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How many use Olympus ZD lenses?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by OzRay, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Olympus ZD lenses were some of the best lenses ever made, by any manufacturer, yet they appear to be vastly neglected because they aren't as small or light weight as m4/3 lenses. Panasonic didn't make many 4/3 lenses before they gave up on the system, but Olympus had a formidable range, where even some of the cheaper versions were often outstanding: http://www.four-thirds.org/en/fourthirds/lense.html. I only have two m4/3 lenses, a 17mm f2.8 (which is perfect on my E-P1) and the standard 14-42mm (which is for my wife's E-PM1), but a number of ZD lenses which I absolutely love. With the demise of the 4/3 system, I thought I'd be left holding a bunch of brilliant but useless lenses; however, with the advent of the E-M1, new life was breathed into these optical marvels.

    That said, I fear that I'm almost a Robinson Crusoe when it comes to 4/3 lenses, as these appear to be overlooked in favour of the smallest, lightest, lenses available. Yet at the same time, many seek out older 35mm film camera lenses, which often aren't smaller, are only manual focus and frequently of much poorer image quality. So I wonder how many do use the ZD series of lenses and wonder how many have considered them and rejected them, and why. There is an outstanding trove of ZD lenses available, sometimes at a great price, and if Olympus keeps producing cameras that will take advantage of these lenses, then they may end up appreciating in value like high quality Leica lenses.
     
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  2. Fri13

    Fri13 Mu-43 Veteran

    353
    Jan 30, 2014
    I sometimes hear that some of Zuiko (OM) and some Zuiko Digital (4/3) are among best lenses by IQ but never see them on today's popular virtualpenis charts like Dx0 etc....just wonder why more people don't say so...
     
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  3. MichaelShea

    MichaelShea Mu-43 Regular

    108
    Jan 27, 2011
    Algarve, Portugal
    I agree wholeheartedly with the original post, although feel that there has been a slight change recently with more high-end mirrorless lenses putting less emphasis on size and more on build as well as image quality. I've never particularly valued lightening fast focus speed. light weight or small size, which is why I purchased three Four Thirds lenses despite never having owned a FT camera. The Zuiko Digital 50mm f2 macro is the sharpest lens of any system I've ever used and it renders beautiful colours even on my most boring Panasonic camera. I've also taken some of my best landscape and architecture photos to date using my former 11-22mm f2.8-3.5 lens set permanently in manual focus mode. And to further re-emphasise the point, only this week I ordered a used 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 zoom in preference to any of the plethora of plastic disposables on offer.

    The E-M1 ought to produce a revival of interest in these wonderful lenses, but it seems to me that by and large, the only people likely to fully appreciate them are long-standing Olympus consumers who bought into a system where the lenses were miles better than the native cameras could ever be. At least Olympus are now producing new MFT lenses that are approaching the same standard. Better late than never.
     
  4. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Those are three lenses that I've owned and I can say are exceptional.

    E-1 with 50mm macro (spider was about 3mm long):

    P9105995.

    E-1 with 14-54mm (wasp was about 15-20mm long):

    _3033156.

    Can't find one taken with the 11-22mm
     
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  5. Danny_SWE

    Danny_SWE Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 30, 2013
    Sweden (Gothenburg)
    I had 8 of the 4/3-lenses, was thinking to use them with my new E-M5 but I did the mistake that only have one lens with the E-M5 and that was the 20/1.7, as it was so fantastic and small I just couldn't stand the size of the old lenses so I sold them all. Miss the 12-60/2.8-4.0, that was an awesome lens.
     
  6. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    The 12-60mm is one lens I would have kept no matter what. I often thought of buying one.
     
  7. MichaelShea

    MichaelShea Mu-43 Regular

    108
    Jan 27, 2011
    Algarve, Portugal
    The wasp alone is a good enough reason to buy a camera with an inbuilt stabilsation system. Hadn't realised the true extent of the 14-54mm lens's close-focusing capabilities. My G5 can't currently compete with that standard and come to think of it, neither can I.
     
  8. revluke

    revluke New to Mu-43

    6
    Jan 17, 2014
    Minnesota
    Since I got the EM-1 recently, I've been picking up some 4/3 lenses and really enjoying them. And the prices are right at the moment. Picked up a 50-200 non SWD and am enjoying that. the 14-54 II came today and I'm really really impressed. As a big guy (6'8") I just the like the 'normal' size of these older lenses as well. My 50 macro should be here in a couple of days, really looking forward to that as well. If I'm going to shoot sports, I'll break out the 5d3 and 70-200, but for everything else, it's the EM-1 and the 4/3 glass for the near future.
     
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  9. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I had the original 50-200mm and it was a great lens, I covered many a football game in pouring rain, yet came home with some of my best shots ever (using the E1).
     
  10. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    I've had ZD lenses for a long time - the 12-60/2.8-4.0 was my primary lens on 4/3 since mid-2008, and on m4/3 from late 2011 to late 2013. I've also at various points had the ZD 50-200/2.8-3.5, the 50/2 macro, and the 7-14/4 from the so-called 'High Grade' ZD lineup. Without exception, the lenses have had great optics, but those results were all too often undone by mediocre sensors and slow/inaccurate autofocus.

    I finally threw in the towel last November when I bought the E-M1 and found that my lenses still failed to provide the sort of fast accurate focus that even the cheapest m4/3 lenses provide. I'm willing to put up with a certain amount of extra weight for quality results, but I just have no confidence that there will ever be a camera I could actually depend on to consistently provide the best results with those lenses.
     
  11. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I find that really strange. While I no longer have my E-5, I still have my E-3/E-1 and all of my 4/3 lenses are at least 2-3x faster focussing on the E-M1 than on the E-3. They will focus with the E-M1 in conditions where the E-3/5 would struggle to do anything.
     
  12. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    I don't doubt that the E-M1 is better in a lot of ways, particularly compared to the E-3 which really could have issues in less than good light. But in my testing, there were plenty of situations where it had difficulty locking on, or it locked on to absolutely nothing at all (false confirmation). In contrast, the 12-50 and 40-150, both cheap, slow, lenses, displayed no such annoyances.

    I guess everybody has their own threshold for tolerating such glitches. The good news is that those less picky than me have a choice of some sharp, weather-sealed and quite inexpensive lenses.
     
  13. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Clearly the dedicated m4/3 lenses will be faster focussing but, as I said, my E-5 wasn't faster than the E-M1, from what I knew of it in difficult conditions. And I'm not just saying that to try and make myself feel good about the E-M1, but then all of my lenses (apart from the 18-180mm, which isn't fast at focusing) are the fast, constant f stop, zooms.
     
  14. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I love the reach, brightness, quality and handling of my 50-200 SWD, but it is significantly slower to focus than my 100-300 was (or my 100-400L on a 5DII). I can work around it, the image quality makes it worth it and it's acceptably fast, but it's nothing to write home about.
     
  15. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    I have mixed emotions about this shot.. On the one hand it is a beautiful example of a macro shot and I can appreciate it's sharpness and magnification. On the other hand I am allergic and I can't stand it's sharpness and magnification.
     
  16. erikzen

    erikzen Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    Mar 6, 2014
    I purchased an E-520 in 2008 which held up until late last year when it started to malfunction on me. Budget was limited at the time but wanted to have something for the holidays. I found an E-PM2 body only for $275 and bought the 4/3 to M4/3 adapter thinking I could use my old lenses. I have 5 - 14-42, 40-150, 50 macro, 9-18 and 70-300mm. I found that autofocus was just too slow with the 4/3 lenses for me, in most situations. I ended up replacing the two kit lenses with the M4/3 equivalent. If I'm going to use a kit lens it's going to be for convenience, which includes full automatic operation. That said, the other 3 lenses can be used in situations where autofocus isn't necessary or it doesn't need to be fast.

    I agree that the 50mm macro is one of the best lenses I've used. No reason to give that one up, for sure!
     
  17. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    I miss my 50-200mm SWD, I couldn't justify the price of a E-M1. I am, however, still enjoying my 35mm f/3.5 macro--a lens that got no respect, but was very nearly as good as the 50mm f/2 in terms of resolution.
     
  18. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    678
    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    Scott
    Just got a 50-200 non-SWM yesterday. Other than some test shots to make sure it works, I haven't done anything with it yet.
     
  19. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    The 4/3 lenses will only work effectively with the E-M1 (maybe the E-M10?) which has phase detect AF built into the chip. That's what held me off buying any more m4/3 bodies, as my 4/3 lenses were abysmal at focussing with the Pen series of bodies. The E-M1 has changed all of that.
     
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  20. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    I didn't think I could do it, but I put mine in the mail today. It sold faster than expected on ebay. I absolutely loved that lens, but I hadn't been using it. The 60 is probably every bit as good and smaller/lighter, but part of me regrets letting it go.