M.Zuiko 60mm F/2.8 Macro Review
Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm F/2.8 Macro
The M.Zuiko 60mm F/2.8 Macro is the only Olympus macro lens for Micro Four-Thirds. Panasonic offers two more with complementary focal-lengths of 30mm and 45mm, all with the same F/2.8 maximum aperture, so it comes down mostly to working distance. Magnification remains at 1X for all three.
This is a prime macro lens with a 60mm focal-length which is equivalent to a 120mm macro on full-frame. This normally reduces chances of disturbing or cast a shadow on subjects. Given that the minimum focus distance is 19cm though, this leaves a fraction less than 9cm of working distance since the M.Zuiko 60mm F/2.8 Macro is unusually long.
This Olympus lens is part of their Premium lineup and is nicely built. The body and lens mount are both made of metal. It has a nice smooth finish and the front is threaded for 46mm screw-on filters.
There are two controls on the M.Zuiko 60mm F/2.8 Macro. The first is a rather wide fly-by-wire focus-ring which turns very smoothly with moderate resistance. There are not stops, so it rotates freely but will not change focus unless the camera expects it. The second is a spring-loaded rotating switch. Its default position allows the camera to autofocus across any focus-distance. One position limits it to 40cm or more, the other 40cm or less. Finally, the switch can be pushed to the 1:1 position so that the lens focuses at its minimal distance. After doing so, the switch bounces back to the 40cm or less position.
The 60mm F/2.8 Macro is probably the only Olympus lens with a fly-by-wire ring which also features a focus scale. Autofocus moves the distance indicator as expected and manual focus takes it from there. As a macro lens, this one is designed for precise focusing. It takes quite a few complete rotations of the focus-ring to traverse the possible focus range.
Photographs taken with the M.Zuiko 60mm F/2.8 Macro show excellent center sharpness starting at F/3.5. Wide open at F/2.8, the center shows a little softness, but not much. Extreme corners though are quite soft wide open. They progressively sharpen until their reach peak at F/11, just before the diffraction limit kicks in. Still, anything from F/6.7 is fairly usable edge-to-edge.
The 60mm F/2.8 Macro does an excellent job at controlling shading. There is barely visible vignetting in RAW files at F/2.8. Stopped down though, images come out with perfectly even brightness. JPEG images are corrected for this and always come out looking uniform. Impressively, this lens does not show any visible or even measurable optical distortion. Chromatic aberrations appear quite minimal with this lens.
What is shown below are 5 crops taken from a photograph, repeatedly captured for each combination of focal-length and aperture. The smaller pieces are cropped from the extreme corners of the image, while the middle wide crop comes from the center of the image. Select an aperture in a row for a desired focal-length to see the crops from the corresponding image. When judging quality, keep in mind that these crops come from a 16 MP image which is normally used to print an image up to 20x16". On a computer display, these may appear much larger which magnifies image defects.
M.Zuiko 60mm F/2.8 Macro Sharpness
The M.Zuiko 60mm F/2.8 Macro produces quality images with only some softness at extreme corners. Vignetting and distortion are inexistent which makes it a great candidate for capturing tiny subjects. Its slightly longer focal-length than usual requires higher shutter-speeds yet provides a little extra working distance. The fly-by-wire focus-ring is optimized for macro photography, making MF precise but slow.
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