Everything I know about OM Zuikos

3dpan

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Late to the thread, but I’ve been building up a pretty extensive collection of OM lenses over the last couple of months.

Once the last one —for now — arrives (a 50mm 3.5 macro) I’ll take a picture of the collection.

They run the gamut from 28mm right up to a monster 300mm f/4.5

Favorites are

50mm f/1.4
85mm f/2
135mm f/2.8

All those are giving me fantastic results with the speed booster ultra and a pen e-p3 and my newly purchased OM-D M5 ii

I also shoot 35mm on an OM1 .. no crop factor there

My collection is limited to 4 lenses, 50/1.4, 135/4.5macro, 300/4.5, and 500/8.
I would like more but their prices have deterred me.
 
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One user on YouTube successfully cut off the metal petals for his 24/2.8 in order to safely fit the lens to his Speed Booster Ultra and without disrupting any of the lens's function.
I've used two methods:
  1. I carefully cut a circle of cardboard the size of the rear element, put a cotton ball between the rear element and the cardboard, and used non-residue "blue tape" to hold it on, and to cover all the open spaces in the lens, to avoid getting metal filings inside. Then I carefully used a metal file to shave down the tab. This was on the superb OM Zuiko 90mm ƒ2 Macro.
  2. I didn't cover anything. I grabbed one end of the tab with some needle-nose pliers, and twisted. It rolled up like a sardine-can lid, and came off when I reached the other end. This was on the superb OM Zuiko 21mm ƒ2.
I recommend method #2. It took about ten seconds, versus about a half-hour with #1. :)

I started with OM Zuikos in 1977, when I got an OM-2 and a 75-150mm ƒ4. Over the years, I gathered more gear, until I basically had all the fast wides, all the macros, and a few of the longer ones.

I even had the almighty 350mm ƒ2.8 for a while, but when I moved into E-System, I just could not get it to perform, so I sold it. Similar story with the OM 600/6.5, but I somehow forgot to sell that one. Fast forward to the OM-D System, and I find the OM 600/6.5 works just fine! Must have been mirror-slap on the E-System… wish I had never sold that 350/2.8…

My favourites are the 21/2, 90/2, and the 500/8 mirror, the finest mirror lens I've ever used, by a long shot. (And I've tried — and been disappointed with — many.) I also love the 135/4.5 Macro on the Telescoping Extension Tube, and still use the dedicated macro lenses on a modified Nikon PB-4 bellows.

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These tiny, exquisitely crafted OM lenses are what has kept me loyal to Olympus through the years!
 
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I even had the almighty 350mm ƒ2.8 for a while, but when I moved into E-System, I just could not get it to perform, so I sold it… wish I had never sold that 350/2.8…
Yay! I got another one on a KEH special sale for under $1,600! It was listed as "BGN" (second to lowest rating) but looks like an eBay "MINT++++++" rating. :)

On a Metabones Speedbooster Ultra, this becomes a 250mm ƒ/2.0. I sort of wonder how it compares to the "real" OM 250/2, but I'm not going to spend $5k to find out.
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So anyway, I just wanted to see some more action on this thread! Let's see your OM Zuikos!
 

bargainguy

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Another reason for using Olympus MFT bodies over Sony FF: The Olympus viewfinders!

I'm often out in the field with two bags - one with Olympus MFT, the other Sony a7. If I start shooting MFT and then switch to FF, my first thought is disappointment when I switch to the Sony viewfinders - they seems dark, dull and lifeless. I don't know if anyone else experiences this, but it happens to me a lot.
 

JensM

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This was just the ticket. I have been looking into acquiring a prime set for the OM-1s analogs I have, and almost as an afterthought began considering that they may have a use in my M43 system as well. Splendid write-up. :drinks:
 

3dpan

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I have just re-read this thread, and still find it very interesting and informative.
But there is still something I don't know about OM lenses, and that is the relative merit of the later multi-coatings.
For example, in the late '90's, Olympus introduced a new multi-coating, (I don't know the exact date). It shows as a greenish reflection, compared with the bluish reflection of earlier "late models".
I have read somewhere that this latest greenish multi-coating is an improvement, but I don't know anything else.
I now have two OM lenses from the late '90's (100/2, and 300/4.5) which both have the greenish reflection, but don't have similar lenses to compare with.
Does anyone else have thoughts on this ?
 
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in the late '90's, Olympus introduced a new multi-coating… It shows as a greenish reflection, compared with the bluish reflection of earlier "late models"…
I now have two OM lenses from the late '90's (100/2, and 300/4.5) which both have the greenish reflection… Does anyone else have thoughts on this ?
My 100/2, built in November 1987 (date code TNGB), has a "greenish reflection." So does my 500/8, with the same date code. Does yours?

BTW: it is incompatible with the 1.4X-A teleconverter, but it looks wonderful with the MC-14 behind a mount adapter, yielding a 140mm ƒ/2.8 lens!
_A281581.JPG
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(JPEG straight out of camera, no post-processing.)
 
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The page on lens coatings is bewildering, so many different coating colors. I wouldn't know where to start in trying to analyse them.
The entries for the 100/2 are:
100 2 101900 Black MC Zuiko green, pink
100 2 102600 Black MC Zuiko green, pink
100 2 102600 Black MC Zuiko Auto-T green, magenta
100 2 102800 Black MC Zuiko
100 2 103100 Black MC Olympus OM-System Zuiko Auto-T 100mm 1:2 103150 made in Japan green, rose, yellow
100 2 103200 Black MC Zuiko
100 2 104400 Black Zuiko Auto-T green, blue, purple, yellow, white
100 2 107700 Black Olympus OM-System Zuiko Auto-T f=100mm 1:2.0 Made in Japan yellow, blue

The problem with the entire chart is that it does not use date codes. From what I've read, serial numbers are not necessarily sequential, and that a high serial number might have a low date code, and vice-versa.
 

3dpan

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My 100/2, built in November 1987 (date code TNGB), has a "greenish reflection." So does my 500/8, with the same date code. Does yours?
I'm still waiting for NZ Customs and Immigration to release my 100/2, so I can't tell you much about it yet except it is TNR1, January '98, serial 108606

I have two 500/8 Reflex, the second because it was a later model than my first and going cheap with fungus.
(i) 500/8 TNCC Dec '83, 102908. Front reflections are apple green, purple. Rear reflection is teal blue.
(ii) 500/8 TNJ7 July '90, 107459. Front reflections are magenta, magenta. Rear reflection is apple green.
It's almost as though the colors are just a lucky dip for that weeks production ??
Cheers,
 
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It's almost as though the colors are just a lucky dip for that weeks production ??
Y'know, the real test is going to be in the images, no? I don't care much what sort of coating a lens has, as long as I like what it does! Chances are, improved coatings are going to improve flare resistance, but not really change sharpness or contrast.

I am sorta envious of your high serial numbers, though. The OM Zuiko 500/8 I ended up selling (and regretting) was #101698. The one I replaced it with (still enjoying) is #106122, date code TNGB.

Still, there's a certain satisfaction in knowing stuff about stuff, so much so, that I stayed up until 1AM porting the table @Sammyboy referenced to a proper MySQL table. That's just sick…
 
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Sammyboy

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.... even though the Auto Shift/Tilt Bellows was not put into production, I able to see and play with one at a photo show in Pittsburgh in the mid '70s. For some unknown reason a 16mm fisheye was mounted on it. I lusted for that bellows, good thing I didn't hold my breath ....😀
 

The Grumpy Snapper

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YES!

In particular, this page of "lenses that didn't make it" and this page with a prototype of a crazy, tilt-shift bellows are drool-worthy…

Perusing the eSIF is a highly-recommended pass-time for Olympus OM enthusiasts!
I seem to think that I saw photos of the prototype 800mm and 1200 somewhere. I did have some very early OM literature in the 1970s and early 1980s. I threw a lot of it away in one of my many moves. Who knew there would be so much interest so many years later.
 
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