View Full Version : Oly Macro Lens 35 Vs 50mm

13th January 2011, 11:18 AM
Both have a reputation for being slow focus and not so good in poor light.

I'm want to buy one and can see no advantage in going Sigma route.

Intended use: pin sharp flora and fauna and some portrait.

Can I have your considered opinions please?

13th January 2011, 11:20 AM
oh dear - posted in the wrong area. Help!

13th January 2011, 11:54 AM
never mind the area...

I would think (but don't have it) that the 35 would be a bit too close for portrait work


13th January 2011, 12:03 PM
I've moved it to the Lens Focus area for you.

Regarding the lenses, the 50mm is legendary for it's sharpness and IQ but the 35mm is no slouch and is a real bargain. You do get a better working distance with the 50mm and it's worth the extra if you can afford it. Either lens might be a bit too sharp for portraits, unless your subject has perfect, flawless skin!

Focus is slow but for a lot of macro work this isn't a problem. Manual focusing using magnified live view is often better anyway. :)

13th January 2011, 01:32 PM
That's a really good starting point. I'm off to NYC next week and I'll try out both in B&H Photo Video.

At today's exchange the 35mm is 118 and the 50mm is 277 and you always get a chunk off in store as well. :)

13th January 2011, 01:48 PM
The 35 is good for portraits as well as being an excellent macro lens. It is very light and moderatly priced. I find it really good on an EP 2 as well.

13th January 2011, 04:53 PM
I've moved it to the Lens Focus area for you.

Focus is slow but for a lot of macro work this isn't a problem. Manual focusing using magnified live view is often better anyway. :)

In defence of the 50mm's focusing speed - I find it perfectly acceptable (on a E510) when doing a group of shots at roughly the same distance. It is when you want to go straight (for example) from infinity to macro that it looses its way and can take for ever. In other words it would benefit from a focus limiting switch, but with sensible use there is no problem.

However it can take a while on the P1, but the results are so good that I still use it on that camera.

Incdently I always use single point AF when close up, and chose my own critical point of the image


13th January 2011, 06:20 PM
Single point AF yes I'd agree that may be the best solution.


31st January 2011, 11:40 AM
Arrrgh :mad:

Bought the 35mm Macro in B&H (New York) at around 100.

Then flew down to Grenada took a few pictures in the hotel room. Okay but low light so not great.

Next day - outside, wife can't get it to focus on her E410 :confused:

Popped it onto my camera at tried to reset lens - didn't work.

It clicks like the drive motor is somehow not on the right cog. No focus at macro or infinity.

I'm grateful that the warranty is an international one but what a right royal pain in the Harris.

21st May 2011, 10:27 PM
In my opinion, the big difference is f:2.0 vs f:3.5. With f.2.0 you will be able to use lower ISO (=less noise) and control better the out of focus areas..

David Morison
21st May 2011, 11:04 PM
Slow focusing on the 50mm can be frustrating but as I use mine mainly for macro on MF this is not usually a problem. Although the 50mm is bright at f2 who uses that for macro work? Although a little softer and with some AF problems in low light the 70-300 is still very hard to beat!


21st May 2011, 11:25 PM
I find the 35mm a great lens for both macro (its very sharp) and portraits, compared to the 50mm i suppose the f2 vs f3.5 is a major difference, but then on the other hand the 35mm can do 1:1 macro and the 50mm can only do 1:2

22nd May 2011, 07:18 AM
I have both and for portrait work there is no contest between the two, the 50mm wins hands down every time.

What you have to remember is the two times factor of 4/3's,not only for focal length but also for depth field.

So while 35mm (70mm) is not the ideal focal length for portraits it is usable if not to close to the subject. But it is the f3.5 (nearly f8) that is the problem as throwing backgrounds out of focus is a lot harder with the 35 mm.

Outdoor portrait taken with the 50mm at f2.5, with the 35mm that background would have been a lot more distracting.


Although the 50mm is bright at f2 who uses that for macro work?

That would be me David, for the more abstract/artistic macro work.;)

50mm at f2


23rd May 2011, 05:20 PM
Hi -

I've got both.

The 50 is nothing less than extraordinary, but "only" does 1:2 (1/2 life size), while the 35 does 1:1. For serious macro work, there is no substitute.

I do watch photography with the 35+Ring-LED light. Awesome results.

The 50 is, however, the lens to choose if you're only choosing one. The greater working distance is also important out in the real world...


23rd May 2011, 09:52 PM
Focus speed is relative of course, I actually find the 50mm quite quick compared to my Sigma 150 (even with the focus limiter engaged).

I believe every 4/3 user should at least try the 50mm, it's a stunning little lens *yes

8th June 2011, 01:27 PM
I own the 35mm - and it's a great little lens, but definitely looking to get a 50mm in the near future. For portraits, definitely the 50mm is much much much better (as said above by OlyPaul re: dof), but for macro work I'd reckon the 1:1 of the 35mm is absolutely great!

28th June 2011, 02:27 AM
Help! This thread has come at a very good time for me.

I would like to sally forth and purchase a Macro lens and have read what you have all said.
At the moment I can get the 35mm Macro from B & H for $229 + shipping, which seems to me a pretty good deal. The 50mm is temporarily out of stock but is $500 when they have it.
I don't want the lens for portrait - just interested in insects & getting into flowers close up.
I have the 70-300mm which I love.
Would I be disappointed in the 35mm and should I aim for the 50mm or go for the bargain price and have a bit of fun whilst learning about Macro?

Phill D
28th June 2011, 05:17 AM
I don't have the 50mm but do have the 35mm. It's a nice little lens and very cheap but the working distances for true macro are very short. Almost touching the front of the lens at times. If I'd got the choice now (& definitely for 277 as in one of the earlier posts) I'd go for the 50mm for the increase in WD and the f2.0 plus you can always add the EX25. I don't think that works on the 35mm.

28th June 2011, 08:10 AM
If on a tight budget you could always use legacy glass?

28th June 2011, 10:25 AM
Would I be disappointed in the 35mm and should I aim for the 50mm or go for the bargain price and have a bit of fun whilst learning about Macro?

If you have the cash then I would suggest going for the 50mm lens. I can't speak for the 35mm lens but I take the approach of buying the best I can afford. The 50mm lens is absolutely pin sharp and a joy to use. I just feel that if you buy the 35mm lens you will get hooked on close-up and macro and then want the 50mm, might as well go straight for the best.


28th June 2011, 10:57 AM

I have the 35mm F3.5. and it is a very good macro lens that delivers sharp results, but as said before you need to come real close to the subject to take full advange of the lens macro capabilities (magnification up to 1:1). The 35mm is compatible with the EX25 (according to Olympus specs), that would theoretically mean 2:1. I am waiting for an EX25 to be delivered to me so I can confirm the compatibility if you want.

The 50mm F2.0 is a prime lens but magnification is 1:2 only. With the EX25 you would get 1:1 magnification at the expense of losing some light, turning it into F2.8 (?)

So I would say it depends on the application area, on your wallet and on how you want to complement the equipment you already have (the 70-300 supports magnification up to 1:2)


28th June 2011, 11:47 PM
Thanks all - this info has been very useful.

I have now purchased the 35mm - the price was just too good to pass up, and the 50mm isn't available just now anyway from B & H.

Reasoning is that my other lens give me some "stand-off" with closeup and this new lens will give me a chance to experiment on my learning curve and fit in with my gear very nicely.

There are always birthdays etc if the Macro bug really bites. *yes