Marco full Frame or MFT Sigma 105mm or Olympus 60mm

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
ZilverHaylide Senior Member • Posts: 1,229
Re: Marco full Frame or MFT Sigma 105mm or Olympus 60mm

saab900 wrote:

I currently have a Panasonic system comprising of a Panasonic G9 and a Panasonic S1, I'm looking for a modern decent lens for scanning my film negatives.

I'm thinking of purchasing one or the other a Olympus 60mm macro for MFT which will only be used for macro but half the price.

Or sigma 105mm 2.8 which I can use for macro and portraits but costs double.

My real question is does the 60mm Olympus stack up against the sigma 105mm in resolution.

I believe (from theoretical considerations, not personal experience (I have an A7Riv and a Sony macro for it, not either of the Panasonic cameras or macro lenses you are considering)) that the full-frame option would win by enough margin for image quality to make it worthwhile. But those aren't the only considerations.

The image quality reasons:

1) It's easier to make a great lens for a larger format than for a smaller format (the tolerances don't have to be as tight, for the same total resolution (meaning line-pairs per height of sensor)).

2) The Sigma macro is years newer, and lens manufacture has improved in recent years. If you look at test reports, the Sigma is considered outstanding optically, the Oly 60mm is supposedly pretty good but I'm not sure I'd call it great. (IIRC, the only faults of the Sigma are slow AF and lack of optical stabilization).

3) the S1 has 24MP, the G9 has 20MP. A relatively-small difference, but still in favor of the full frame. The difference becomes even a bit further in favor of full frame if you are digitizing 35mm negatives, because the G9, being 4:3 aspect ratio, will not be able to make use of 1/9 of its pixels (2.2 MP) when photographing the 3:2 aspect ratio of 35mm film.

4) Both cameras you are considering have pixel shift, but the S1 is much newer, and supposedly can (somewhat) compensate for motion during pixel-shift. As far as I know, the G9 can't (and IIRC, when tested the G9 pixel-shift years ago, it was particularly prone to being ruined by camera motion/vibration).

Strictly speaking, for this application you shouldn't have any motion, but for other applications (i.e. close-ups in your garden), the S1 pixel-shift with motion compensation could be handy, if it works.

All wins for the Sigma 105 on the Panasonic S1.


1) You have to ask yourself whether you need full-frame quality. That very much depends on how your output will be viewed. Remember, even a 4K display only needs about 9 megapixels. If, on the other hand, you want to print large, you might want to pull as much quality as you can.

2) Also, I do see some potential advantages for the Olympus 60mm on the Panasonic G9:

a) The Oly macro can image a smaller area. (1:1 on MFT covers a smaller subject area than 1:1 on full-frame). Not relevant to you, unless you are digitizing film smaller than standard 35mm, or have other very small subjects and uses you want it for.

(Even there, any smaller negatives might have been made with cheap optics that don't merit sacrificing better performance on the bulk of your archives, instead just do 1:1 on full-frame and crop-in later for any necessary cases. (And you could at least partly compensate by supplementing the Sigma's close-up capabilities with a screw-in achromatic diopter, or extension tubes or a teleconverter if they exist and will fit)).

b) The Oly macro is much smaller and very much lighter than the Sigma. That could be relevant for other uses of it, if traveling with it, or if you have carpal tunnel, arthritis, etc; otherwise perhaps not. Only you can answer your tolerance for the extra weight and bulk of the Sigma (and Panasonic S1).

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