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Here are the basics:

13 lens elements, 10 groups of lenses

1:1 reproduction ratio (photos will be 17.5mm across at closest focusing distance)

Aperture range F2.8 – F22

Minimum focus distance of 19cm (7.5 inches).

Dimensions 82mm x 56mm, weight 185 grams

Filter size 46mm

The Olympus MSC ED M. 60mm f/2.8 Lens is a dedicated Micro Four Thirds lens that I added to my kit both for its fast aperture and its effective focal length (EFL) of 120mm. It’s a perfect length for macro work.

Photo by Scott Bourne - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

The wide aperture allows for shallow depth of field and when paired with the best glass (Olympus ED glass) offers really crisp images without distortion.

The MSC designation means the lens is “movie and still compatible.” The focusing sound won’t pick up during video recording.

The lens is affordable at under $500 and is really sharp. I love the smooth, circular bokeh and the fact that I can use this lens in tough conditions due to weather sealing and dust-proofing. When you look at what Olympus put into this lens for the money, it’s actually pretty amazing.

Photo by Scott Bourne - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

It does shoot 1:1 and it has a focus limiter switch. At 60mm (EFL 120mm) it’s a tad longer than the Panasonic 45mm (EFL 90) and for me personally, I like longer focal lengths for macro work. Especially if you’re shooting bugs, butterflies, frogs etc., you don’t have to get so close and risk scaring the critters. The Olympus is also much less expensive than the Panasonic.

Like most macro lenses I’ve tested (for any format) the autofocus is a bit slower than you’d find on a typical MFT lens by Olympus. But that’s part of the trade-off when you’re going for such close focusing distances. It’s physics. No way to get around it and as I’ve said here for almost 15 years, photography is ALWAYS about compromises.

Photo by Scott Bourne - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

One thing I really like about this lens is that it only weighs 6.5 ounces. It makes shooting macro hand-held actually viable.

Complaints? Only one. At f/2.8 the lens exhibits a touch of edge softness. Not atypical of this sort of lens or most lenses for that fact. At f/4 it’s sharp as can be and when you’re shooting macro, you rarely need to shoot wide open so it’s a moot point.

The Olympus 60mm macro is a bargain and if you’re thinking of going MFT it’s a lens that should be on your list.

Highly recommended.

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