Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f2.8 Macro review: For super-sharp outdoor close-ups and video

By Janice Chen - Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lens Review
Introduction | Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 60mm lens performance | Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 60mm versus competition | Conclusion

Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 60mm vs. Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH OIS mounted on Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2

Besides the Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f2.8 Macro, the only other dedicated macro lens made specifically for a Micro Four Thirds mount  and measured on dxomark.com is the Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH OIS, which has an average street price of around $680 (list price: $899.95).  The 45mm Panasonic Leica lens is equivalent to a 90mm for a 35mm camera and unlike the Olympus macro lens offers optical image stabilization, but does not offer a weather-resistant design.

We put the two macro lenses head to head (both mounted on the Panasonic GH2), to see how they compare and found that despite the price difference, the Olympus M. Zuiko was able to match or outperform the Panasonic-made Leica lens on all the DxOMark lens scores.

The lenses scored equivalently on the overall DxOMark Score, with the Olympus coming in at 17 and the Panasonic at 16, with the 1-point difference being statistically irrelevant.  At 9P-Mpix and 8P-Mpix on the Sharpness score for the Olympus and Panasonic lenses respectively, the measured sharpness of the two lenses is also very close and the difference not very noticeable, but looking at the field map at their maximum aperture of f/2.8 (below), you can discern that resolution of the Olympus lens is slightly sharper in the center of the frame.

Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 60mm
Resolution performance at f/2.8 for the Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f2.8 Macro and Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH OIS (from left to right).

Light transmission performance was the same for both lenses, with the Panasonic Leica lens also measuring 0.4EV lower than the manufacturer’s f/2.8 claim with a 3.2TStop score like the Olympus. The Distortion scores were similar as well with both lenses scoring below the 0.2% threshold, indicating that there was no noticeable distortion measured in either lens. Both lenses displayed slight chromatic aberration with scores of 8µm and 10µm respectively for the Olympus and Panasonic lenses.

When it comes to vignetting, however, the two lenses exhibit more of a difference, with the 60mm Olympus lens performing better with a score of -0.7EV compared to a score of -1.3EV for the more expensive 45mm Panasonic lens.  Taking a look at the field maps at maximum aperture below, you can see that the lens shading between the two lenses is very different, with the Olympus lens besting the Panasonic by 2/3 of a stop in the corners.

Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 60mm
Vignetting performance at f/2.8 for the Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f2.8 Macro and Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH OIS (from left to right).