OM 50mm 1.8 vs 1.4

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by sebs_color, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. sebs_color

    sebs_color Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 5, 2014
    Virginia Beach, Virginia
    so I was pretty much set on getting the 1.8 (actually im still the highest bidder, so I might end up with it regardless) but I keep seeing some great pictures of the 50mm 1.4
    anyone have any opinions?

    its a little pricier, is that because of the faster aperature? thanks for the help people!

  2. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    I have had a few of both at one time and I found the 1.4 to be better even at 1.8 or 2.0. So in addition to being faster, the 1.4's I had were better lenses.

    I know there are variations within each group but I think if you can afford it, I would go for a high serial number 1.4. I will post some pictures from my 1.4 at some point.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    The 1.8 is a little smaller than the 1.4 (length & weight).

    It just boils down to how much you need the extra light-gathering capability of the 1.4. If you're more likely to be shooting outdoors, during the day you might want to save some $$ and go for the 1.8.

    Another alternative (but more expensive), are the Zuiko Pen F lenses - you can pick up 1.8 & 1.4's which are a bit more size appropriate for m43 bodies.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I have both, but the f/1.8 hasn't been out of the bag since I bought the f/1.4.
    E-P5 with Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 at f/8, 1/100 sec, ISO 200

    In this case the intentional starburst effect has 8 rays versus the 6 of the f/1.8
    • Like Like x 4
  5. Glenn S

    Glenn S Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 1, 2010
    I have both and my experience on m4/3 is that the 1.4 is soft and lacks contrast wide open. It need to be stopped down a couple of stops which makes having 1.4 a bit superfluous.
  6. Grinch

    Grinch Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2011
    If your 1.8 has a serial number over 1million I believe that's supposed to be the best of the 1.8's has an advantage over other copies( research the 1.8 the final version has a distinguishing factor looking at the front element and surrounding labelling) that may make it sharper. I have a 1.8 and 2 1.4's ( one being a chrome nose) and find the 1.4 sharper at similar F stops as 1.8, but both are great.
  7. mr_botak

    mr_botak Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2011
    Reading, UK
    The later 1.4 copies with serials above 1.1m are supposedly the best. Quite like mine, but below about f/2.8 in reality it is very soft.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Neftun

    Neftun Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 15, 2012
    Patrick Kristiansen
    There are several versions of both lenses, the latest being allegedly the best. After extensive research and some help from another member on this forum, I've learned that supposedly the 1,8 with the inscription "made in japan" is the best series. Not "lens made in japan".

    The best 1,4 is has a high serial, above 1,1 million, and says only "japan" on the back.

    How much better these are, I don't know. I do know I have an early 1,8 which is much better than an early 1,4. I also know my latest edition, serial above 1,1million, "japan"-inscribed 1,4 is truly excellent and I would never sell it again.

    When buying these lenses, avoid "silvernosed" versions, avoid "f-zuiko", "g-zuiko" etc, atleast on m43. Get something with an "mc" for multicoating, or nothing at all but the black front.

    Patrick K
  9. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    I had an early 1.4 many years ago and stopped using it because the flare was out of control. As said in a previous post, serial numbers over a million are supposed to be best.
  10. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    My f/1.4 is #1,108,444 "Japan"

    The f/1.8 is #3,651,384 "made in Japan"

    The flare is well controlled in both.
  11. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    I need to emphasize that I haven't used them much on a digital cameras and I'm actually using them with film, I did test them some time ago using a digital camera however. The main problem is figuring out which version you own with both lenses, the f1.8 changed optical design from 6 elements in 5 groups to 6 in 4 at the 5 million plus serial number mark, as such it really needs to be considered a different lens just like the 1.1mil+ versions (If not more so, as the optical design actually changed not just coatings). As I understand it the early "made in Japan" models were not actually a change in design (it's the same as the "MC" version), rather it was introduced as the JCII testing (the little gold "PASSED" stickers) were being phased out as they wanted to still show that their products were made in Japan and were of high quality.

    I found that with the two copies of the f1.4 I own transmission wasn't all that different to the late model f/1.8 metering off metering blank walls filling the frame. When the scene had higher contrast (say basically anything other than a blank wall) the f1.4's started to meter differently than the 1.8 probably due to a combination of more flare and loss of contrast(unsure really). The later 1.1mil+ copy was far more consistent than the earlier version.

    Sharpness for all of these lenses is generally fantastic on the later models (I have to admit I don't shoot all that much wide open, I normally stop down to f/4 to f/8 and switch to digital if the shutter speed is dropping(remember, no image stabilization - it's just something done because I enjoy it at this stage). Low contrast is generally easier to fix with digital than film so it may be less of an issue (or even the look you desire, I don't know).

    I have the following:
    A silver nosed 50mm f1.4 (Serial 3xxxxx range, purchased new in 1972 with an OM-1, holding onto it for sentimental reasons despite being radioactive...)
    A later 50mm f1.4 (1.1mil+ serial)
    A late model f1.8 (north of 5 million serial number, "made in Japan" (not actually a good indicator as above)).

    Last comments:
    The early 1.4 has rounded aperture blades til 2.8 (1.4 is the holder, 2.0 is roundish, 2.8 is basically straight edged with a hint of a curve).
    The 1.1mil+ is basically the same.
    The f1.8 is round til f5.6, f8 has curved edges however there is 6 'corners' beginning, f11 has the slightest of curves and 16 is straight. The front lens element is set back further inside the lens than the f1.4 models.
    I don't use either of the f/1.4s, I only use the f/1.8 now.
  12. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    Which is best as similar apertures?
  13. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I much prefer the f/1.4, but for the money the f/1.8 is usually a very good buy.
  14. Koru

    Koru Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 23, 2014
    Auckland, New Zealand
    I have a nice late model 1.4 with only Japan on the back. It's a nice lens but I never use it at f1.4, just too soft. Always stop it down a couple of clicks. I see no advantage over an f1.8 version for me at least.
    But the Pen 40mm f1.4 performs beautifully at f1.4, is tiny and overall a much better lens. Colour and contrast as good as anything nowadays, made in 1969. They are rare, but if you ever see one, get out your credit card!