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Best "OM" system 'zoom' lenses

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by fredsh, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. fredsh

    fredsh Mu-43 Rookie

    19
    Mar 27, 2010
    Long Island NY
    Recently I adapted a OM 75-150 zoom to use with my OM-D EM5, and I was disappointed in the results I was getting. I view this as a learning experience, I've had the lens since the late seventies, so it's not like I spent any money to find out that the lens was mediocre at best. But i have to ask if others have found a great "legacy" zoom or tele lens, and what make and year it happens to be. I have to wonder if there is a 'weakness' in zoom lenses from this era.
     
  2. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Good quality legacy zooms do exist, but they are few and far between, relatively. I don't know if the OM system had any worth writing home about, but I'm still on the lookout for a Contax 35-70/3.4. Canon's 80-200/f4 L jumps to mind..
     
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  3. Neftun

    Neftun Mu-43 Veteran

    408
    Jul 15, 2012
    Norway
    Patrick Kristiansen
    I have yet to try any other good adapted zoom not a longish tele than the nikkor 35-70 with the constant f2,8. But it is a big one...


    Patrick K
     
  4. mr_botak

    mr_botak Mu-43 Veteran

    222
    Dec 4, 2011
    Reading, UK
    David
    Of the original OM lenses the 35-70 constant f3.6 is good, of the later ones the 50-250 f5 is very good, and the 35-80 f2.8 is apparently very good. All are big and heavy - IMO non will outperform even the cheapest native zooms. All three of the above will probably cost more as well.

    What in particular disappointed you in your results so far?
     
  5. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I picked up the OM 85-250mm, with constant f/5, 8 blade aperture, for $55 and it was quite good. It has the handy feature of not requiring you to refocus when you zoom.

    [​IMG]
    E-PL2 with OM 85-250mm at 250mm f/8, 1/125 sec, ISO 400

    [​IMG]
    E-PL2 with OM 85-250mm at 85mm f/6.3, 1/2000 sec, ISO 200
     
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  6. photo_owl

    photo_owl Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Nov 8, 2013
    many went through this with the early E's, and found the same thing........the m43 bodies make them easier to use, but the results remain surprisingly poor in any direct comparison to a current native lens.
     
  7. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    I rarely use it anymore, since I have the native 40-150, but I remembered being pleased enough when I was using the old 75-150 on my E-M5. You have to make sure to set a compromise IS setting or turn it off entirely; otherwise you are in trouble to start. Shooting raw is best since native glass is more subject to CA and sharpening procedures need to be customized to the lens. That done, though, I got reasonably good results. I stepped out just a few minutes ago to see if I was remembering wrong, but I don't think I was. Here are a couple of shots taken with my 75-150 today, both at f8, with the IS set at a compromise 100. The shot at 120mm was, thus, not surprisingly sharper than the one at 150mm. The native 40-150 is clearly better, but if you have the 75-150 around and no native glass, I would not hesitate to use it. There's a reason -- and not just price -- that is was one of the most popular lenses in the OM system.

    _C235868smugmug-X2.

    _C235870.smugmug-X2.
     
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  8. fredsh

    fredsh Mu-43 Rookie

    19
    Mar 27, 2010
    Long Island NY
    LawrenceA, these are good! But I gather you had to do some manipulation to get this result?
    I should post the few pictures that I took, but even though I've been with this forum for a little more then a year, I've not yet posted any photos. Regarding the lens, I think I knew going forward that lens from the seventies 'film' day would not compete favorably with a modern digital lens, but I figured, it was worth a try.
    I'm a follower of the Online Photographer blog, and although Mike Johnston has never said it in so many words, but I have the impression he would say that a lens has value for reasons other then sharpness.
     
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  9. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    Fred: Yes, I did process them from raw, but, surprisingly the process was not that much different from my normal work-flow. I applied the same sharpening -- in Lightroom, then a high pass mask sharpening in Photoshop -- but a bit more aggressively than I would with most files from made for digital lenses. I would typically use the 40-150 native lens for this sort of shot today, but if someone has a deer at the property line and the only lens you've got to fill the frame a bit more is this legacy lens, I'd say use it, focus as carefully as you can, and get a shot. There's a good chance it will be useable -- not National Geographic material, but perfectly useable.
     
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  10. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    Wow your 75-150mm is a way better copy than mine! Or perhaps I've been using it wrong.. :eek:
     
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  11. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    I find that a lot of legacy lenses that don't necessarily work for straight out of camera jpegs end up having produced a file that can be coaxed into quite good results. Since I shoot raw anyway, it is not a big deal for me, but it might be for someone who prefers working with the jpegs and not doing much post processing. Often, especially older single coated lenses, from the late 40's, 50's and 60's, produce less contrast and the dmax of the file has to be adjusted. My 1952 Summicron, which I don't need to shoot with, as I have the m.zuiko 45mm, is nonethelss fun to use. The resolution is impressive, but it needs a deeper black and a bit of local contrast adjustment upward.

    And then, though I hate to bring it up lest I seem condescending, mastering the art of manual focusing seems to be less and commonplace.


    And then,

    In the end, I think you have to like fooling around with them to make many legacy lenses work for you. I think of a digital file, like a negative, as something containing information that has to be extracted and "performed" to my liking, and to the best of my ability. I enjoy the process, but someone who doesn't would be well advised to avoid most legacy glass -- not all, but a lot. Even some very fine lenses that resolve a good deal of detail need the right treatment in post processing to bring it out.
     
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  12. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    918
    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    Some test shots I made with my ZD 75-150 last summer.I bought the lens new in the 1980's. I rarely used it much with film. It may have been unused for 20 years when I tried it with on my E300 DSLR and found it hard to focus and lacking in contrast. Much easier to focus on M43, but the images need PP to bring back contrast.

    M5150085.

    M5190174.

    It's a decent $20 lens. LOL. I probably paid $200 thirty five years ago, and that was big bucks then.
     
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  13. fredsh

    fredsh Mu-43 Rookie

    19
    Mar 27, 2010
    Long Island NY
    Thank you all, this 'thread' had some really interesting feedback. I've learned a lot, and thank you Lawrence and Harry in particular.
    The last comment, HarryS, made about paying a particular sum of money for this lens, made me think of what I paid back then for the camera and lens purchases that I made. Perhaps a theme for another "thread".
     
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