Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm Macro opinons

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by herpphotos, Jan 12, 2015.

  1. herpphotos

    herpphotos Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 21, 2014
    So I am about ready to pull the trigger and purchase either an e-m5 or e-m1 and the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro.
    A lot of the macro work I do is out in dusty, rainy conditions and this lens and these body combinations seem ideal. I am currently a Pentax shooter and they offer a 100mm WR macro lens but I am not so impressed with its sharpness from samples I have seen and DXOmark ratings.
    It also has too far of a minimum focus distance for my tastes and subjects.

    The Olympus 60 on the other hand is 60mm and has a much closer minimum focus range and from DXOMARK ratings and from samples I have viewed on flickr it is a better weather resistant macro.
    So what I don't understand fully about the Micro 4/3 system is the crop factor and equivalence as it impacts field of view and image magnification.
    What I understand is that the Olympus 60 has field of view equivalent of 120mm in full frame. Does that also mean that there is an equivalent magnification of the image?
    This Olympus page alludes to 2X magnification in FF equivalence.

    I am concerned that between the narrower field of view, shorter minimum focus distance and unknown magnification factor that focusing this lens farther back from its minimum focus distance would actually not allow me to see as much of the subject as the Pentax 100mm macro would at its minimum focus distance and even less so at the 60's minimum focus distance if that makes any sense.
    Can anyone clarify this point for me?
    Pentax 100mm WR macro min focus distance = 0.30 m (11.81″) on APS-C 100mm = 150mm and FOV = 16 degrees
    Olympus 60mm Macro min focus distance = 0.19 m (7.48″) on MFT 60mm = 120mm and FOV = 20 Degrees

    Perhaps I have answered my own question now that I am looking at putting the Pentax 100mm in APS-C vs. FF equivalence.
    Would I be correct in surmising that at the same distance of 11.81" focus distance (the Pentax's minimum and 4.33" out from Olympus min focus) that the Olympus would provide more than 20 Degrees FOV? I would prefer something in the range of 32 degrees like the Pentax 50mm macro offers but it isn't weather sealed. Also is there some real magnification difference that will really require me to be at a greater distance from my subject with the Olympus than I would be used to with a 1:1 lens?

    It's highly annoying that neither of these lenses includes an aperture ring.

    Of course there are other shorter macro lenses for Micro 4/3's but from what I can see none of them are weather resistant like the 60mm and that plus more inherent DOF is the whole point of even approaching this system for me.

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts or corrections.
  2. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2011
    At its minimum focus distance the olympus lens will project a life sized image of the subject on the sensor. Most full frame macro lenses are designed to project a life sized image of the subject on a full frame sensor, at minimum focus distance. This means that in both cases an object the size of the sensor will fill the frame of the final image. Since the 4/3 sensor is half the size of a full frame sensor then the oly camera/lens will allow you to fill the frame with an object which is half the size. So, yes, if you are using 1:1 macro lenses, then the smaller sensor will allow you to fill the frame with a smaller object than you could with an APS or full frame camera.
  3. herpphotos

    herpphotos Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 21, 2014
    Thanks for the reply Dennis.
    What you say doesn't totally make sense to me though. Surely the lens field of view, the lens minimum focus distance and the lens image circle plays a role in how big of a subject you can project life sized on the image sensor. If I was to mount the olympus lens on a full frame camera I would expect the relative number of pixels devoted to the image on the sensorro be the same. Kikewise if i miunted the full frame pentax lens on the olympus 4/3 body, I would expect that due to a narrower field of view and farther working distance and smaller image circle that I would end up not being able to see as large of objects at 1:1 as I would were the lens mounted on full frame without increasing my working distance even further.
    Additionally, wouldn't the inherent image magnification in 4/3 cause some amount of image degredation on top of the image detail which will inherently be lost due to the number of megapixels packed into the 4/3 sensor?

  4. getoutandshoot

    getoutandshoot Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2012
    It seems to me that you're a little too fixated on magnification. In macro photography, having a very close minimum focus distance is not always a good thing. When you have to get super close in order to get the very highest magnification, it becomes more difficult: It may be hard to position a tripod and keep the camera so close, or you may begin to block your light or scare the subject, etc. For this reason most pros prefer macro lenses in the 200mm range with greater "working distance."

    If you imagine yourself shooting mostly hand held, the Olympus bodies have fantastic image stabilization and a lot of people love the 60mm and get great macro images using it hand held with an E-M5 or E-M1.

    I would not worry too much about magnification and instead consider all the *other* things that would be different if you switch from your Pentax to micro 4/3.

    Good luck.


    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43
  5. herpphotos

    herpphotos Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 21, 2014
    Hi Dave,
    let me clarify that I am not new to macro photography and I already own several macro lenses in both long and short focal lengths and fully understand when it is appropriate to use each and the lighting problems at shorter working distances. For small flying insects and such you are right that a longer focal length is typically used but that is not the type of stuff I typically shoot.
    All I amlooking for at this point is a WR macro to take into the desert and rainforest. So magnification and FOV as it relates to this lens is my only concern.

  6. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Real Name:
    Olympus marketing likes to say that 1:1 magnification is equivalent to 2:1 (2X) on full frame. That is wrong

    1:1 is simply a measurement. It doesn't change when you change sensor size. 1:1 means a life size image projected on your sensor. By itself it has nothing to do with focal length or field of view or minimum focusing distance.

    Here's why this can be confusing. You're not really interested in the image size on the sensor. You're interested in your final image.

    If you have a 1:1 image on a "full frame" sensor and crop out a 4/3 sensor size portion of it you get a 1:1. You could fill a 4/3 sensor at 1:2 with same image you would need 1:1 on a "full frame" sensor, but you would also need to magnify it twice as much to get the same size print.

    Adding in the number of pixels at a particular magnification opens another can of worms.

    The short version of all of this is you'll fill the frame with same image at 1:2 magnification as you would at 1:1 on "full frame". Doing that with the 60mm will be at a greater distance than a 100mm on "full frame".

  7. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Real Name:
    I just re-read the original post. You will NOT get more depth of field with u43. Depth of field is a function of image size and aperture. We usually associate image size with focal length, but especially at macro distances, we're just looking at image size.

    It seems like you'll gain depth of field by shooting at a lower magnification because of the smaller sensor, but you will enlarge the image more for your final displayed image losing depth of field in the process.

    • Like Like x 1
  8. herpphotos

    herpphotos Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 21, 2014
    Thanks for the insight Fred!
    Your explanation makes things a little clearer.
    I think I will just have to try it out and see for myself.
    I should probably wait till the release of the E-M5 Mkii causes a drop in prices on the original E-m5.

    I don't agree with this statement though,
    "It seems like you'll gain depth of field by shooting at a lower magnification because of the smaller sensor, but you will enlarge the image more for your final displayed image losing depth of field in the process."

    I know from shooting with smaller sensors in the past be they the small P&S sensors that allowed macro like abilities at 1CM from the subject or 2/3" sensors such as in the Fuji X20 to the APS-C sensors in my Fuji X-e1 and Pentax K5ii that there is a quite a difference in depth of field between these sensors. I would expect the 4/3 sensor to have depth of field somewhere in between APS-c and 2/3" sensors but closer to the APS-C.