Best OM system 35mm lens?

kadamnation

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Since I got my OM metabones speed-booster I've totally fallen back in love with my older lenses, and I've been shooting a ton with my 50mm Zuiko Auto-S (~70mm after speedbooster and crop). 70mm-90mm is basically my second favorite focal length, so this is great—but now I'm thinking about how to hit my favorite focal length, 50mm, with an adapted lens. (I've got some 28's but they end up being slightly tighter than I'm used to and they're not as bright as I've grown accustomed with the 50mm...) I want to find a 35mm OM lens that I can speedboost, since that would get me to almost exactly a 50mm equivalent.

It looks like the two front-runners in the OM 35mm field are the Zuiko 2.8 and the Zuiko 2, and the former seems much cheaper. Given that I'm going to gain some speed from the speedbooster, should I just go for the 2.8, or is the 2 more reliable/better quality/anything else that would justify holding out for the faster glass? Are there OM lenses from other manufacturers I should consider?

All the old lenses I own have been lucky finds or hand-me-downs, so I haven't actually gone looking for one before—any and all insight (and examples of images shot with OM 35mm glass!) is appreciated! Thanks much!
 

mr_botak

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I had both and kept the f/2. It is actually one of my favourites, despite its mixed rep. It renders beautifully, has quite smooth bokeh either adapted or on film. The f/2.8 wasn't all bad, but I felt suffered from low contrast, the main advantage is size and price. I believe the f/2 was multicoated from the start, but the 2.8 was not - the SC lenses flare more.
 

HarryS

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I've owned my OM35 f2.8 since 1974. Now 40 years later, albeit after many hard knocks, my comparison shots show it no better than a Kmart Focal 35mm I picked up for $5 at Goodwill. Neither of these can match my 4/3 ZD 35mm macro ($160) on an adapter for detail and contrast. Now I like using my OM35 for the sake of old times, but I don't think it's worth much more than the Focal. The f2 version is probably even softer wide open, but might be better at f2.8.

I think old lenses are quite fun, but you have to watch your costs and not go overboard paying for the faster lenses when there are better and even faster lenses like the Oly 25mm f1.8 (which I do not own).
 

Brian Beezley

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I had an OM 35mm f/2.8 but sold it for one reason: low contrast and lack of sharpness at f/2.8. I ran controlled tests on a tripod aimed at a complex pattern and there was no doubt about the results. I had intended to use the lens indoors as a faster alternative to my Olympus 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II kit lens. But since the OM wasn't usable at f/2.8 and the next stop was f/4, it offered almost no advantage. As I recall, it was noticeably better at f/4 but still not as sharp as the kit zoom. I recommend this lens only for nostalgia shooting.

Brian
 

RnR

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Since I got my OM metabones speed-booster I've totally fallen back in love with my older lenses, ...
Awesome to hear about your experience with a focal reducer. Had the same experience with the Nikon and CY Speedbooster! :biggrin:

Why bother ? - the native 45/1.8 is small, cheap, light and delivers top-class IQ. Plus, you get AF, EXIF data and auto aperture.
Seriously dude... why post this in this subforum? This subforum is for those of us that love old lenses, warts and all :smile:
 

kadamnation

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Seriously dude... why post this in this subforum? This subforum is for those of us that love old lenses, warts and all :smile:
Heh, my thoughts exactly... I appreciate the sentiment, but I've owned a PanaLeica 25mm for a year and a half and that's how I found I liked 50mm, so I'm definitely not looking for a 40-year-old, slower, less finely-coated lens in order to maximize my image quality.

I just find I shoot differently, often more enjoyably, if I'm forced into manual focusing and deliberate aperture control... The tactility of dialing in f8-f11 and refocusing to a specific zone is fun even though I fully realize I'm then taking a hit to my effective resolution!

Thanks much for the pointers, everybody, I appreciate it. Haven't found a 35mm online or locally that fits my budget, but I think this has given me the confidence to justify a trip to B&H's used section next time I'm in NYC!
 

DoofClenas

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While not an OM, I use a Asahi (Pentax M42) 35mm f/2 SMC every now and then. I paid a little over $100 for it in January. It's a joy to use when I want to go in to manual mode. The focus is like butter.
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RnR

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Thanks much for the pointers, everybody, I appreciate it. Haven't found a 35mm online or locally that fits my budget, but I think this has given me the confidence to justify a trip to B&H's used section next time I'm in NYC!
Just curious, what about a 28mm? Works out to 40mm effective on the speedbooster. Slightly wider than 50mm, and perhaps too wide for your tastes, but usually 28mm's lenses are cheaper than the 35mm's - although I have to admit, I'm not familiar with the OM series.
 

kadamnation

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Ended up splurging for the 40mm f/2 pancake when I crossed paths with one in New York. The field of view (~58mm) is slightly tighter than the 50-equivalent offered by the 35mm, but it's a clean, smooth lens to use and it works well both on and off the booster.

It feels like a lot of the focus range gets "bunched up" in the millimeters between 3m and Infinity on the distance scale. With some subjects (architecture) it seems like I may not quite be able to hit infinity focus with the speedbooster, at least with these slightly wider lenses. That said, adapted lenses are usually a little soft for architecture anyway: and they both work great for casual street shooting.

The 40mm tends to respond a little better to lower light, so long as I keep it stopped down to 2.8, whereas manual zone focusing with the 35mm has proved more reliable. Both fun lenses, and both a nice complement to the 50mm—I'll probably use the 40mm on my OM1 a lot, too!
 

eteless

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While I own some OM lenses and a SpeedBooster that I could adapt them to I have to admit I've never really used OM lenses on m4/3, I've only really used them on film.

The 28mm f2.8 (last version, MC'ed) is an absolutely fantastic lens, it has light vignetting at wider apertures however it has really good contrast and is very sharp.
The 50mm f1.4's are generally overrated imo, the last generation of MC'ed f1.8 with the newer optical formula has the same transmission as the MC'ed f1.4 and is far sharper and less prone to flare. The early single coated 1.4 with radioactive glass is still the best of the bunch if you're working with black and white film though.
The 135mm f3.5 is generally a good lens and I kept it over the f2.8 as it takes 49mm filters (the same size as most other lenses). Personally I would go for the Sigma 135mm f2.8 PANTEL rather than the Olympus f/2.8 as f/64 is amusing to play with for a day before you forget you ever bought it.
The 200mm f5 is a... pretty average lens, however it takes 49mm filters and is small (is also worthless, could be why I still own it). Very hard to focus unless in bright daylight and pretty much useless unless in the same conditions (coincidence? not really).

YMMV.
 

Turbofrog

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Why bother ? - the native 45/1.8 is small, cheap, light and delivers top-class IQ. Plus, you get AF, EXIF data and auto aperture.
He is looking for a native 25mm focal length (50mm eq.), not 45mm (90mm eq.)...
 
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