First full Olympus 60mm review made by Robin Wong!


Image courtesy by Robin Wong (Thanks!).

Robin Wong (Click here) posted the first full Olympus 60mm macro review (Preorder at Amazon, Adorama Bhphoto). He compared the lens quality to the 50mm f/2.0 FT lens and said  “the 60mm F2.8  lens is sharper“. De facto that shapr that “Moiré pattern has become an issue for a few photographs that I have taken“. Read the full review to get an idea about the quality of the lens. What I like most about the review are the pictures. They are so amazing that it almost makes me think why I never liked macro photography until today :)  Also Zuikoholics posted the first part of the 60mm macro review.
Lens preorders are up at Amazon, Adorama Bhphoto.

So, we are talking about lenses so let me catch up with a link to the 12-35mm X lens review posted by Photozone (Click here): “The lens is, undoubtedly, a good one but not stellar. It is chili-sharp in the image center but the border region isn’t quite on this level in the lower focal length range.” No mistake, Photozone says it’s a very good lens but maybe not as top good as expected form a lens in this price range.

Panasonic and Olympus Preorder Links with specs and price:
Special GH3 page at Amazon (Click here) and a full Olympus presentation page at Amazon (Click here).
GH3 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here) and in Europe at Wexphotographic UK (horrible price in UK!).
35-100mm X lens at Amazon (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here).
E-PL5 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here). In EU at Amazon Germany, Amazon UK, Amazon France,
E-PM2 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here). In EU at Amazon Germany, Amazon UK, Amazon France,
XZ-2 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here).
60mm macro at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here).
12mm Black prime lens at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here).
15mm cap-lens at Adorama (Click here).

  • While I appreciate Robin’s effort as always, macro doesn’t seem to be his forte. The pictures he took aren’t that sharp as he claims. I don’t doubt the lens though.Looking forward to the second part of the review.

    • Exactly, his flash destroys all the details,
      impossible to jugde the lens quality from these pictures.
      I don’t doubt the lens is great, but with natural morning light and a tripod you get better results out of much worse lenses.

      • SteB

        This is a general problem with macro flash, however it is easily soluble with a very simple light modifier I developed a few years ago. Here it is explained well by my internet friend Kurt.

        I first used half a white plastic vending machine cup, hence the early name cup diffuser. All you need is a U-shaped end of lens diffuser made out of a translucent material such as vellum paper, white packing foam or translucent plastic. It doesn’t need a twin flash. When used properly there are no blown highlights and I regularly recover shots up to 1 1/2 stops over-exposed with no blown highlights. Whilst the light is very soft it maintains far more detail. If you want more contrast or sharpness it easy to apply it with a levels adjust and sharpening. The soft light makes PP much easier, whereas bare macro flash tends to produce a type of crude baked in sharpness.

        All macro flash shots used to be like this. So I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Robin’s review and I enjoyed his review. It’s just that macro flash light modification have moved on in the last few years.

    • I agree.
      Some available light macro would have been better.

    • Disclaimer: I know Robin personally, having accompanied him on one of his “shutter therapy” sessions. He isn’t a pro photographer, and macro isn’t his specialty. He’s an engineer, and uses his spare time to develop his skills and write about his journey.
      But he is way above the “average enthusiast” level, and I suspect that’s why Olympus is keen on him doing these reviews. Take them for what they are, and take from them what you need. But please, don’t deride him for the effort he’s gone into to put up a review. Read the background: he had a loan of a camera and lens for a weekend. Looks like he dedicated the whole weekend to it, and all his spare time this week to process the images, write and post the blog. I always wonder how much of their spare time some commenters here actually put into photography, rather than writing negative comments. Personally, I try to imagine being in a room with someone before I put criticism down in print.
      Thanks for the review Robin. Looking forward to the second part, on the street.
      There are also some user photos posted on DPReview forums. Seems the lenses are already being delivered in the USA.

      • There’s nothing negative and personal about my comments to Robin. I am just stating what I have seen and suggest the possibility that the pictures might not represent the true capability of the lens. No one is expected to know everything and if what you’ve said is right (Robin being no macro expert) then there’s nothing wrong with my observations. I am also looking forward to the second part of the review which I think is what Robin will probably shine.

      • +2.8!

      • Ronan

        So? Doesn’t change the fact his macro photos lack detail, sharpness and balance. We appreciate the review, but at the end of the day, a photo is worth a 1000 words.

    • grg

      the real problem is that Robin is a bit too much of an Oly fanboy to give fair information

      • Anonymous

        And that makes you…?

      • Bite Me

        The REAL problem is that you’re a TROLL!

    • Mr. Reeee

      Macro and autofocus generally don’t blend well. Even with small AF points, it’s still hit or miss and you’re leaving critical focus at the mercy of a bunch of algorithms.

      Even with too much flash Robin’s shots aren’t too bad. Some of the detail the lens is able to capture is damn impressive. They certainly show off the capabilities of the OMD, too!

      Still, I’d like to try the Oly 60mm focusing manually and with a tripod.

  • Cynops

    Ming Thein also has published his review :

    • Ming Thein’s review certainly shows the ability of the lens in macro. Aren’t we lucky not to have to pay 12/2.0 prices for this one!

      • The studio shots look very sleek, and the review was very clear and to the point, but I prefer Robin’s report in a way that its done in a less controlled enviroment and seemingly more effort or enthusiasm was put in it.

  • Yun

    I wonder how is it compare with Leica DG Elmarit F2.8 , a well known macro lens in M4/3 ?

    • Voldenuit

      The 45/2.8 has some key strengths:
      * Excellent to very good resolution (though Zuiko.D 50/2 is a tad sharper)
      * Very low longitudinal CA – among the lowest I have seen on a macro lens
      * Very little focus shift – another important strength for a macro

      I like the multi-position focus limiter switch on the 60/2.8, it’s definitely something I’ve been clamoring for on a macro lens. Looking forward to ovjective tests on the 60/2.8.

      I do wonder if the 60/2.8 suffers from focus shift. Many of Robin’s insect eyes are out of focus, especially the eye closest to the camera. As focus shifts usually move the plane of focus away from the camera on stopping down, that could explain his OOF insect eyes.

      @Bryan: I don’t think the lens is at fault here. Some of the “soft” shots were taken at F10 and F14, well beyond the diffraction limit of the lens, and should never have been posted in the first place.

  • jocky scot

    Can anyone take wong seriously?

    • Roy

      I take him more seriously than unsubstantiated innuendo.

      • grg

        @roy , yes someone who receives free equipment and fast access to the latest Olympus toys is obviously a great source of independent information , NOT!

        • The Real Stig

          So you are suggesting he faked the images and is lying about the equipment he used to take them with? Ever seen a camera magazine that has paid advertisements from the manufacturers of the products they review?

          • 6y66

            I think he is suggesting that anyone or any organization that personally benefits from “reviewing a product” be it by financial reward or in kind such as getting first access to new products with the huge rush of people to his blog that entails etc. Cannot be considered a truly independent resource.The habit of companies giving what are in essence fanboys their products for early review is at best dubious and at worst downright untrustworthy

            • Roy

              How does early access to new equipment constitute personal gain? There are no ads on his site, so how would he benefit from said rush to his site?
              I personally take everything I read with a grain of salt, but I see no reason why Robin Wong would be any less objective than the droves of other bloggers that post their personal take on new gear. Non-technical review as posted by the likes of Robin Wong, Steve Huff, Michael Reichmann and *gasp* even Ken Rockwell are colored by definition. And to me, that constitutes their added value.

            • The Real Stig

              I’m sorry, were you reading the text, I was just looking at the pretty pictures.

        • Bite Me

          Don’t worry loser… someday someone will recognize your finger painting from your prison wall. Idiot.

          • TGTGT

            Now “bite me” you know what happens when you don’t take your medication. Only a retard would get so upset because someone didn’t like your new toy.

      • BLI


    • brudney

      how can anyone take scot seriously?

    • 4r4r

      Sure you can take him seriously if you are a trusting Oly fanboy lucky for him there are quite a few . All i need to know does the lens have “soul” lol

      • Roy

        Trolls galore…

        • 6y66

          so a troll is someone who questions the vested interests of a party reviewing a product!. It seems like a fair question to me

          • Roy

            It would be a fair question if it were at all substantiated. But merely questioning someone’s credibility without any kind of motivation amounts to an attempt at character assassination, not genuine concern.

    • The Real Stig

      I take him seriously – you I don’t.

  • Bob B.

    Great review…with context! (Mr. Wong).
    LOVE the images..
    (I am still happy with the Pany/Leica 45mm Macro…satisfies my needs).
    This looks like a very good lens, tho!

    • jevfp

      @ Admin

      second part Macro comparison review of ZD 6omm,-PL45mm -ZF 50mm- Nikon 60mm-,.by Ming Thein ,here

      Macro shootout on micro 43; Four lenses – One winner

  • Byran

    Not impressive at all. The lens is not sharp as expected. I think I made right decision for choosing 45/2.8

  • marilyn

    loving it more and more… pls come down to manila soon

  • Yves
  • This is cool!Another gem for the growing club of highest quality optics within the m43 lens line-up.

    • Seems to be a very nice lens for macro, but I’m still waiting for high quality zooms from Olympus…

      • 12-35 and 35-100 won’t do the job?

        • DingieM

          >= 150mm….THATS zoom!

        • Anonymous

          Jules, have you read the Photozone revue of the 12-35mm, you might find their results interesting, 3* for Optical quality & Price and perforance.

          • Michael Reichmann’s review confirms that the wide end is not quite as good. For the rest, it is a solid performer, comparable to much more expensive 43 lenses.

            It might be because I personally don’t value the wide end as much as the tele end, I am not too bothered by the negative part of these two reviews.

        • 12-35 seems much to expensive. And zoom range is to limited for me, same for the 35-100. I want 3 nice lenses from 9 to 200mm for traveling.

  • jJ

    I am interested in the lens as I currently use the 50mm F2 which is a great lens in every way except AF it is dog slow on the adapter for portraits for macro I don’t use AF.One thins for sure there really are no bad macro lenses

  • anentropic

    I don’t know much about macro photography but it seems incredible to me that we now have a lens that is so sharp you get a moiré pattern from the individual ommatidia of an insect’s eye…

  • Paul Alexander

    Nice. I note some nasty chromatic aberration and slight comma in out of focus highlights, suggesting this lens may be sharp at macro but it’s not apochromatic.
    I just really just want to see comparative charts (but that’s what DPReview is for).
    The past 9 years I really compare close up’s, though not necessarily 1:1 to my legacy Nikon coolpix 5000 (don’t laugh.
    These images look great but I ponder weather they are worth the extra cost of the lens than made them?
    I guess that’s what M43 can do.

    BTW:”Diffraction is a very common technical flaw that every lens inherits.”
    I would call it a law of Quantum Mechanics an not really a ‘flaw’ per se. Sure wish we could beat diffraction but it’s unlikely in this universe unless Einstein comes back from he dead.

    • Paul Alexander

      That and diffraction are by-products of Quantum Mechanics ‘rearing it’s head at us’ in photographic phenomena. It’s possible that some day, imaging can reveal stuff that our naked eyes can’t see at all now, just as microscopy has in the last century.

      • Rex

        Richard Feynman once said, “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.”

        But an anonymous Internet poster on a camera blog can blithely invoke quantum mechanics twice while posing as an expert.

  • The Real Stig

    Now we just have to wait a few minutes for the German-is-always-superior brigade to put in an appearance and declare they expect Schneider Kreuznach’s vapour ware (Makro-Symmar 60/2,4) will be far superior.

    It’s going to be a hard one for them to argue, because Robin has said it is sharper than the 4/3 Zuiko 50/2 macro and said Olympus claim the MTF data on the 60/2.8 is superior to it – which Dpreview already said was “the nearest we’ve yet found to a technically perfect lens”

    The E-M5, 75/1.8 and now 60/2.8 Macro show that Olympus have shifted a couple gears and are back to their old form.

    Thanks Robin, think I want one of these.

    • Balthier Bunansa

      not to mention that schneider lens will be far more expensive than oly 60mm macro

    • The argument I smell coming is that, just like for cine lenses, sharpness is not the most important quality to look at for macro lenses. As long as sharpness is at least “good” we ought to look at contrast, color rendition, distortion, aberration of all kind, vignette, etc. to see how good of a macro lens really is.
      There might be some truth to that and its not to say that the Olympus is a poor performer in those departments.

      Until I have a demonstration that the Olympus has serious flaws, I put faith that it is a decent value.

    • Paul Alexander

      The sad truth is at Macro the smaller sensors EXPONENTIALLY beat the larger sensors (pixel density notwithstanding) . That’s why I cling dearly to my Coolpix 5000 with it’s 2/3 sensor :)

    • JP

      I have still not seen any evidence that the 60 mm f/2.8 is superior to the 50 mm f/2.0 — if there is I will buy it, until then I’m manually focusing my 50 on my OM-D.

      • Anonytrackball

        Why bother with lenses just go and buy a chart and put it on the wall. It would seem to suit your attitude and satisfy you far better than any lens ever would.

  • Paul Alexander

    Barring a Lytro-like product that would composite near to far images into one of controllable DOF ( ) Macro, esp at 1:1 and magnifications will always be a game of selection. I admire the author for being up to the challenge of shooting living insects, which is THE most challenging of Macro work. I just wish someone out there would shoot something OTHER than ‘nature’. I’m pretty sick of it actually. Then again, as a commercial still shooter that doesn’t do nature anymore,I’m jaded.

    • indeed, not many lens tests which use juicy female models as subject….:-(

  • Dummy00001

    > Perhaps, a lens being too sharp is not necessarily a good thing all the time after all.

    Lens is not guilty. That’s the price for the marketing gimmick “weak AA filter.”

    In numerous discussions I have seen on the topic, only a small minority actually knew why the AA filter is needed by the Bayer sensor. Rest was mindlessly chanting “it harms sharpness!!!” As if it was a problem caused by AA filter… Everybody can understand that AA filter harms sharpness – by design – but few understand what’s Bayer pattern is, how demosaicing works and what demosaicing needs from the shot for it to be actually to be able to do its job.

    All those nuts whining for weak AA filters should have demanded proper Foveon-like sensors instead. Then by now we might have had already such cameras – from more than one manufacturer and at more reasonable prices.


  • metalaryeh

    I think Robin’s review was very informative and surely makes me interested in the lens. I am certainly no macro expert, however, in some shots I feel that a different diffuser would have helped. That said, I like his photos very much.

  • Farrukh

    I rather like Robin’s review, it comes from a users perspective, like mine. I don’t need perfection, I just need to know how it feels to use in real life circumstances for a novice like me. And I suspect this is what the wider consumer is also seeking.

  • Mine should ship today! Excited. Looks like an awesome piece of glass for a very reasonable price.

  • adriaantie

    Not so nice shot for a Olympus sponsored reviewer.

    • Roy

      To paraphrase a popular meme: source or it didn’t happen.

      • RYR

        @ROY It is well recorded that Robin Wong received a free E-5 from Olympus { the camera he said had soul lol } do you think you get to be a “chosen” reviewer of new Olympus products if you don’t pucker up. The first less than good review and it would be bye bye chosen one. There is nothing particularly wrong with this all the camera makers have their pet snappers as long as it is made very clear the author has a vested interest.

  • MP Burke

    Personally I thought the damselflies in his photos were gorgeous, though I prefer to shoot without flash and the modern sensors really ought to be able to permit higher ISO values to be used without compromising resolution too much.
    The resolution looks good enough for my purposes and I like the focus limiter, however my ideal macro lens would be 90-100mm, so I may wait to see if any others become available.

  • Antony Mouse

    Oh, great. Now we need yet more megapixels :-/

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