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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
Thanks to automatic corrections, lateral chromatic aberration is a complete non-issue with this lens.
As with lateral chromatic aberration, a fix is automatically applied, so the lens works as a distortion-free optic in practical terms.
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.
• Best camera lenses to get
• Best Canon lenses
• Best Nikon lenses
• Best Sony lenses