Best Macro Lens for Micro Four Thirds (4 Lenses Reviewed & Compared)

Review and comparisons of the 4 native macro lenses for micro four thirds: Panasonic 30mm f/2.8, Panasonic Leica 45mm f/2.8, Olympus 60mm f/2.8, & Olympus 30mm f/3.5.

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Table of Contents:
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0:00 – Intro
0:53 – How We’re Grading & Meet the Lenses
1:20 – What Makes a Macro Lens a “Macro” (1:1 Reproduction)
1:46 – The Categories Being Evaluated

2:14 – Start of Build Quality & Features Section
2:22 – Panasonic 30mm f/2.8 Unboxing & Features + Dual I.S.
3:18 – Olympus 60mm f/2.8 Unboxing & Features
4:02 – Panasonic Leica 45mm f/2.8 Unboxing & Features
5:04 – Olympus 30mm f/3.5 Unboxing & Features
5:44 – Results & Scores for Build & Features Category

6:24 – Start of Autofocus Tests: AF-S for Photo
6:30 – Panasonic Leica 45mm f/2.8 AF-S Test
7:32 – Panasonic 30mm f/2.8 AF-S Test
8:28 – Olympus 30mm f/3.5 AF-S Test
9:36 – Olympus 60mm f/2.8 AF-S Test
11:42 – Results & Scores for Autofocus Tests: AF-S for Photo

12:20 – Start of Ease of Use & 1:1 Reproduction Test
12:29 – Olympus 60mm f/2.8 – 1:1 Test
13:23 – Olympus 30mm f/3.5 – 1.25:1 Test (1.25x Magnification)
13:52 – Getting to 1:1 Using Electronic Focus by Wire Systems
15:21 – Micro Four Thirds vs Full Frame for Macro Reproduction
16:43 – Panasonic 30mm f/2.8 – 1:1 Test & Handling + Dual I.S.
17:34 – Panasonic Leica 45mm f/2.8 – 1:1 Test
18:20 – Final Scores for 1:1 Ease of Use & Handling Tests

19:42 – Start of Video Autofocus Test (AF-C)
19:52 – Panasonic Leica 45mm f/2.8 Continuous Autofocus Test
20:47 – Olympus 60mm f/2.8 Continuous Autofocus Test
21:41 – Olympus 30mm f/3.5 Continuous Autofocus Test
22:21 – Panasonic 30mm f/2.8 Continous Autofocus Test
22:50 – Results & Scores for Autofocus for Video Tests (AF-C)

23:16 – Start of Image Quality Tests
23:46 – Music Break While I Take the Test Shots
24:15 – Olympus 30mm vs Panasonic 30mm – Image Quality
26:03 – Panasonic 30mm vs Panasonic 45mm – Image Quality
28:09 – Panasonic 30mm vs Olympus 60mm – Image Quality
30:17 – Olympus 30mm vs Panasonic 45mm – Image Quality
30:47 – Image Quality Results & Scores

31:15 – Adding up the Scores & Calculating Value
31:48 – Prices of the Lenses
32:13 – Final Value Scores
33:02 – Other Considerations to Make Regarding value

33:54 – My Pick for Favourite Micro Four Thirds Macro
34:41 – Quick Notes on Dual Purpose Capability & Final Opinions
36:06 – TL;DW – Final Word & Favourite Lens

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Products Mentioned:
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Panasonic 30mm f/2.8: http://geni.us/M1oPtyI
Panasonic Leica 45mm f/2.8: http://geni.us/rYfG
Olympus 30mm f/3.5: http://geni.us/el4LeA
Olympus 60mm f/2.8: http://geni.us/cvzcgm

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Results:
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Build & Features:
1st Place = Panasonic 45mm
2nd Place = Olympus 60mm
3rd Place = Panasonic 30mm
4th Place = Olympus 30mm

Autofocus Single for Photo:
1st = Panasonic 30mm
2nd = Olympus 30mm
3rd = Olympus 60mm
4th = Panasonic 45mm

Ease of 1:1 Reproduction & Handling:
1st = Panasonic 30mm
2nd = Olympus 60mm
3rd = Panasonic 45mm
4th = Olympus 30mm

Autofocus Continuous for Video:
1st = Olympus 30mm
2nd = Panasonic 30mm
3rd = Panasonic 45mm
4th = Olympus 60mm

Image Quality:
1st = Olympus 60mm
2nd = Panasonic 30mm
3rd = Panasonic 45mm
4th = Olympus 30mm

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#microfourthirds #macro #lensreview

Comments

John Till says:

I loved this review. Long, yes! But extremely well done in an entertaining and informative way. I was leaning first toward the 60mm but I tend to agree with the conclusion. 30mm 2.8 yes!

Vision0n says:

Thanks for the useful comparison, commendably organised and with a helpful ToC. Really appreciate the trouble.
One thing I noticed though was that autofocus struggled on the audio interface whenever the focus point was aimed at the LED (probably as a result of the contrast detect focusing system). The lenses looked more confident focusing on the lettering as long as the LEDs weren’t interfering with the focus point. Don’t know if you’re able to test that hypothesis, or have you returned the lenses to Camera Canada already? Thanks again for taking the trouble to review these lenses.

The Post Color Blog says:

The 60mm from Olympus is pretty impressive but it’s such a weird looking lens, and I almost can’t get past that haha

Sylvain Duford says:

Thanks for the excellent and very informative video. I think there is a flaw in your methodology though and that is that your point system puts the same weight on all criteria. For me, for example, for a macro lens, the AF is irrelevant as I always focus manually. So image quality and build are most important. Since I like to do pictures of bugs, of course, the longer focal length and waterproofness of the 60mm makes it the undeniable choice.

Rob Solo says:

Very informative video. Thank you for this.

Bernardo Silva says:

Best value ever is when you can get the Olympus 30mm factory refurbished for $99 (like I did :D)!

Peter Kent says:

I am not interested in any of these lenses, I just tuned in for another entertaining and informative video 😀

The Inventar says:

Great video bud! I wasn’t looking for any macro lens but wanted to increase my knowledge as you give so much new information in the videos that I didn’t know.

Gerardo Molina says:

I think both the 45mm & 60mm did worse in the AF test due to the longer design of the lens. I believe, with macro lenses, the design is to have the focus travel back and forth to both ends (or almost) to ensure the focus is not lost at the closest. Theoretically, that travel is way shorter in the 30mm lenses, therefore, focus is faster. I might be wrong though, macro lens design and optics are not my strong suit haha
Great video as always! Cheers!

Cal Bobcat says:

Great analysis. One of the best lens reviews I’ve seen. I picked up the Olympus 30mm last year when Olympus discounted the price to $99. (Yes that was a $200 discount). Sure you have to get real close to your subject but I have great images hand held on my OMD E-M10 of insects and spiders in my backyard. Unless you pixel peep they look great. Loving the value I’m getting out of it. From the review the Oly 60mm and the Panasonic 30mm look like like great lenses also.

Phijay says:

I really thought you were bald

Mikey says:

Very well done, good stuff.

tehtwisted says:

For the Panasonic Leica 45mm the firmware can be upgraded since 2015 for dual-is: http://av.jpn.support.panasonic.com/support/global/cs/dsc/download/fts/dl/es045.html

OneHarp says:

Very, very, very helpful. I’ve been looking at these macro lenses trying to figure out which one is best for me. I had already pretty much decided on the Panny 30mm, but your video really clinched it for me. Thanks!

Andrew Sowerby says:

For me, a great macro lens is all about MF, focus ring feel and throw, and working distance. I’ve tried the Panasonic 30mm f/2.8 and Olympus 60mm f/2.8, and the Oly was the one that felt like the real macro lens to me, purely in those terms.

Definitely would choose the Panasonic as a general purpose lens though.

Kelkschiz says:

The Panasonic 30mm looks like a great little lens. Love the image quality, I.S.2 and AF. I only wish it had a slightly longer focal length… Think I will have to go with the Olympus 60mm. Thanks for the in-depth comparison! Btw, have you ever heard the radio series called Undone?

Amateur Sleuth says:

I bought a ‘JJC’ brand lens hood for the Olympus 60mm. I think it was about ~$12usd delivered, and looks like it belongs with the lens. JJC seem to be a reliable third party for this kind of thing.

EMBE says:

Great review – thanks. And it fit really good to my personal experience. Except of one point: When taking macros, I prefer larger focal lenghts for two reasons. It’s easier to avoid shadows (esp your own) when you take picture in not perfectly lit environment or when you have to shoot pics of some with lots of reflections (like watches for example). And often the pictures simple look so much nicer because it looks some kind of far away from the “realistic” view when you are just looking at it.

I took thousands of macro pics – most of them (and I think the best) with Canon 5D and a Sigma 150 mm macro. I would always try to get the same kind of look.

Borderlands says:

This is how reviews should be done. Low on hyperbole, big on facts.

parshua says:

Gerald, I believe you missed the mark on this one a bit. Normally, longer lenses are preferred by most for macro photography since they allow more distance between the subject and the photographer, which is a good thing if one is photographing sensitive or dangerous substances or creatures, and allow more natural light on the subject. In the case of auto focus, testing on a Panasonic body could potentially give a bit of an advantage to Panasonic’s own lenses due to the DFD calibration. You also didn’t use the base ISO for the shots, which is not how these lenses are normally used in real life. Thanks for your review nonetheless, good job.

simianinc says:

I went with the Olympus 60mm. If you shoot insects, the 30mm is way too close. You can back out with the 60mm. Plus 60mm is a good portrait focal length. On the downside, it’s butt-ugly

Source 128 says:

I dont think you have to double the minimal focus distance (1:1) to get a 2:1 magnification, becaue at close focus the effective focal length changes.

Matt Diver says:

Great video, I’m sure very useful to many. I had the same decision lest year…. went for the 30mm Olympus, and I’m not disappointed even after your review, based on the value and video results.

Christoffer Nelson says:

Great video. I foresee a lot of views on this one.

Leptospirosi says:

It’s a pitty you didn’t show the distance of focussing at 1:1 from the a side like you did to show the Oly 30mm. It would have been an interesting visual comparison

D. Jason Ellington says:

Dude…I’m pretty sure you’re like uh genius. Not like an Einstein genius (haha… no harm meant) but like uh fast thinker type with a splash of attention deficit disorder in a short glass made of hyperactivity genius. Great video…I’m suppose to be getting the Oly 60mm for my birthday from my wife. I’m gonna look at bugs with it, whether they want me to or not, but I hear it has some really nice portrait (of a person) qualities…..so….that’ll be nice. Peace out G.

JD _ says:

Anyone else think it’s annoying that he put like 45 ads in the middle of his video.

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