Olympus 60mm f/2.8 macro: Quality

February 15, 2013 by Laura Hicks Reads (113,763)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Performance
    • 9
    • Total Score:
    • 9.00
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Image Quality
The lens has two main purposes: traditional shooting and macro photography. In both conditions the lens excels. I found I was able to use this lens in a variety of shooting conditions. However, the 120mm equivalent focal length made it nearly impossible for this lens to be used exclusively. Although this is a great addition to your camera bag, I wouldn’t recommend it be your only lens. As a portrait and wedding photographer I had the ability to take the lens to several weddings and portrait sessions. These were circumstances where I needed it to preform quickly and accurately. In the majority of the situations it was flawless. In fact, the OM-D EM-5 combined with the 60mm f/2.8 macro was able to outperform my Nikon D600 setup on more than one occasion (gasp). Yes, it’s true. In two separate hand-held low lighting situations, the Olympus combination was able to capture images that my Nikon rendered unusable due to camera shake. I know I have the OM-D E-M5’s 5-axis image stabilization to thank for that, but my ability to capture those images was also due to the fast 2.8 aperture on the 60mm lens.  

In traditional shooting mode I found the images to be sharp and have good color quality. In low light situations the lens performed well. I did not notice any chromatic aberration. In addition, I did not notice any blatant distortion. The lens was quiet while autofocusing. In most situations the AF was relatively fast, but I am not a sports photographer. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend this lens if that is your sole purpose. Olympus makes far better lenses if you have a need for speed. But for portraits, this lens delivers consistently great results. The lens is slightly less than tack sharp. Which, when combined with high ISOs and lower shutter speeds is amplified

Traditional shooting was great, but macro mode was even better. Macro photography requires a lot of patience. It involves a deeper level of concentration and attention to detail to create an exact point of focus. With some lenses I have found that my patience has been further tested by extreme “lens hunting” and slow AF. Although I experienced some hunting, this was typically not the case with this lens. I used the lens in both manual and AF while shooting macro. In both situations the lens created sharp images. The only AF issues I ran into was when the subject moved faster than the AF. This happened when I went outside to grab a macro image of snow resting on pine needles. A slight wind was moving the needles enough to make this image challenging. But, in AF mode I was able to nail the shot within a few exposures.

As I stated before, I did not notice chromatic aberration. The defocused areas were pretty smooth, yet I noticed a “ghostlike” doubled edge around the background objects in some images. Below you will see an example of the doubled edge effect. 

Ease of Use
As a 60mm f/2.8 prime lens, one would expect that it is on the larger end of the Olympus Micro Four-Thirds lens spectrum. Currently, there are only a few Olympus lenses that are longer and/or heavier than this one. That being said, I wasn’t overly aware of either measurement. Using the lens is not difficult to get used to once you figure out the small dial on the side of the lens. When choosing to use the lens in traditional mode the dial should be set to 0.4 to infinity. When shooting in macro mode, the dial should be set to the 0.19 to 0.4m setting. It will give you full 1:1 magnification. Moving the dial to the 1:1 setting automatically transfers the dial back to the 0.19-0.4m setting anyway. I used this action when I wanted a quick setting change to macro mode without having to look at the lens. Once I was used to changing the mode dial it was smooth sailing.  

Olympus 60mm F/2.8 Macro Lens 

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