weather sealed which is nice. When it focuses, it's certainly sharp, contrasty and produces a good image file. The price is realistic for the system, but to me it was more a waste of $500 as this lens was effectively hindered at its best for what I needed, a good closeup lens that doubled as a portrait lens.
The cons: It doesn't do well in AF or MF operation in my opinion as the system isn't really set up for a good, manual focus implementation (which is my preferred use for macro work), and the AF is hindered by the CDAF system unless you shoot in really good light (otherwise it hunts taking sometimes 2-3+ seconds to find focus, sometimes never finding focus) making it hard to use with anything that isn't sitting still or is entirely static. Hopefully we'll see a hybrid CD/PDAF system for m4/3 as we see in many of the other MILC setups in the future which I feel will help.
If you're shooting still life/static subjects from a tripod, or shooting studio work where you'll have the ability to add as much light as you'd need, I think this lens could do very well. If you're shooting moving subjects, or wanting to carry this lens around to capture closeup nature shots handheld, you may want to at least go into this with realistic expectations (which I admittedly did not unfortunately). There are plenty of people singing the praises, and a few that have voiced pure frustration, but I feel like the reality falls somewhere in between. For $500, it's a compelling option, but it's not a deal if it can't do what you need it to effectively. I went into more depth in a review here:[...]
on July 25, 2014
I received this lens today so this is an initial impression. I bought this lens for three reasons, weather sealing, 1:1 focus and it is 140gm lighter than the 50mm f2 I usually use.
As a reference, I have 2 E-M5s and an E-M1, I have used an Olympus 50mm F2 (legacy) macro for years. While I own half a dozen m4/3rds lenses, the 50mm F2 is the most important lens in my collection and gives a great standard against which to evaluate this 60mm macro.
the first thing than I notice is that auto focus is slow (even when using the limiter) but this is a macro lens so there are no complaints here. In fact, I will rarely use the auto focus capability. Since this is a macro lens, Olympus would likely have made it a manual focus lens except for two things, first most people expect auto focus (though anyone using a macro lens in auto focus probably doesn't need a macro) and there are those who will buy it because they think macro is cool but think that manual focus is not cool and since the focus by wire system is probably cheaper to implement than a true manual focus system and once you put the motor in, adding auto focus is easy.
I wish the lens had a manual focus switch, I really wish it had a manual switch. When I set the camera to manual focus, I was initially surprised at the feel. And then I realized that lens emulates manual focus. Initially, issues focusing and then it dawned on me, the focus limiter is in effect in manual mode as well. That makes sense. But I still wish the lens had a manual focus switch.
Until I do some field work, I will give it 4 stars (on the expectation that the lens will perform very well).
I spent several hours with the lens. One thing that I wasn't expecting was how fast the camera went through the battery. Shooting conditions were a little tough (windy) but my impression is that using the 60mm macro lens consumes battery faster than my 50mm macro.
Overall, focus locked in easily, more easily than the 50mm. The focus ring is smooth with a slight drag about half the drag as the 50mm. I think this makes manual focus a little easier.
The 1:1 focus is a nice addition. Some flowers that I have photographed in the past were very small, a few millimeters across. This lens gets right down to these little flowers.
The one issue I have to adjust to is the light drag on the focus ring. When creating photo slices for stacking, it is very easy to knock the lens out of focus. I use a short nodal slide to move the camera in or out, this is not as easy as using a macro focus rail but it is much lighter weight (in the pack and on the wallet). I may consider moving to a focus rail.
Another thing that I notice is that when you turn off the camera, the lens parks focus at infinity. Infinity?! Why? I would prefer leaving the focus where it was or if you must park, park at 1:1. This is a macro, it is meant to be used in close and every time you turn on the camera, you must run the focus down to some close focus point.
So on focus parking, the lens will park at the far end of the focus range on the selector. This is okay but it means that I keep the selector at close focus range.
My favorite subject matter is a difficult this late in the summer but from the few images I have taken, the lens performs well. So far I cannot see anything that suggests that the images are anything less than what my 50mm f2 can do (I am not surprised since the limiting factor for almost all photographers is the photographer) but the overall feel is not as satisfying. However, the lens is lighter and more water resistant which is a plus.
I decided to do a hood to hood comparison with my legacy Zuiko 50mm f2 macro (this is an awesome macro that has earned a reputation as one of the best, the Zuiko 90mm f2 is it's more famous bigger sibling). As I expected, the Zuiko 50mm f2 is superior. If you don't need auto focus (why would you for macro work), there are cheaper solutions. This lens will give you 1:1 reproduction ratio with a 4/3rds sensor with I use sometimes. There is a definite color shift to the red.
You can see the comparison results here: http://stephancrandall.com/z9/Write/writeMain.html
on July 13, 2013
This is not a flawless lens, but it is a lot of glass for very little money.
I got some wonderful results with good light. I actually paid 399 for it and it is worth every penny. Yes, it is light sensitive, but it does a good job if you accept the limitations it has.
It's 400-500 USD! Top value for that amount of money.
Yes, my Nikon 105mm 2.0 Defocus Control or my 105mm 2.8 VR Macro with my D700 makes better pictures. But hey, those are > 800 - 1,200 USD lenses on a > 3,000 USD body. The Olympus 60mm macro on the OM-D EM5 is really a great combination.
As a friend of mine - a Leica user - put it when he saw the pictures 'I can't buy a lens hood for that money, and just look at the quality of the pictures!'. Accept the low light limitations and you will not be disappointed.
I'll upload some of my test shots in a moment.