- Well built, weathersealed body with internal focus
- Extremely sharp across the image frame
- Beautiful neutral bokeh with even specular highlights
- Rich color response with good contrast
- Fast and accurate autofocus
- Focus limiter switch has very useful focus zones and a great little 1:1 toggle
- Focus ring is smooth and well damped
- Price – at $499, it’s worth every penny
- Olympus continues to leave out important accessories like the lens hood
- My copy suffers from some left edge field curvature at longer focus distances (likely a decentered element).
- Users of Panasonic bodies don’t have optical image stabilization
- While small for a 1:1 macro, it’s longer than most other m4/3 primes.
As you can see, the ‘cons’ list above is pretty small. Olympus has created another winner with the 60mm f/2.8 Macro. And, unlike some of their other lenses, they’ve priced it right too. Images out of this lens remind me a lot of my last ‘favorite’ macro lens: the Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro. It’s sharp and has great bokeh, color and contrast. It’s even weathersealed like that great Canon lens. The Olympus doesn’t offer optical image stabilization, which isn’t a problem if you’re using an Olympus body like the OM-D. In my use, the OM-D’s IBIS performs better than the optical IS in the PanaLeica 45mm f/2.8 Macro, but shooters using Panasonic bodies may want to consider going that route if IS is important to them.
However, that is the only situation where I would recommend the 45mm f/2.8 over Olympus’ new 60mm Macro. Not only is the 60mm sharper and weathersealed, it’s several hundred dollars less expensive to boot. The 60mm f/2.8 Macro is another gem in Olympus’ recent run of great prime lenses.
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25 thoughts on “Review: Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 Macro”
The lack of hoods annoyed me for a while, but the more I think about it the more I don’t care. The recent Olympus lenses I’ve owned perform great without a hood, and since the prime virtue of M43 to me is its size I don’t know that I would bring a hood anyway, unless it made a dramatic difference in image quality. (And if it did I probably wouldn’t have bought the lens anyway… see the size/handling difference between the 9-18 vs 7-14.)
I wonder, does the lack of a hood impact the image quality of the 60/2.8? Are we in a “post-hood” era, thanks to fancy coatings?
No, we are not in the post-lens hood era. A lens hood was and still is a necessary and useful addition. I think you should use one whenever you can. It’s such a waste of energy and time if a photo is weakened or even ruined by flare or low contrast. It’s just bad practice and amateuristic to not use a lens hood.
Priggish attitude – absolutely nothing inferior about being an ‘amateur’.
Surprised that Jordan didn’t support all the hobbyists who read his site.
+1 Just buy the damn hood and use it. It doesn’t add any noticeable weight and I believe the hood for this particular lens is of the sliding type, so it will hardly take up any extra space in your bag.
A great review, JS. Seems to be a great macro lens. A pity it’s quite ‘expensive’ where I live. As always Americans are blessed with lowest prices on photo gear, – compared to anywhere in this world. Got to get myself a friendly ‘buying agent’, 🙂
I own the lens too. While I agree with almost every assessment you made, your “cons” conclusion that this lens is not the smallest m4/3 lens is quite idiotic. Do you really expect that each new m43 lens needs to surpass the already smallest. Please, remove this con item, because it does not make any sense, and gives the wrong impression what users really want and need. Not every lens needs to be a Pancake lens!
To me, the 2.8/60mm is even surprisingly small and light. When I unboxed it, I could hardly believe that it is that small! If you compare this lens with a FF equivalent like the EF 2.8/100mm IS L the Olympus lens is really small.
I guess that the length of the lens is also due to the smooth and precise focus ring design. To date, I haven’t had any m43 lens, which can focus manually so precise. And the 1:1 “dial” also works in manual focus mode!
The Olympus 60mm is perhaps e most beautifully macro lens design ever. It should not be any smaller, the broad focus ring is an asset and not a obstacle (or a con feature, as you claimed).
While I agree with you that the lens isn’t huge, and in fact is small for what you get, it is significantly longer than the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 (which shares the same absolute aperture size), and the Leica 45mm f/2.8 Macro (which shares its 1:1 capabilities and adds OIS). That’s all that list item was meant to do, and since you’ll see that my conclusion doesn’t consider anything on the ‘cons’ list to be even close to a dealbreaker, I’m going to leave it as it is. I did not say that the broad focus ring was a con…just that it was important to point out that it’s not a super tiny lens.
Many people who read reviews only skip to the conclusion, and it is something that is to be noted compared to the only competition this lens has in the m4/3 space in the PL 45/2.8. It’s not a detriment to me 90% of the time, but the length DOES prohibit it from making it into my super tiny bag, which I generally use to take my 45/1.8, 12/2 and 25/1.4.
The length of the 60 means that I can only fit it on the camera in that bag, so the length reduces by two full lenses the amount I can take in that bag. Now, 90% of the time, I take my Think tank Retrospective 5, which easily fits the 60 (and the 75/1.8, and other ‘bigger’ micro 4/3 lenses like the 45-175 (which is amazingly compact for it’s focal range, but still largish compared to the smaller primes), and the 7-14 f/4, which is, again, very small for a lens of that width, but large compared to many of the other m4/3 options. None of these are too large for me to carry or use, but it is worth noting, as many of these lenses can’t make it into my ultra-light bag like some of the smaller primes.
The reason the 60 mm is so much longer than the 45 mm is that it has an internal focussing mechanism. If it would built like the 50 mm f2.0 (4/3) it could be smaller when set for infinity, but grows to twice its length when focussing very close. The internal focussing also make weather sealing easier to achieve.
The Leica 45/2.8 is also internally focusing.
I own the lens and I think it is rather long, too.
I would list it as a con.
Also, it’s rude to label someone’s thoughts as “idiotic”.
The difference in size between my 45/2.8 and the 60/2.8 is something that matters to me. No, the 60/2.8 is not a big lens. In SLR terms it’s not even a medium-size lens. But it is bigger, and the difference is big enough that I can fit one more lens in my bag with the 45/2.8 than I’d be able to with the 60/2.8.
I might buy the 60/2.8 anyway, but I would miss the absolutely tiny package of the 45/2.8.
Super ‘real life’ review – ordered the lens 5 minutes BEFORE I read the review – all possible apprehensions laid to rest now ; )
Thanks for your review.
I’ll get one!
excellent review that focuses on ‘real life’ impressions – and happens to concur with what the technical shoot at charts reviews tell us anyway. good to have both kinds of reviews at our disposal.
Nice review and sample pictures. How do you compare this lens to Olympus 75/1.8 for close up children portrait? I plan to buy one of them for my newborn portrait. Thanks.
My best lens, since it is also great for portrait photography and of course marko photography, but also general photography where I do not want to get too close to the subject. It’s just a winner …..
Had thought about buying 45mm.f.1.8 lens for portrait photography, but now I am very much in doubt …..
I own this lens and I’m very pleased with it.
It is as good as they tell it is.
I’m using it on a Panasonic body rather than on an Olympus one, but still perform very well. Just need to use it carefully when hand weld becuause it doesn’t have built in stabilizer (I try to avoid slower speeds).
I don’t understand why people say it is “long” or it is “huge”… in fact I found it so small and light, and when you open the box where it came in it looks like a toy lens.
Still it feels solid and well build when you have it in the hand.
Great review, this lens is super sharp. I’m glad this lens is internal focusing so that the length is constant. This is a feature I think all macro lenses should offer. I’m also very happy about it being so lightweight, I can carry it on an OM-D E-M5 camera without problems such as hand fatigue. Olympus you’ve done very well.
Everyone raves about the 45mm f/1.8 but I wonder if I could get by with just my 60mm Macro.
Everyone raves about the 45 f/1.8 but I wonder if I could get by with just the 60MM to use as a portrait lens in addition to it’s Macro capabilities.
My copy is soft on the right side when used for landscape photography. I have tried other copies of the lens and all have the same image softness. Maybe due to the macro lens being optimized for closeup focusing as opposed to decentering.