OM-2: What's the perfect lens for this nifty camera
OK, I've been a Nikon user for a long, long time (and I have a couple of Minoltas that I bought for the Rokkor Fisheyes I was able get for a reasonable price and ended up keeping when I sold the Fisheyes) but I've always kind of thought OMs were fairly interesting cameras. I recently picked up an OM-10 that turned out to be in pretty good shape, with a nice 50/1.8, and then I saw a black OM-2 for not much and now I have a third line of 35mm cameras that I don't really need, but there you go.
I have to say the the OM-2 is a pretty cool camera. The prism is so low and thin that you can look through the viewfinder *and* look over the prism *at the same time* which proved to me once and for all that a 50mm lens is the natural choice for a "normal" lens for a 35mm camera. The layout of the controls on the OM-2, with the shutter speed selector around the lens mount really didn't take much getting used to, even after 40+ years of Nikons with the speed dial on the top right (I never owned a Nikkormat.) With Zuiko lenses, which have the aperture ring toward the front, it's a natural. With the Tamron zoom, I sometimes get tripped up because the aperture and shutter controls are close enough together to get confused. But the exposure compensation dial, placed where the shutter speed dial would be on the Nikon, is in the perfect position -- easily accessible with no need for a lock release button. Likewise, the auto-off-manual switch, right there on top where I won't forget to turn if off when I'm done.
Shopping for lenses for the OM presents some questions, such as why do I have this thing. I already have several 50mm lenses (nikkors, rokkors, and now the zuiko) as well as lenses in various other focal lengths. The compact size of the OM-2 really wants a compact lens to complement it, but none of the zuikos seem especially small. There's nothing I've found like the pancake 50/1.8 that really works well with some of the smaller nikon bodies. The Tamron 35-135 that came with the OM-10 is nice enough, but nothing special. I see a lot of 50/3.5 macros available, but I have a 55/2.8 micro-nikkor, so it's hard to justify. I really want a lens that says what the OM system is all about. So what was Olympus' signature lens, the lens that was the reason that people bought into the system? Something like the Olympus equivalent of the Nikkor 105 f2.5 -- not that focal length but that reputation. If I can't find a lens that gives me something I don't already have with my Nikons and Minoltas, I should at least have *the* lens for the OM series.
The f/3.5 35 mm lens is great.
I decided to stick to 49mm filter lenses (small) with my OM and I really like the three I have: 35mm f2.8, 50mm f1.8 (also have a 50 f1.4 but prefer the 1.8) and the 100 f2.8. The 100 is amazingly small and particularly wonderful. I think you'd have a hard time finding a smaller 3 lens set in an SLR (and pretty inexpensive!). I think the 24mm f2.8 would be next on my list.
I used to think this as well, though about the 55mm focal length. However, when I mused on such here on A.P.U.G., I learned that this appearance can vary from one camera's viewfinder to another camera's viewfinder. I remarked that the 55mm lens was very intuitive for me to use, because when I put it up to my eye, things did not appear to get much larger or smaller. I was then informed that viewfinder magnification differences could very well make the same focal length appear otherwise on a different camera.
Originally Posted by ulysses
I don't know Olympus well, but I do think that if I were in the same boat as you, with a third 35mm SLR camera system that I just sort of happened into, that I would: 1. get a 50mm f/1.4, even if it is redundant, simply because every 35mm SLR that I am going to shoot should have my most-used, and probably the most versatile, lens, and 2. After the 50, shy away from redundancy. I would seek out lenses that are unique to the system, or in focal lengths or speeds that I do not have in the other systems.
I do shoot Canon FD and Nikon F systems, and I have a Pentax Spotmatic that I got for free and a K1000 that I got for five bucks, just in case cheap and good lenses should come my way. All the systems have a fast normal lens. Other than that, there is little redundancy between them. I have 28, 55, and 200, and 300 for Canon, and 24, 35, and 135 for Nikon.
Oh yeah. I almost forgot EOS. I have two bodies (one digital and one film), and my only lens that I actually own is the 50mm f/1.2. Why is my EOS system so limited? Because it is EXPENSIVE STUFF (and I don't use it all that often any more).
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)
One lens alone - 85 mm f/2.0.
Or, my favourite 3 lens kit - 24mm f/2.8, 35mm f/2.0 and 85mm f/2.0
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
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The smallest lens for the OM system is probably the pancake 40 f2. It's pretty rare though.
There's a whole bunch of wide angles a bit smaller or the same as the 50 f1.8. There's the 21 f3.5, the 24 f2.8, the 28 f3.5 and f2.8, and the 35 f2.8. I think the 18mm is pretty small too, but rare and expensive. I guess there's also the 16mm fish eye, if you're into that sort of thing.
The big deal lenses are generally the 21mm f2, and the 85mm f2, the 21 simply because it's an f2 but still remarkably small. The 85mm is really small for being an 85. The 50 f1.4 with a serial number above 1.1 million is considered really good. The 50 f2 macro is nifty since it's fast enough for normal shooting but can still go macro.
In general, most focal lengths Olympus produced came in an f2 and they are very very good. Personally, i've got the 24 f2.8, 35 f2, 50 f1.4, 50 f3.5 macro, 85 f2, 135 f2.8 and 300 f4.5. I find i might as well have the 35 glued on. I use the others a lot, especially the 24, 50 and 85. If i was going to get one other lens, it'd be the 21 f2, i just can't find one in my price range.
To me, it's not the lenses or the bodies, it's how the whole system gels together into an incredibly smooth fast way to take pictures. I've never got that feeling from other cameras.
I use an OM1 and OM2 as my main shooters. B&W in one, colour in t'other. I have 24mm (sigma filtermatic) 35mm f2.8, 50mm f1.8, 135mm f4, 35-70 f4 zoom, 70-150 f4 zoom and a sigma 70-210 zoom.
For me, the lens that nearly always gets taken out is.......
the 35-70 f4 zoom. Not the smallest zoom - there is another zuiko zoom the 35-70 f3.5-4.5 which I don't have, but I get on really well with the 35-70 f4. My version is certainly sharp enough - to the extent I don't notice any difference between that and the 50 or 35mm primes in terms of image quality.
No 2 lens for me is the standard 50mm 1.8. Check out my pix. virtually all shot with the 35-70
75% of my OM pictures over the last 35 years were on the 28/2.8
I also enjoy the 24/2.8
My 50/1.4 has a 'dreamy look' but I really love it. The 50/1.8s are sharper.
I have always wanted an 85/2.0 but never got around to getting one.
The 75-150 zoom and 35-70 are good but I prefer primes.
If I could recommend only 1, it would be the 28 (3.5 or 2.8)
My OM-2 stays with the 28mm f/2.8
For sharp pictures: 50mm f/1.8 ( one of the most underestimated lenses in the world )
Another to keep an eye on is the 100mm f/2.8