60mm Macro or Sigma 60mm?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Effuse, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. Effuse

    Effuse Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 21, 2014
    BC, Canada
    Hey everyone, I do a lot of portrait work and cosplay photography and recently I have been looking for a lens with a bit tighter FoV than my 45mm f1.8, I've also been getting quite interested in exploring macro photography lately as well, While the sigma is significantly cheaper the oly macro can pull double duty, I'm not too concerned with focus speed as for my shooting style I really don't need blisteringly fast auto focus.

    I just thought I would get the communitys opinion, would it be better to invest in the Oly 60mm or maybe the Sigma 60mm and some extension tubes to dabble in macro? If I find that I don't enjoy macro would the Olympus be totally out of place if it was relegated to a portrait lens? Anyway any input is welcome, and if anyone has any cool portraits taken with the Olympus 60mm macro please post em up, I can't seem to find to many non macro shots with the lens (it IS a macro lens I know but humour me).
  2. letsgofishing

    letsgofishing Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 21, 2012
    South Africa
    Mike Kaplan
    I haven't used the Oly 60 but I do have the Sig. It's razor sharp and focuses just as fast as my Oly 12-40.
    I'm also getting interested for (semi) macro work - flowers and willl probably get a set of these extension tubes: http://www.amazon.com/Fotodiox-Auto...sr=8-1&keywords=fotodiox+extension+tubes+e_m5
    I really don't know if the Oly 60 would be any sharper, and for the money, the SIg and ext tubes is the way to go for me.
  3. JanW

    JanW Mu-43 Regular

    Have you tried Flickr?
    I just entered 'Olympus 60mm macro portrait' and found a number of portraits there.
  4. WendyK

    WendyK Super Moderator

    Feb 28, 2014
    Northern Virginia
    Well, here is my story...

    I bought the Sigma 60mm because of all the great reviews, which are well deserved, and the reasonable price. I didn't think I would do much macro, so I didn't think the Oly 60mm was worth hundreds of dollars more. I loved the Sigma 60 and also bought a Raynox DCR-150 macro adapter to play with macro on the Sigma and the 40-150mm. Then I discovered I was REALLY enjoying macro photography. So...when I saw the Oly 60mm come up on the Olympus refurb store for $319 I grabbed it, planning to sell whichever 60mm lens I used the least.

    Well, I just LOVED the Oly 60mm and my macro results were much more consistent with it. I can even use the Raynox with it for greater magnification, so I don't regret that purchase, either. The Oly 60 became one of my top lenses very quickly. Overall I do use it a lot more than the Sigma since it serves double duty as a short telephoto and macro lens and I was using it so much as a macro lens, BUT I get so many great shots with the Sigma I have not been able to convince myself to sell the Sigma, and I probably won't unless I ever decide to invest in the Oly 75mm. Overall I think the Sigma is better for non-macro shots, but not by a lot.There is just something special about it. Both lenses are a bit slow to focus in low light, but very fast in good light - no real winner there.

    My photography is mostly garden/nature, so I don't have people portraits, but I have taken a number of non-macro shots with the Oly. Here are just a few.

    clematis scrambles through sedum

    Late summer combo

    Joe Pye Weed Seedheads in the Fog

    Bottom line, if I had it to do over again, for my usage patterns I would just get the Oly 60mm (at refurb price) and I wouldn't have known what I was missing with the Sigma 60, because the Oly is a very good 60mm lens. If I were mostly doing portraits, though, the Sigma is spectacular.
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  5. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
  6. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    I have the Sigma 60mm and love it for portraiture as well as for close up detail type photos (though obviously it doesn't focus close enough to be a true macro). Once thing I haven't seen mentioned is manual focus - in my opinion MF on the Sigma is horrible due to the smooth lens barrel. The Olympus lens has the edge in this regard. I never use MF with the Sigma lens, but if you're considering using it with adapters for macro it might matter to you.
  7. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2012
    The Oly 60mm is a sweet lens, and does well even on non-macro shots. I don't have the Sigma, so I can't compare, but I like my Oly.

    Definitely check out the Oly 60mm lens thread on the forum. It's mostly macro, but there are examples of what else it can do. I think the consensus is that people are pretty happy with it. It should hold its value, so you'll get a decent price on resale if it doesn't happen to suit your style.
  8. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    I don't own the Sigma, but I can attest that the Oly 60mm is a fantastic lens all around, and a super macro lens. That said, I think the answer to your dilemma lies in just how much interest you really have in trying macro, and also what kind of macro, both of which only you can answer. If the answers are a lot and you want to really get close on tiny subjects, definitely go for the Oly. Otherwise, you'll likely regret it later, and just end up upgrading to a macro lens from the extension tubes (its not a bad thing to have both). If the portraiture is your hands-down priority, and are curious about macro of the very tiny, I'd probably still go with the Oly. However, if portraits are your priority and the Sigma is as special as the others are saying, and your macro interest is not in the very small, the Sigma and extension tubes would make more sense.
  9. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    One question for you is what type/subject macro? For me 60mm would not be a long enough working distance. But for the cost of the 60 macro you could get the Sigma 60, an Olympus 40-150, and those extension tubes.

    I might pick up a set or those tubes to use with my 75-300.
  10. Paul80

    Paul80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 6, 2014
    I do read that comment about the 60 not being long enough for macro work and always wondered why.

    In the days of 35mm film or FF as you know it nowadays most macro lenses where between 90 & 105mm and no one complained that they where too short, the 60's are the same as a 120mm in old money but now even that is supposed to be too short all of a sudden, why was 105mm ok but now 120mm is too short.

    Anyway back on topic, I have owned both the Sigma and the Olympus, I now only own the Olympus. Having said that to be honest as a 60mm lens there is no real difference in the results and to be honest there is not much in it comparing the macro results either as the sigma performs do well with a Raynox. I changed to the Olympus because it's twice as long and fitted my macro flash bracket well, the sigma & Raynox combo was too short for my flash rig.

    The sigma is a stonking lens for the money.

  11. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    That's why I asked what type of macro. In general I prefer 150mm +. And especially for anything that might bite/sting me. :wink:
  12. Effuse

    Effuse Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 21, 2014
    BC, Canada
    It would most likely be all non traditional macro work I.e. Not insect photography. Small miniatures and abstract stuff etc.
  13. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Then the Sigma and tubes or Sigma and the Olympus 12-50 (what I did) might work for you. I use the 12-50 as a nice travel zoom with something wider than my primes and details type macro. But I might have to look at those tubes again for my 75-300.
  14. ManofKent

    ManofKent Hopefully still learning

    Dec 26, 2014
    Faversham, Kent, UK
    The Oly is an excellent lens for macro and an extremely competent short tele, but as an Oly owner I'm still tempted by the Sigma for non-macro work.
  15. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    There is an interesting image comparison here. The photos are labeled in English but unfortunately the comments are in Korean and merged with the images so they aren't easy to translate.

    There is a DxOmark comparison here.
  16. Effuse

    Effuse Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 21, 2014
    BC, Canada
    Thanks for that Korean site! My fiancé can read and speak Korean so when she gets home I'll have to get her to translate for me. Currently I'm leaning towards the Sigma and tubes just for the cost savings alone.
  17. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    I own the Sigma 60mm and I'm happy with its performance. I have taken a few test shots with extension rings, but not enough for a fair evaluation.
  18. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    I have the Oly 60 and I discovered that with 1:1 magnification you can get REALLY close and DoF is EXTREMELY small. It's not about taking a picture of a flower but more of a single petal. I did not expect this. Just look at the sensor: that size is going to fill the frame, a small post stamp.

    You can do this handheld but it is something that could require some proper equipment: a tripod with a pivoting center column, tripod rails, lights, etc. It's not easy to keep the focus right. Obviously you do not need to always go 1:1 but if you don't then probably there is not much point in getting this lens over the other.
    A 0.3x or 0.5x magnification is already a good one for what I personally need (sigma is 0.14). To fill the frame with a LEGO man 0.37x is what you need. Consider that you can usually crop a little too.


    Sigma is smaller too. Probably today I'd go for the sigma AND the O45 for the same price (but now I have the 12-40 for the "macro" that I need) mostly because I rarely use it. Not a bad lens in any way tough.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Effuse

    Effuse Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 21, 2014
    BC, Canada
    Thanks everyone, I have decided to go with the Sigma and tubes over the Olympus, mostly due to cost. Looking forward to next payday.
  20. PeeBee

    PeeBee Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 17, 2012
    As always I'm late to the party :rolleyes: 

    I've never used the Oly 60mm, but I do have the Sigma 60mm and I'm really pleased with it. Its maybe not the best option to use with a Raynox for 'macro' though. I find close up filters work better with longer focal lengths. I think tubes will be better in that respect,

    Sorry for the boring sample subject, I looked for something around the house that most people will be able to relate to size wise. In all these sample images, I've tried to focus on the eye of the needle, though my vision is hazy due to an infection so it might be a bit off.

    Sigma 60mm @ f16 1/4 sec


    Sigma 60mm with DCR150 @ f16 1/3 sec


    Oly 40-150mm with DCR150 @ 150mm f16 1/3 sec

    • Like Like x 6
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