The Olympus 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens has a Minimum Focusing Distance of 0.095 meters / .312 feet. While the Olympus 30mm 3.5 Macro Lens has a Minimum Focusing Distance of 0.19 meters / 0.62 feet. In addition, the 60mm Macro Lens has a 1:1 or 1X magnification while the 30mm Macro has 1.25X magnification.
So what exactly does that mean and how close can I actually shoot with my Olympus 60mm and 30mm Macro Lenses both with and without extension tubes? Do I need to buy a super macro lens like the Mitakon Zhongyi 20mm f/2 4.5x lens?
What is Minimum Focusing Distance of a Lens?
The minimum focusing distance of a lens is the closest distance that you can get to your subject when taking a photo. This measures the distance from your camera’s sensor to your subject not the distance from the end of your lens to your subject.
For this blog, I tested the Olympus 30mm and 60mm macro lenses both with and without 10mm, 16mm, and 26mm extension tubes. In the table below, I have recorded the closest distance between the lens and the subject that I could manually focus with each configuration. This blog also has the photographs taken of a US Dime (0.705 inches / 17.91mm diameter) to give you the visual perspective of how close each combination can focus.
|Lens||Extension Tube Length||Additional Magnification||Closest Distance to the Lens (mm)||Closest Distance to the Lens (in)|
|Olympus 60mm Macro||0||86||3.386|
|Olympus 60mm Macro||10mm||17%||77||3.031|
|Olympus 60mm Macro||16mm||27%||73||2.874|
|Olympus 60mm Macro||26mm||43%||68||2.677|
|Olympus 30mm Macro||0||15||0.591|
|Olympus 30mm Macro||10mm||33%||9||0.354|
|Olympus 30mm Macro||16mm||53%||8||0.315|
|Olympus 30mm Macro||26mm||87%||5||0.197|
Additional Magnification from the extension tube is calculated by dividing the additional distance provided by the extension tube by the focal length of the lens (for example: 10mm / 60mm = 17%)
Close Up Macro Test Set Up
I used the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III mounted on a tripod and a Newer 4-Way Macro Focusing Rail Slider to adjust the distance to the subject. I used manual focus and focus peaking to determine when the subject was in focus. I also used a remote shutter release to minimize vibrations when taking the images.
Olympus 60mm f/2.8 Macro
Below are the images taken with the 60mm macro in combination with the different sized extension tubes.
Olympus 30mm f/3.5 Macro
Below are the images taken with the 30mm macro in combination with the different sized extension tubes. Since the 30mm with extension tubes attached can focus so close to the subject, I needed to add an additional light source at a low angle to brighten the subject.
Close Up Macro Test Summary
Paired with different sized extension tubes both the Olympus 60mm macro and the Olympus 30mm macro can provide a wide range of magnification for close up macro photography.
In addition, extension tubes do not have any optics so they are relatively inexpensive. I use a set of Meike 10 and 16mm extension tubes for micro four thirds cameras and they can be purchased for less than $30 USD.
Written by Martin Belan
Testing the Mitakon Zhongyi 20mm f/2 4.5x Super Close Up Macro Lens on Olympus Micro Four Thirds Cameras
Testing the Raynox DCR-250 Super Macro Lens with the Olympus 60mm Macro Lens
Lightweight Nature Macro Photography Set Up for Olympus OM-D Cameras