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Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 Macro review

The Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 Macro will have you seeing double, in a good way

Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 Macro
(Image: © James Artaius)

Digital Camera World Verdict

Smartly turned out and a joy to use, this is our favorite macro lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras. It has refined handling and delivers excellent image quality, effectively up to twice life size once you take the MFT crop factor into account. And the working distance feels nice and natural, despite the shorter than average focal length.

Pros

  • +

    Smart build and handling

  • +

    Focus distance scale

  • +

    Autofocus range limiter

Cons

  • -

    Narrow-aperture sharpness could be better

Small but mighty, the Olympus M.ZUIKO ED 60mm f/2.8 MACRO is like using a 120mm lens on a full-frame camera, but it’s comparatively tiny. The Micro Four Thirds system is sometimes criticized for its relatively small image sensor. However, there are swings as well as roundabouts, as the crop factor not only boosts telephoto reach but gives you double the effective magnification, compared with a full-frame camera. As such, this Olympus macro lens gives you an ‘effective’ 2.0x maximum magnification.

Specifications

Mount: MFT
Full-frame: No
Autofocus: Yes
Stabilization: No
Lens construction: 13 elements in 10 groups
Angle of view: 20 degrees
Diaphragm blades: 7
Minimum aperture: f/22
Minimum focusing distance: 0.19m
Maximum magnification ratio: 1.0x
Filter size: 46mm
Dimensions: 56x82mm
Weight: 185g

Key features

Although relatively compact and lightweight, the lens beautifully engineered and features a set of weather-seals. Unusually, the stepping motor autofocus system is coupled to a physical focus distance scale, which is also calibrated in magnification ratios. There’s also an autofocus range limiter which can lock out either the long or short end, either side of 0.4m (just under 16 inches).

Compared with typical 90-105mm macro lenses for full-frame cameras, the shorter 60mm focal length knocks about 10cm off the minimum focus distance. Even so, the macro working distance from the front of the lens to the subject only shrinks from about 14cm to 10cm, or 4 inches. That’s thanks to the compactness of the lens and the fact that focusing is fully internal, so the front element doesn’t extend at shorter focus distances.

Quality glass includes an ED (Extra-low Dispersion) element, an E-HR (Extra-High Refractive index), and Olympus’s ZERO (ZUIKO Extra-low Reflection Optical) coating is applied to minimize ghosting and flare. Everything’s wrapped up in a lightweight but tough casing, complete with weather-seals and a metal mounting plate.

Performance

The MSC (Movie & Stills Compatible) autofocus system is fast and virtually silent, while also enabling smooth autofocus transitions during video capture. High-precision manual focusing for macro shooting comes courtesy of the electronically coupled focus ring. Image quality is very good all respects, except that sharpness drops off a little more than usual at narrow apertures, which are often required in macro photography to gain more than miniscule depth of field.

Lab results

We run a range of lab tests under controlled conditions, using the Imatest Master testing suite. Photos of test charts are taken across the range of apertures and zooms (where available), then analyzed for sharpness, distortion and chromatic aberrations.

We use Imatest SFR (spatial frequency response) charts and analysis software to plot lens resolution at the center of the image frame, corners and mid-point distances, across the range of aperture settings and, with zoom lenses, at four different focal lengths. The tests also measure distortion and color fringing (chromatic aberration).

Sharpness:

(Image credit: Future)
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Center-sharpness is excellent wide-open at f/2.8 but starts to drop off at f/8. Sharpness across the whole frame is a little lackluster between f/16 and the narrowest aperture of f/22.

Fringing:

(Image credit: Future)
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Thanks to automatic corrections, lateral chromatic aberration is a complete non-issue with this lens.

Distortion: 0.07

As with lateral chromatic aberration, a fix is automatically applied, so the lens works as a distortion-free optic in practical terms.

Verdict

Smartly turned out and a joy to use, this is our favorite macro lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras. It has refined handling and delivers excellent image quality, effectively up to twice life size once you take the MFT crop factor into account. And the working distance feels nice and natural, despite the shorter than average focal length.

Read more:

• Best camera lenses (opens in new tab) to get
• Best Canon lenses (opens in new tab)
• Best Nikon lenses (opens in new tab)
• Best Sony lenses (opens in new tab)

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Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 


His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 


In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.