This M.Zuiko 60mm macro review article shares a wide selection of handheld macro images along with some commentary about this wonderful, little lens. This is a hands-on review. You won’t see images of boring test charts or have to read a regurgitation of lens specifications.
The focus of this M.Zuiko 60mm macro review is to illustrate what can be created with this lens when shooting handheld. There is a selection of images throughout the article, as well as a sampling of photographs at the end. EXIF data is supplied for all of the images.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
It’s been over 10 years since Olympus (now OM Systems) launched the 60 mm f/2.8 macro lens. Don’t let the diminutive size or age of this macro lens fool you… it is the mighty mouse of macro! 🙂 I know it looks almost comical mounted on my E-M1X, but what can be accomplished handheld with this combination borders on mind boggling.
I’m probably best described as a ‘bare bones’ macro photographer. I never use a tripod as I only shoot handheld, and seldom use a flash. My preference is to use a short stool for this genre of photography. The only camera I use for macro photography is the E-M1X as I find the articulating screen, double gripped format, and computational photography technologies are ideal for my style of shooting.
A number of years ago when I was using full frame equipment I owned a macro lens and dabbled with this genre of photography. My skill set was such that I had almost no success shooting handheld, and I was relegated to using a tripod for macro work. I found this very restrictive and boring. As a result I quickly lost interest and my full frame 105 mm f/2.8 macro lens collected dust most of the time. My use of full frame gear for macro photography was so infrequent that I don’t have any images remaining in my archives that I can share in this article.
I experimented with close-up photography with my Nikon 1 kit… using the wonderful 1 Nikkor 30-110 mm f/3.8-5.6 zoom lens coupled to an extension tube, and usually mounted on a Nikon 1 J5. I loved the flexibility of being able to shoot this set-up handheld and was able to get some quite good results. Unfortunately the Nikon 1 system never had a dedicated macro lens… but I got hooked on this genre of photography none-the-less.
When we transitioned over to the Olympus M4/3 camera system back in June 2019, one of the first lenses we bought was the M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 macro lens. I fell head over heels in love with this lens on the first afternoon of use. Its small size and light weight made it a breeze to handhold… especially with the incredible IBIS (in body image stabilization) of my E-M1X body.
And not just for ‘standard’ macro shots. As you can see in the EXIF data for the two images above, I was able to shoot in Handheld Hi Res mode while also using an extension tube… or two.
Handheld macro photography has become one of my favourite pastimes. Almost any subject matter is fair game… even mechanical parts on my guitars.
The computational photography technology in my E-M1X is perfectly suited to macro photography. I regularly use the in-camera focus stacking and Handheld Hi Res mode for my macro images.
Being able to shoot handheld using reasonably wide open apertures, including f/2.8, and still get very good depth-of-field broadens the subject matter available for me to shoot in natural light.
I also purchased the M.Zuiko STF-8 Twin Macro Flash and use this periodically when I know I’ll be facing very dark conditions. The majority of the time I’m able to shoot in natural light at fairly slow shutter speeds if needed.
Like most things photographic, it takes some time to experiment with new gear and technology before one can become reasonably proficient using it. Now, I have no hesitation using fairly slow shutter speeds like 1/20 to create an in-camera focus stacked image like the one illustrated above. This E-M1X photograph was created in-camera by combining 10 focus stacked images using a focus differential of 4. The output was a jpeg file.
The photograph above was captured handheld with in-camera focus stacking using a shutter speed of 1/15. I always use auto focus with a single small AF point for all of my macro photographs. It is fast and very accurate. I’ve never used manual focusing for any of my macro photography.
The M.Zuiko 60mm macro f/2.8 has a focus limiter switch on the barrel so a photographer can adjust its auto focusing based on subject distance. This feature is very easy to use, and works extremely well.
Even after using this lens for over 4 years I am still amazed with what I can create with it. Tiny flowers with intricate details can be captured handheld using in-camera focus stacking at surprisingly slow shutter speeds. Being able to accomplish this handheld without a tripod or special lighting is incredibly liberating.
I’ve shot handheld through glass enclosures using in-camera focus stacking at f/2.8 with a shutter speed of only 1/13 and can get consistently good results.
I’ve experimented with even slower shutter speeds like 1/4 second.
The slowest handheld shutter speed that I’ve successfully shot using in-camera focus stacking is 1 second… but I’m not able to do that consistently. At least not yet.
I know it can be easy to get excited about the newest camera gear that comes out. The ‘latest and greatest’ isn’t necessarily going to be the best solution for every photographer. For example, the M.Zuiko PRO 90mm f/3.5 Macro is no doubt an outstanding lens. In an earlier article I explained why I have no interest in purchasing that lens.
The M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 lens is so small and light that it is incredibly easy to shoot handheld. As illustrated by the image above and the next two that follow, I’ve even shot this lens successfully only using one hand.
As noted at the beginning of the article, the M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 macro can be very deceiving given its diminutive size… but it is an incredibly powerful macro tool that I love to have in my camera bag.
To me, a hands-on review has always meant sharing a lot of sample images along with corresponding EXIF data so other photographers can decide for themselves if a specific piece of camera gear is worth investigating further.
To that end, what follows is a selection of some additional photographs captured handheld using the E-M1X and the M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 macro. I hope you find these additional images of interest, and enjoy reviewing the corresponding EXIF data. Two of the sample images have 100% crops following them.
I hope you found this M.Zuiko 60mm macro review interesting and of some benefit. As regular readers know, this is not a gear review website and I only do reviews of equipment that I own and use.
The M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 macro lens is perfectly suited for my style of handheld macro photography. It is small, light and incredibly easy to shoot handheld. It produces sharp images with good colour rendition and works extremely well with computational photography technologies like in-camera focus stacking and Handheld Hi Res. All I need in my camera bag for handheld macro photography is this mighty mouse of macro, and my trusty E-M1X.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW or jpeg files using my standard process in post. This is the 1,325 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.
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