When I made the decision to retire from assignment work this year, I knew one of the benefits would be having time to do personal projects. And to be frank, I am not waiting until November 2, 2013. I have started slowly retiring already. It’s kind of fun. I am only taking jobs that allow me to work with people I genuinely like, on projects that interest me, that pay super well or some combination of all three. This frees me up to some things I’ve never tried.
So yes – I am finally doing what most of you have already done. I am experimenting with flower photography. I know, I know – everybody does it. But believe it or not it’s new to me. I’ve almost always shot every photograph with a client in mind, even in the very early days of my career. So shooting just for fun is something I have little experience in.
I have no idea if I am any good at flower photography. But it doesn’t matter, since I am enjoying it. It also has a side benefit. I can use these personal projects to review gear.
Enter the Olympus MSC ED M. 60mm f/2.8 Lens. At right around $500 it is a quality macro lens that gives you one-to-one, life-sized macro shots on any MFT camera.
The close focusing distance is 7.5 inches and the equivalent focal length (EFL) is 120mm, something I consider ideal for macro work. The longer the focal length, the further away from your subject you can be and still get 1:1 shots.
The construction of this lens is top-shelf. It offers 13 elements in 10 Groups – ED lens, 2 HR lenses, E-HR lens. It is dust and splash proof and offers a 20 degree angle of view. It’s set for quiet mode if you shoot movies with it and it is also very sharp, from wide open to stopped down. The only thing that suffers is slow auto-focus. That’s to be expected with this type of lens. But presumably, if you are shooting macro, you’re not in a hurry anyway, so you have time to bring the focus around if the AF doesn’t get the job done.
All the images in this post (except the BTS shot) were made with an Olympus Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the Olympus 60mm macro lens. I found it very easy to work with and using a tripod, could get good results using slow shutter speeds at f/22.
I also tested out the new Fotodiox Pro LED100WA-56 Daylight Studio LED, High-Intensity LED Studio Light. It is great for this kind of work and could be used in almost any studio situation where strobe works. It provides a nice, balanced, consistent color light. It is more than powerful enough to do the job in this case. There is a dimmer switch that lets you control the quantity of light. Unfortunately, it’s on the power brick and not the cable or light. If it weren’t for that inconvenience I’d give this light a very high rating. And for the money (around $365) it is a pretty good deal. But it’s not a great deal given the inconvenience of the move to the floor to turn the light on/off and dim, etc.
If you’re interested in macro work, the Olympus MSC ED M. 60mm lens is the one for you.