Tuesday, November 01, 2011

In Loving Memory of Olympus 35mm F3.5 macro

In case some of you guys who only started to follow my blog recently, you may not know that I previously used to own the Olympus Zuiko Digital  35mm F3.5 macro lens. I must admit that letting the lens go was one of the hardest decision I have ever made.

Spending time looking through old photographs I have made in the year 2009, I cannot help but to marvel at the capabilities of the 35mm macro lens. It has 2:1 magnification ratio (when used on 4/3 sensor), captures amazing details and sharpness, has really realiable autofocus even shooting at close distance, yet was so reasonably priced, possibly the cheapest fully digital and autofocus capable macro lens in the market. It is so difficult not to love this lens. I have had countless adventures doing macro hunting throughout my limited time with the lens (spent almost a year with it), and I have learned a great deal about macro and photography in general through this lens. It has taught me much, and it has been a huge part of my learning process. Those of you who have not picked up macro photography, do not even dare to brag about technicalities and mastering the camera controls. Seriously, pick up macro photography, then we will start talking.

All images were taken with Olympus DSLR E-520 and Zuiko Digital 35mm F3.5 macro, with the external flash FL-36R, in the year 2009.

Who says you cannot get bokeh at F3.5?


At 2:1 full magnification ration, even the tiniest creature can appear gigantic through this marvelous lens.

Insect portraiture, anyone?

One of my most favourite macro photograph of all time.

Back then, my execution of flash and diffusing methods were not that good yet, but this was a rare find. Mantis feasting on a large butterfly, not an everyday sight.

The power of a real macro lens: the ability to reveal even the tiniest of details.

Not a very good lighting control in this photograph, but it clearly shows what the 35mm lens can do when you can get close enough to your subject.


Will I get this lens back into my collection? At the budget price point, people will ask, why not? I own the 50mm F2 macro lens now, which is superbly sharp, and I could just add on an extension tube to gain more magnification ratio. Who knows, I might chance upon a used copy which I may not be able to resist. Nonetheless, this lens will always have a special place in my heart, and for those Olympus users, both E-System DSLR and PEN system cameras, it is worth taking a look at the Zuiko Digital 35mm F3.5 macro. If you are serious about macro photography, you cannot go wrong with this lens, ever.

Credit goes to my macro sifu, Amir Ridhwan, who has taught me much and inspired me greatly to pursue further in macro photography.

To be honest, I was almost the happiest, when I was shooting macro, than most other photography genres that I have explored, though I must admit I still kinda suck in this macro thing. Much work is needed to improve, but hey, I have the patience.

Amir, when will we go macro again? My hands are getting itchy.

7 comments:

  1. Wonderful photos Robin, and I have to agree - that lens is a marvel. I also have the 50 (a must buy), but I'm very tempted to get the 35 as well. And the 25, no macro but still great.

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  2. I also have this lens and it is indeed a real sleeper. Outstanding performer, the only real downside is the need to get soooo close to your subject. That makes decent lighting sometimes a real problem, especially if you are photographing downwards.

    I found an inexpensive ring LED that mounts on the lens to be a perfect solution for this, and was less than $75 with a rechargeable battery. Has something like 12 diodes and a full charge is enough for around 1.5 hours of full-time lighting. While the lighting quality is a bit flat, it just plain works!

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  3. HI Wolfgang,
    Thanks for the compliments !! Those are old photos during my earlier days in macro photography.
    In fact, having the 50mm F2 is enough, unless you need extra magnification factor.

    Hello John,
    I am very sure you love the 35mm lens to bits !!
    I understand the need to go extremely close, and yes, I agree it can be miserable when it comes to proper lighting. I usually took the flash off the camera and trigger it wirelessly, which I can do so with the old E-520. I would usually place the flash from the side of the lens, and this works for me.
    Nonetheless, I have yet to explore the ring flash option. It seems very practical, and I believe what you said, it plain works !!

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  4. it's my only FT lens left (i'm mFT now) i will keep it along with my e1 because it was cheap, it's sharp enough and it does macro should i ever need too. i had the 50 and hated the hunt, but it was sharp. the 35 is not bad at all as we can see from your pics, but you make every lens look good.

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  5. Hi Robin. This is my first time posting here, though I've visited quite a few times. I really enjoy reading your user experiences.

    I've just ordered an 43->m43 adapter and this lens to use on my Panasonic GX1 (hopefully it will work well... Panasonic + 43 compatibility seems spotty, but they say it's fine, if slow, on the compatibility chart). I'm really looking forward to shooting with it, and your pics here only get me more excited.

    I did have a question though: you say above that on 43, this lens has a ratio of 1:2, which is contrary to everything else I've read. Supposedly the 50mm you now use is a 1:2, and the 35mm is a 1:1, which is one of the reasons I got so excited about it. Your pics certainly seem to suggest it's 1:1 capability.

    There's also the distinct possibility that I have no idea what I'm talking about, so feel free to enlighten me, should I require it.

    Thanks, both for your time and for putting together such great reviews.

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  6. Hi Robin. This is my first time posting here, though I've visited quite a few times. I really enjoy reading your user experiences.

    I've just ordered an 43->m43 adapter and this lens to use on my Panasonic GX1 (hopefully it will work well... Panasonic + 43 compatibility seems spotty, but they say it's fine, if slow, on the compatibility chart). I'm really looking forward to shooting with it, and your pics here only get me more excited.

    I did have a question though: you say above that on 43, this lens has a ratio of 1:2, which is contrary to everything else I've read. Supposedly the 50mm you now use is a 1:2, and the 35mm is a 1:1, which is one of the reasons I got so excited about it. Your pics certainly seem to suggest it's 1:1 capability.

    There's also the distinct possibility that I have no idea what I'm talking about, so feel free to enlighten me, should I require it.

    Thanks, both for your time and for putting together such great reviews.

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  7. Ah I figured it out and answered my own question. 2:1 35mm equivalent. Got it. Yeah, I'm slow sometimes. Ugh.

    Sorry!

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