OM vs Nikon System
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?
-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.
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:
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:
(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...
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.
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.
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).
OM vs Nikon System
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
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.
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.
Originally Posted by franny
For manual focus cameras, I would further recommend that you check out these threesome.
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.
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 :)
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.
Originally Posted by Wolfeye