I want an OM, eduate me.
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?
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.
No idea what's going to happen next, but I'm hoping it involves being wrist deep in chemicals come the weekend.
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.
a winder is not big deal but when I checked ebay, I thought they were cheap? but i can live without one...
I am a dedicated Nikon SLR man (since the early 1960s) but I will tell you Olympus lenses are really fine. Since certain brands seem to be considered by some folks as truly great (Leica, Nikon, Canon, etc.) other overlooked brands like Olympus are dirt cheap. A friend gave me an OM 10 in perfect condition because she knew it would have a good home with me. I also got a 50mm and a 28mm Zukio lens from her. I found a 135mm f2.8 Zukio lens and a 3x Vivitar telextender on the Internet for the price of a latte, plus shipping.
I also found a Nikon F70 and a 50mm Nikkor 1.4 lens for chump change.
The only way you will realy know what camera body and/or lens is what you want is to use it. I once shot Hollywood celebrities with a Leica and Nikon but the lens that really knocked my socks off was not the Nikkor or Leitz lenses but a 35mm 2.8 Soligor I bought used in 1974 for $25. Go figure.
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If you would like some advice...
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:
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:
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.
"She's always out making pictures, She's always out making scenes.
She's always out the window, When it comes to making Dreams.
It's all mixed up, It's all mixed up, It's all mixed up."
From It's All Mixed Up by The Cars
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
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:
Originally Posted by franny
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
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 franny; 10-25-2012 at 02:50 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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