One of the pleasant surprises I got when I received my Olympus OM-D E-M5 was the presence of a Macro Mode on the Olympus 12-50mm kit lens that came with the camera. I first noticed a macro button on the lens and set out to test the capabilities of the lens for photographing macro photos.
First off, macro mode is easy to set up on the Olympus 12-50 lens. Press and hold the macro button and slide the zoom ring forward into the macro position and it turns the lens into a 43mm (86 mm – 35 mm equivalent) prime lens.
The macro mode worked well in the field on a nature hike. The macro mode was extremely convenient when I wanted a closer composition of a flower or an insect. Just press the button and slide the zoom ring and I could focus in closer to the subject.
I tried the lens on both on a tripod and handheld, and with auto and manual focus. I found the autofocus to work well in macro mode. I was able to focus down to around 5 inches from the subject. Manual focus also worked pretty well, although it was tough to hold still enough to manually focus while handholding the camera.
I did find that manual focus was pretty grainy on the LCD in low light which caused manual focusing to be difficult.
Flower Hand Held with Autofocus
Overall, I thought the macro mode on the Olympus 12-50mm worked well. It won’t replace my Canon 100mm macro lens. But, it was very useful in the field for that occasional macro shot. It’s a pretty nice extra from Olympus.