We put Olympus’s standard macro lens through its paces to see how it stands up
Kevin Carter rates two optics
With all the talk of late concerning full-frame mirrorless, it’s easy to forget that the first mirrorless models were built around the smaller Four Thirds sensor with the promise of truly tiny lenses. This 30mm lens is one such example. It’s the equivalent to a 60mm f3.5 on a full-frame camera, yet it’s wonderfully small and not much heavier than a songbird – you could stash it in overcoat pocket and easily forget all about it.
Macro lenses like this are a good all-round choice as not everyone needs a high-speed lens, though at f3.5 it’s a bit slower than we’ve seen in the past – but then that’s what IBIS is for. It might not be that glamorous, but with no-lens extension and 1.25x (2.5x equivalent) magnification, there’s a lot to like. It’s also nicely made even if it looks a little plasticky. With no AF window there’s room for a large focus ring, and although electronic in operation the action is smooth and focusing is very precise. Autofocus, incidentally, is another highlight. It is faster than you might expect a macro to be and, on the EM-1 II used for testing, there’s very little hunting.
Optically the lens is an excellent performer. Sharpness and bokeh are very good and there’s practically no fringing. It is somewhat prone to flare, so a hood would be useful. Not only that but the 14mm minimum working distance can be restricting at times, but overall, this little lens is easily worth the asking price.
Left aboveDEFINITION The detail in this image is excellent, and there’s no fringing visible either. Optical quality like this isn’t usually possible at this price
Left below FLARE If the little Olympus 30mm Macro has a weakness, it’s lens flare. There’s no hood supplied so you may have to add one