Friday, September 23, 2016

Olympus M.Zuiko 30mm F3.5 Macro Lens Review

Important Notes:
1. I am an Olympus Malaysia employee.
2. This is a user experience based review, based on my personal opinion which can be subjective.
3. All images were shot in RAW and converted directly to JPEG (High Quality) via Olympus Viewer 3.
4. General camera settings, Noise Filter = OFF, Contrast/Saturation/sharpness = 0, White Balance = Auto (with an option maintain warm color = OFF), Gradation = Normal
5. Minimal post-processing applied to the images, with slight brightness/contrast balance tweak. All images were almost as good as straight out of camera, with minimal cropping for better presentation.

I am well aware that the hottest items that everyone wants to know about would be the newly announced in development Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, as well as the M.Zuiko 12-100mm F4 IS PRO lens. However, the E-M1 Mark II is still under development, and it will be quite a while before it is ready to be launched. I do have a very early pre-production sample of the 12-100mm F4 PRO lens, which is not fit for review purpose, The actual review-ready sample will be arriving soon, and trust me I will jump right into reviewing it when it is here, you know I will!

Now this leads me to another item which was also announced alongside the E-M1 Mark II, 25mm F1.2 PRO and 12-100mm F4 PRO, the strangely under-mentioned M.Zuiko 30mm F3.5 Macro lens. It is not difficult to understand how this new 30mm macro lens has become overshadowed by the OM-D new flagship and two PRO lenses! Nonetheless, Olympus should be acknowledged as an expert and industry leader in lens making technology and manufacturing expertise, hence like all other Olympus M.Zuiko lenses that 30mm F3.5 Macro lens should not be underestimated.

I have spent a total of two days (not successively), one day shooting the 30mm F3.5 Macro lens on my own OM-D E-M10 Mark II and another day on the OM-D E-M1 (original 2013 version) to gather sufficient photographs to compose this blog entry.

The Olympus M.Zuiko 30mm F3.5 Macro lens is compact and light. 



The front of the Macro lens. I really should have shot the lens product image BEFORE I went out and shoot with it. 

30mm F3.5 Macro lens fits perfectly on OM-D E-M1

honestly I do not really know how I hold the lenses these days. I did not realize I used only two fingers. Not sure if this is the best way to do so. 

ABOUT OLYMPUS 30MM F3.5 MACRO LENS

Olympus already has a macro lens in the Micro Four Thirds M.Zuiko line up, the 60mm F2.8 Macro which is an excellent lens. So why a 30mm Macro?

A 30mm macro lens is different than a 60mm macro lens. 30mm provides much wider field of view, allowing wider perspective to be captured while going in close to the subject, resulting in different and sometimes more interesting composition options. If you are getting the 60mm F2.8 Macro lens, you would probably be using that macro lens for very specific macro shooting purposes, or for tight, medium tele-photo coverage type of photography, eg portraits or a stage performance. On the other hand a wider 30mm perspective is much easier to use for day to day, walkaround shooting conditions. It is smaller, more compact, easier to carry around and works just fine as a one lens do it all, capturing a wide range of scenes, food, people, street, tight landscape, you name it. The 30mm as a general, everyday lens is more versatile than the longer 60mm lens. I am not saying which lens works better, I also acknowledge that the longer 60mm macro lens will provide significantly better working distance for shooting insect macro. However, the truth is, not everyone buys a macro lens to shoot insects. 

Let's look at some highlights of the Olympus M.Zuiko 30mm F3.5 Macro Lens features

1) Maximum of 2.5x real life magnification (equivalent in 35mm format)
The older M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 Macro lens can do 2x magnification in equivalent 35mm format. This new 30mm F3.5 Macro can do 2.5x magnification. While 2.5x vs 2x may not seem a lot, but in terms of magnification for macro photographers, we do appreciate as much magnification as we can get, and that extra 0.5x magnification is a huge welcome. 

2) Superb Optical Performance
The 30mm F3.5 Macro lens is slotted into the Premium range of M.Zuiko lens line-up, which is the same category as 45mm F1.8, 25mm F1.8, and of course the macro lens 60mm F2.8. I am expecting the sharpness and technical control of this lens to be very good. This 30mm F3.5 Macro lens is constructed from 9 elements in 7 groups, including the Dual Super Aspherical lens, Extra Low Dispersion lens, and Aspherial lens. 

3) Minimum Focusing Distance of 95mm
The actual working distance between lens and subject is about 14mm, which is too close for shooting insect macro. However, the super close up shooting distance allows for maximum of 2.5x magnification. 

4) 20-30% Faster AF than M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 Macro lens
When shooting macro, I usually use manual focus since for extreme magnification shots there usually is hunting, so any improvement in the AF capability is good to have. 

5) Compact, small form factor
This lens weighs only 128g! The front diameter is 46mm and it is about 60mm long. 

For full specifications please go to the official product page here


So how big is the 2.5x magnification capable of?

Unfortunately the M.Zuiko 30mm F3.5 Macro lens did not have the magnification indicator built in. Therefore there was no way for me to tell what magnification to set for this comparison purpose I was doing with Mr Deadpool. I had to use the 60mm F2.8 Macro lens for the equivalent magnification of 0.5x, 1x and 2x examples as shown below. Only the full 2.5x magnification was done with the 30mm F3.5 in the comparison, since this can be achieved by fixing the closest focusing distance. 

60mm F2.8 Macro lens at 0.5x equivalent magnification. 

60mm F2.8 Macro at 1x equivalent magnification

60mm F2.8 Macro at 2x equivalent magnification

30mm F3.5 Macro at 2.5x equivalent magnification

Isn't Deadpool just gorgeous?

During the course of my tests in real life shooting, especially for insect macro photography, I only managed to successfully shoot one full 2.5x equivalent magnification image! It was not easy sticking the lens about 14mm away from the subjects. Everything flies away at that distance. Is this lens bad for insect macro? Not really, you still can get about 1x magnification to 1.5x magnification easily with comfortable enough working distance, but going in to 2x to 2.5x magnification might not be feasible. 

I know the biggest question that everyone is asking: how sharp is this macro lens? Is it as good as the 60mm F2.8 Macro lens?

The subsequent shots were taken with either E-M1 or E-M10 Mark II. I will specify which camera used in the captions. External flash was fire wirelessly, and for my insect macro shooting methodology please do read my blog write up here (click). 

OM-D E-M10 Mark II
F13, 1/125sec, ISO200, Wireless Flash used
This is my only full 2.5x magnification shot. Everything else flew away before I got in too close. 
Flash execution was also very bad, with plenty of unwanted highlights. I need to design a new macro lighting technique for this lens, as I needed the light to go a lot nearer to the lens. 

This is not 100% crop. Just a tighter crop. The 100% crop was not that sharp, due to excessive hand-shake. Yeap, I screwed up my shot. Not the first time. 

OM-D E-M1
F8, 1/160sec, ISO200, Wireless Flash Fired


OM-D E-M10 Mark II
F8, 1/100sec, ISO200, Wireless Flash Fired

Crop from previous image

OM-D E-M1
F8, 1/160sec, ISO200, Wireless Flash Fired

OM-D E-M1
F9, 1/250sec, ISO200, Wireless Flash Fired
Ok I admit, I cropped this shot, like a lot. I could not get near to this Ant Mimic Spider. It was so cute I just wanted to show the photo here. The original photograph was also severely underexposed hence I pushed up the shadows, resulting in grainy background. But that Spider is sooooooo cute!

OM-D E-M1
F8, 1/160sec, ISO200, Wireless Flash Fired
This is an actual ant. 

OM-D E-M1
F8, 1/200sec, ISO200
For shots like this, which is not full 2.5x magnification, it is quite easy to shoot. I do not know what magnification than this, but I'd think it is more than 1x magnification. 

Crop from previous image

OM-D E-M10 Mark II
F6.3, 1/60, ISO320

LENS SHARPNESS

The Olympus M.Zuiko 30mm F3.5 Macro lens has excellent sharpness, as evidently shown in the crops of actual photographs. The lens is capable of resolving plenty of fine details, shooting even at extreme magnification ratios. I personally find that the level of sharpness is very close to the 60mm F2.8 Macro lens, though I do think that the 60mm F2.8 Macro lens may be a tad sharper, but even pixel peeping closely the difference is not easy to tell apart, The level of sharpness is sufficient for any serious macro photography work, and if you are adamant in squeezing as much details out of your shot as possible, this is the right lens for the job. 

OVERALL LENS IMAGE QUALITY

The rendering of this 30mm F3.5 macro lens is quite similar to the 60mm F2.8 Macro lens. However, being a macro lens, the image look and feel is somewhat flatter than what we can obtain from the other non macro prime lenses, such as 25nn F1.8 or 45mm F1.8. I am referring to the depth and 3-D look of the images, though for macro lens, it is designed to be technically excellent, hence the flatter characteristics which is not necessarily a bad thing. This is also due to the reason that a F3.5, the lens may not be able to create shallow enough depth of field. 

In my insect macro shots, it is difficult to spot any chromatic aberration if any since I was stopping down my images to F8 or narrower. I did bring this 30mm F3.5 macro lens for a quick street shooting session, and shooting wide open at F3.5 generally yields no chromatic aberration, which I believe is in part due to the aggressive in camera JPEG processing to correct any chromatic aberration if any. When it comes to areas with difficult and confusing patterns, the camera fails to correct the purple fringing, as shown in one of the image samples (far below, of a pedestrain bridge). However the presence of the purple fringing was rare, and if there was any observed, it should not be difficult to correct in post-processing. Alternatively, you can stop down to F4.5 or F5.6, and there is no trace of chromatic aberration observed. 

Bokeh quality was very good. The background transition/rolloff was very smooth, and I did not observe any harshness, even shooting at F5.6. The F3.5 on a macro lens is sufficient to create shallow enough depth of field for subject isolation in macro shooting conditions as you get close to the subjects, and the bokeh is actually looking quite similar in quality with any of the current Olympus prime lenses. 

Being a macro lens, there is completely no noticeable corner softness, or barrel distortion, even shooting at wide open F3.5. I did not test the flare resistance, because, you know, how often do you point a macro lens against the sun? 

Besides testing the lens by shooting insect macro with flash, I have also shot a series of insect macro photographs without flash. For the following series of insect macro photographs, I shot only with available light, mostly with Aperture Priority, and varying ISO was used in correspondence to the intensity of the ambient light. I could not use tripod on location (tripods are prohibited in KL Butterfly Park) hence I needed to rely on the in camera 5-Axis Image Stabilization to steady my shots. The many cups of flat whites I have been consuming did not help in this situation at all. No, I am not going to give up on my flat whites. Coffee is something I can never live without. 

OM-D E-M10 Mark II
F5.6, 1/80sec, ISO320, No flash used
This is a good example of wide angle macro. I could not do this with the 60mm macro shot. Suddenly, a butterfly decided to land on my stomach (thankfully I have lost some weight). It was drinking my...... sweat! The 30mm was just wide enough to shoot this, and you can see my feet a the top left of the frame. I was wearing orange sandals. That one butterfly was tagging me along for another 30 minutes! Was my sweat that delicious?

OM-D E-M1
Some depth of field comparisons, and also bokeh quality. 
Top left: F3.5, Top right: F4.5, Botton left: F5.6, Bottom right: F8

OM-D E-M1
F4.5, F6.3, ISO320, No Flash Fired
Same damselflies having sex as the previous one taken with flash, so I decided to shoot one without flash. 

Crop from previous image

OM-D E-M1
F3.5, 1/60sec, ISO200, No Flash Fired

OM-D E-M1
F6.3, 1/80sec, ISO400, No Flash Fired

Crop from previous image

OM-D E-M1
F4.5, 1/100sec, ISO200, No Flash Fired

OM-D E-M1
F6.3, 1/80sec, ISO400, No Flash Fired

OM-D E-M10 Mark II
F5.6, 1/80sec, ISO500 

OM-D E-M10 Mark II
F3.5, 1/250sec, ISO320

LENS HANDLING

The lens is so small and light, that I thought I was shooting with their the 25mm F1,8 or 45mm F1.8 lens! There really is nothing much to write about the lens handling, it felt comfortable in hand, and  am sure it will fit nicely into smaller cameras like Panasonic GM1 or any of the Olympus PEN Lite series (eg, E-PL7, or E-PL8). I chose E-M1 and E-M10 Mark II, because I needed the beefier hand grip for my one hand holding camera/lens and another hand holding flash shooting technique (you can read my extreme magnification insect shooting methodology here), I did not come into any issue throughout my shooting session with the macro lens. 

AUTOFOCUS PERFORMANCE
If there was a surprise that I have found about this lens, is the autofocus performance. 

Olympus claimed that there is a 20-30% improvement in focusing speed in comparison to the 60mm F2.8 Macro lens, which I think is a vague number. I did find the AF to be VERY reliable. 

I rarely use Autofocus in my insect macro shooting shots, usually I would set my magnification to a certain level (say, 1x magnification) and then I see through the viewfinder, moving myself (the camera and lens of course) closer and closer to the subject until I see it being clear on my viewfinder. Then I will rock myself slightly back and forth until the best sharpness is seen and I hit the shutter button immediately. 

I tried the AF on the 30mm F3.5 Macro and I got high success rates! I did miss a few shots, after all even if you have moved about 1mm away from the subject after the focus lock by half-press of the shutter button, you will still get an out of focus shot, it is that crucial. But overall, the AF was more confident, and locks on easier. Shooting experience did improve marginally just because of the much more usable AF capability of the lens. 

VERSATILITY OF 30MM PERSPECTIVE

Considering the 30mm perspective, which is not far from 25mm that I normally use, I thought why not I bring this 30mm F3.5 lens out to shoot other subjects other than just macro? 30mm is quite a usable, versatile focal length for general shooting situations. I walked around some KL streets and shot anything that caught my attention.

Did I miss the F1.8 wide open aperture on 25mm F1.8 or 45mm F1.8? I sure do, but hey, not everything needs to be shot with shallow depth of field.

OM-D E-M1
F8, 1/50sec, ISO200
Someone in some photography forum commented that I always have thick eyebrows in my eye crops. I never even realized that, then I thought hey maybe I should crop something else without eyebrows. You know, so that people do not get creeped out so much. 
You know, maybe shooting mannequins. And shooting mannequins in indoor shopping malls, with full air-conditioning, I can escape the cruel grilling Malaysian sun. 

Here, my non-eyebrow crop. Synthetic orange hair works too right?

OM-D E-M1 
F3.5, 1/125sec, ISO200
Expressionless face works too. Do you know how much work it is to walk around and ask permission to shoot close up portraits? From now on maybe I will just show expressionless faces. 

OM-D E-M1
F5.6, 1/160sec, ISO200
Ok ok, what was I talking about.  I was just kidding of course. Shooting portraits of strangers is so fun! Especially people along KL streets are usually friendly and cheerful. 
To whoever commented on the eyebrow, do keep those comments coming. Yes I do read and try to follow the discussion about my blog elsewhere, and I sincerely thank all of you who defended me when my integrity and review validity were questioned. You all make my time and effort here worthwhile. 

OM-D E-M1
F3.5, 1/100sec, ISO200
Here comes the.....

EYEBROW!!!!

OM-D E-M1
F5.6, 1/1000sec, ISO200
There have been many shots with vertical and horizontal lines in them and none of them exhibited any sort of distortion. As expected from macro lens, distortion should be well controlled. 

OM-D E-M1
F3.5, 1/30sec, ISO200
Here is the sample on the pedestrian bridge, shot at wide open F3.5 showing purple fringing in complex patterned area of the photograph. 

Do bear in mind that this is one rare photograph that shows such heavy purple fringing, which was not observed in other shots. This led me to believe that a huge part of the absence of chromatic aberration was due to software in camera correction. 

OM-D E-M1
F4.5, 1/320, ISO1000
I accidentally shot this at ISO1000. Yes I do screw up my shots. This was a sign I need a coffee break soon. Before more screw ups happen. 

OM-D E-M1
F5.6, 1/250sec, ISO200
Autofocus was super fast, like all other M.Zuiko lenses, and for non macro shooting, response was almost instantaneous. 

OM-D E-M1
F3.5, 1/250sec, ISO200

OM-D E-M1
F5.6, 1/60sec, ISO200


For your own pixel-peeping pleasure, as usual I am providing full resolution image samples. 

You may download the full resolution image samples of


I have enjoyed myself tremendously shooting with the M.Zuiko 30mm F3.5 Macro lens!

What I like about the 30mm F3.5 Macro lens:
1) Excellent sharpness, with very good technical lens flaw control
2) Improved AF performance, especially for close up shooting, increasing macro hit rates and better overall shooting experience
3) Versatile perspective for general shooting purposes, not just macro
4) Small, light and compact form factor

What I dislike:
1) Noticeable traces of chromatic aberration in some shots (complex scenes)
2) Not the best lens for extreme close up insect photography

I think the M.Zuiko 30mm F3.5 Macro lens is a great addition to the Olympus M.Zuiko line up. The lens has high level of sharpness, good contrast, can produce a maximum of 2.5x magnification which is incredible, has improved and reliable Autofocus performance, yet is versatile to be used for general purpose non-macro shooting. The lightweight and compact form factor of the 30mm F3.5 macro lens matches any Micro Four Thirds camera body perfectly, and if you have this lens, it is an easy to bring everywhere lens. The only downside, is the need to go too close to the subject to achieve high magnification, and this is surely not ideal for insect macro if you want to get full 2.5x magnification shots. Olympus 60mm F2.8 Macro is more ideal for that purpose. Nonetheless, the lower price point and the overall more versatile perspective makes this a good choice for those who may treasure the importance of having close up shooting capability over F1.8 shallow depth of field rendering on 45mm F1.8 or 25mm F1.8 prime lenses. More options is always better for us!

OM-D E-M1
F3.5, 1/20sec, ISO200

OM-D E-M10 Mark II
F5.6, 1/60sec, ISO1600

Crop from previous image

OM-D E-M1
F6.3, 1/160sec, ISO400, Bounced Flash used
Curry + Rendang Spaghetti. 

OM-D E-M1
F7.1, 1/160sec, ISO640, Bounced Flash Used
This dessert dish is called, Better Than Sex. I am not kidding.  

OM-D E-M10 Mark II
F7.1, 1/25sec, ISO500

OM-D E-M1
F5.6, 1/25sec, ISO200

Crop from previous image

OM-D E-M10 Mark II
F6.3, 1/100sec, ISO500

OM-D E-M1
F8, 5sec, ISO200


I hope you have found my review and photograph samples of the new Olympus M.Zuiko 30mm F3.5 Macro lens useful! Do not hesitate to ask if there is any question.

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60 comments :

  1. As usual, your macro photos are amazing!

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  2. regardless of your association with Olympus, you write a good review. The 35 was not on my purchasing horizon, that may now change.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words! The 30mm macro is quite an interesting lens!

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  3. Thanks for the review Robin! I always find your writing enjoyable and your photos inspiring and creative. Keep up the good work!

    PS. Some climate envy going on here... seriously chilly fall mornings here in Finland by now.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Max! Come to Malaysia for some get away holiday, you will love it!

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    2. Yes, a nice review. It's finally starting to get chilly here in Alaska as well inn the autumn mornings but the sunny afternoons are still pleasant and warm. We take the Internet for granted at this point, but it's still rather amazing to think about people in Finland and Alaska (USA) discussing a review shot and written in KL, so near the Equator, and in real time.

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  4. So... if I have the 25mm and want to learn macro (and/or maybe food photography along the way) should I get this or just straight to the 60mm?

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    Replies
    1. The 25mm is fine for food photography. I'd go straight to 60mm at least I get a different perspective.

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    2. fair enough... thanks for the advice. Nice review as usual, by the way....

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  5. Hi Anthony

    What type of macro do you want to shoot, and why macro? Insects, Flowers, Watches, or just trying out, to see small things, maybe for work? There are also more extreme fields like micro photography (lets say detailed shots of 1mm long bugs or parts of flowers, that's impossible with a normal macro setup).
    Just to make it clear, it might take a lot of effort until you are where you want to be. Macro photography is very technical and at the beginning rather difficult, though it teaches you a lot about any field of photography. How much money and - more important - time can you invest for it?

    For beginners and saving money:
    - Achromatic Lens on front of standard lens (e.g. Raynox, works best on long lenses, let's say at least 40mm)
    - Old manual focus macro lens and adapter (e.g. Takumar 50mm f4.0, it's great for its age)
    - Old manual focus lens reversed (e.g. Takumar 50mm f1.4, also great. It's called reverse lens technique)
    - Used Zuiko (Four Thirds, not Micro Four Thirds) Macros. Really great, and maybe at a decent price now?

    Of course you can spend more and go for the nice Olympus Macro lenses, they're definitely worth the money IF you use them
    - 30mm is, as Robin wrote, a little more difficult to use with insects and spiders, because they fly/run away. But perspective is better and it has a wider range where things get sharp
    - 60mm is better for insects, it gives you more distance and easier lighting, it also has a limiter and is waterproof. And it's a different perspective then the 25mm you have

    I think with approaching the subject slowly, let's say first achromat, then manual focus lenses, then a "real" macro lens you would learn the most. In the end you probably spent a little more though.

    Hope this gives you some ideas ;)

    Cheers
    Andy

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    Replies
    1. I just forgot to mention it: Macro photography is not only tough to learn, it's also really rewarding ;)

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    2. Hi,Andy... it's me Anthony replying from another device. I'm just curious with macro because half of my photography group member are doing it. They produce beautiful macro shots. From flower to insects. So good that some can be categorized into fine art. No kidding. My photography sense felt kinda bit challenged by it. I also want to broaden my field. But like you said, macro photography needs a lot of commitment. That's why i'm interested in this lens at first. The price is kinda right. Not too expensive for a beginner like myself. Raynox kit isn't that cheap. Probably would end up as much. So why not get a dedicated macro lems altogether.

      Then Robin mentioned about working distance of this lens that can pose as a challenge for macro shots and a little overlapping with my 25mm makes me second guess my possibility of purchasing it. I'm not even want to talk about commitment. I even have trouble finding time for shutter therapy,let alone learn something completely new to me. So, probably some other time in the near future. I definitely want to learn macro photography. Not micro, though. Oversized image of creepy crawly creeps the heck out of me.hahahaha...

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  6. Hi Robin

    Thanks for your review, good shots. Liked some of your 60mm shots a bit more, but lets see where you get when you get a bit more comfortable with this lens ;)

    Also great that actually somebody didn't forget it. You're the first one doing anything more then just mentioning it... For me the 30mm is the most important new Oly product. Maybe together with the new E-M1, which actually has an adjustable focus limiter. How great is that? :))

    Thanks and cheers
    Andy

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    Replies
    1. I do wish the lens has built in focus limited switch. I believe that the 30mm F3.5 macro is also suitable for other OM-D and PEN cameras, not just the E-M1 Mark II!
      Thanks for the kind words.

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  7. 60mm Macro still seems the best for nature. This 30 could be good for food and still life macro, and double as a general prime, albeit rather slow.

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    1. Dear Tapper,
      for a macro lens, F3.5 is not slow. In fact I find it difficult to shoot at F3.5, I generally have to stop down to F5.6 or narrower to achieve sufficient depth of field.

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  8. Hi Robin,

    I really want to get into insect photography. I have 12-40mm and I have been playing all summer shooting spiders, bees and dragon fly with not much success. I was wondering which of the two macro lens would you recommend for someone who is just starting out. The 30mm or 60mm?

    Secondly, I notice Olympus have a lots of macro photography accessories like LED lights and macro rings. Would you recommend any of those or just get a flash with a on flash light modifier like you on one of your insect tutorial. Right now I am using the flash that came with the EM5 MKII. Thanks

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    Replies
    1. If insect macro is your main objective, then 60mm is better because it allows more working distance so that you do not need to go too near to the insects! I strongly suggest getting a flash and read some online DIY flash modifier ideas!

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  9. Lovely macros Robin and a great review as usual. How do you rate this lens for small products photography?

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    1. Thanks for the kind words. As long as you can light your subject nicely, I think the lens works great!

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  10. This looks great as always Robin.

    On the lens there is a tiny label with 1.25x on it. In your text you are referring to a 2.5x magnification. I know, that is when you compare it to 35mm. I tried to explain this 1.25x / 2.5x relation to a young friend and then realized that we should stop using ‘full-frame / 35mm’ equivalents as a reference. New generations never have used that format and probably never will.

    BTW: ‘35mm’ is the width of a film size and should be banned as well. It is completely abracadabra to newcomers and it has nothing to do with actual sizes we use in digital photography.

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    1. If we can successfully convince everyone to stop using 35mm as reference then that is possible. Unfortunately I don't see that happening soon. 1.25x in reference to full frame 35mm (we all need a reference) is achieving 2.5x magnification. Yes the lens is 1.25x magnification at maximum that is technically correct. But using that on micro four thirds sensor yield an equivalent of 2.5x which makes much more sense. Simpler to understand for everyone.

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    2. The lens is a 1.25X maximum magnification lens. Applying the crop factor is a marketing fallacy. For those of us who do real macro work we want to know the real magnification for calculating DOF. As every one well knows the DOF at 1.25 does not equal the the DOF at 2.5X. SO Robin get real you are ignoring the laws of physics. Its a 1.25X lens not a 2,5X. Crop factor only applies to field of view only. Oly's microscope division would never resort to such marketing exaggeration.

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  11. Amazing work! Even the cropped shots were sharp. I never would have thought a 30mm macro would be very usable, but you proved me wrong. Well done.

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    1. Thanks Daniel. yes the 30mm is a very useful perspective!

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  12. Robin, lovely shots as usual! Many photographers still haven't realized that OM-Ds are the ultimate macro machines.
    I always loved the shorter macro focal lengths (like 60 mm on FF) since they often provide a stronger sense of perspective (due to the closer subject distance). Yes, lighting can become challenging when you're so close, but there's a trade off for everything, no?

    I will definitely get this lens in addition to my 60 mm macro.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Thomas, thanks for the compliments. Yes, indeed, Olympus OM-D is a great option for macro photography!

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  13. Hi Robin, great review as usual! Does the 30mm macro support the focus stacking mode on the OM-D M1?

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    1. Nope, currently you can't do focus stacking with E-M1 using the 30mm Macro lens.

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  14. Like usual : terrible shots and a good revue of the lens. Thank you Robin.

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    1. Thanks Lionel! I hope you meat "terrific", not terrible!

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  15. Robin, this is the very sort of article that opened the world of Olympus cameras and lenses to me, when you reviewed the E-M5 years ago. I was drawn as much for the incredible sharpness and color of your macro shots, as for your light-hearted approach to photography. What these blog posts communicate is how much you enjoy what you are doing, as well as the virtues of the Olympus cameras and lenses. Please continue to do what you do; I will continue to direct my friends to your reviews. They never fail to be impressed!

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    1. Hey Reverend, thanks for the kind words! I think we have so many serious things happening in our lives already, we should take photography as a fun, enjoyable thing to do.

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  16. You are great, as expected.

    I always wonder about the AF ability of a macro lens, but I thought that the stepper motors and CDAF used in micro Four-Thirds would be perfect companions. Using the ZD 50mm f/2.0 was always a contest in guessing whether it would find focus lock in time. Too many times, I didn't get anything and I felt that I should just get screw-on adapters in order to get the shots.

    Did you see the macro lens from Laowa that they showed at Photokina? It's got such a long barrel: http://photorumors.com/2016/09/22/i-bet-you-have-not-seen-a-lens-like-this-laowa-24mm-f14-macro-lens/

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    1. Hey Sakamoto.
      Thanks for the kind words, and nope I have not seen that Laowa lens!
      That is one weird lens to use.

      Delete
  17. Just want to give you a high-five on your review. Nice coverage of all aspect for (serious) amateur point of view, enough technical, not too nitpick. Well done, as always.

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  18. Now, I've got questions:
    1) How to set magnification, e.g. 1x or others, on 30mm macro (it has no scale like the one on 60mm macro's lens barrel? Can you still use rocking-back-and-forth technique for manual focus on the 30mm?
    2) For "occasional" macro photography, which one you will choose: a) 25mm f1.8 with extension tubes, 2) 30mm f3.5 macro?
    Take it easy. It's fine for me, if you don't have time to answer.

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    1. Hey again Chim,
      You can't set the exact magnification, hence I could not report on what magnification my shots were taken at unless it was at full 2.5x magnification, which is the closest focusing distance.
      I would not deal with extension tube. Using a digital lens such as 25mm F1.8, you cannot control the aperture and focusing at all!

      Delete
  19. I prefer "environmental macros" like e.g. the butterflies above much to the usual isolated subjects in front of an undefinable blurred background. Hence the 30mm macro is not only a cheaper alternative to the 60mm but rather opens new possibilities.

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    Replies
    1. Hey John,
      You are right, both are very different lenses that can provide different perspective.

      Delete
  20. Hi Robin

    Can't wait your Em1 mark2 review. Really want to see if there is any improvement for supporting 43 lens

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    1. Thanks Chris. I too, am eager to review it.

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  21. As always, you photos are amazing! I’m starting to think you are some kind of a wizard. Could you do a review of some super cheap lens so the images won't look so good just to prove me wrong? (Oly 15mm f8 body Cap Lens?) :-)

    The 60mm Macro is/was on my wishlist, but we don’t have any insects in iceland so maybe the 30mm will be a better buy.

    Again, stunning photos from you!

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  22. Great pictures and great review! May I know how do you setup your wireless flash to use with insect macro photography? Are you using wireless flash trigger like Cactus V6?

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  23. Hi,
    Any update about EP03 port for underwater housing? Is it compatible with 60 macro lens, and 67mm filter?

    Thanks

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  24. Hi Robin, thanks you for this review, what is your flash setup ? It will be interresting to write a report to how use the flash in macrophotography, the position and power of flash. Your result is very good, Thanks you. Geoffrey (french omd user)

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  26. Hi Robin, is this macro lens available for sale now in Malaysia? I have been thinking about getting it ever since I saw the availability on amazon.
    Is this lens good for product photography? Is it good if I use it in a shooting tent?

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  27. Hi Robin. To your remarks about not using extension tubes on MFT lenses. I have used some rather cheap extension tubes from Fotodiox with my 60 mm macro. They feel a bit flimsy, but they work just fine.

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    Replies
    1. Does the magnification indicatoe on 60mm macro lens still work correctly with extension tubes?

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  28. Hi,congratulations for your blog.
    I am an odontologist that is starting taking pictures of teths, which do you think is better for that, the old 60mm or this 30mm?

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  29. Great review, thank you for writing it. I have a 20mm Panasonic f/1.8 and wish to buy one other lens to complement it. Could this double as a kind of wide portrait lens? I'm wondering also, as a beginner, what the technical difference is that makes this a "Macro" 30mm vs. just a regular 30mm... Thank you again :)

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  30. My review in slovak language. Full res photos in gallery. http://www.ephoto.sk/fototechnika/recenzie/objektivy/olympus-mzuiko-digital-3035-ed-macro/

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  31. Thank you for the blog, Robin. Always an invaluable resource of information.

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  32. Thanks very much for your excellent review and for showing your fantastic pictures. I hadn't considered this lens before as I use legacy macro lenses on my MFT bodies with adapters, but now I'm seriously considering the Olympus 30mm as an upgrade.

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  33. Robin
    Thanks for great reviews, the kind that actually help. I noticed in your new EM-1 11 review you take a 5 second shot hand held. Is the 5 second shot in here also hand held?

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