Sunday, September 23, 2012

Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 Macro Review: General Shooting


Important Notes:
1. This is a user experience based review.
2. All images were shot in RAW and converted directly to JPEG (High Quality) via Olympus Viewer 2.
3. General camera settings, Noise Filter = OFF, Contrast/Saturation/sharpness = 0, White Balance = Auto (with an option maintain warm color = OFF), Gradation = Normal
4. No post-processing applied to the images, except slight brightness/contrast balance tweak. All images were as good as straight out of camera, with minimal cropping for better presentation.

This blog entry is a continuation from the previous entry: Part 1 of Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 Macro lens review (click). 

In Part 1 of the M.Zuiko 60mm macro lens review, I emphasized specifically on how the lens performs in terms of image sharpness and auto-focus reliability in real life macro shooting conditions. In the tests I have performed, most of the images were shot at very high magnification factor, and they were all extreme close up conditions. Therefore, in this Part 2 of my review, I shall do the opposite, use the M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 lens in non-macro shooting circumstances, or more appropriately put as a general all-purpose lens. At 60mm focal length, this lens can be considered as a medium tele-photo lens. 

In this particular compilations of images displayed for Part 2 of the 60mm lens review, I have been shooting at various locations, but most of the images were taken at Pudu Wet Market, Kuala Lumpur. The location of shoot provided me with ample variety of subjects to play around, and I specifically targeted subjects that reveal plenty of tiny details and textures. What other better place than a market with plenty of animals (live and dead), vegetables and fruits to attack. Furthermore, wet market is a place always busy with activities and packed with people, thus opening great opportunities to use this lens for some light portrait shooting. In my Part 1 of the M.Zuiko 60mm macro lens review, we know that the lens performs exceedingly well in macro shooting. Now, how does it fare in non-macro shooting?

Also, in this entry, I shall discuss on a few flaws of the lens (yes there are some) and the things that I wish the lens can be improved on.

As a reminder, allow me to clarify a few items. This review will be written from a photography-enthusiast’s point of view, because I am not a professional photographer. This will be a user experience based review, sharing on what I think and feel as I use the Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 macro lens (mounted on Olympus OM-D E-M5) in real life shooting situations. Therefore, this is not a technical review as there will not be elaborative technical explanations, which can be easily accessible on many professional review websites such as DPreview and DXOmark.

The Joy of Selling Petai  1/80sec, F/2.8, ISO250



60mm F2.8 as a General Purpose Shooting Lens

I strongly believe that many people who have considered purchasing this Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 macro lens would also thought of other usage for the lens outside of just specific macro shooting. Indeed at 60mm focal length, this lens can be very useful for medium tele-photo shooting range, allowing the photographer quite a comfortable amount of working distance between himself and the subject. Furthermore, at widest aperture of F2.8, the lens does seem attractive, though a few other offerings such as the M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 and 75mm F1.8 would have excelled better in terms of low light shooting and rendering of shallower depth of field, due to the much larger aperture opening of F1.8 vs the 60mm's F2.8. Acknowledging the fact that the M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 is indeed a specifically designed macro lens, intended primarily for macro shooting purpose, if the lens can perform generally well for any other shooting conditions, surely it would be an added bonus. 

Chromatic Aberration Control

One of the things worth noting about this M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 macro lens is the excellent control of chromatic aberration. I am not sure if it was the lens that was designed to resist the chromatic aberration, or the image has been corrected in camera by processing after the image was taken, but the results from this lens displayed almost no trace of chromatic aberration, which was really impressive. Most other Olympus lenses I have come across, both Zuiko (DSLR range) and M.Zuiko (micro 4/3 system) have very good chromatic aberration control, but still some noticeable traces of green and purple fringing will show in bright contrast areas of the image. Even the 12mm F2, 45mm F1.8 and 75mm F1.8 show very minimal, yet visible colour fringing, but surprisingly this was absent from the new 60mm F2.8 images. 

Flare Resistance

Due to the new ZERO (Zuiko Extra-Low Reflective Optical) Coating, Olympus claims that their lenses have improved resistance to flare when shooting against strong light. In my non-macro shooting test, while I was shooting in the wet market, I was constantly challenged with back-lighting conditions, some more severe than others, and in all cases, I have not encountered any flare or hazy image output issue. This was another reason why this new 60mm F2.8 macro lens shines in comparison to the older 50mm F2 macro. If you have shot outdoors extensively with the 50mm F2 macro lens in challenging lighting conditions, you will know how annoying it can be with the hazy soft output and ugly flare the lens produces. All these problems were not present in the 60mm F2.8, and I was very pleased with the flare control. I did not even use a lens-hood to shield the lens !!

Char Kuey Tiaw  1/50sec, F/4.5, ISO200
Image Sample 1

100% Crop from Image Sample 1

1/80sec, F/4, ISO200
A good example of a not too severe back-lit situation, with good lens flare resistance. 

Burning Prayers  1/200sec, F/2.8, ISO1250

In a Temple  1/40sec, F/2.8, ISO800

Joss Sticks  1/80sec, F/2.8, ISO1250

Autofocus in General Shooting

For this particular session, I have set the focus limiter switch to the option 0.4m to infinity. This range is optimized for general purpose shooting which is non-macro. At this setting, the lens performs almost flawlessly, and I have almost not missed any focusing, even when I was dealing with fast moving subjects. I am a single-focus shooter, meaning I half-press the shutter button to lock the focus and then press the button all the way down to capture the image. I do not rely on continuous shooting, rarely have I employed the use of continuous focusing, hence I am not the right person to tell you how the continuous shooting performs. Nevertheless, for single-AF shooting, the focusing was near instant, it was adequately efficient to follow some motion shots.

Again, just for the fun of it, I did turn the focus limiter switch to the option 0.19m to infinity, which is the full range from extreme 1:1 magnification ratio macro range to infinity. As expected, the lens will have problem focusing in some situations, though not often, as it hunts from near full macro range all the way to the far infinity, then coming back to the subject which was probably 2 meters away. Although not frequent when this  happened, there is no telling when the lens would decide to misbehave, hence its best not to use the full range 0.19m to infinity option. My suggestion is to recognize your shooting condition, set the focus limiter switch to either 1) 0.19m to 4m for close up macro shooting or 2) 0.4m to infinity for non-macro general shooting There is a reason why the focus limiter switch was built on the lens, and if it optimizes the autofocus performance for the intended shooting purpose, why not use it to its full potential?

I have also brought the M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 lens out for shooting in the evening on the streets, just to grab some very quick shots. In very low light conditions, the lens has no issue focusing at all. I switched the AF assist light off, and of course I set the focus limiter switch to the right range for street shooting. As expected, all newer Olympus lenses, including the 12-50mm, 12mm F2, 45mm F1.8 and 75mm F1.8 have very good low light focusing capability, when used with newer Olympus micro 4/3 bodies such as E-P3 or better, the E-M5.


Stuck  1/30sec, F/2.8, ISO200
Even at F/2.8, the 60mm lens is very sharp. Full size available for download via a link near the end of this entry. 

Mouse King  1/200sec, F/5.6, ISO200

Breakfast  1/200sec, F2.8, ISO200
Image Sample 2

100% Crop from Image Sample 2

The End is Near  1/100sec, F/5.6, ISO200
Image Sample 3

100% Crop from Image Sample 3

My Hands are Tied  1/80sec, F/5, ISO400

Black Eyed Peas  1/80sec, F/5, ISO200

1/50sec, F/4.5, ISO200

Of course, no lens is perfect.

What are the things that I have to complain about this marvelous M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 macro lens? What are the things that I wish could be improved?


1) No AF/MF Switch

The addition of the focus limiter switch in the lens was a huge welcome, but having another switch for instant manual focus/auto-focus selection would be even more convenient. I understand that many buttons on the OM-D or PEN bodies can be customized for this MF/AF shortcut with just one press of the button, but those buttons serve better purposes for other functions such as AEL/AFL locking, ISO control, and perhaps even DOF preview (for those who do need it). Having a dedicated button of AF/MF switch on the lens itself also saves confusion for normal users. After all, Olympus has been thoughtful enough to include a function (Fn) button on the 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 kit lens, why not have this Fn button on the 60mm macro lens as well? A good macro lens is all about having sufficient control over the shooting, and this button is quite a necessity in my opinion.

2) F2.8 - The Good and Bad

It is no wonder why Olympus would choose F2.8 as the widest opening aperture for the 60mm macro lens, optimizing the lens for performance to weight/size ratio. Having the aperture any wider, say F2 or F1.8, the lens will have to be significantly larger and heavier, which would defeat the purpose of using a micro 4/3 system that has the small footprint and lightweight advantage over other systems. If I were to choose between a 60mm F2.8 and 50mm F2 for my usual general shooting on the street, I would surely opt for the 50mm F2, just for the reason of widest aperture F2 alone. With the wider aperture, I have two important advantages: being able to render shallower depth of field, and at the same time more capable in shooting under dimmer lighting conditions. The 60mm F2.8 macro lens still is capable of rendering very good bokeh and blurring the background, especially when I did close up portraits as shown in this entry. However, we know how much better the 45mm F1.8 lens and 75mm F1.8 lens would fare in similar conditions. Shooting with the 60mm macro lens in the evening, I found the need to push the ISO setting to at least 1600 and even 3200 to achieve sufficiently fast shutter speed for hand held shooting. This was a huge disadvantage as opposed to 45mm F1.8 or 75mm F1.8, where ISO1000 or lower was already adequate. If your only sole purpose of getting the 60mm macro lens was to shoot macro specifically, you will surely not need anything wider than F2.8, in fact most of the time you will stop down the aperture narrower.

3) I have been scratching my head for almost an hour now and I cannot come up with a No.3 !!!
Everything else about this lens have checked all the right boxes of what makes a great macro lens. You mat remember my earlier comment in Part 1 of very slight resolution decline shooting at narrow aperture (at high magnification of 1:1x ratio) was not really valid, because the images were still amazingly sharp with plentiful of fine details.


How to burn a chicken   1/125sec, F/2.8, ISO500

Grinding the coconut  -  1/125, F/4.5, ISO200

Vegetable seller  1/160sec, F/2.8, ISO200

Child Labor  1/500sec, F/2.8, ISO200

That looked like it was going to hurt   1/200sec, F/2.8, ISO200

Ice Cream   1/1000sec, F/2.8, ISO200 

Buddies  1/1600sec, F/2.8, ISO200


Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 Macro Lens Review SUMMARY

What I like:
1) Exceptionally sharp, ability to capture massive amount of details even shooting at wide open F2.8. Even sharper than 50mm F2 macro (from F2.8 to 5.6)
2) Very good flare resistance, almost no chromatic aberration
3) Addition of focus limiter switch was a life-saver, optimizing Autofocus performance.
4) Auto-Focus performance is fast and very reliable, on par with recent micro 4/3 Olympus M.Zuiko lenses.
5) Weather-sealing allows the lens to be used in harsher shooting conditions
6) Lens is small and light (only 185g), yet delivering full 1:1 magnification ratio macro shooting performance.
7) Minimum focusing distance of 0.19m at 1:1 full magnification factor is very usable in most macro shooting.

What I don't like:
1) Noticeable minor decline of sharpness shooting at F8 and narrower, though very good amount of details are still captured. (to be fair I used the legendary 50mm F2 as a comparison, which was very uniform in sharpness even at narrower aperture).
2) Moire can become an issue for some shots, care should be taken to review the shots carefully for crucial works with the lens.
3) No AF/MF switch
4) F2.8, could have been better if it was F2.

As a dedicated macro lens, this M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 macro surely will deliver satisfactory results, being able to capture massive amount of details, and generally it is a very sharp lens. The capability to shoot at full 1 to 1 magnification ratio opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Certainly, there is very little to complain about this lens when sharpness and image technical perfection are the main concern.

I know there will be questions asking whether this 60mm F2.8 lens is sharper than the current 75mm F1.8 lens (which is considered by many currently the sharpest lens on the planet). Well, I cannot answer that question unless a controlled standardized test is to be performed to compare both lenses side by side. This is out of my area of expertise and I am sure sooner or later some more capable reviewers out there or curious forum members would post up useful comparison data from the two lenses for a better conclusive results. As for now, I can tell you that the sharpness and image quality on the 60mm F2.8 macro is very, very good, and you will surely not be disappointed.

As usual, more photographs are made available for downloads for your pixel peeping pleasures. 

60MM NON-MACRO SHOOTING TEST
You can download the selected 10 full size JPEG Images here (click)


 Flare and CA torture test, taken close to noon, the KLCC Twin Towers (well, only one of them I can fit with the 60mm lens).
1/4000sec, F/8, ISO200
Image Sample 4

100% Crop from Image Sample 4
In this extremely harsh condition, CA was completely absent, which was unexpected. Flare resistance was very good too, considering I was shooting with no hood attached. 

Ability to render nice circular bokeh   1/25sec, F/2.8, ISO1000

1/15sec, F/2.8, ISO1000
Have got to love the E-M5's 5 Axis Image Stabilization. Using a 60mm lens (at 120mm equivalent focal length) and yet I can still get away with sharp image at 1/15sec shutter speed hand held, was a incredible !!

Night Offerings  1/15sec, F/2.8, ISO4000

Shoulder High  1/50sec, F/2.8, ISO3200


It is not difficult to see where this M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 macro lens is coming from. The design and built considerations of this lens was purely made based on the feedback that was gathered from the most revered DSLR lens 50mm F2 macro, with all the flaws and imperfections from the 50mm lens being rectified and improved further upon, in the new 60mm F2.8 lens. The flaws of the 50mm lens included poor AF performance, no focus limier switch, no magnification ratio scale, high succeptibility to flare, and some chromatic aberration isues (not severe, but its noticeable). The new M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 lens has drastically improved Autofocus performance, which was optimized with the focus limiter switch, has better precise control with the inclusion of magnification factor scale, has newer ZERO coating with good resistance to flare, and of course, having almost no chromatic aberration. It was as if the 60mm F2.8 macro lens is all that the current 50mm F2 macro lens users would ever dream and hope for.

Do not give up on the beautiful, legendary Zuiko Digital 50mm F2 macro lens just yet. Though the lens is very, very old and outdated in terms of digital technology now, the 50mm F2 lens can still hold its own weight. Image quality in terms of sharpness is not that far behind the 60mm F2.8 macro, yet at narrower apertures (F8-11 or narrower) the 50mm macro lens was able to pull out more details from the image. Also, the fact that it has an F2 widest aperture opening added the advantage of rendering shallower depth of field and shooting in low light conditions, allowing the 50mm F2 lens more advantage as a general non-macro purpose shooting lens. Nonetheless, in 60mm F2.8's defense, at F2.8 widest opening aperture it was very respectable on its own, and still is capable in rendering shallow depth of field, as demonstrated by photographs in this entry.

If you are a serious macro shooter (insect macro, food photography, product shooting, etc), and you are currently using a micro 4/3 system or considering to start using micro 4/3 system, this M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 macro lens is highly recommended for you.

If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to say something in the comment section on this blog entry, or email me directly at hamish7ian@gmail.com

100 comments:

  1. Great stuff, Robin. I don't need this lens but I'm going to be sorely tempted ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Newzild !! I am very tempted myself too, but I knew very well the 50mm F2 lens is still a very good lens.

      Delete
    2. Great images! Stunning lens! Neverless the lens, you are the real artist. Thanks for share it

      Delete
    3. Thanks Anonymous, please leave a name the next time you comment.

      Delete
    4. Great review and stunning images. So clear. Did you do much post processing on the images?

      Delete
  2. Great stuff, Robin. I don't need this lens but I'm going to be sorely tempted ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Temptations can be good, when its about high quality optics !!

      Delete
  3. Robin, great review as usual. Does the maximum aperture get smaller as you focus close like other internal focus macros? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ken,
      Thanks for the kind words. The aperture stays constant through all focusing magnification. Unless you stop it down.

      Delete
  4. Robin,

    I've just posted a link to both parts of your review in the dpreview M43 forum. I also posted links to both parts of Ming Thein's review and to Amir Ridhwan's review page.

    I hope your reviews get the traffic they deserve. There is a place for shooting test charts under controlled conditions, but it's always a pleasure seeing your real-world photos.

    Once again, a great job.

    Good cheer,
    Scott

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Scott for taking the effort to link my blog up there. Surely I am sure some people would love to have real world preview of how the lens is doing.

      Delete
  5. Great Review as always. Really a poison lens. Able to produce such a sharp images. i'm sure this lens will go into my wish list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jason. That lens is crazy sharp !

      Delete
  6. Just as I had hoped for. Some awesome images here as well :)

    As to f2.8 vs f2.0, you're absolutely right about DOF, but on the other hand the difference is not so big. Bokeh of this lens is beautiful, and if you only go a tiny little bit nearer, the difference is cancelled. Of course you get a different frame, but then, that's the prime shooter's fate.

    Other than DOF, f2.8 is no problem at all. As you have noted yourself, 1/15s is repeatably sharp with that focal length and the OM-D. With the 45/1.8 I can even hold 1/10s repeatably, and with the 14/2.5 that goes down to 1/3s. That's always assuming that one has static subjects or can live with or even craves for motion blur. Both is the case for me.

    Great work, as always!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Andreas !!
      F2.8 vs F2 might not seem like a huge difference, but when I bring it out for my night street shooting, I find the F2 is a lot more advantageous. I can use lower ISO (1600 vs 3200), and at the same time, the amount of background blur is better. Of course, a lot of street shooter will argue that they do not need shallow DOF (zone focusing where everything is clear) and they prefer grain in their photos to add grittiness (hence high ISO is ok).

      Delete
    2. To the contrary! For me motion blur at 1/15s is OK. At night I use shutter priority at 1/10s (with the 45/1.8) and ISO 200 or wherever ISO rises, but in any case relatively low :)

      Delete
    3. Hi Robin. Thank you so much for the review, and great shots. Really looking forward to getting this lens. The bokeh is better than I expected, it will be a very good portrait lens, for me.

      I ran the 50/2 macro and the 45/1.8 through an online DOF calculator. This 60/2.8 actually gives a shallower DOF at a given distance! Of course, keeping distance constant means different framing with each lens, but it's something to think about....I do see your point about the lens speed in the evenings though. I envision using this lens as a street lens during the day (unless I get braver), and then the 45/1.8 at night.

      That Char Kueh Teow looks delicious! Where is the stall? I have never really found a good one in KL, I usually have to wait until I go to Muar.

      Cheers, Tom

      Delete
    4. Hello Andreas,
      Of course for intended motion blur, slow shutter speed is forced and we can use lower ISO for creative shots !

      Hey Tom,
      Somehow I do not think 45mm F1.8 and 50mm F2 will give less background blur than 60mm F2.8 at the same shooting distance, based on my experience using those lenses on the street. In practical usage, I think it depends on the framing as you have mentioned. Since it is a macro lens I have a tendency to step in closer to some smaller subjects (children, for example).
      The next time you come to KL, I will bring you to some nice Char Kuey Tiaw place. Just remind me of that in case I forget.

      Delete
  7. Dear Robin, thank you for such stunning images and intelligent reviewing, and for saving me so much money compared to the 75mm f1.8!

    ReplyDelete
  8. another fine review and the fotos are excellent¡...Robin, do you ever post on www.mu-43.com...? you should check it out sometime...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anonymous (please leave a name next time you comment)
      Taking care of this blog, responding to heavy correspondence and spending time shooting have taken up a huge part of my time. I do not intend to participate in forums or any other groups.

      Delete
  9. Hi Robin,

    Thank you for a very thorough lens review!

    Eric V
    Edmonton Alberta Canada

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey Robin,

    great shots thru out, the two that stand out for me is the "burn chicken" and the "that looked like it's going to hurt"

    add one more lens to wish list dey... ;0)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Eric
      Thanks for the kind compliments. If you do drop by KL (if I remember correctly you are in Singapore right?) lets shoot at Pudu, you will find the chicken burning thing there !

      Delete
    2. Hey Robin,

      thx, yep, i'm fr the small red dot ;0)

      Delete
    3. Hey Eric,
      Singapore is such a lively and vibrant city. Would love to shoot there one day.

      Delete
  11. Amen again to another great users review love it...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Robin, thank you for your very illustrative review, I have never been interested in a macreo lens and now I am: it opens a whole new perspective.
    I wonder if this lens would be appropiate for copying old slides with some sort of carrier such as the existing few years ago with the OM System, ¿would you think so? I have hundreds of slides, some of them very important to me, not as family shots but as real documents so I will like the best possible reproduction in digital terms.

    Thanks again for you magnificente work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mauricio for the compliments.
      I am not too sure about using the macro lens to scan the old 35mm negatives, I am sure it is not as simple as it seems to set up and get the desired results. I have read somewhere online someone using a Nikon lens and it is quite complicated. Since I have no experience in shooting film I may not be the best person to advise you on this.

      Delete
  13. As expected, more stunning images. A truly outstanding lens. Oly deserves praise for making available all these fantastic optical designs lately, and this one is another gem. Wonderful pictures, Robin! Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Andre for the compliments. The 60mm macro lens is surely outstanding, and I agree, Olympus optics surely shines !!

      Delete
  14. Great Review indeed. Consider the price($499) and quality, the 60mm Macro is a super combo. I will definitely buy the Pana 35-100mm 2.8, but 60mm is also an outstanding choice. I think I'll buy both of them after reading your gorgeous review. Thanks for the amazing work. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ckwin,
      Thanks for the kind comments. I have not tried the 35-100mm yet, but I am sure that lens is no slouch either.

      Delete
  15. Fabulous - love the hands-on real life review, so much more interesting to me than a boring lab test.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Farrukh, I thought so too !

      Delete
  16. Hi Robin,

    I find your reviews are very appealing, no... compelling in the sense of being able to just get a 'real world' view on a item. I consider you as one of my key 'go to' sites in regards to getting a grasp of how a piece of equipment is going to perform without all the bells and whistles of studio tests et al.
    I think what I like about your site is that it's real world, not all of us can afford to get the latest and greatest so equipment choice is something is crucial. I've been fortunate to have a wonderful woman who believes in me and my talent as a photographer, we made the investment and purchased the Olympus OMD. Financially it's a lot and whilst I like the kit lens. My heart is and always will be prime lenses. The 75 f1.8 is nice but out of my league due to the expensive cost £800 so reading your review has been a 'POSITIVE' as this lens is more of a realistic venture/investment. Thanks a bunch for give me and others such a compelling read. Keep it up.

    Blessings :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Darren,
      Thank you so much for your positive remarks on my review approach. Nonetheless, I always suggest to my readers to wait for actual technical reviews for a better and more rounded conclusion. Treat my user-reviews as very initial impression of the lens, and what a real world user would comment, minus the technical jargons and laboratory complicated graphs and numbers.
      Glad to find out that you are using the OM-D now. Yes the kit lens is quite limiting. Have you considered getting the 45mm F1.8? That lens is cheap, small, yet very sharp. The bokeh from the 45mm lens is quite amazing too.

      Delete
  17. Hi Robin,

    Another great review.

    There has been a question that I've always wanted to ask you:

    With many of your real close up face shots (you have a few in this entry) where the subjects face nearly feels like whole frame, do you get permission from them first before you take those shots?

    I notice that because they are looking into your camera, and even with a 50~75 mm lens to get a shot that big I assume you would have to be like only 2 ~ 3 metres away from them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Chad,
      Thanks for the kind words.
      I did not ask permission verbally, when when I was that close to them, I will give some kind of body language or gesture (a nod of my head, and moving my camera up and down a little bit) to see what their reaction was. Usually they will respond with a nod or smile, and that was the cue that they allowed their photos to be taken. Not everyone will be ok, some will say no, so I just replied with a smile, and moved on to attack other possible subjects. Some people are shy, some people just do not want their photos to be taken. But the market has possibly hundreds (could be thousands) of people, and I have been quite lucky lately. Important thing is to be friendly and look approachable.

      Delete
  18. Thanks for these samples Robin! I was just thinkin in my head "someone should try using the 60mm as a portrait lens" and voila you did! This seals the deal for me, it does make for a good portrait lens where you don't quite need that shallow a DOF, f2.8 is good enought for me.

    Thanks,

    AC

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was my pleasure to share those images AC !! I agree, if you do not require very shallow depth of field, the F2.8 is actually more than sufficient !

      Delete
  19. Very detail review. You know me, I think I will not invest into this lens anyway. Hehe...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Kelvin,
      How about the coming 17mm F1.8? hehe

      Delete
  20. Fine review. Most of us would be happy to show photos like your test shots.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Les !! I think a lot of the shots were nothing more than ordinary, perhaps some lucky ones !

      Delete
  21. Hello Robin,
    thanks for your detailed review. As I suspected, the lens is excellent for portraits.

    Best regards, Marcelo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Marcelo, I agree, the 60mm does well for portraits.

      Delete
  22. Very nice review and great pictures. Now just to decide where it goes on the wish list. Its getting to be a very long list

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andrew,
      Thanks. Well, having more options is better than having no options or less options !

      Delete
  23. As always your reviews are so thorough -- and your photographs are such a joy to look at Robin. I was sitting on the fence regarding purchasing this lens and now I know that I want it. It's great to know that there are photographers of your calibre actively reviewing Oly Four Thirds cameras and lenses!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mark !!
      I don't think I am that capable yet, still a learning photographer, but I am most happy to shoot and share with the community !!

      Delete
  24. Thank you, Robin, for another wonderful review.

    Now comes decision time: do I keep saving for the 75/1.8, or do I go for the 60/2.8? I'll be saving $400 and gaining macro capability but at the expense of perhaps some image quality and almost 1.5 stops. (I have the 45/1.8 and the 12/2 already.)

    I wonder if Mrs Dibbly would notice if I got both? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Dwaine,
      Thanks for the kind words.
      It depends on what you intend to shoot the most. If you do plenty of macro with extreme magnifications (like insect or flower shots) then the 60mm would be more suitable. If you shoot more people and non-macro shots, I would say go for 75mm F1.8, if the 45mm F1.8 cannot give you enough shallow DOF or you need something longer.

      Delete
  25. Thanks for the great in-the-field, real-life review, Robin. Several of the images that you show are indeed remarkably sharp and clear. I especially thought that the lady Vegetable Seller and the boy Breakfast Eater were outstanding portraits. I always enjoy reading your reviews much more than the techno-geek approach!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hey Gregg,
      Thanks so much for the kind remarks. I love the boy eating his vegetables too !! It was such a candid moment that he was just about to put the vegie in his mouth and he saw me pointing at him with the camera. The vegetable seller was already bouncing with joy talking through the phone I just quickly snapped his expression before it faded. Those were lucky shots I must add. Spotting them and quickly reacted.

      Delete
  26. Salivating every time read your blog.. slurp.. *-*

    btw, is there any difference if sooc jpeg vs raw convert to jpeg using Olympus Viewer 2?

    Olympus Viewer 2 run pretty slow when view raw file on my macbookpro. That's why i reluctant to use.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Johsua,
      In theory, there is completely no difference between in camera JPEG and JPEG processed from Olympus Viewer 2. The reason I shot RAW was in case someone questioned the authenticity of my photographs. The data in JPEG (EXIF, dates and all the camera parameters) can be manipulated quite easily. But RAW files you cannot. I was doing so to protect my integrity and credibility.
      In practical shooting, you can get all the images I shot above straight out of the camera JPEG.

      Delete
    2. I was wondering this myself so thanks for that

      Delete
    3. alright noted.. Thanks for sharing.. :)

      Delete
  27. Hi Robin, I must admit the 60mm Macro is a excellent Macro and it is one of the best Olympus offer. I still using my 50mm F2 as this is still one of the Gems in the 4/3 system. I once using this lens in a indoor portrait session, when my fellow photographers saw the photo taken with my E30, they thought I using a Canon L lens.....

    Best Regards / Frnacis from Toronto

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Francis,
      Thanks for the kind compliments. If I were you I would tell your Canon friends that the legendary 50mm F2 lens is sharper and superior than their canon L lenses. But then you might make enemies, so we shall keep this to ourselves. Heh.

      Delete
  28. Thanks Robin,It looks like the 50mm might be better at portraits but that's okay as I will be getting this lens as my first ever macro :) Tony

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Tony,
      for macro purposes, of course the 60mm is highly recommended ! Go for it.

      Delete
  29. Impressive real world review as always, you have convinced me into having this lens as soon as it hits the market to accompany my E-M5.
    Thanx again Robin, looking forward for more reviews from you.

    Cheeers,

    Edwin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Edwin, I am sure you will love the lens!

      Delete
  30. Such beautiful photos--both the macro and non-macro shots. I have a GH2: will the autofocus and all features on this lens work for me? If not, do you know what features will be enabled and which ones won't?

    I've read online that Panasonic and Olympus Micro 4/3 lenses and bodies are generally compatible, but sometimes there are niggling details like certain autofocus modes that don't work, and so on. Would love to buy this lens if I can confirm it'll work on my camera.

    Thanks for the review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for the kind compliments, Ben. Yes, all features from the 60mm lens will work just fine, but bear in mind you won't have Image Stabilization.
      I have not tried the lens on any other body than the E-M5. So you may need to verify this elsewhere.

      Delete
  31. I have just purchased the OMD EM5 along with the grip and 45 f 1.8. After seeing your shots and review, I am tempted. By the way, I have the Zuiko 50f2 but the focusing is way too slow. Did you say that this lens focuses faster?

    Benizi Santamaria

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Benizi,
      It is never wise to use the old DSLR 4/3 lens on micro 4/3 bodies. It IS slow. Olympus never denied that, and if you did a little digging online, everyone says the same. I even have commented countless times here that micro 4/3 bodies are only optimized to be used together with dedicated micro 4/3 lenses.

      Delete
  32. Hi Robin,
    Another excellent review from a real world user's prespective. The varied shooting conditions and thorough testing you put the lens through is much better than what is presented in photo magazines - You are awesome! Thank you.

    Just curious if you had a chance to record video with the 60mm? I am hoping this lens can serve a dual purpose for me to do macro photos as well as medium tele-photo video at live performances.

    -Chuck Dyer
    Santa Rosa, California, USA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello chuck,
      Thanks so much for the kind compliments, surely not deserving !!
      About video shooting with the 60mm, may I direct your attention to my friends at Zuikoholics, they also reviewed the 60mm from Olympus Malaysia, and they did some video works with the lens.
      Check them out here: http://zuikoholics.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/trailer-video-with-m-zuiko-digital-60mm-f2-8-macro/
      You may direct any video related questions to the nice folks there.

      Delete
    2. Jan Kihle, Norway10/04/2012 03:25:00 PM

      Hello Robin,
      I find your reviews (all of them) most pleasing, thorough and overall well written. I am quite flabbergasted by my new 60mm macro lens' performance and astonishing small size in comparison to my old but premium performing Zuiko 90mm/F2.0 macro fitted to the OM-D (though manually focus only). In view of your very positive presentation of the ZD 60mm macro, I look very much forward to compare (resolution/diffraction-wise) new mineral crystal and gem shots made with the old 90mm vs the new 60mm!
      all the very best
      - Jan Kihle, Geologist/mineralogist/gemologist

      Delete
  33. Same doubt...I'm dying to get the 75mm I've allready have the 12mm and the 45mm Do you think in terms of image quality and sharpness there is much differences between the 45mm and the 75mm considering you'll get f 1.8 on both?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When you are comparing between 45mm and 75mm you should not be comparing in terms of image quality. It should be whether you will shoot with that focal length, how much will you need the focal length and will that improve your photography in general. It is the same as comparing 12mm to 45mm, the comparison is pointless, because at 12mm, it is wide angle while 45mm is medium telephoto, both lenses are used in different shooting situations, and cannot substitute one another. Similarly goes to 75mm.

      All 12mm, 45mm and 75mm are extremely sharp for their own focal lengths.

      Delete
  34. "Noticeable minor decline of sharpness shooting at F8 and narrower"

    How about diffraction? Due to sensor size, the diffraction is bound to hit the m4/3 system earlier than say, a full-frame device with similar optics in regards to the effective focal length?

    ReplyDelete
  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Robin, I've loved your site and reviews for a few months now. I was able to pick this lens up three weeks ago, and shoot it on an EM-5 as well. I love your shots, you have a great eye. What I really wanted to say was that you must have hands like rocks! I was using this lens to shoot butterflies in your lovely city in obscure light (the butterfly park) and I had a hard time getting their eyes in focus. The wings, no problem, but with the breeze swaying the branches the butterflies were hanging off, I had a real hard time getting the eyes in focus like I wanted. You shoot at far lower shutter speeds than I can get, and your 100% crops are tack sharp. So, I'm jealous! I have tried to get my technique as solid as I can, but you, sir, are a master! Keep on keepin on! Any chance you're going to review the panasonic 7-14mm? My next lens purchase is between the 75 and the 7-14, and your reviews are the best that I've found for this line of equipment.
    Take it easy,
    Zach www.zachholzphotography.com

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi Robin, I've loved your site and reviews for a few months now. I was able to pick this lens up three weeks ago, and shoot it on an EM-5 as well. I love your shots, you have a great eye. What I really wanted to say was that you must have hands like rocks! I was using this lens to shoot butterflies in your lovely city in obscure light (the butterfly park) and I had a hard time getting their eyes in focus. The wings, no problem, but with the breeze swaying the branches the butterflies were hanging off, I had a real hard time getting the eyes in focus like I wanted. You shoot at far lower shutter speeds than I can get, and your 100% crops are tack sharp. So, I'm jealous! I have tried to get my technique as solid as I can, but you, sir, are a master! Keep on keepin on! Any chance you're going to review the panasonic 7-14mm? My next lens purchase is between the 75 and the 7-14, and your reviews are the best that I've found for this line of equipment.
    Take it easy,
    Zach www.zachholzphotography.com

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi Robin, I've loved your site and reviews for a few months now. I was able to pick this lens up three weeks ago, and shoot it on an EM-5 as well. I love your shots, you have a great eye. What I really wanted to say was that you must have hands like rocks! I was using this lens to shoot butterflies in your lovely city in obscure light (the butterfly park) and I had a hard time getting their eyes in focus. The wings, no problem, but with the breeze swaying the branches the butterflies were hanging off, I had a real hard time getting the eyes in focus like I wanted. You shoot at far lower shutter speeds than I can get, and your 100% crops are tack sharp. So, I'm jealous! I have tried to get my technique as solid as I can, but you, sir, are a master! Keep on keepin on! Any chance you're going to review the panasonic 7-14mm? My next lens purchase is between the 75 and the 7-14, and your reviews are the best that I've found for this line of equipment.
    Take it easy,
    Zach www.zachholzphotography.com

    ReplyDelete
  39. Very good review, Thank you very much. will come back for others coming up review.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Great review Robin, thanks ;-)

    For anyone wondering about the resolution, Lensrentals have made extensive Micro 4/3 lens tests on multiple lens copies.
    http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/09/quick-look-at-the-olympus-60mm-f2-8-macro
    http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/07/the-olympus-75mm-f1-8-is-expensive-because-its-worth-it
    http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/05/standard-range-micro-43-imatest-results
    http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/05/wide-angle-micro-43-imatest-results

    Top performing Micro 4/3 lenses from the above tests (max/average sharpness, MTF50 in line pairs / image height). Olympus 60 macro seems to perform like Pana/Leica 45. Keep in mind that you will only notice a difference of around 50-100 or more.

    @ f/2.8
    Panasonic 20mm 1050/875
    Olympus 75mm 1020/925
    Panasonic 14mm 1010/850
    Pana/Leica 45mm 1000/875
    Olympus 12mm 1000/845
    Voigtlander 25mm 995/855

    @ f/4
    Panasonic 20mm 1075/880
    Voigtlander 17.5mm 1070/835
    Pana/Leica 45mm 1050/885
    Olympus 12mm 1040/870
    Voigtlander 25mm 1030/925
    Panasonic 14mm 1025/860
    (no data for Olympus 75mm at this aperture)

    ReplyDelete
  41. Thank you fot that useful review which makes me feel like buying 60mm/2.8 macro lens!!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Download All Recent Games, Movies, Apps, Mobile Stuff and everything else for free
    at http://www.rls-log.net

    You can download from the following categories

    Full Version Applications for Android, iOS, MAC, Windows

    Full Version Games for Linux, MAC, PC, PS3, Wii, Wii U, XBOX360 and
    other systems
    Full Movies And Cinema Movies BDRiP, Cam, DVDRiP, DVDRiP Old, DVDSCR, HDRiP,
    R5, SCR, Staff Picks, Telecine, Telesync, Workprint
    Full Music Album MP3s and Music Videos Music, Albums, iTunes, MViD, Singles/EPs
    Full Version Ebooks eBook Magazines

    Download all you want for free at http://www.rls-log.
    net

    Also visit my webpage ... Releaselog

    ReplyDelete
  43. Great article, totally what I was looking for.

    My web page :: photo host site

    ReplyDelete
  44. The belt could be worn wherever so you can get a excellent function
    out taking a cat nap or washing property.

    Here is my webpage ... http://techsnearme.com/

    ReplyDelete
  45. Not sure if you need more insulation on your water heater.
    Recent times have noticed a massive increase the realm
    of computerized thermostats, nest looks to turn bradenton surrounding.
    It's african american and roughly how large a new football; the actual converter operates if the machine is for the cool placing, and also the thermostat is set for a frigid temperatures.

    my weblog - nest learning thermostat

    ReplyDelete
  46. Do you have the activities of the test engine light or
    support light arrives on your car? This Scan Instrument is a quite person
    helpful program.

    Feel free to visit my web page ... code scanner

    ReplyDelete
  47. Howdy, I do believe your blog could be having internet browser compatibility
    issues. Whenever I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine
    however when opening in IE, it's got some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Besides that, great website!

    My site :: pdf password remover

    ReplyDelete
  48. Third, let's say you are not satisfied with the camera that you purchased and you decide to change. Red lights can be tricky but can be made to look good if you're careful.
    On the other hand, the Nano worked fine, but after a couple of
    hours of steadicam work, my arms were getting tired.



    Feel free to surf to my web-site :: canon 6d review

    ReplyDelete
  49. Your style is so unique in comparison to other folks I have
    read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just bookmark this blog.


    Take a look at my web page :: hack Twitter account

    ReplyDelete
  50. However, all of the digital products including samsung galaxy tab as well,
    which use memory card to store your data or files, such as videos, images or audio files, so human operation would
    make data lost on Galaxy Tab accidently. The Nexus S, however, has flash while some variants,
    such as the Samsung Vibrant and Captivate, of the Samsung Galaxy S do not.
    With this Samsung Galaxy Tab media dock You can
    convenient sync the tablet with a computer and charge it at the same time.

    ReplyDelete