Pink Flower Macro
Macro,  Olympus / OM System,  Photo Gear

Using the Olympus OM-D E-M1 for Macro Photography

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 and Olympus 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lensare quickly becoming my go to camera and lens for macro photography.   My previous macro camera and lens were the Canon 5d Mark iii and Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens which is also a terrific combination for macro.

Reasons to Switch from a Full Frame DSLR to an Olympus OM-D

Why would I switch to the Olympus OM-D setup over the Canon 5d Mark iii?  Here are a few of my reasons.

Light and Compact

This helps in several ways.  Not only is it lighter and more convenient to carry around, I can also slip it in my jacket pocket when out doing bird or wildlife photography.  This makes it easy to take a macro photo if I see the opportunity.  The light weight also helps with ball head slippage that can occur with a heavier camera and lens.

Articulating LCD screen

I normally manual focus my macro photography shots using the LCD screen on the camera.  The articulating LCD screen on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 makes it easy to focus when composing a high or low shot.

Bee on a Yellow Flower Macro

Depth of Field

The 2.0 crop factor of the micro four thirds line of cameras helps to get everything in focus on a close up photo without using focus stacking.

Easy Access to Macro Camera settings

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 was redesigned with more buttons to give quicker access to camera settings.  Settings such as manual focus and 2 second timer can be quickly accessed from the top of the camera.  I also set the magnify function to the Fn1 button and Focus Peaking to the Fn2 button for quick access.

Related Posts
Setting Up WiFi on the Olympus OM-D E-M1
Putting Focus Peaking to the Test on the Olympus OM-D E-M1
The WiFi Feature on the Olympus OM-D E-M1

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  • Vlad

    I would think that exellent inbody stabilization of the olympus would help a lot for those quick off hand shots.

    Do you use the 60mm macro? I'm thinking about gettng one myself.

    • Martin Belan


      Yes, I really like the 5-axis image stabilization on the Olympus OM-D E-M1.  It helps alot with macro and low light work.  I do use the Olympus 60mm macro.  Its a really sharp lens and it’s small and lightweight – fits in your pocket when hiking. 

      Thanks for visiting the blog and leaving a comment!


  • Colin Bell

    Can you download the New Firmware that gives you inbuilt Photo Stacking for this camera ? (I think its 4.2 or something), some say yes, and some say no.. Have you done this yourself?

    • Martin Belan

      Hi Colin,

      Thanks for leaving a comment! According to the Olympus website, firmware upgrade 4.0 provides the focus stacking function for the OM-D E-M1. I just checked my E-M1 and it has been upgraded to version 4.0 of the firmware and Focus Bracketing and Focus Stacking are available on the camera. Focus stacking does not work with all Olympus lenses. Maybe that is part of the confusion.


      • Colin Bell

        Many thanks for your reply Martin. In the end I recently purchased the Em1 Mark 3 and the 60mm Macro lens. I got a terrfic deal so couldnt resist it. Although It does have the Photo Stacking feature, I’m finding it is a bit Hit and Miss and giving mixed results if I am honest. For anything that is remaining still, I find the HD setting and stepping down to about f6 or even F9 is actually giving me the best results, I will be able to test it out fully once the Spring and Summer arrive I think. I would love to know what your favourite settings are for your Macro work however, this would probably be a great help. Many thanks, Colin

        • Martin Belan

          Hi Colin,
          It really depends on the type of macro subject that I’m shooting. In the field for insects, etc., I use the em-1 Mark III, 60mm macro, and sometimes extension tubes, with a flash – no tripod. I find this to be best and quickest way to photograph macro in the field. For other subjects that I photograph at higher magnifications (like snowflakes), I use a tripod and focus stacking or focus bracketing. I find that focusing at the closest part of the image works good for focus bracketing while focusing about a 1/4 / 1/3 of the way in for focus stacking works well. I’ve posted a few blogs on using both flash and bracketing / stacking for macro – look under the blogs category. Nature – Macro in the top menu.

          Thanks for leaving the comment.


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