I want an OM, eduate me.

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by franny, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. franny

    franny Member

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    OK so I had debated with OM vs Nikon for a few days and I think I'm going OM. Which lenses should I get?

    I was thinking of the following:
    28mm f2.0: I hear this is good and I want a fast wide-angle that is good at close-distances.
    50mm f1.4 or 50mm f2.0: I don't really need the f1.4 but I hear that the f2.0 has the best zuiko 50mm bokeh and is their sharpest..
    50mm f1.8 (MIJ): Dirt cheap and one of Zuiko's sharpest too. I figured this would be good for infinity shooting.
    85mm f2.0: I want a short moderately fast tele for portraits. This lens should be good enough. Not as sharp as the 100mm f2.0 but fast tele's aren't as important to me as wides.

    1. Is the 28mm f2.0 good at infinity? If not, then I would probably add a slower wide angle (24-28) if it were better. Is there a slow wide angle lens known for being sharp, stopped down, and focused at infinity? Usually, with faster lenses, this is not the case.

    2. I would eventually like to add a fast semi-wide: 35mm f2.0 or 40mm f2.0. The difference in perspective, to me, doesn't matter. I know that the 40mm f2.0 is pricey but how does it rate with the 35mm f2.0. I hear that the 35mm f2.0 is no good, but both lenses get mixed reviews. The 40mm focuses very closely, I've read. Closer than the 35mm's and 50mm's (outside the macro) but I haven't verified this. It seems very versatile.

    3. Is there a serial numbers I should look out for? In regards to the 28mm and 85mm? I know that most people agree that the late 50mm f1.4's (SN > 1.1 milion) and 50mm f1.8's (MIJ) were better than the earlier ones, but I hear nothing in regards to the other focal lengths.

    4. I want a power winder. I just want something to advance the film automatically? Any winder will do, right?
     
  2. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    I would always go with the fastest lens you can afford when it comes to 35mm. Always. You never know when you'll be in a situation where you'll need that little extra bit to get a hand-held shot.
     
  3. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Only OM lens I have ever used is the 50mm f/1.8 and it's ok.
    If you want winder/motor drive you should not have chosen the OM. Although the OM-1,2,3,4 could accept either a winder or a full fledge 5fps motor drive but they are hard to find and expensive. On the other hand, Nikon's motor drives are plenty and priced reasonable today.
     
  4. franny

    franny Member

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    a winder is not big deal but when I checked ebay, I thought they were cheap? but i can live without one...
     
  5. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    If you would like some advice...

    Hi,
    I have been a dedicated OM user for over 25 years. My advice to you if you are interested in Olympus is to start simply and see how you get along with the camera. The OM system is a very extensive and capable system and I have been adding lenses and other bits and pieces aggressively for several years now and there are still a lot of things that I don't have yet.

    1) The 28mm f2.0 Zuiko---

    The 28mm f2.0 Zuiko, the 90mm f2.0 Zuiko-Macro and the 180mm f2.0 Zuiko are the only three f2.0 OM lenses that I do NOT own. I have the 21mm f2.0, and the 24mm f2.0 which take 55mm filters. The 28mm f2.0 Zuiko takes a 49mm filter and the lens hoods are much more readily available. The 28mm F2.0 lens had one revision from the original. The later version had 9 elements in 8 groups. Like the other F2.0 wide angle Zuikos, the 28mm uses a floating element design to correct for close focusing distances. Earlier lenses with the "MC" designation on the front are Multi-Coated. I never heard anything bad about the 28mm F2.

    Here is an example from the 21mm F2.0 Zuiko: Tracks.jpg

    2) The 50mm f1.4 Zuiko and 50mm f1.8 Zuiko---

    I have a fair amount of experience with the OM standard focal length lenses. My first 50mm lens was a 50mm F1.4 Zuiko with serial #1,123,989 and I bought it new in about 1985. It is my most used lens. I like it well enough that I bought another a few years ago so that I will always have a back-up. This lens is quite sharp even at wide apertures and I would not be without one. I also have a silver nose 50mm f1.4 G. Zuiko and it is also a good performer but not quite as good as the later ones. The Olympus nomenclature of G. Zuiko means that the lens is single coated. Having the f1.4 aperture is quite valuable indoor or in low light, especially if you don't like to use flash. Definitely get a hood. They are easy to find and relatively cheap.

    I also have a 50mm f1.8 Zuiko and the reputation of these is that they are incredibly sharp. My copy certainly is.

    I also have the 40mm F2.0 and the 50mm F2.0 Macro lenses. The 40mm I use sparingly and the 50mm f2.0 Zuiko-Macro I am using quite a lot. Here is a sample from the 50mm f2: August_Grass.jpg

    3) The 35mm F2.0 Zuiko vs. the 40mm F2.0 Zuiko---

    I have both of these but these are seldom used. They are too close to 50mm which is my most used focal length. Of the two I prefer the 35mm f2.0 which I find to be more useful.

    4) The 85mm f2.0 Zuiko---

    Of the four Zuikos from 85mm to 100mm the two with the best reputation are the 90mm f2.0 Zuiko-Macro and the 100mm Zuiko f2.0. I own the 100mm f2.0. This lens is a real beauty. Extra-low dispersion glass, and close focus correction for aberation. Seven elements in six groups. This lens is amazingly sharp and a great performer even at f 2.0. The only one that is better in the Olympus line-up is the 90mm f 2.0 Zuiko-Macro. I also have the 85mm f2.0 and it is a good lens and give you more bang-for-the-buck.

    5) Serial number/Labeling---

    Most of the lenses were improved over time. Some people have complained that build quality was better with earlier lenses. Earlier lenses labeled MC are multi-coated. Lenses labeled F. Zuiko, G. Zuiko, or H. Zuiko are single coated. All lenses made after about 1982 or so are multi-coated. Most of the lens line saw changes over the 30 years of production. It depends what focal lengths you are looking at.

    6) Winders and Motor Drives---

    Winder 1 and Winder 2 give a rate of 2.5 frames per second and Motor Drive 1 and Motor Drive 2 give you 5 frames per second. Winders use AA batteries and the Motor Drives use the dedicated Ni-Cad Control Packs or the M. 18v Control Grip. I use mostly OM-4T's with Motor Drive 2 and the M. 15V Ni-Cad Control Pack 2. Chances are about 90% that the Ni-Cad cell are kaput which means that you will pay $150 to get the pack re-celled and overhauled. The Winders are probably a better choice for most casual users.
     
  6. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Nice summary Dave,

    Taking your advice, a good three to invest in would be...

    28mm f/2.0, 50mm f/2.0 Macro, 85mm f/2.0

    The only "issue" with this set is the Macro requires a 55mm filter. You could simplify matters to stay with lenses that use 49mm filters.

    You hinted at the "problem" having lenses in the 35mm/40mm/50mm range... you wind up with lenses you don't use very often because they compete with each other.

    I pick up the 40mm f/2.0 often and really enjoy it. I don't see why a 50mm f/1.8 wouldn't do just as well in its place.

    I think a good value set would be the 28mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.8, 85mm f/2.0
     
  7. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    Olympus OM

    For starters, I have all the lenses you are asking about and then some. You won't be sorry for going with Zuiko glass. If I were getting my toes wet in OM gear, I'd probably go for the following:

    24mm f2.8, 35mm f2.8, 50mm f1.4 (1,100,XXX) and the 85mm f2. The f2 lenses are good lens and priced accordingly. They also tend to be larger which isn't a problem for someone with large hands, such as me, however that may be a consideration. I'd add two other items to my kit. A set of auto extension tubes and a Vivitar Macro-focusing 2X extender. You should be able to do all that with a decent body at around $1,000 or less. The power winder 2 is cheap and should fit into the kit at still under $1,000. Bill Barber
     
  8. franny

    franny Member

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    Thank you all for your advice. A lot of lenses that I look forward into using.

    I'm going to start with an OM-1 and a 28mm f2.0. I'm craving a 28mm the most (I'm used to 35mm and 50mm and have not too much interest in tele's--I just want one for "completeness").

    I'm not sure which lenses to start with because I see pros and cons with different lenses and focal lengths. I'd like filter consistency but it seems that there are some good 49mm and 55mm filter threaded zuikos. I'm going to assume all Zuiko's are great, that will make things a bit easier.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2012
  9. Chris Nielsen

    Chris Nielsen Member

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    The 28 2.8 is 1/4 the price of the 28 2.0 and takes the 49mm filters. I am certainly no expert but I love my 28 2.8 to death. If I was stuck on a desert island and could choose but one camera and lens I think I would take my OM2N and 28 2.8. Have never used a 28 2.0 but I adore the images from my 2.8
     
  10. Ulrich Drolshagen

    Ulrich Drolshagen Subscriber

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    I have one of the much bashed 1.4/50 of the lower serial numbers. I can not say anything about the better ones but as far as I have read, the newer ones are only better wide open. From 2.0 on the newer ones aren't much better.
    For the really shallow DOF I do not use mine wide open. In dim light, I just benefit from the slightly brighter finder than my 1.8 MIJ. Otherwise I prefer the latter for its smaller size.
     
  11. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    Glad that you chose Oly. I prefer mechanical bodies even though TTL/OTF(OM-2sp) is good to have but need constant supply of batteries and after a while I really loose motivation.

    I would rather spend money on film/paper then on fast lenses. 28 f/2.8 or 28 f/3.5 is no bad lens at all to print on 8x10 inch paper.
     
  12. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    You have only mentioned prime lenses. However the Olympus 35/70 F3.6 constant apperture lens is just about the sharpest lens I HAVE EVER USED! Their quality is shown by how much they cost when new. In UK I doubt if you will find one which is perfect for less than £130. These lenses when they were being sold new were priced around the £300+ mark and this was perhaps 15 years ago. The other two version sold by Olympus the F3.5-4.5 and F4 constant were less than half that.
     
  13. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    How many times are you likely to use the 28mm f2 at its widest aperture?....Will it be enough to offset the inconvenience of having to cart around seperate size filters?.....As has already been mentioned the 2.8 version is far cheaper.....When I used Olympus I had 28mm 2.8, 50mm 1.8, 100mm 2.8. A compact outfit with all the same size filters.

    Are you aware that the mercury batteries that power the OM1's meter are no longer available in most countries?....There are alternative silver oxides available of slightly higher voltage, which can be used with a Wein Cell. since I don't use Olympus anymore I cannot vouch for their accuracy.
     
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  15. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    Converting them to use Silver Oxide batteries should not be a problem for anybody who can CLA.
     
  16. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    There is a company in UK called 'The small battery company. It sells an electronic device the same size as the old mercury cells into which you insert a 1.5v Silver oxide cell and this reduces the voltage to 1.3. Silver oxide are cheaper and last a lot longer than a more expensive Wein cell does. I think the UK price is about £29 or converted approx $42.
     
  17. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    In UK there is one gentleman named Michael Spencer doing great service for OM's. He is also converting them to use 1.55v battery. All my OM-1s went were serviced by him.

    Just for the info: http://www.camerarepairs-r-us.co.uk/
     
  18. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    Actually, the 28mm f2.0 Zuiko uses a 49mm filter, same as the standard lenses.
     
  19. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    You're quite right, I was confusing the "Wein Cell" for the adaptor you mention. Although I gave up on Olympus years ago, I'd be interested to hear if the above use of silver oxides with converter is satisfactory? (i.e. accurate)
    since other older cameras that previously used the mercury cells also need this conversion
     
  20. kanzlr

    kanzlr Subscriber

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    The 28 f2 can be had for a reasonable price if you are prepared to wait. I managed to get one from eBay for € 178,-- in very good condition, just a few days ago. It is a bit bigger than the 2.8, but still smaller than the 28/2.8 Distagon for C/Y for example.
     
  21. Ulrich Drolshagen

    Ulrich Drolshagen Subscriber

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    And every OM1 *must* have a CLA anyway to get rid of deteriorated foam material between the prism and the housing. The light seals need to be replaced either.
     
  22. franny

    franny Member

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    1. I don't plan on using the on camera meter. I handheld meter. If I were to use an on camera meter then I would would probably want autoexposure too and opt for the OM2n, maybe the OM4Ti but I am not so familiar with this camera. Anyways, metering is not the issue.

    2. I want a fast wide angle prime. And the 28mm f2.0 as someone else as mentioned is 49mm filter thread. The annoying 55mm filter threads of the 28mm-85mm lenses are the 35mm f2.0 and 50mm f2.0 lenses. I want the 50mm, but not so much the 35mm. Anyways, I shoot low-light often or I'm caught indoors with ISO 100 film. I can perhaps carry a second body for ISO 400/ISO 1600....but the 28mm f2.0 isn't as highly priced as some of their other lenses. I see them go for $200-$300 which isn't so bad in my pinion, but the 28mm f2.8 are much cheaper.
     
  23. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    I was using Gossen digisix when shooting in Italy by loosely employing BTZS.
     
  24. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    OM is about a small system to me. I'd forget the winder....one more battery to go dead and one more thing to haul around. Besides the manual winding feels so good.
     
  25. Ulrich Drolshagen

    Ulrich Drolshagen Subscriber

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    franny,
    don't even think about using an OM1 in the long run without having it CLA'd. The light seals will have been deteriorated to some sticky goo. The same material is used inside the prism housing and is eventually destroying the prism. Something to check when purchasing one by the way. Anyone doing the CLA for you will convert the meter to. It's no big deal to do it.
     
  26. franny

    franny Member

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    I went to a photography store and checked out the OM's and I like them. I think I would be just as happy with the Nikon F bodies too though. I have limited experience with SLR's, but I believe that I can adapt to either ergonomics. A solid body is important to me but the OM's feel solid enough. Honestly, the Nikon F's feel a little more solid but I don't doubt the OM durability.

    I mostly shoot 35mm rangefinders (Leica's) but I only have 35mm and 50mm lenses. The reason for me wanting an SLR system is because:
    1) Leica (and Cosina, Zeiss, Konica) rangefinder lenses are by no means cheap. I can only justify 35mm and 50mm lenses because those, to me, are the most useful focal lengths for general applications. I also have some doubts in the Cosina/Zeiss durability (but that is an entirely different discussion), so I'd prefer to stick with Leica and Konica (I have no experience with Konica...only early Leica's, Nikon's, and Canon's).
    2) I want to try wider and longer lenses, but mostly wide angles. Even if you ignore the cost, wider and longer lenses seem cumbersome. I don't like the idea of external viewfinders and I do not want to buy another body for 28mm framelines.
    3) I want a camera with precise framing (portraits mostly). OM's don't offer 100% coverage but they seem good enough (97%, I think?).

    With this in mind I'm actually rethinking the idea of f2 lenses. After a few years of shooting 35mm/50mm I'm dying to try wider and longer lenses. I think I might benefit more from buying a few f2.8/f3.5 lenses and then "upgrading" to f2 lenses for my favorite focal lengths if I feel that f2.8/f3.5 lenses are limiting.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2012