Lenstip from Poland has a review of the Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm Macro lens, which is quite simply the best macro available for µ4/3rds. It’s also useful as a portrait lens even when used wide open, which the nice test photos show. These were taken with an E-PL1 by the way, showing that for something like that, this older camera is still a good choice.
That said, the sensors of newer or other cameras beat them of course. DxOMark has measured and reviewed the new E-PL5 with getting practically the same results as with an OM-D E-M5, which was to be expected. It’s lots better than an E-PL1, which you can see here, and practically on the level of a Nikon D90 now, slightly worse than a Nikon D5100.
The problem is: with a price of 699€ including its kit lens, both mentioned Nikons are cheaper right now, and as typical SLRs, they both offer built-in optical viewfinders and also better focus following/tracking. So while for us and our nice lenses we have already, an Olympus E-PL5 or even an OM-D E-M5 are compelling upgrade paths for the future, for a new buyer or for anyone’s typical Christmas shopping, these older Nikons look like a much better choice (in case you don’t need the small weight and size of a µ4/3rds camera). Now that the D5200 is announced, those who are interested in saving should probably run instead of walk to their local camera stores to get a D5100 instead, or – for a bit more “pro” appearance – a D90.
I really like those Olympus cameras. But compared to a mechanically much more complex (and more expensive to build) DSLR, they are way overpriced IMHO. That’s why I waited and bought my E-PL1 for under 240€ – including its good kit zoom.
Oh, and one more thing to consider: tho the sensor of a D5100 might be better than the one of an E-PL5, don’t give too much weight to these low-light-high-ISO measurements: first you seldom really need them (at least I don’t, YMMV), and second the image stabilization which is built into the Olympus bodies more than makes up for this. You can still hand-hold exposure times at low ISOs with Olympus of which you could only dream of with using other brands with a prime lens which is not stabilized.
Choices, choices, I know. I wish everyone a nice Xmas shopping. Most important: go to your local store and handle them. And then also buy one from your local store, as long as you’re lucky enough to have one around.
Thanks for reading.