1. Welcome to Mu-43.com—a friendly Micro 4/3 camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

Simple Comparison of Macro options

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by thearne3, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. thearne3

    thearne3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 28, 2010
    Redding, CT USA
    I have three macro lenses: Hexanon 55mm Macro, Oly 12-50, and the MCON-P01 macro converter on the Oly 40-150.

    I thought it would be interesting to compare them using a dollar bill: all lenses on tripod, IS off, f6.3 with image framing as close as possible. The resulting closest working distances were 5", 3" and 10", resp., with the Oly 40-150 at 150. The Oly 12-50 is fixed at 43mm when in macro mode, so working distances correspond to focal length.

    Each lens has a different color cast, which may be attributable to the distance from the target and my lighting - I wouldn't try to conclude anything on this issue. For some reason certain shots showed the 'bleed through' (yellow color) from the back of the bill more than others, as well.

    All are jpegs OOC with Auto Contrast applied.

    Here is Center at 100%:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Here is Edge at 100%:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Some conclusions:

    1. Sharpness is best with the Hexanon macro, but the Oly 12-50 is very close. The screen shots don't do the Hexanon justice.
    2. The MCON is quite good at center, but suffers from chroma aberration at and lack of sharpness at the edges.
    3. Working distance can be a big deal with macro, and the longer FL of the MCON/40-150 is significant.
    4. The Macro capability is a nice add-on to the 12-50, with limited flexibility
    5. The dedicated macro, especially with extension rings gives the most flexibility, but the MCON is excellent value and very convenient.

    BTW, I accidentally used lower resolution settings: Msf 3200x2400, but I don't think that made a difference.
    • Like Like x 5
  2. LeeOsenton

    LeeOsenton Mu-43 Button Clicker

    Jun 25, 2010
    Hayes, Virginia, U.S.A.
    Lee Osenton
    Even with the small samples, it is evident that the Hexanon is sharper. I am impressed at how well the 12-50 did. I also have the 12-50 and have found it is remarkably good at macro; but am curious how it would fare against the Panasonic 45mm. Thanks for posting,

  3. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    Thanks for the comparison. I have been very pleased with the Hexanon 55 for my (limited) macro work, and am trying to decide how much of a factor the macro capability of the new 12-50 lens should be taken into account.
  4. elduderino

    elduderino Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 22, 2011
    Probably a dumb question, but I just got the OM-D, and I'm not sure how to activate the macro function. I push the macro button on the 12-50 but i never see it reflected anywhere. Do I need to keep it pushed down, or?
  5. bilzmale

    bilzmale Mu-43 All-Pro

    Don't have one but from my reading you hold down the Macro button and slide the focussing ring forward.
  6. Crdome

    Crdome Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 11, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    Thanks for this invaluable study. It's most helpful.

  7. artsifrtsy

    artsifrtsy Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 2, 2011
    Yes - hold the button and slide the ring. It lock in place. Zoom is disabled. Oddly this info is not in the hardcopy of the manual - I downloaded the full manual from a link and found it there. There's not a really clear explanation of how he other button works either, but I think I have it figured out :) 
  8. thearne3

    thearne3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 28, 2010
    Redding, CT USA
    Interestingly enough, the fn button on the lens can be assigned to alternative uses, like the other fn buttons, eg, ISO, WB, etc. I probably won't keep the lens, but if I did, I'd assign be re-assigning the button...probably to ISO, since the arrow buttons are not as accessible.
  9. LeeOsenton

    LeeOsenton Mu-43 Button Clicker

    Jun 25, 2010
    Hayes, Virginia, U.S.A.
    Lee Osenton
    Having previously owned a 1:1 macro lens on a DSLR; I would only recommend the 12-50mm to those that don't want to purchase a dedicated macro lens. I think it is very good, but only from the perspective that it is a kit zoom. Considering the other features of the lens; it makes a very nice jack of all trades solution. I use mine for casual shooting and like the convenience of switching between normal zoom and macro modes.

    BTW, macro mode locks the lens to 43mm and max aperture is f/6.

  10. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Interesting. I never carefully tested the 4/3 12-60 (1:3.6) against the 50/2 macro, but my impression was that if working distance and illumination were not an issue, the 12-60 didn't give up anything to the macro lens in terms of detail. Sounds like the newer 12-50 doesn't manage that though.

  11. Bokeaji

    Bokeaji Gonzo's Dad O.*

    Aug 6, 2011
    Austin, TX

    ok.. who has all the macros, and who is gonna post up a comparison?! :D 

    oly 50, panny 45, oly 12-50, oly 70-300, toss in an OM here or there... season to taste!

    rinse repeat

    or something... anyone?
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.