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All other DSLR's and Four Thirds, 4/3 All DSLRs excluding Canon and Nikon mounts ie Sigma, Pentax, Olympus, Sony, Leica R Back DSLRs and 4/3 System

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  #1  
Old March 1st, 2008, 04:05 PM
Robert Watcher Robert Watcher is online now
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Default Impressive Olympus 12-60mm close focus

I am so pleased with my Olympus E-510 with 12-60mm f2.8-4 lens - particularly surprising (because I wasn't expecting it) is the close focus accuracy and resolution I am getting with it.

My daily working combo in Central America are this setup along with an almost identically sized (and look) Nikon D40 with 18-200VR lens. In the past I have been very pleased with the close focusing capabilities of the Nikon 18-200. When working side by side however, the Olympus is far more accurate and allows for much closer focus distance. Close up shots of flowering cactus' are an easy chore to precisely focus on with the Olympus - whereas with the Nikon, I routinely miss focus, with the senor generally finding a point behind where I had intended.

The Olympus 12-60 is very sharp and detailed - even wide open as this series shows. They are snapshots that I just threw together where I experimented with the Live View feature and easy visual manual focusing on the Live View screen - - - - things I can never do accurately with either the D40 or my D200 (manual focus that is).

These shots were with the camera set at 400ISO to 800ISO hand held by kitchen window for lighting (all uncropped):

CF cards - 60mm f4@1/50'th 800ISO (bottom cards fall outside range of DOF with the lens wide open)


10,000 Colon - 60mm f4@1/60'th 400ISO


Coffee Bag - 60mm f5.6@1/25'th 400ISO (softening on edge is a result of minimum DOF and of the bag being curved and being much closer to the lens)


Processing done on basic Macbook ($1000 variety) using Adobe Lightroom for management and processing
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Old March 1st, 2008, 09:54 PM
Georg R. Baumann Georg R. Baumann is offline
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Hi Robert,

I did not have a chance to use this lense yet, still working with my trusted ZD 14-54, but I sure could use the additional 2 mm wide angle.

Let aside loosing 1mm on the wide end, would you think that the 12-60 could be a valid substitute for 14-54 +11-22 combi ?
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 06:07 AM
Robert Watcher Robert Watcher is online now
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I have never felt that the 11-22 is wide enough for what I am used to with a super wide. In my old Olympus days, I really loved my 21mm and used it often - but got used to 18mm when I purchased an 18-35 for my Nikon film cameras and later heavily used my Sigma 10-20 on Nikon DSLR which gave me an effective 15mm on the wide end. Unfortunately Olympus' 7-14 which gives about the same range, is very expensive.

I know of many film photographers who routinely worked with 24mm lenses and preferred that length - - - and so the 12-60 to me provides such an ideal range giving me that extra edge over an effective 28mm - plus the extra reach for an effective 120mm at the long end. I personally am not going to purchase an 11-22 for the sake of a couple of mm. Now if I already owned the 14-54 (which I did at one time and really liked it), then I may consider the 11-22 as it is a couple hundred dollars less that the 12-60. Apparently the Sigma 10-20 is also available for the Olympus mount giving a 20-40 effective range. I really like the image quality of the Sigma on my Nikon cameras.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 07:22 AM
Robert Watcher Robert Watcher is online now
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Thought I would compare side by side my 2 camera setups this morning - to make sure that what I suspected (nikon not as close focusing and backfocus) is true. I know that I'm not dealing with macro lenses here - but want to maximize the use of my general purpose lenses. Here are my findings on an available carton of "leche" (milk). The first two images are both full frame from the camera.

I used the Olympus 12-60 at the 60mm setting and got as close as I comfortably could - focus may have still been available a tad closer. Shot wide open at f4 400ISO. This was shot handheld using manual focus with Live View:



I used the Nikon 18-200VR at something close to 60mm on the scale (turned out ot be 56mm) and move in close and then out again until it would lock focus and allow the shutter release to be pressed. Shot wide open at f5 400ISO. This was shot handheld using auto focus as manual focud is almost impossible to do accurately with the D40:



Conclusion - - - as I suspected, the Olympus 12-60 focuses much closer than the Nikon 18-200 at the equivalent setting.

Now this is where I knew that I had issues with the way I use my Nikon camera. I have shot many many tight closeups of flowers, textures etc over the last 4 weeks in Costa Rica - and the Olympus always seemed to provide consistently sharper images and nailed the focus point I was after, far more consistently than the Nikon. Up until this test, I have also used Auto focus with the Olympus 12-60 for those flower and texture shots and found that to be true. For this example I used manual focus on the Olympus to see how accurately the focus point could be held and Auto focus with the Nikon - - - by placing the Focus sensor directly on top of the "2%" text. Both camera sensors filled the frame with the "2%" text.

Close up crop of above image taken with Olympus 12-60:



Close up crop of above image taken with Nikon 18-200VR:



Conclusion - The Olympus lens focus is nailed right on while the Nikon missed the point I was after and is slightly behind (which I have also found to be the case with my D70 and D200 Nikon cameras under certain circumstances)

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Don't get me wrong though. Up until I used both cameras side by side, I was totally happy with the closeup results of my Nikon 18-200 lens and I still use both cameras side by side for my daily shooting. The 18-200 is a wonderful lens for a lot of the work I do and I am finding out that the 12-60 is an awesome lens - particularly for the odd closeups that I want to capture. Only thing better would be a dedicated macro which I don't have and probably would not justify spending the money on.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 05:41 PM
Robert Watcher Robert Watcher is online now
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Here is the comparison of the look of my 2 setups here in Costa Rica. I am amazed at how close they look and have mixed them up many times when grabbing for the one I want. I finally took the black electrical tape off of all the logos (I don't any identification showing when shooting - and thus drawing attention to what camera I am using - - - so cover them all up in normal working conditions) so I could tell the difference.

I took this tonight with the only other camera we have with us - - - my wifes little point and shoot. I kept the flash off so holding my breath, the exposure is 1/6'th second and a little fuzzy at the back - - - but you can get the idea:




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Old March 2nd, 2008, 07:03 PM
Robert Watcher Robert Watcher is online now
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Here were a couple of real life examples where I noticed that I preferred shooting with the Olympus setup.

These shots were taken first with my Nikon setup:





Even though the sensor was smack dab on the red bud, it misses and the focus shows on the lower areas which are farther away


Here is one that focused pretty well with the Nikon - so not all is bad - - - - although I was aiming for the tip, not the green part.



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Old March 2nd, 2008, 07:03 PM
Robert Watcher Robert Watcher is online now
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And these shots were taken with my Olympus setup:

I took this same flower with the Nikon and it was not acceptable. I could try again, but why bother when this one is right on first crack






I set the sensor on the very small tip of the flower and that is what ended up in relative focus. Any miss ever so slight here was more a result of me not being on a tripod and shaking a little thus moving off off the puny target
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