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  1. #1
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    Pentax vs. Olympus glass

    I'm somewhat torn between deciding which are better. Right now I have Pentax 50mm/1.7 A lens and a 28mm/2.8 A lens as well. In Olympus-land, I have the 50mm/1.4 G.Zuiko and a 28mm/2.8.

    I'm convinced that the Olympus wide-angle is better than the Pentax wide-angle which goes soft fast in the corners at large apertures. But I'm starting to think the 50mm Olympus lens is pretty soft wide-open and is very prone to flair.

    Which brand do you think has the best manual-focus lens, especially the best fast normal lenses? I like both my Pentax and Olympus bodies, but I like the olympus body a bit more.
    Last edited by BetterSense; 07-30-2009 at 08:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    f/22 and be there.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    I'm somewhat torn between deciding which are better. Right now I have Pentax 50mm/1.7 A lens and a 28mm/2.8 A lens as well. In Olympus-land, I have the 50mm/1.4 G.Zuiko and a 28mm/2.8.

    I'm convinced that the Olympus wide-angle is better than the Pentax wide-angle which goes soft fast in the corners at large apertures. But I'm starting to think the 50mm Olympus lens is pretty soft wide-open and is very prone to flair.

    Which brand do you think has the best manual-focus lens, especially the best fast normal lenses? I like both my Pentax and Olympus bodies, but I like the olympus body a bit more.

    It may be the case that there is greater variation between types of lens within each make than the variation across the two makes as a whole: even between individual lenses of a given type.

    A single swallow does not a summer make!

  3. #3
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    You have the lenses on hand.. use the ones you like better. We cant make that decision for you.

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    Us the one you pick up the most, i.e. the system with the best ergonomics. The more you use it the more likely you will have enjoyment and good result.

    Let's leave the canon vs nikon style discussions to the digicrowd.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by darinwc View Post
    You have the lenses on hand.. use the ones you like better. We cant make that decision for you.
    He speaks the truth. Both marques produced excellent lenses. I would suggest your choice should be more down to which camera you prefer.

    The G.Zuiko 50/1.4 is known for relatively poor performance at wide apertures. If you decide on the Olympus then you should get hold of the multicoated 50/1.4, it is a considerably better performer. It should have the 'MC' designation on the front, but if you're not sure hold it to a light source and check for green reflections off the front element. Otherwise even the humble 'Made in Japan' 50/1.8 is extremely good value.

  6. #6

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    There were at least two iterations of the G.Zuiko 50/1.4, more likely 3 or 4. IIRC, serial numbers of 1,100,000 or higher were the last version and the best with respect to wide open and overall performance. I have one in the 300K range, and one in the 600K range. I have not made any direct comparisons, but I like the results from both. I will admit that they are not Sonnar-sharp wide open. My sample in the 600K range needs a cleaning, so I can't really judge.

    All that said, I would not refuse a 50/1.4 SMC Takumar.
    Honey, I promise no more searching eBay for cameras.

  7. #7
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    You have the lenses on hand.. use the ones you like better.
    Sure. That's exactly what I do right now, but which ones do YOU like better?

    The G.Zuiko 50/1.4 is known for relatively poor performance at wide apertures. If you decide on the Olympus then you should get hold of the multicoated 50/1.4, it is a considerably better performer. It should have the 'MC' designation on the front, but if you're not sure hold it to a light source and check for green reflections off the front element. Otherwise even the humble 'Made in Japan' 50/1.8 is extremely good value.
    I'll check my lens to see which I have. Last thing I shot with the G.Zuiko in low light was people and the effect actually turned out fairly flattering. I'm still convinced my Pentax-A f/1.7 is sharper wide open; I wonder how the Pentax f/1.4 is? It's just a smidgen faster than my f/1.7.

    I would not refuse a 50/1.4 SMC Takumar
    What does Takumar mean? My Pentax lenses say "Pentax-A" and have an "auto" setting on the aperture ring. Are Takumar lenses the old screw-mount lenses? Are they really good or something?
    f/22 and be there.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    Last thing I shot with the G.Zuiko in low light was people and the effect actually turned out fairly flattering.
    I nearly mentioned that the older iteration of the Zuiko 50/1.4 can work in your favour with some subjects / treatments.... But I didn't because I thought that most people asking about lens performance are usually looking for sharper images with less degradation.

    Takumar refers to older Pentax lenses. See this article on the Pentax M42-fit lens.

  9. #9

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    If you decide on the Olympus then you should get hold of the multicoated 50/1.4, it is a considerably better performer. It should have the 'MC' designation on the front
    Only the early multi-coated ones had "MC" on them - later ones didn't bother because all lenses were multi-coated by then.

    Generally, if it is labeled just "Zuiko" rather than "G-Zuiko", and has a high serial number (over 1 million are generally thought to be the best, I believe), then it'll be multi-coated.

  10. #10

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    I'm somewhat torn between deciding which are better. Right now I have Pentax 50mm/1.7 A lens and a 28mm/2.8 A lens as well. In Olympus-land, I have the 50mm/1.4 G.Zuiko and a 28mm/2.8
    Those are interesting lenses, and I've used all four. When I got back into 35mm photography a few years ago, my choice was between Olympus, Pentax, and Nikon. In the end, I went for Olympus, mainly because there seemed to be far more Zuiko lenses available than Pentax lenses - and both were considerably cheaper than Nikon lenses. But I did try some Pentax gear (which I've since re-sold).

    Anyway, I think the Pentax 50/1.7 is an exceptionally sharp lens - probably one of the sharpest 50s made. My Zuiko 50/1.4 is an early single-coated (silvernose) one, which isn't the sharpest lens I have, but it has a lovely character with B&W film (and I do keep thinking of getting a late multi-coated one too). I couldn't choose between the Pentax 50/1.7 and Zuiko 50/1.4, because their different characters would make me want one of each. In fact, I actually have a multicoated Zuiko 50/1.8 too (well, actually, several), which is closer to the Pentax 50 in character.

    Of the two 28s, I prefer the Zuiko too. The Pentax 28/2.8 I had was good, but not great - it wasn't as good as the old Takumar 28/3.5 that I used to have, which gave me fantastic images on Kodachrome.

    As I say, I ended up going for Olympus, another part of my reason being being that I think they made a better range of bodies. I think the Pentax MX is great, but I couldn't get on with the ME Super because I really don't like pushing buttons to change shutter speed, and I don't really like any of the other M bodies (I know there are K bodies too, and the LX, but I don't like big bulky ones). Of the OM range, in contrast, I think the OM1, 2, 2SP and OM4 bodies are all great (I have an OM1n, three OM2ns, and an OM4T).

    But I'm rambling

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