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Olympus 50mm OM f1.8 legacy lens

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by johnsonwoan, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. johnsonwoan

    johnsonwoan Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 6, 2012
    Hi all,

    Im new here. And currently using EP with 14-42mm kit lens. And i realise that the kit lens cannot really do much, and it's sub-standard. Hence i am thinking of purchasing the lecagy lens 50mm f1.8 to try out, since it's cheaper than the 45mm f1.8.

    Anyone using the OM 50mm with their EP3? Whats your personal review on it? In terms of color and sharpness etc?

    Love to hear from you all. =)
  2. heedpantsnow

    heedpantsnow Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 24, 2011
  3. In my opinion, the main advantage of the OM 50mm is that it's much faster than the kit lens at maximum reach. My tests (admittedly pretty simple) didn't show much improvement in IQ.

    The old OM lens is beautifully put together though. Really substantial feel compared with the plastic kit lens. As others have said, it's fun to experiment with these legacy lenses, and maybe that's all that matters!

    There are two cat pictures in my gallery. The orange cat (Fluffy) was shot with the 14-42 kit lens and the white cat (Mr.Puss) with the OM 50mm 1.8. Even at 100% crop I can't say one is sharper than the other.
  4. johnsonwoan

    johnsonwoan Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 6, 2012

    But 50mm has wider aperture until f1.8 right? So it's more convenient to shooot under low lighting right?
  5. Right, that's what I mean by 'faster'.
  6. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    I have owned mine for awhile now. I don't use it as much since purchasing the Oly45mm, but it is a beautiful lens. Nice and sharp, good contrast and pretty fast. It has a great feel to it, solid, substantial but not too heavy. I've considered selling mine, but there's something hard-to-define about it that causes me to hang on to it. You can find them on EBay for a reasonable price - I got mine attached to an old film camera for $15. :biggrin:
  7. Dave Jenkins

    Dave Jenkins Mu-43 Veteran

    The OM 50/f1.8 is a fine lens, but I think you are probably underestimating the quality of the kit lens. I don't find the 50 to be noticeably sharper.
  8. snkenai

    snkenai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    I have to agree, that there is very little better IQ/sharpness in the OM 50 over the kit lenses. I have tried 3 or 4 of the Pany/Oly kits, and they do very reasonable job. But for me after several decades of quality MF lenses, the new crop of plastic ones just leave me let down by the cheap look/feel. Optics are just fine though. If you don't do low light, without a flash, the faster lens doesn't bring much to the party, except pure satisfaction of really well built equipment! That said, I currently, am carrying a Sigma 30mm F2.8 AF lens on my E-p2.
    Did a side by side test with my Vivitar 24mm F2.8, and the Sigma is to my eye, very, very, slightly cleaner image. But not worth the price, for the difference in IQ only. But to get very much smaller, lighter package, and AF, makes it worth it for me.
    Choices, choices. I have found that, many times, what you have is better, than what you want.
  9. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    The Olympus 50mm f1.8 is faster than the 14-42mm they shipped with the PEN's, but not that much different when both are at f5.6. Wide open, it's going to be a little bit softer. As posted above, the kit lens is not substandard. It's a baseline kit zoom, which means competent but not a lens that will capture edges that cut paper.

    Don't get caught up in a buying frenzy to get this lens either. The old OM system was quite popular and almost every body shipped with a 50mm f1.8. It's common and should be a $10-20 item.
  10. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Most legacy lenses are faster than the kits (especially the 50s), but they have a tendency to be a little softer and have some ghosting wide open, so they often need to be stopped down for max sharpness. I had an OM 50mm 2.0 macro that was pretty good at 2.0, but excelled at 2.2. I've had several 50mm 1.4, and they were pretty good at 2.0 and beyond.

    So, it is likely that you 1.8 will look it's best at 2.0 or 2.2 and beyond. Which is, of course, MUCH faster than 5.6 on the kit lens at 42mm. But the 45/1.8 will be best than either.

    So, if you are OK with manual focusing, and your budget is tight, it's actually pretty fun to play with legacy glass. I'd recommend looking for a 50/1.4, as they are only $30-40 more than a 1.8 typically, and they sharpen up around 1.8-2.0, so you get a bit more light. However, if budget is a REAL issue, then get a 50mm 1.8. They are cheap and ubiquitous. Then, if you decide you really love shooting at 50mm wide open, you can save your pennies to get a 45/1.8, and resell the 50mm legacy for very little lost.

    side note: the legacy glass really manual focuses best with either the VF2 or using MF assist on the LCD. If you don't have a VF2, and you think you need one for MF, then you are really starting to get close to the cost of that 45/1.8. You can always use the LCD to MF, but it can be cumbersome. Again, nothing wrong with playing to learn with a legacy 50mm. Just giving you a heads up on some of the issues.
  11. johnsonwoan

    johnsonwoan Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 6, 2012
    Hi all,

    Really thanks!! Have you guys heard of "Brenizer Method = Panamoric Bokeh"? For OM50mm f1.8 and 45mm f1.8, which one will do a better job?
  12. johnsonwoan

    johnsonwoan Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 6, 2012
    So u mean now u are using mainly the 45mm f1.8 already? How does it perform compared with the 50mm? Awesome?
  13. johnsonwoan

    johnsonwoan Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 6, 2012
    Hi WT21, thanks!

    How about comparing this with the 45mm f1.8? Does OM50mm f1.8 have the same sharpness as the 45mm?
  14. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Either would do fine. The 50mm would provide more background OOF by way of the longer focal length at the same wide open aperture but the 45 would most likely provide a sharper in focus subject as its quite sharp wide open when compared to any of the legacy 50s I've used/seen. Obviously with the 45 you'd have to disable AF after achieving focus or focus manually since you need the focus and exposure to remain constant throughout your series of images.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    I've never had the OM 50/1.8. I've had FD, OM (2.0), Takumar, Rokkor and some other legacy 50s. All of them were designed for film, in a different time, with different rear coatings than modern lenses. Light comes off silicon sensors much harder than film, and bounces around inside the adapters, and off the back lens element. This creates ghosting/flare (white bleed -- whatever it's called) when wide open on just about every legacy lens I have ever seen. The 45/1.8 was designed for a silicon sensor, and will not exhibit this.

    Different legacy lenses are more soft wide open than others. Remember, some of these were developed in the 70s, when "soft focus" was a big hit. So, old Takumar and Rokkors (two that come to mind) seem to do this the most. OM and FD less so. I haven't used Nikons.

    But all of them will exhibit this ghosting/flare/white bleed in bright and high contrast situations, forcing you to stop down up to a full stop. The 45/1.8 won't require that.

    So, that's the trade-off. Soft a bit, and requiring a little stop down vs. $300+. I don't shoot 50mm that often, so I have an FD 50mm 1.4, that settles down around 2.0. I've owned the 45/1.8 twice now, and just don't use it enough to justify the cost.

    FWIW -- I find the OM lenses to be sharp but lacking the color and contrast on FD lenses. The OMs (and Takumars) have much smoother focusing rings than FDs. So, there's another trade-off. Takumars are an absolute treasure to MF. OM isn't too far behind, but I stick with the FD for color and contrast, and a few frustrating moments here and there when focusing.


    Good luck and happy shooting!
    • Like Like x 2
  16. mr_botak

    mr_botak Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2011
    Reading, UK
    Why not give the OM lens a try - the 50/1.8 is cheaply available. Warning MF lenses can be addictive :) 

    FWIW I found the OM 50/1.4 I had to be very very good, but only as others have said stopped down a bit (f4-f8 seems the sweetspot). The 45 blew it away across the board though.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    The legacy 50's do tend to be soft when wide open. Here's a graph describing the behavior of the Olympus 50mm F1.8. By F4, it's stable until the end.


    Here are links to samples images of the iso res chart.

    <a href="http://www.lenshoard.com/images/Olympus%2050mm%20F1.8/focus/adjusted/F1-8.jpg">F1.8</a>
    <a href="http://www.lenshoard.com/images/Olympus%2050mm%20F1.8/focus/adjusted/F2-8.jpg">F2.8</a>
    <a href="http://www.lenshoard.com/images/Olympus%2050mm%20F1.8/focus/adjusted/F4.jpg">F4</a>
    <a href="http://www.lenshoard.com/images/Olympus%2050mm%20F1.8/focus/adjusted/F5-6.jpg">F5.6</a>
    <a href="http://www.lenshoard.com/images/Olympus%2050mm%20F1.8/focus/adjusted/F8.jpg">F8</a>
    <a href="http://www.lenshoard.com/images/Olympus%2050mm%20F1.8/focus/adjusted/F11.jpg">F11</a>
  18. johnsonwoan

    johnsonwoan Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 6, 2012
    Hi Mr. Botak,

    So are you using the 45mm f1.8? How was it so far? Yea, it's bit expensive for me. Hence i may only be able to afford the OM 50mm f1.8. And hopefully it's still good. If he sweetspot is f4-f8, then there's no point to get the OM50mm f1.8 already right? Cos its sweetspot is not the widest at f1.8?
  19. johnsonwoan

    johnsonwoan Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 6, 2012
    Hi lenshoarder,

    Thanks for the graph! What about with the 45mm f1.8? Ohyea, what about comparing OM50 f1.8 with the minolta rokkar 50mm f1.7?
  20. johnsonwoan

    johnsonwoan Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 6, 2012
    Hi WT21, thanks!

    What about comparing OM50 f1.8 with the minolta rokkar 50mm f1.7? Is minolta lens good?
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