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Olympus 50mm F2 Macro ZUIKO ED Digital Lens - includes Lens Hood & Case
|Price:||£622.28 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Delivery Details|
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- Bright fixed focal macro lens
- ED glass elements for highest image quality
- Splash-proof Pro lens
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The high-quality ZUIKO DIGITAL 50mm 1:2.0 Macro lens offers an equivalent range of 100 mm on a 35 mm film camera. This is a special macro photography lens designed for use with the Macro flash system but also equally good in normal use. Its 2.0 maximum aperture gives it great light-gathering power. The lens includes an ED element for sharp, brilliant colour images. It offers a magnification of 1:2 (half life size), which has an image magnification size equivalent to life size (1:1) in a 35 mm film photo. Compatible with Olympus E-System DLSR cameras.
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I feel that this is one of the best photographic investments I've made. At the end of the day its a tool but as a fixed focal lens it has forced me to think more about composition than my kit lenses. After becoming familiar with its focal length I've learned to "see" the shot before taking it rather than zooming around and trying to find something. The focal length can prove a little too narrow at times but I appreciate having some limitations as it forces me to be creative rather than snapping away at everything.
Focusing speed and hunting has been raised as issues with this lens. However, I found given reasonable light it performs on par with the kit lenses. The 50mm length gives it a 35mm equivalent view of 100mm, which allows you to photograph people comfortably without being in their faces or too distant.
Overall, if you're like to get close to your subjects and own an Four Thirds camera than this lens is a must.
The lens itself is relatively small as you'd expect for a prime of this type although it's slightly heavier than it looks and certainly feels well built. The design is simple with the only control on the lens being the focus ring which like most of the Zuiko Digital lenses is a focus by wire (turning this ring tells the AF motors to move rather than directly moving the lens). A focus range indicator is the only other item on the lens, this simply shows what range the camera is focussed on which is handy for working with minimum focus in macro shooting. There is a small lens hood which can be reversed for storage on the lens. On the 4/3 format the 50mm focal length equates to about 100mm.
In terms of pure image quality the ZD 50mm is outstanding, it's incredibly sharp all across the frame and is well regarded by many people. Although the 100mm equivalent focal length is a bit long as a walk around lens, combined with the F2 aperture it makes for an excellent portrait lens. Although it lacks the convenience of a zoom which I have to admit I generally prefer, the 50mm is just about always in my bag - it's so small and light that it can easily tuck into a corner without being noticed and there's been a few times where it's saved me when I've been shooting very low light concerts. I've always eyed up the 35-100mm F2 lens as it would give me the quality of the 50mm but the flexibility of the zoom however the 35-100 lens is too much in terms of size, weight and cost so the 50mm stays with me. Its weathersealing has proved itself, I ended up shooting a wedding outside for the afternoon which unfortunately (and unsurprisingly in Scotland) rained the whole time. The E-1 and 50mm never missed a beat the whole time.
You might be wondering why not five stars, unfortunately while the 50mm is a versatile lens it's very much 'a jack of all trades, master of none'. As a macro lens it is only 1:2, only with the EX-25 macro extension can it reach 1:1. The 50mm lens doesn't give much working distance which means you need to have the lens close to whatever you are trying to photograph which can be tricky when shooting insects. The ring flash oddly doesn't fit the 50mm without a surprisingly pricey step down ring.
As a non-macro lens, the focus speed and hunting of the 50mm lens can be somewhat troublesome as Olympus didn't fit any sort of focus limiter to the lens. This means if the camera misses focus it will move all the way through to the macro range and back again which is relatively slow due the lens being a macro lens. A simple focus limiter would stop the lens returning to the macro range which would reduce the problem although as long you make sure you choose a contrasty subject this can generally be avoided especially with the E-3.
Sigma do offer some macro lenses, particularly the 150mm stands out which does have a focus limiter however despite my comments above I do like the 50mm lens - the image quality is superb and while it makes some concessions it is still a good all round lens and the small size and weight means it's easy to carry around. I highly recommend this lens, while I've bought a variety of different ones this remains one of my favourites.
The only thing that stops the lens being perfect is the focusing noise, whether you choose auto or 'by the wire' manual focus. This is noticeably loud on occasions and anyone sitting for a portrait ought to be warned in advance, because it can be rather disconcerting. To the uninitiated user it sometimes feels as though you are damaging the internal focus mechanism, but there really isn't anything to worry about.
So whether you are a four thirds or micro four thirds photographer and interested in the best image quality you can achieve for macro or portraits, this is a superb choice. Disregard the noise if you can and simply enjoy the results, which will make you feel that your photography has moved up to a higher level.
Eventually, I saw the f2 lens offered on Amazon at a realistic reduction and jumped in. How glad I am that I took the plunge, the second I attached the lens to my camera it just looked and felt right, and it performs as well as it feels. The f2 maximum aperture gives a bright viewfinder image and the picture quality is stunning. My main reason for wanting it was as a portrait lens, and as that it is incredible. I have never really got into macro photography, but putting this lens through its paces has added an extra dimension to my photography.
I think this is going to be my favourite lens.
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