I finally broke down the last day of December and purchased a new prime lens for my micro four thirds system, the Panasonic H-HS030 30mm macro. It was on sale and my wife gave me a B&H Photo gift card for Christmas. I could have purchased one of the two Olympus macro lenses, especially the 60mm which is weather sealed. It has focus limiting, which can come in handy to keep the lens from focus hunting in dim light. And the Olympus 30mm is the least expensive of the three. Instead I went with what I hope is the Goldilocks version, where it’s combination of capabilities and price put it in the sweet spot.
In normal daylight the Panasonic focuses quickly and silently. In dim light, it hunts, and it slows down considerably trying to find the focus spot. Since I’m using the Panasonic lens on the Olympus Pen F, its behavior in dim light could be totally on the lens, or a combination of lens and body. Its behavior in dim light is a minor annoyance, but nothing to induce buyer’s remorse. If I have to shoot in dim light I have the Panasonic 25mm f1.4 in my kit, and at two stops faster then the 30mm, I know from quite a bit of experience it works exceedingly well in dim light.
I have two other macros, the original Olympus 50mm f2 four thirds, and the odd-ball 42mm macro setting on the Olympus 12-50mm kit lens that came with the original OM-D E-M5. I never cared at all for the macro mode on the zoom, as it was difficult to work with. The Olympus 50mm macro was and still is an excellent macro lens. I just didn’t feel like spending a small fortune on an E-M1 body for the privilege of continuing to effectively use it with its four thirds autofocus. The 50mm macro is relegate to being used on my last working E-1 body. If the E-1 ever finally dies, I may break down and get a used E-3 or E-5 just to continue to use the 50mm.
Overall I’m enamored with the 30mm. In regular light it’s quite easy to use, and I enjoy being able to focus continuously from infinity down to touching the front element. That’s the kind of walk around lens I like to have, not the zoom. You never know what will show up in front of you, and being unable to get close enough to suite me because I can’t focus that closely has thwarted me too many times to count.
My only complaint so far: I’ve lost the lens cap. I suspect the GingerSnaps found it off the lens and batted it underneath the furniture somewhere in the house one night.