After their recent look at how the OM System M.Zuiko 90mm F3.5 Macro IS PRO performs topside, Backscatter has now put the new macro lens to the test underwater. Designed for cameras with Micro Four Thirds (MFT) sensors, the OM System 90mm is a pro-level lens with a 2:1 reproduction ratio. The MFT crop factor being 2x means the lens is equivalent to a 180mm lens on a full-frame camera, which translates to a substantial working distance—around three inches (8cm) from the end of the lens.
In the “Part 2” video in Backscatter’s updated post, Backscatter CEO Jim Decker and Media Producer Robin Dodd are back to talk about how the lens performed during Jim’s dives. They first cover shooting 2:1 macro and discuss how the three-position focus limit switch on the lens barrel provides ranges for different sizes of subject. Jim notes that autofocus performs extremely well as long as you’re shooting within the range you’ve selected via the focus limit switch: (i) 0.25–∞, (ii) 0.25–0.5 (up to 1:1 macro), and (iii) “MACRO” (up to 2:1 macro).
Jim also experimented with adding diopters, such as the SAGA +5 and the AOI +12.5 close-up lenses, to achieve even greater magnification. He notes the incredible detail you get but also the razor-thin depth of field, which makes nailing focus quite challenging. Robin and Jim point out that while the 180mm-equivalent lens gives you an impressive working distance for small subjects, it’s not meant for filling the frame with bigger subjects, such as for fish portraits, as you would have to back up too much. For most fish portraits, the Olympus 60mm macro is a better choice.
As Jim’s impressive images clearly show, if you get a thrill from seeing the tiniest details on the tiniest critters, this 90mm macro lens on an MFT camera is a tough combination to beat. Check out the video below and head over to Backscatter to study those amazing supermacro shots—up close.
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