OM vs Nikon System

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

  1. franny

    franny Member

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    I want to dip into one of these systems but I'm having trouble weighing the pros and cons for each system. My interest is in general use and portraits (handheld and tripod) without flash.

    Mounts: I'm choosing these two mounts because they are moderatly available, affordable, and compatibile with digital bodies. Canon FD isn't compatible with Nikon/Canon DSLRs. Leica and Contax are too expensive, less available, and have compatibility issues I think. I never really thought too much about Minolta and Pentax, but I see no reason to choose those over Olympus and Nikon.

    Bodies: I like both bodies for different reasons (OM1,OM2,F2,F3). Olympus is cheaper, smaller, and lighter. Nikon is more expensive, larger, and heavier. Nikon feels a little better in my hand but I can work with either body.

    Lenses: I'm interested in the following focal lengths: 28, 35, 50, 85, 100/105. I want atleast f2 on the wide end but maybe a stop slower for the long lenses because it is less likely that I'll be using those handheld indoors. I care about bokeh but I'm not crazy about it. I'm also not crazy about anything faster than f2 unless the quality is worthwhile since most lens designers take the faster lenses more seriously.

    If I go Zuiko, then I was thinking of the following setup:
    OM1 and OM2
    28mm f2.0, 50mm f1.4, 85mm f2.0
    In the future, I would perhaps add 35mm f2.0 and 100mm f2.0 or perhaps 35mm f2.8 and 100mm f2.8 for filter thread consistency.

    If I go Nikkor, then I was thinking of the following setup (All AI-S):
    28mm f2.0, 50mm f1.4, 105mm f1.8/ f2.5
    In the future, i would add 35mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.4 or 35mm f2 and 85mm f2 for economy and filter thread consistency..

    Zuiko vs Nikkor Q's:
    Who makes the better lenses? at the respective focal lengths. This is very subjective but I hear mixed reports. Some praise Zuiko and others criticize them. Same with Nikon.
    -Which lenses are sharper?
    -Which lenses have better bokeh?
    -Any visual size comparison?

    Nikkor Q's:
    -Which 35mm should I get? I hear that the f1.4 is a dog, if that is the case then I may as well go with the f2.0 lens.
    -Which 105mm should I get? The Sonnar 105mm f2.5 is legendary, but to me, it seems that this lens might be a bit over-rated because it is a Sonnar and everything. I'm not sure.


    From what I gather, they both made very nice 28mm's but poor 35mm's. This is atleast relative to their other lenses. I'm really not too concerned with 50mm and tele's because those are less likely to be screwed up.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2012
  2. pierods

    pierods Member

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    I have never used an OM system, but there is a large side aspect to your question.

    If you go with Canon and Nikon bodies, specifically the autofocus models, you can use today's lenses with them.

    This is not so unimportant as it may sound.

    Today's lenses are OBJECTIVELY and PUBLICLY analyzed to DEATH, so all of your questions are answered and you can make objective comparisons.

    So for example, the Nikon 35mm f/1.4 has only slightly more resolution than the 2.0, in the center of the image, but much more on the sides:

    http://www.photozone.de/nikon_ff/596-nikkorafs3514ff?start=1
    http://www.photozone.de/nikon_ff/444-nikkor_afd_35_20_ff?start=1

    but this is only important for digital sensors, not film - so yes, the $1300 difference is not justified, and yes, the Canon 35 mm f/2.0 is inferior:

    http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/428-canon_35_2_5d?start=1

    (Canon or Nikon don't make a difference here - you can get an autofocus body from either brand for $50).

    Old lenses - ask, guess, try, maybe, let me develop a couple hundred test rolls...
     
  3. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    OM-1s are good but cannot compare with Nikon, Nikons are better.

    Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 is very good lens if you find one with SN > 1.1million. I do have one with < 1.1million, which I rarely use.

    Zuiko 85mm f/2.0 is very good lens, not particularly sharp wide open.

    Zuiko 28mm: I can say it is very good for travel esp., city scapes. I have one with f/3.5 and I shoot mostly @f/8.0 or @f/11.0.

    OM + Zuiko is very compact.
     
  4. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Here's the simplified answer, I own both systems, and practically have the same setups you are looking to get. I like my Olympus's, and frequently grab them over the nikons. Both have very good image quality, but I would have to give it to the zuikos. The size and weight make quite a difference too, the more compact bodies and lenses make them a pleasure to carry and use.

    It is hard to recommend one over the other as many people have their own personal preferences, and I am sure many will chime in on both sides for either one. Best bet is to try them both, pick a body, and get a 50mm for it, shoot them both at the same time, decided and sell the other. Dont be temped and fall into the gas trap and build up both systems, it gets expensive very quickly.
     
  5. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    You really should think about Pentax as there's one major reason to pick it over OM or Nikon if you're planning to have both digital and film bodies:

    All Pentax lenses will fit all of their DSLRs, they'll all meter and shoot too.

    I would strongly suggest buying a good condition Pentax MX and Pentax-M 50mm f1.7 to see how you get on, at the moment you should be able to sell it for at least what you paid so it'll only cost you a roll of film or two if you decide you don't like it. The MX is a purely manual mechanical body where the batteries only power the light meter, but it's small, relatively light, has interchangeable focusing screens and two winder options, and until the LX was released it was regarded as their professional body. That 50 is capable of embarrassing lenses a quarter of its age too.

    If you do get on with it but want more features then look for an LX (either one which has been overhauled by a reputable business or budget for a CLA, they're great cameras but need to be maintained properly). Compared to other pro-spec SLRs it's tiny but a solid, reliable camera with all the usual bolt-on accessories available.

    As for lenses... I have most of the more common Pentax ones, here's my pick from what I have:

    SMC Pentax 28mm f3.5 - I use it for landscapes so the speed really doesn't matter, the lack of distortion and the razor sharpness more than make up for it. There is a smaller and more common Pentax-M version which is almost as good.

    50mm/55mm - my three favourites are probably the SMC P 50mm f1.4, the SMC P 55mm f1.8 and the Pentax-M 50mm f1.7 listed above. They all have slightly different strengths so it doesn't feel like duplication to have all of them. There was a 55mm f2 as well which was identical to the f1.8 but with a baffle to stop the aperture opening up as much - general opinion is that this was a marketing stunt and the lenses are more or less even in performance.

    Telephoto - my two favoured lenses are the SMC P 120mm f2.8 and 100mm f4 Macro, neither is particularly easy to find. There are Pentax-M versions of both, the Macro is fairly common but the 120mm less so as most normal users bought the 135mm f3.5 instead (which is also a brilliant little lens).
     
  6. Chris Nielsen

    Chris Nielsen Member

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    I have looked at both systems and chose Olympus. I love the tiny lenses, the image quality I think is superb and I only have the ordinary lenses (28/2.8, 35/2.8 and 50/1.8). I love my OM2N and OM4 and with those lenses, especially the 28, they produce amazing results. I also have a N90 and 20-35/2.8 and find it much too big and heavy now I am used to OM

    You will pay 4x more for the 2.0 lenses over the 2.8 ones, I love my cheaper lenses and not sure I could justify the expensive ones, and you will pay an arm and a leg for a 100/2.0. You also sacrifice some of the light weight with the 2.0 lenses
     
  7. kanzlr

    kanzlr Subscriber

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    I owned both systems and now only have an OM-2Sp and OM-4Ti.
    Both systems are good, but I prefer the OM bodies and the 40/2 seems, from my limited experience with it, much better than the Nikon 35mm Ai-S lenses.
    Other than that...the 24mm I have is superb, as is the 85/2.

    the main thing is that the fast Olympus lenses are mostly smaller than their slower Nikon cousins.
     
  8. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    Since these are manual focus bodies, the biggest differences between the Olympus and Nikon can be seen in the viewfinders. The OM1&2 have two of the biggest and brightest while the Nikons are better for people who wear glasses. The OM1&2 do not show the aperture while the Nikons do and they have 100% coverage.

    [​IMG]


    For manual focus cameras, I would further recommend that you check out these threesome.

    [​IMG]

    The FM3A is newest of all and is the only body to date with aperture priority autoexpose and yet is completely functional when batteries are depleted except for meter and such.
    The OM4 looses the large viewfinder of the OM1&2 but is the only one of these with spot metering and outstanding metering range of EV -5 to EV 19.
    The LX is the smallest changeable viewfinder, best sealed body (random production line rain tested) and most outstanding meter range of EV -6.5 to 20 that can meter the scene in realtime for as long as it takes.
     
  9. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    Of the big 3 dead lens mounts, Olympus OM, Minolta MD, and Canon FD, the best one is the one you buy. All of the lenses are mountable on NEX or m4/3 bodies and will yield excellent images. And while Nikon F lenses can mount on Nikon DSLRs you usually have to shoot w/o metering, so the benefit is largely lost.

    There is no wrong choice, other than seeking advice forever and never actually shooting one :smile:
     
  10. EKDobbs

    EKDobbs Member

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    The only cameras that shoot without metering are the low end new ones. Anything D90 or above will meter, and those are the cameras actually worth their salt anyway.
     
  11. MikeTime

    MikeTime Member

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    Lenses analyzed to death... Yes, that's very true. I have no experience with OM glass, only Nikkors (ans Contax/Zeiss; don't really see why that would be prohibitively more expensive) and find f.i. the 2.0/85 Ai-S gives beautiful portrait results in b&w. But so do the 2.8 and 1.4/85 Sonnar and Planar, albeit in a different way (the Nikkor appears to render a bit harsher).

    There is of course also a difference in size, weight and handling of the bodies. I found OM bodies to be too small for my medium sized hands, and didn't like the sutterspeed ring as opposed to a dial. But that's all personal preference; you have to try for yourself.

    my humble suggestion would be to start easy:

    OM1 or 2 with 35 and 85

    or

    FM2 or FE2 with 35 and 85

    or

    RTS or RTSII with 35 and 85

    Take all lenses with 2.0 or 2.8. You save a lot that way, weight. And money wise.

    Let us know what you do!
     
  12. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    Nikon and Olympus make great photographic equipment. I use Nikon film and digital cameras. I also use Olympus digital cameras.

    One big con for me was the way the Olympus (and Nikormats) handled due to the location of their shutter controls. I prefer my shutter speed control on top of the camera where I can adjust it with my right hand as opposed to around the lens mount where I have to adjust it with my left hand.

    Back in the days when some news organizations made the switch from Nikon to Olympus, many pro photographers and camera repair technicians said that the Olympus was not tough enough for heavy use like the Nikon.

    The Nikon system is more extensive than the Olympus system.

    Either system will do an excellent job.

    I love the Nikon mount because it allows me to use all my old Nikon lenses on the new Nikon digital cameras. I understand that only Nikon, Pentax, and Leica digital bodies can accept their old film lenses without needing adapters.

    There are times when I need a smaller, lighter, and less expensive 35mm SLR body. I have never had the opportunity to use the Olympus OM1 but I have used the following:
    Nikon EM
    Nikon N70/F70
    Pentax ME (smaller and lighter than the Olympus OM1)

    When the Olympus OM1 35mm camera was first introduced, I fell in love with its innovative small size, its lightweight, and its attractive look. Had I not been fully invested in the Nikon system, I would have bought an OM1.

    I have five of these lenses. However, I rarely carry all five at the same time because some are too close together in focal length. I carry the 28, 50, and 105 or the 35 and 85.

    For my shooting style I prefer:
    28mm f/2.8 (at this focal length, I do not need the extra light gathering of an f/2)
    50mm f/1.4
    105mm f/2.5 (this legendary portrait lens deserves its reputation)

    For these focal lengths, I use these Nikon lenses:
    35mm f/1.4 (uses 52mm filter)
    85mm f/1.8 (also uses 52mm filter)

    Nikkor and Zuiko lenses are very similar in optical quality. Both are superb

    Older Nikon lenses are more plentiful and less costly than their Zuiko counterpart.

    I totally disagree with what you hear about the Nikon 35mm lenses. The 35mm f/2 lens was the first lens I purchased for my Nikon camera. It was great lens and it was my favorite lens for general shooting. In fact, I used it so much that I had to replace it twice – once with another f/2 and more recently with an f/1.4. I was very surprised to discover that my new Nikon 35mm f/1.4 had even better image quality than my f/2. Now, the Nikon 35mm f/1.4 is my favorite lens.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11336821@N00/5349100247/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11336821@N00/7011397917/
     

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  13. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    Without hot-shoes they look beautiful.
     

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  15. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    of all the bodies mentioned, nikon f2 hands down

    true, i wouldn't write my mom about any of the nikon 35s--though the 35/2 ais is at least as competent as it is uninspiring. 105/1.8 is miles ahead of the rather bland 2.5, if you care to lug the extra weight. 50/1.4 is just plain meh--grab the longnose 1.8 or the latest 1.2, both have very pleasing pictorial character that all the 1.4s lack. 28/2 ais is nothing short of magic

    worth about $0.02 perhaps, but hey, i practice what i preach--roaming eu these days with the 28/2-50/1.2-105/1.8, no regrets

    :cool:
     
  16. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I stayed with the 2.0 lenses when I was building my system. They are heavier and larger than the 2.8 ones, and yet the 2.8 ones have a good reputation for lighter weight and better quality because they have fewer elements (I guess this would be in flare-inducing conditions where the number of elements is noticeable).

    So if acquiring an OM system, I'd recommend the lighter/smaller wides, for price and because less weight is more important for me these days (I'm a backpacker).

    But the 85mm f/2.0 is a good portrait lens that I often carry.
     
  17. Ulrich Drolshagen

    Ulrich Drolshagen Subscriber

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    I just came back walking the dog. I was carrying my OM1 with 1.8/50 MIJ mounted in the pocket of my jacket just to fill up the roll with some pictures of fallen leafs. May be there are some Pentax bodies equally small as the OM-bodies but the lenses aren't. And there is another difference to Pentax. In making the bodies small they made the controls tiny too. Olympus managed to minimize the size of the body while keeping the controls and the finder large. I have never felt it to be a drawback that I can not see the dialed in speed and aperture in the finder. The finder is uncluttered with distracting information. I use to decide on the aperture before raising the camera and the dialed in speed I can feel in my left hands middle finger and thumb, as the position of the grips of the speed ring is telling me.

    Ulrich
     
  18. presspass

    presspass Member

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    Keep in mind the OM and Nikon bodies don't handle the same way - the OM shutter speed adjustment is at the front of the body, at the lens mount, while the Nikon has the more traditional shutter speed dial on the top of the camera. If you ever plan to use this camera with gloves on, make sure you try the OM before you buy it. Both are wonderful systems.
     
  19. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I switced from Olympus to Nikon in the mid 1990s, primarily due to the fact that my early version OM-4 needed a new battery everydamn time I wanted to use it. Other reasons were that the OM bodies got lost in my large-economy-size hands; the early 50/1.4 lens which came with an OM-2 ca. 1978 wasn't very good at f1.4. The OM bodies are nowhere near as rugged and well made as a Nikon F or F2. The OM-2 and OM-4 are useless without the battery. The Oly lenses are excellent, by and large, but the Nikkors are if anything a bit better, sometimes a lot better.
     
  20. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    The Air Force field tested Olympus in the mids 70's and both the LA times and AP tired Olympus, but all found that the OM 1 was not as rugged as the Nikon F or F2. I am not sure how a OM 4 would have help up.
     
  21. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Poorly, it was less rugged than the OM-1. I've been inside all of the OM series cameras and there is no comparison to an F or F2.
     
  22. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    The MX with most of the smaller primes will be about the same size as that OM, and it doesn't have small controls either. See here for the dimensions of the various M bodies, the MX is slightly wider as it uses a different shutter to the rest.

    The only ones with small controls are the ME Super and Super A/Program A where Pentax decided that little buttons were the future for shutter speed control. Which would be why I prefer the MX, KX, or K2!
     
  23. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    On judging lenses...

    Considering the age of these lenses, you can get a lot of sample variation depending on its storage and usage.

    Many have internal haze that needs to be cleaned. You might not even notice it right away but it can affect the IQ.

    People are hesitant to admit that the lens was kept in a smoky house or one that cooked with a lot of grease.

    And it's natural for photographers to unfairly declare a lens "bad" when what it needed was cleaning.

    Half of the lenses I got over the past 5 years need a good professional cleaning. I need to get that done one of these days....
     
  24. franny

    franny Member

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    Many things to consider, but i'm wondering..

    does anyone have a size comparison between the zuiko and nikon lenses? I'm interested in a wide variety so whichever ones you got will do. I can probably fill in the rest. I'm in particularly interested in the two 28mm f2.0's. This focal length I care about the most.
     
  25. mr rusty

    mr rusty Member

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    My 2p. IMHO fast lenses are only better if you use them wide open. For me, inexpensive slower lenses and cheap zooms with fast film are just fine. I shoot OM. My best lenses f2.8 35mm, f1.8 50mm and believe it or not the F4 35-70 zoom. I also regularly use a 75-150mm zoom as well. Great & inexpensive lenses, cheap bodies. Just the job. I have 4 bodies, used all the time - that way I can use different films for different occasions without finishing the roll every time.
     
  26. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    The other thing to beware of is fungus. Most of the time it'll clean off without doing noticeable harm, but it seems fond of the adhesive used to stick lens elements together and will get between them. It would be very difficult and expensive to have the elements separated, cleaned and re-glued.

    You can clean most smaller lenses yourself, you just need the right tools (especially a cheap pair of vernier callipers to use as a lens wrench), a pair of surgical gloves (to stop the natural oils on your fingers from ending up on the elements) and a "Rocket Blower" or similar. Work in the least dusty room, you will inevitably get some dust but it doesn't seem to do much harm to image quality. I've cleaned three 50mm primes, a 28-50mm zoom and an 80-200mm zoom this way, all work perfectly.