A Question About the Olympus 60mm macro

Macroramphosis

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It's been a few months now since I was given am O60mm as a BD present, and I have still to like this lens as much as I think I should. I find the autofocus shockingly unpredictable, and still cannot reconcile myself to the distance limiter (though it is proving less of a problem as time goes by). It does take lovely photos when everything comes together, and I like the rendering especially - it is far less clinical than the P30mm in many circumstances. However I find myself resorting or reach for the P30mm far more than I should. The Panny lens just works so beautifully that the only reason I persevere with the O60mm is in case i'm really going to need the longer focal length at some stage.

But yesterday I had some hornets in the garden feeding on windfalls, and despite taking just the Oly up there to take pictures, I was soon cursing my choice. What is wrong with the autofocus, for goodness sakes? What am I doing wrong? Why does it hunt so much? Does anyone else use this lens on both Olympus and Panasonic bodies, and can they tell me if the lens is a much better bet on an Olympus body? Does anyone else use one on a GX8? Can they share their settings? It's driving me crazy that I can't love this lens, and instead keep wishing Panasonic would produce a 60mm of their own, with the same characteristics of the 30mm.

I'm close to selling the O60mm and buying something else I need, to be honest....sigh. Anyone with advice is welcome to share it.
 
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I use the 60mm for just about all my close up work. Unfortunately it is as you say, auto focus that hunts like hell. I have my Oly EM10.2 set for the lens not to reset the lens each time and I don't think that really help at all. The manual focus is just as bad probably worse. Like you the longer focal length is the only reason I use it.

The Oly 30mm hunts far less and operates a lot better, but I need to get too close to use it for insects and spiders when using flash at night.

For all it's faults it is still my favourite macro lens for the system. I need to take probably 10 photos each time to get the shots I post here, but for hand help close up just using a monopod I am happy with this.

This is never going to be a lens I like using but I get the final results that I cant get with anything else.

If I was mainly taking fungus photos like @Bushboy I would mainly use my Oly 30mm.

You have reminded me why I am hoping the hinted at Oly 100mm macro lens comes out and is far better than the 60mm
 

RichardC

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Hi Roddy,

The 'expert' advice is....use manual focus.

However, I use mine with the EM1.2 and for insects, I always use AF.

Single shot AF, smallest focus point. I try to anticipate where I want the insect's eye/head in the frame, and move the AF target before trying to take the shot.

Are you sure it's a focussing issue? You have a little less DOF with the 60 and it is harder to hold still than the 30mm.

Despite the wonderful IBIS a monopod can be useful.

I get best results when handholding if I hold the plant that the insect is on with my left index finger/thumb, while resting the lens on my left hand - thus eliminating camera vs subject movement and making it easier to nail focus. I still take plenty and delete the vast majority.
 
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Hi Roddy,

The 'expert' advice is....use manual focus.
I have to ask how do you get that manual focus to work ? Unlike all my other Oly lenses I find turning the focus ring does virtually nothing. I tried but could not do the rock back and forwards thing either.

I have no trouble using full manual focus and the over-ride way with other lenses but not the 60mm. I know this has been discussed before. I often wonder if it is a copy to copy version problem as some have no problem at all ?
 
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One thing I think would help on Oly bodies is if I could master using the real small focus point. I can select it ok, but when I need to move the point quickly I always end up with the focus going back to the smallest size of the adjustable focus point [for lack of a better way of describing it] and then the auto focus is worse as I gather there is more than one point in that adjustable box. Not sure about that.
 

Macroramphosis

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I use the 60mm for just about all my close up work. Unfortunately it is as you say, auto focus that hunts like hell. I have my Oly EM10.2 set for the lens not to reset the lens each time and I don't think that really help at all. The manual focus is just as bad probably worse. Like you the longer focal length is the only reason I use it

The Oly 30mm hunts far less and operates a lot better, but I need to get too close to use it for insects and spiders when using flash at night.
That's the same with the P30mm, but I have got very used to using it and it no longer bothers me that much. I crop a bit too, which helps - the IQ of the Panny lens allows for a little leeway
For all it's faults it is still my favourite macro lens for the system. I need to take probably 10 photos each time to get the shots I post here, but for hand help close up just using a monopod I am happy with this.
Hah! At this moment in time the P30 trumps the Oly by a very long way, :D
This is never going to be a lens I like using but I get the final results that I cant get with anything else.

If I was mainly taking fungus photos like @Bushboy I would mainly use my Oly 30mm.

You have reminded me why I am hoping the hinted at Oly 100mm macro lens comes out and is far better than the 60mm
Mmmm, imagine a P60 macro, I'd be in heaven!
 

Macroramphosis

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Hi Roddy,

The 'expert' advice is....use manual focus.
I do occasionally, but for insects in flight or doing other active stuff (which I find a wonderful challenge) then AF is still the game for me. I'm not Danny from NZ quite yet, so I need all the help I can get, and the AF of the Panny is so superior for that it's a joke.
However, I use mine with the EM1.2 and for insects, I always use AF.

Single shot AF, smallest focus point. I try to anticipate where I want the insect's eye/head in the frame, and move the AF target before trying to take the shot.
Yep, same here.
Are you sure it's a focussing issue? You have a little less DOF with the 60 and it is harder to hold still than the 30mm.
Well, I can out the camera to my eye, focus on the bit I want and then, before I can pull the trigger, it'll slide out and in again, even on the 1:1 setting (which I do mainly use with MF, I hasten to add). I mean, I do not have many problems with MF at close range at all, it's just that that is not what I shoot mainly.
Despite the wonderful IBIS a monopod can be useful.
IBIS is negligible on the GX8. And I always use a 'stick' or a bean bag, so that is not the problem.
I get best results when handholding if I hold the plant that the insect is on with my left index finger/thumb, while resting the lens on my left hand - thus eliminating camera vs subject movement and making it easier to nail focus. I still take plenty and delete the vast majority.
Yes, I do the same when I can, but that's just not the genre that I shoot nowadays. I really like the 'insect in flight' challenge and that's where I'd like the longer length. I find those insects that sit and don't fly I can happily use the P30mm on anyway, and now I have a little time i am also going to try out the achromats on the Oly60. If I'd had the P30 with me yesterday, for example, you'd be seeing some hornets on the forum today. The Oly just could not stop hunting around for them - it was quite infuriating.

Thanks for the comments and suggestions.... :D
 

Bushboy

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I’ve got the 30 and the 60 Olympus.
The focus limiter on the 60 really pisses me off. Every 2nd mushroom was right on that switch over limit.
Manual focus on the 60 is a weary drag, so much turning and turning.
Autofocus works fine for my use, but again that limiter really winds my clock.
I’m selling mine soon, for the second time. I sold it once before, but in a crazy moment, bought it back.
30mm is an easy length. Ideal for me.
Selling a present is awkward, maybe they won’t notice?
Retiredfromlife, that autofocus box likes contrast, an edge. Only half full the box with the subject, find the edge, and it will lock on better I think.
 

Bushboy

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I do like the clumsy switch to 1:1 though.
Would love a function button that does that.
The focus on Olympus 30 is vastly superior to the 60 as well Roddy. I just point the 30 at something close, and I mean close, and bang it’s there. No mucking about.
 

Bushboy

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I could never go back to a camera without in camera focus stacking, no way...
 
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Tbh for the first year with my 60 I was pretty sure it was defective as I had never experienced such difficulty getting a shot like some of the photo's posted here. I do like the lens and accepted the fact that its challenge to work with at 2.8. It's like a 22-250 at 400 yds your not going to sling it up and hit a bullseye every shot unless you are very familiar with it. I'm still in the 7 ring with the occasional 10. I think its a great still life / product lens I usually get close and end up moving the camera instead of turning the focus but moving subjects ...😡
 
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jhawk1000

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To add to the number of choices, the Panasonic/Leica 45mm 2.8 macro is one of my favorite macro lenses I have ever used.
 

RAH

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I haven't read all the posts here, but I do have a description of how to use the confusing switch on the lens that might be helpful to alleviate the hunting problem, and also how to use the 1:1 position:

In an earlier thread, the OP was complaining about the "1:1" position which "bounces" back - it won't stay where you are trying to put it. There's a reason for that and also for the other 3 positions on the switch:

That "1:1" switch position is intended to instantly put the lens to the 1:1 focusing position - the absolute closest you can be at and still focus. It is there to help you because with focus by wire there is no stopping position. So you flip that switch and it is as though you turned the focus to the CLOSEST stopping position. At that point, you can only focus in one direction (out).

positions of switch:
1) limits you to shoot OUTWARD - far away (NOT macro) - from 0.4m to infinity (this is kind of odd to have, I think)
2) makes it like a regular lens - NO LIMIT, from 0.19m to infinity (potential hunting in AF mode); (highlighted label)
3) makes it focus in CLOSE ONLY - FOR MACRO - from 0.19m to .04m
4) labeled 1:1 (bounces back) - sets you instantly at the CLOSEST position

So, if you want it to focus really close for macro, you flip it to that 1:1 bouncing position and let go. Your are instantly at the closest you can POSSIBLY GET, and the lens limiter position is set at the 3rd position, which is for macro - 0.19 to .04m

Hope this helps.
 
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Although I love the images captured by my O60, it can be frustrating getting autofocus when used handheld.

Some observations:
  1. The O60’s focus mechanism is not particularly fast.
  2. Even when using the focus limiter at say 0.19-0.4m, this is still a large depth for the lens to pull focus through when working at macro-scale DOFs, which are measured in millimeters.
  3. Handheld macro shooting of moving subjects (flying insects, yikes!) using small, single-point AF is difficult because of points 1 and 2. If during AF, where the camera and subject are moving, and the AF point moves slightly off your subject when the lens focus plain passes through that of the subject, the lens will continue focusing until it hits another subject (or finds nothing). At this point it’s near impossible getting focus back to the small subject, which is now indiscernible in the frame. I’ll often stick my finger in the frame near the subject to use as a larger subject to bring the lens back to the correct focal plain. Obviously, that’s not going to work for flying insects. Shooting insects in flight is difficult in the same way BIF is difficult!
 
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Keeth101

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I have had the 60mm since I first bought my M1ii and although I have had some great shots from it, I hate that 1:1 switch. Why couldn't the lens be a fixed 1:1 like many other macro lenses are.
Must admit that I now just take two lenses with me, my long zoom and my 12-100 f4 Pro which I also use for any macro work and just crop in pp where needed.
 

archaeopteryx

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the Panasonic/Leica 45mm 2.8 macro is one of my favorite macro lenses I have ever used
It's the one I picked out of the two 30s and the Olympus 60. Not sure I'd suggest it as a cure for autofocus woes, though, as it's notoriously slow and (at least on my G7) prone to running over focus targets and then sweeping full range before acquiring or finding something else. At least the focus ring does OK for giving it all the manual hints the AF needs as a crutch. It also strikes me as bizarre Panasonic made a macro lens with a focus limiter switch to exclude the macro range but didn't put a third position on the switch to exclude the low magnification range and mitigate the worst of the hunting.

From anecdotal reports it seems like the 60 might be worse about leaving out of focus bands in focus bracketing but the 45's autofocus bracketing also leaves something to be desired. Any sequence of focus steps like a bracket is going to have uneven step sizes due to accumulated motor error and control inaccuracy. But with 300+ frame post-focus brackets at 1x the 45 probably leaves a thin blur band between two frames somewhere that will fail out depth reconstruction in stacking of subjects with sufficient structural complexity. This can lead to a lot of retouching with mosses. Ask me how I know. :rolleyes-38:

macro-scale DOFs, which are measured in millimeters.
Maybe check your maths. Circles of confusion comparable to Bayer cells give DoF of a few hundred microns at the wider end. If stopped down then, yes, 1+ mm.

And, yeah, it amuses me to no end manufacturers brag about how great their autofocus is when it can't even find and track a grass seedhead swaying in the wind.
 
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Maybe check your maths. Circles of confusion comparable to Bayer cells give DoF of a few hundred microns at the wider end. If stopped down then, yes, 1+ mm.
Sure, but my original point stands.

And, yeah, it amuses me to no end manufacturers brag about how great their autofocus is when it can't even find and track a grass seedhead swaying in the wind.
:laugh:
 

BrentC

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I use AF on my EM1x and EM1-mkii with the 60mm. It works well and fast if enough light.
But when I use my Raynox or do 1:1 or greater magnification I use manual focus and distance to get into focus. This is rocking back and forth using the distance of the lens to the subject to get focus. This works really well especially if you are using the 1:1, but will work for any situation. No need to turn the focus ring.
 

RAH

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Focusing rails are specifically designed to do this same back and forth ("rocking" if handheld) in a more controlled manner. It definitely is the best way to achieve focus in close-up work, IMHO.
 

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