Lens Reviews

The Digital Zuiko 50mm F2 Macro lens was introduced as part of the original line up of Four Thirds lenses in 2003 and purchased by me to complement my 11-22 lens, allowing macro capability, I soon realised this 50mm was capable of much more than this.

Olympus Digital Zuiko 50mmPrior to acquiring it I read on various forums that this is one of the sharpest digital lenses available, irrespective of manufacturer and benchmark tests seem to bear this out. Based on my own real world (read unscientific) experiences I would tend to agree.  Fully weather sealed, it is a very small lens with similar excellent build quality to other professional Digital Zuiko optics, although the barrel does extend a long way when using it at its closest focus point. Images captured at F2 are simply outstanding, especially when wishing to throw the background out of focus. Sharpness gets better at F2.8, 4, 5.6 and 8, and does not deteriorate much when stopped down beyond this. Slight Chromatic Aberration present at F2 soon diminishes at smaller apertures.

Magnification achieves 1:1 when fully extended and this can be increased by adding the EX-25 extension tube, which effectively doubles the magnification, although this is something I have not used yet as I can achieve 2 x magnification from my Zuiko 80mm optic in conjunction with a dedicated close up lens.

It does not just serve as a macro lens though, and is equally useful (and sharp) as a portrait or general purpose short telephoto. Its fast aperture makes is easy to isolate the subject from fore/background detail and used appropriately imparts a wonderful 3D feel on images.

The only negative issue I have found is that if the focus point is missed, it takes a frustratingly long time to cycle through the focussing range and be ready for use again. I have missed a couple of pictures because of this, and now try to remember to switch it to manual focus in certain situations. It is a shame that Olympus never saw fit to include a focus limiter switch to reduce the possibility of this happening. I am still using my E-1 body, and it is my guess is that it would not be such a problem when used with later models as focussing speeds have improved somewhat.

I found this lens as useful (possible more so recently) as the 11-22mm. It serves well as an all-purpose walk around optic and stays on the camera for significant amounts of time. I recommend it highly and cannot imagine getting better image quality from a lens. I have little reason to purchase more Digital Zuiko lenses, as this and the 11-22 meet my requirements well.