Olympus 60mm macro lens review
Great option for underwater photography
By Scott Gietler, underwater photos by Kelli Dickinson
After a long wait, the Olympus 60mm macro lens is out. This is great news for micro-four thirds camera owners, because the existing macro lens, the Panasonic 45mm macro lens, is a little slow to focus.
Olympus F2.8 60mm macro lens features
- 13 lens elements, 10 groups of lenses
- 1:1 reproduction ratio (photos will be 17.5mm across at closest focusing distance)
- Aperture range F2.8 - F22
- 3 settings for focus range (19 - 40 cm, >40cm, full range)
- Weather-resistant (great for flood-prone underwater photographers!)
- Equivalent to 120mm on a full frame camera, 80mm on a Nikon D300 or D7000, 75mm on a Canon 7D
- Quick and quiet focusing, great for taking video
- Minimum focus distance of 19cm (7.5 inches). Read more about lens basics.
- Hopefully faster focusing than the sluggish Panasonic 45mm macro
- Works on all micro-four thirds cameras (Olympus PEN, Panasonic GF2, GX1, OM-D, etc.)
- Dimensions 82mm x 56mm, weight 185 grams
- Filter size 46mm
- Price is $499.99, available now here
Olympus 60mm macro lens - our test results
- Image size at 1:1 magnification - 17.8mm across
- Distance from lens to subject at 1:1 - 3.25 inches
- Max distance when macro limiter switch is on - 18 inches from end of lens, image size is 5.5 inches across
- Aperture range at 1:1 - F2.8 - F22
Olympus 60mm macro lens, inside the standard Olympus 14-42mm port. Fits nicely!
Olympus 60mm limiter switch
The lens can be set to focus at the following distances:
- Less than 40cm (19cm - 40cm, useful for macro shooting)
- Greater than 40cm (useful for telephoto shooting, birds, etc.)
- Full range
Unless a port comes out that allows this switch to be moved, underwater photographers will be using this switch on the macro setting, or on full range. The lens did focus a little faster when set on 19cm-40cm (the "hunt" distance is less), but I wouldn't hesitate to use the switch on full range, the focus speed difference wasn't huge for me.
Do we recommend the Olympus 60mm macro lens?
A longer lens for underwater use is sorely needed in the micro-four thirds lineup. This lens will allow for great supermacro underwater, especially with a flip-diopter, and also allow you to shoot small fish. Even without a diopter, you can take a photo 17.5mm across - incredible! Its seven-blade circular aperture design will produce some nice bokeh. This lens is already very popular, and is now a must-have for underwater photographers. You can order the Olympus 60mm macro from our partner Bluewater Photo.
Olympus 60mm macro lens test photos
Olympus 60mm macro underwater photos coming soon! Check back in a few days. There are also some incredible topside photos taken with a flash in Ming Thein's review.
Very small flower, F9, 1/250th, ISO 400, taken with the new Olympus E-PL5 + Olympus F2.8 60mm macro lens, handheld. Very close to 1:1 magnification
100% crop of above photo
F2.8, 1/2500th, ISO 200, Olympus E-PL5, Olympus 60mm macro lens
Taken at F2.8, you can see the circular bokeh in the background
Underwater Ports for the Olympus 60mm lens
The size of this lens is very close to the size of the 14-42mm lens when fully extended. So for the most part, the 60mm lens will fit into the same ports for Ikelite, Olympus, & Recsea housings (not for Nauticam) But not always.
We have tested the following ports so far:
- Olympus standard port - it fits! (see photo above). This will work with the Olympus housing for the E-PL2, E-PM1, OM-D, and E-PL5, but not the E-PL1.
- Olympus port with lights & threads - it does not fit. This lens will not fit in the PT-EP06L and E-PL3 housings, because these ports have lights / threads that make the port slightly smaller than the version of the port with no lights.
- Nauticam flat port 56 (Olympus 14-42mm) - does not fit; Nauticam has made a new port for the 60mm lens, and is also making 20mm and 30mm extension rings for existing macro ports.
- Nauticam flat port 72 (Panasonic 14-42mm / Sony 18-55mm) - it fits!
- Nauticam 4” Wide Angle Port (nau.36137) - it fits!
- Nauticam 12-50mm port - it fits nicely! Note that this port has 77mm threads
However, the focus range limiter switch will not be operation in the existing ports, which is not a deal breaker since most people will be fine leaving the focus range on the full range.
Wet Diopters with the Olympus 60mm macro lens
Using a +5 or +7 SubSee or Dyron +7 macro lens should result in some pretty amazing supermacro shots. Look for some test shots coming soon!
Using the Dyron+7 or SubSee +10 lenses resulted in similar size photo about 13mm across.
60mm macro lens test, without a diopter
Olympus 60mm Macro lens, F11, 1/250, ISO 200
60mm macro lens with Dyron +7 macro lens
Olympus 60mm Macro lens with Dyron +7 diopter, F11, 1/250, ISO 200
Olympus 60mm macro Underwater Photos
The Olympus 60mm lens worked wonderfully underwater. Focus hunting was limited, and usually only occured when changing focus from something very close up to something farther away or when I moved the lens in past the minimum focus distance when photographing super close up. I was really pleased with the performance of this lens, and especially the range of depth of field that is achievable when compared to using the kit lens with a diopter. Take a look at some of the examples below. All of these photos are uncropped unless noted.
Kelp Bass that surprised me. The Olympus 60mm reacted perfectly locking focus quickly as he swam towards me. ISO 200, F22, 1/250. Taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 and dual YS-D1 Strobes at Catalina Island, Southern California.
Kelp Bass chilling in the sand, ISO 200, F18, 1/60
Portrait of a Moray Eel, ISO 200, F22, 1/100
Moray Eel with Shrimp, ISO 200, F18, 1/100
Olympus 60mm macro bokeh
Close up of a Blue-banded Goby shot at a large aperature to create nice bokeh in the background. ISO 200, F2.8, 1/160
Nice detail at 100% crop
100% crop of a Blue-Banded Goby. Shows the nice detail and focus in the 60mm lens. ISO 200, F11, 1/80
Olympus 60mm macro lens Depth of Field Tests:
The Olympus 60mm handled Depth of Field nicely. At 2.8 the focus plane was very shallow, allow for very specific focus that helps the subject really pop. At F11 there is a nice easy to work with range of Depth of Field, and at F22 most of the image was in focus. Take a look at the test results below.
Blue-banded Goby @ F2.8 (ISO 200, 1/250)
Blue-banded Goby at F11 (ISO 200, 1/80)
Blue-banded Goby @ F22 (ISO 200, 1/160)
About the Author
Scott Gietler is the creator of the Underwater Photography Guide and owner of Bluewater Photo Store. An avid marine naturalist, Scott is the author of the Field Guide to Southern California Marine Life. He was the LAUPS photographer of the year for 2009, and his photos have appeared in magazines, coffee table & marine life books, museums, galleries, and aquariums throughout California.
Where to Buy
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