Additional Information on Olympus Zuiko lenses
Macro Photography with Zuiko lenses - Part I

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Macrophotography is one of the main attraction of the OM system. In fact, Olympus has been a undisputed market leader in this segment for quite a long spell of time and most often if your primary interest is in close-up or macro works, OM system offers the best solution as a total system to fulfill such requirement. The vast array of precision equipment in the Macrophoto Group gives the creative and scientific photographer alike a perfect grasp of subjects too small to be handled by the standard lenses, and allows maximum magnifications of more than ten times life size. Including everything from close-up lenses and extension tubes to auto bellows, a series of seven macro lenses, macro flash, stands, illuminators., etc., the group comprises the most comprehensive and versatile macrophoto system available anywhere. In fact, even during the early days of the OM system, there were already an array of four macro lenses, among which are the unique 1:1 reproduction ratio 80mm f/4.0 and the 50mm f/3.5 which can equally well be used as a standard lense in the system. Even for In indoor photography every kind of work including reproduction of documents and photographs can be carried out with total control over type of illumination as well as light quality. But no doubt, the most significant breakthrough was the revolutionary TTL Direct OTF Light Measuring flash metering first debuted with the Olympus OM-2(n) which has truly opens enormous amount of photographic possibilities in application of macrophotography. The system which obviates the need for highly critical exposure calculations, and permits completely automatic close distance flash photography. The magnificently comprehensive and simplicity of operation of system accessories have formed the basis which leads to making Olympus the world leader in this field with a diversity of system accessories and range of performance no other 35mm SLR system can match. As this section only focuses on lenses and we will leave other system components aside (you may refer them at the respective OM cameras sections where it outlines their respective functions and usage).

photogroupOLDmdm.jpg macrogroupOLDmdm.jpg
The OM system Macro Photo group provides optimum resolution through a range from infinity to over 12 times life size with quite a wide array of system accessories for such intended use. You can start right from buying a simple close up filter mount on your lense to increase the magnification ratio of the primary picture taking lense, naturally, it has limitations in performance.
<<<--- Images of early OM macro photo and Photomicro lens group scanned from an early OM1 and OM2 system brochure

Conventional macro lenses (even many
ZUIKO Zoom lenses introduced at later stage has a macrofocus feature) are designed to deliver their best performance at magnification up to 1/10 life size and can be used with good results for general close-up photography, As magnification increases to life size or beyond, the lense performance drops sharply. To overcome this problem, Olympus optical engineers created three special macro lenses designed to meet the resolution demands of high magnification photography. The early OM Macrophoto group has a few options of such specialized macro lenses. One of the major problems of macrophotography is that lense quality suffers at magnification of 1:1 or greater. However, an additional consideration is the fact that many times higher magnifications cannot be attained because the lense extension possible is limited by the length of the bellows itself, The three ZUIKO Macro lenses, however, were designed exclusively for macrophotography, recopying and close-up work in conjunction with the Auto Bellows. (A mounting attachment is necessary for the Macro 20rnrn and 38mm). By offering a choice of few focal lengths, the ZUlKO Macro Lens Group enables the photographer to achieve the highest possible resolution throughout the magnification range of each individual lense. The magnification range for each of these early versions of the Zuiko Macro lenses is as follows:

MACRO 20mm f/3.5 - 4X to 12X
MACRO 38mm f/3.5 - 1.8X to 6X
MACRO 1:1 80mm f/4.0 - 1/2X to 2X

Credit: Mr. S. Martin who has contributed his time to prepare the scanning process of the Instruction Manual of the Auto Tube 65-116mm.

The next major Zuiko lens updating program occurred during the first quarter of the '80 saw many subsequent improved and/or new versions/models being introduced. Check at individual sections that follows.

NOTE: The core structure of the early system comprised of four macro lenses, 20mm f/3.5, 38mm f/3.5, 50mm f/3.5 MACRO and 80mm f/4.0. Each of these lenses offer different combinations in their performance, lens spec and usage. However, there is only one true MACRO lense with helical focusing which also acts as a standard lense with the Zuiko AUTO MACRO 50mm f/3.5, with its unique automatic correction system, gives fabulous results from infinity to life size while the remaining lenses would require an intermediate* system accessories such as extension tubes, bellows etc. in order be able to perform focusing . The macrophoto lense group went through a round of upgrade in late 1983 where the two slow speed 20mm and 38mm has been updated with a Zuiko MACRO 20mm f/2.0, Zuiko MACRO 38mm f/2.8 and a tele-macro Zuiko AUTO MACRO 135mm f/4.5, similarly, the 80mm also has been upgraded with an AUTO diaphragm. In 1986, Olympus added another moderately fast speed MACRO lense with standard focal length in Zuiko MACRO 50mm f/2.0 while the last inclusion of the MACRO lenses occurred in 1989 where two tele-macro lense, a Zuiko AUTO MACRO 90mm f/2.0 was being to designed to extend the working range of the MACRO standard lenses into medium telephoto focal length. Thus, there are EIGHT versions of Zuiko MACRO together introduced thus far for OM photographers which has the MACROPHOTO lense group evolved into one of the most comprehensive system in 35mm SLR photography.

* Note: Although the 135mm f/4.5 and 80mm f/4.0 have independent fine focusing for extra convenience, they and the 38mm f/3.5 and 20mm f/3.5 are exclusively for use with the Auto Bellows or Telescopic Auto Tube 65-116)

Note: Half life-size means it will fill the 35mm frame with a subject only 48mm x 72mm (1.92 x 2.88 in.) which is exactly half of a standard 35mm (36mm x 24mm) film format.

<<<--- The images shown in a 10/1992 publication of OM system brochure illustrate two main change in system applications, indoor and extensive availability of flash system for both macro/Photomicro group; besides, the system is "cleaner" in numbers as compared to older days.

Well, the only complaint I have for the OM system as a whole is, the ZUIKO lacks a long reaching, versatile helical focusing macro-tele lense in the system. Although in a way you can use a accessory such as Telescopic Auto Tube and Close-up lense to increase the working range but still, it is not as versatile as a true tele-macro lense in particular when you are shooting on locations. Further, the followed up system has streamlined (a better word for phasing out) many of the older system accessories which has BOTH the macrophoto and Photomicro group less comprehensive in numbers and varieties. However, one main issue contributed to such change of direction is automation which has made both system much easier and precise to operate and has it well compensated. Anyway, except for the little self set desire, what the OM system has to offer still shines in its overall performance and there is no doubt why there are so many great photographers who never stops to excite me with stream of wonderful macro images that keep surfacing all these years.

As the entire Zuiko lense group can separate into two main criteria, one which does not have a Helicoid mechanism in the lense which needs to be used with a medium to focus while another group of Zuiko macro lenses have helical focusing on it own and can be use as a normal lense. As for the first group, common system accessories that enables focusing are Auto Bellow Units, Auto Extension Tube and/or PM-MTob, while the latter are more flexible and versatile as it can be a standalone optical lense and/or using any of the mentioned accessories to achieve higher magnifications. Some older non-helical focusing Zuiko macro lenses may not have auto diaphragm and stopped down metering is required for exposure measurement while most newer versions may have incorporated an automatic diaphragm inside the design. Further, although many of the older system accessories may not be available now but some of these useful gadgets are still surfaced regularly at public auction houses where you can take your time patiently look for bargain.

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<<<--- An overview of combinations of various OM Macro lenses/accessories for respective reproduction ratio. PLEASE study table here first to get a rough idea before proceeding to other pages.

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<<<--- The Zuiko MACRO lense series appeared in a 1983 OM sales catalogue. Please note Olympus has not mentioned early version of the 20mm and 38mm are multicoated.

Zuiko MC MACRO 20mm f/3.5 (discontinued)

This tiny, simple but manually operated Zuiko Macro lense was designed exclusively for macrophotography in conjunction with the Auto Bellows (an optional coupling attachment such as an objective lens Mount PM-MTob is necessary). As early version that published has not been mentioning whether the lense was multicoated but those marketed at later stage (probably after 1978) was believed to have been multicoated to minimize flare and ghost images. The later version was generally indicated as MC lense and usable with other accessories such as Bellows/auto tubes/PM-Mtob combinations.

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The assignment for this lense is to exert high resolution and contrast at magnifications from 4X (5mm x 8mm) to 12X (2mm x 3mm). In macrophotography at such high magnifications, illumination, camera stability and subject's position become hard to fine adjust. The use of a macrophoto stand and accessory illumination devices (such as flash) is recommended. With OM-2 TTL flash with early AUTO thirstier 310 was used but latter Olympus T30 or equivalent can be of good substitutes. The PMT-35, a highly sophisticated macrophoto apparatus, Is available for advanced amateurs and skilled experts. This Zuiko Macro lense was substituted by a faster version Zuiko MC Macro 20mm f/2.0 lense sometime in 1984.


Focal length: 20mm
Angle of view: 9° (at its highest magnification)
Optical construction: 4 elements in 3 groups; Multicoated for later versions unknown for earlier ones.
Diaphragm operation: Manual
Aperture range: f/3.5-f/16
Minimum focus: 0.13m (5.1")

Minimum photographic range: 5mm x 8mm ~ 2mm x 3mm
Focusing: With Auto Bellows/PM-Mtob, later versions with Bellows/auto tubes/PM-Mtob
Filters: 21mm slide-on
Maximum diameter: 32mm (0.2")
Length: 20mm (0.8")
Weight: 70g (2.5 oz)

<<<--- Credit: An OM AUTO BELLOW UNIT. Image courtesy of Mr. Michel Freylich <>. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Recommended Focusing Screens: 1-1*, 1-2*, 1-3*, 1-4*, 1-10*, 1-12#, 1-13* and 1-14*. * Compatible. # The 1-12 (cross hairs-clear field type) offers a brighter image, but the meter built into the OM-1 and OM-2 ton MANUAL) does not give correct light readings, With the OM-2 on AUTO, correct exposures are made on the film but the meter needle does not give correct light readings.


Macrophotography table (72k Jpeg)

| Previous | NEXT | 1/5 The fast speed f/2.0 version of the Zuiko 20mm MACRO and both the Zuiko MACRO 38mm f/3.5 and f/2.8 versions.

Zuiko Macro/Close focus lenses: Zuiko AUTO MACRO 20mm f/3.5 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 20mm f/2.0 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 38mm f/3.5 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 38mm f/2.8 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 50mm f/3.5 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 50mm f/2.0 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 1:1 80mm f/4.0 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 90mm f/2.0 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 135mm f/4.5

Zuiko Fisheye Lenses 8mm f/2.8 Circular Fisheye | 16mm f/3.5 Full Frame Fisheye
Zuiko Ultra-Wideangle Lenses
18mm f/3.5 | 21mm f/2.0 | 21mm f/3.5 | 24mm f/2.0 | 24mm f/2.8
Zuiko Wideangle Lenses
28mm f/2.0 | 28mm f/2.8 | 28mm f/3.5 | 35mm f/2 | 35mm f/2.8 |
Zuiko Standard Lenses
40mm f/2.0 | 55mm f/1.2 | 50mm f/1.2 | 50mm f/1.4 | 50mm f/1.8 | Zuiko 50mm f/2.0 PF
Zuiko Medium-Telephoto Lenses
85mm f/2.0 | 100mm f/2.0 | 100mm f/2.8 | 135mm f/2.8 | 135mm f/3.5
Zuiko Telephoto Lenses
180mm f/2.0 EDIF | 180mm f/2.8 | 200mm f/4.0 | 200mm f/5.0 Auto-T (brief)
Zuiko Super-Telephoto Lenses
250mm f/2.0 EDIF | 300mm f/4.5 | 350mm f/2.8 EDIF | 400mm f/6.3 | 500mm | 600mm f/6.5 |1000mm f/11.0
Special application Zuiko optics:
24mm f/3.5 Shift | 35mm f/2.8 Shift | 500mm f/8 Reflex | AF Zoom 35-70mm f/4.0 | Zuiko 50mm f/2.0 PF

Tele-Converters: 1.4X-A / 2X-A

Zuiko AUTO-Zoom Lenses - Main Index page
| S-Zuiko AUTO Zoom 28-48mm f/4.0 | Zuiko AUTO Zoom 35-70mm f/3.6 | S-Zuiko AUTO Zoom 35-70mm f/4.0 | Zuiko AF AUTO Zoom 35-70mm f/4.0 | S-Zuiko AUTO Zoom 35-70mm f/3.5 ~ f/4.5 | S-Zuiko AUTO Zoom 35-70mm f/3.5 ~ f/4.8 | Zuiko AUTO Zoom 35-80mm f/2.8 ED | Zuiko AUTO Zoom 35-105mm f/3.5 ~ f/4.5 | Zuiko AUTO zoom 50-250mm f/5.0 | Zuiko AUTO zoom 65-200mm f/4.0 | S-Zuiko AUTO zoom 70-210mm f/4.5 ~ f/5.6 | Zuiko AUTO Zoom 75-150mm f/4.0 | Zuiko AUTO Zoom 85-200mm f/4.0 | Zuiko AUTO Zoom 85-250mm f/5.0 | S-Zuiko AUTO Zoom 100-200mm f/5.0 |

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Maintainers for OM Zuiko Site & Message Board: Rick Oleson (Email: Website:, Bruce Hamm (, John Orrell (, Simon Evans, (; Shaun (, Andy Radcliffe (

Special thanks to: Gregory P. Logiodice, Bob Gries, Erwin Voogt, Joel Wilcox, Rick Oleson, Simon Evan and many others for granting permissions to use their images of either lenses, cameras and own pictures appeared in this Zuiko website.

Credit: My old time buddy, Ahmad Ikram, Dr of Rubber Research Institute (RRI), Malaysia who shares the same passion with me and also lending his OM-1n, OM-4 and the Motor Drive 1 to me for preparing some images in this site; Mark Dapoz <>for reminding some broken links; Mr Poon of Foto Poon, Ipoh, Mr Richard, Ampang Park, Mr Lim and Miss Jenny of Foto Edar for their generosity for their OM1(n), OM2n camera and some Zuiko lenses. Mr Hans van Veluwen for mistakenly using some content earlier from his OM website; J Sorensen for providing some useful images to rectify some technical "flaws"; Mr Gen Holst for helping during the early stages of development of this OM site; Mr KKLow for some of his earlier images on the OM-1appeared in this website; Miss Wati and Mirza for helping me to convert this Operation Manual into a HTML format. Mr MCLau for rectifying some mistakes made on the earlier preview sites. A personal tribute to the creator of the OM system and also a site dedicated to all the fans of Olympuses and Zuiko Optics worldwide. Some of the content and images appeared in this site were scanned from OM official marketing leaflets, brochures and instruction manual(s) for educational purposes. Olympus is a registered trade name of Olympus Optical Inc., Japan. Site created 'unfortunately again with an IMac.