Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm F3.5 Macro Review

November 21, 2016 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 30mm f/3.5 ED Macro is an outstanding performer in the optical department. Centre sharpness is very good wide open, reaching excellent levels at f/5.6. The borders are also very sharp, with optimum performance achieved at f/5.6 and f/8. Geometric distortion is essentially nonexistent, and chromatic aberrations are extremely well controlled too. Vignetting is visible at f/3.5 but goes away upon stopping down. Optically, the only weak point is lens flare – with the sun in the frame, you can see all sorts of streaking and ghosts, along with some veiling. A well-designed lens hood would probably help a lot here, but unfortunately none is included. Focusing is quick and almost silent, and the lens is pretty unobtrusive in 'normal' use. The lens's maximum reproduction ratio of 1.25:1 is unparalleled in its class.

For a small, lightweight and affordable macro lens that also does double duty as a (granted, slightly overlong and not particularly bright) standard prime, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 30mm f/3.5 ED Macro is clearly an excellent performer. The company's own M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro gives you a lot more features – including a distance scale, magnification indicator, focus limiter, brighter maximum aperture and comprehensive weather sealing – as well as a more convenient working distance, making it easier to properly light your subjects and shoot timid creatures such as insects. However, the 60mm lens costs 70-80% more, while being bulkier and heavier, and providing a somewhat lower maximum magnification.

Panasonic's well-regarded Lumix G 30mm f/2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. Macro lens is also a strong competitor, particularly if you own a camera body without built-in image stabilisation – but it's also somewhat heavier and more expensive than the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 30mm f/3.5 ED Macro. 

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 3
Ease-of-use 5
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 4.5