Guide to Classic Olympus OM Zuiko lenses on film and Sony Full Frame


This post is by David Braddon-Mitchell from phillipreeve.net


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Yoshihisa Maitani’s Olympus OM system was a remarkable achievement, with beautifully engineered smaller bodies and exquisite small lenses, often as good or better than larger lenses from the competition. They are all nicely engineered and a joy to use. This makes them very tempting options for someone who wants to explore them on a modern full frame camera, or for someone who wants to experiment with film. I was an OM system user back in the days of film, so you’ll see a few samples from me that are from OM film cameras, as well as digital. In this guide Juriaan,

olympus om zuiko auto-t 180mm 2.0 flare review sony digital modern camera high res resolution
olympus super tele om 250mm 2.0 180mm 350mm 2.8 review hands on bokeh rendering out of focus

and I will take you through the lenses with comments about how they perform, and whether they make sense adapted to Sony full frame digital cameras.

Many of the samples are film era images taken from David’s personal archives. We don’t therefore pretend that they illustrate the technical qualities of the lenses, but they do give you an idea of the creative possibilities of them.

All always except for a few late era lenses, they won’t resolve quite as well as the best expensive modern lenses, or be as contrasty. But most are nonetheless extremely good, and many have a look which we sometimes enjoy as an alternative to the near perfection of some recent glass.

Some factors to consider in choosing classic lenses

There are many factors you need to take into account when buying older lenses, which really are all related to the reason you are doing it. You might want to save money, you might be sentimentally attached to an old brand, you might like the unique look some of these optics offer, you might be a collector at heart. Lets think about how getting clear about your motivations might affect the decision you make.

1. Are you basically looking for a high resolutions manual lens for a good price?

This is a good reason for buying classic glass. But you need to be a bit careful. There are a number of OM lenses which are competitive with the best modern glass – the 2/50, 2/90 and 2/100 as well as the superteles spring to mind. But they are very expensive, so much so that you are probably better off, if performance is all you care about and you want manual focus, spending a little more for a modern CV or Zeiss lens. Of course those lenses have other features that you might care about as well.

The money saving motivation really applies mostly to less expensive lenses some of which are nonetheless still very sharp.

2. Are you looking to fill a gap that’s not currently filled?

Sometimes there are lenses in a genre for which there is no modern equivalent yet. There are no modern smaller medium tele lenses. If you want a compact tele for occasional use, then an adapted OM might fit the bill. They are mostly pretty good (though when there are finally modern ones they will be better).

3. Are you looking for the “look” of an older lens?

In this case you will care less about the absolute resolution and more about the rendering, so long as performance is decent. Some people may even prefer the older versions with single coating for artistic flare and so forth.

4. Let’s be honest. Are you collecting?

Using older lenses can be kind of an excuse to collect. Nothing wrong with that, but probably it’s a good idea to be clear what your motivation is! If you are collecting you’ll care more about condition. If you are just using the lens, then a cosmetically fair sample with clean glass will save you a lot of money.

A little history of OM lenses.

OM lenses when through a number of changes over the years. The earliest change was merely cosmetic: when the M-System became the OM system, because of trademark issues with Leica. But later changes sometimes coincided with changes in the optics and coatings. It’s pretty clear that Olympus updated the optical design at least once over the OM era for many of these lenses, as well as having at least three generations of coatings. Sometimes the optical changes are obvious: the number of elements or groups changs, so it must have been redesigned. But there are other optics that must also have been redesigned if you pay close attention, because the overall size of the lens has altered enough that it couldn’t be exactly the same formulation. It’s hard to be sure exactly when in the production run this happens though. Unlike some makers, Olympus never advertised Mk II!

The coatings went through at least three eras that we know of. The first era was when the lenses had silver “noses” IMAGE. Most lenses of this era were single coated, though some had early multicoating. At some point the silver ring on the front disappears and the lens body is all black. we think, but aren’t sure, that this doesn’t coincide with any important difference. It does however mean that any all black lens is newer sample than a silver one. In both of these eras the “Zuiko” brand on the lens ring is preceded by a letter which tells you how many elements the lens has: eg E.Zuiko for a five element lens, and F.Zuiko for a six element lens and so on.

The next era was when gradually all the lenses because multicoated and had “Zuiko MC” written on the lens ring.

The final era, when all lenses still in production were multicoated, was when the lens was simply marked “Zuiko”. This coincides with a new lens coating they advertised as “NMC”. How much if at all better it is than the previous era we aren’t sure. Both are noticeably better than the non-multicoated era for surpassing glare and flare and generally maintaining contrast.

The last years of OM produced some extraordinary lenses that were, we think, better than most of the contemporary lenses of their class, and almost as good as the latest modern designs. This set included the 50mm f2 macro, the 90mm f2 macro, the 100mm f2 and the white superteles: 2/180, 2/250, 2.8/350 and 2.8/350.

Zuiko Prime Lenses: A Chart

Here are some of the key features of the Zuiko primes.

A few things to note

(1) At least one of us has used, even if briefly, all the lenses listed

(2) No zooms are listed. Classic zooms are rarely good, though there are a couple of interest in the OM lineup we may discuss later.

(3) Nothing over 350mm is listed. The older lenses longer than 350 mm are absurdly large and slow (typical for their age though) and the fast modern ones, well…

(4) We have listed only one entry for each lens except in cases where we are certain there was an optical redesign of a later version. When we only list one version we just describe it as “Zuiko”. When we list different versions we use eg. F.Zuiko for the older one, “Zuiko” for the later, and do not distinguish between “Zuiko” and the slightly earlier “Zuiko MC”. When we list only one version, the weight and dimensions are for the oldest housing. Later versions were usually just a little bit longer and heavier, due to very slight changes in the housings.

We haven’t listed zooms here, nor have we listed specialty lenses which don’t connect directly to camera, but require bellows or other attachments.

Lenses in the guide

The lenses we discuss now are mostly ones we have used fairly extensively and have samples. Ones none of us have ever used we are usually leave out or discuss briefly with no sample. When we have used two versions of a lens, and have samples, we list both versions. The samples and opinions are by David, unless it says otherwise.

The indicative prices are for lenses in good condition if you are are patient and wait around or try auctions. If you want perfect collectible condition, or want one really quickly, you may have to pay more.

Olympus Zuiko Fisheyes and 18mm.

None of us has used either of these extensively enough to have an first hand opinion about their quality. The 18mm has quite a good reputation, but is quite expensive. We would be surprised if it was as optically good as even a modern zoom covering the range, but it is compact, and unlike many legacy 18mm lenses probably gives good enough quality to not distract from  the images if you are shooting film.

2.8/8 fisheye | 640 | $800 | Ebay.com (affiliate link)

2.8/16 fisheye | 180g | $550 | Ebay.com (affiliate link)

3.5/18 | 250g | $700 | Ebay.com (affiliate link)

Olympus Zuiko 21mm f3.5

Status: Owned and used extensively by David in the film era. Not part of current kit.

  • Usable resolution and contrast
  • High vignetting, especially wide open
  • moderately high distortion
  • Considerable LaCA and LoCA
  • Small and lightweight

A small and lightweight prime lens which for a while was a favourite for people adapting lenses for mirrorless because there were no issues with the sensor stack. It’s a good little performer and fun to use, but it’s not enough cheaper than the CV 21/35 to be a first recommendation for a compact 21mm. As far as we know the different versions of this lens are differences in coatings only.

185g | $250 | Ebay.com (affiliate link)

Olympus OM Zuiko MC 24mm f2.8 (Phillip)

Status: Used on Sony a7II for about a year by Phillip. Sold since.

  • A tiny lens
  • Sharp across the frame by f/8
  • Weaker flare resistance
  • Very high vignetting, even stopped down
  • Relatively affordable

The Olympus 24mm f2.8 has some shortcomings like weaker flare resistance and stronger vignetting which limit the applications you can use it for but it shares those with most other wideangles of its era. Since it is rather cheap and very small it can still make good sense in your kit because it performs very well if you aren’t too crazy about taking backlit images.

180g | $100 | Review | Ebay.com (affiliate link)

Olympus OM Zuiko 24mm f2.8

  • Optically and mechanically the same as the Zuiko MC version
  • Maybe slightly better against the light

This is the final version of the 24mm f2.8; it is also multicoated but it seems may have a new style of coating – the so-called New Multicoating NMC. It certainly seems quite good against the light, but unfortunately we don’t have access to both this and the earlier one to compare them against each other. None of us has tried the earlier H.Zuiko single coated version, but we suspect that in a lens of this width and complexity it would be very poor against the light.

180g | $150  | Ebay.com (affiliate link)

The Fast Super Wides: 2/21 and 2/24

I have used these briefly in the past. They are very expensive now, and in fact optically neither are as good as the slower lenses, while still fine optics. Since their wide open performance is a bit iffy, I don’t think they make sense for digital. For film, the extra speed makes them easier to focus accurately, which might for some  make it worth the extra cost, size and slightly lower stopped down quality.

250g | $600 | Ebay.com (affiliate link)

275g | $370 | Ebay.com (affiliate link)

Olympus Zuiko MC 28mm f2

Status: Bought by David and used in the days of Film. Bought by Phillip for review. David has a later version now for retro fun with film, but hasn’t used in much yet.

  • Decently sharp centrally at wide apertures, quite sharp across the field stopped down. Some sample variation.
  • Soap bubble bokeh in high contrast back-lit situations with specular highlights.
  • Later versions appear to do better in backlight, all versions are better than you would expect for a fast wide of the era.

An interesting lens that someone who likes the look of vintage fast wides might well invest in, as it handles flare better and is sharper than most fast wides of its era, whilst retaining that look to the bokeh. Not that cheap, and so if you are just looking for a lens with no particular interest in classic lenses, the Sony 2/28 is a better bet. Although I have a later NMC version, I’ve not yet tested it.

240g | $200 | Ebay.com (affiliate link)

Olympus G.Zuiko  28mm f3.5

Status: Bought by David in digital era and still in use. 

  • Very sharp across the field from one full stop down.
  • Small and compact.
  • Average for the era control of flare and backlight.
  • Quit good contrast when lighting conditions favourable.

This lens is reputed to be sharper than its replacement, the 28mm f2.8. Although I have used both, we haven’t had them together to test so we can’t confirm that. I can confirm though that the later lens handles flare a bit better, though this one is not too bad considering it is probably not fully multicoated. This lens is however very sharp indeed, and well priced, and a good choice for someone looking for an inexpensive but sharp 28 for their kit.

180g | $60 | Ebay.com (affiliate link)

Olympus OM Zuiko 28mm f2.8

Status: Bought and used by David in the days of film. Not part of current kit.

  • Very sharp across most of the frame. Possibly a tiny bit worse in the corners than the earlier f3.5 version, but we can’t compare them side by side any more.
  • Very high contrast and food flare control
  • Very small

A nice lens which con be got cheaply and makes sense as a “student” purchase. Better contrast than the f3.5, but as we say above, the rumour that it’s worse in the corners is something we can’t verify. I always found it remarkably sharp across the field

170g | $50 | Ebay.com (affiliate link)

Olympus OM Zuiko MC 35mm f2

Status: Bought and used by David in the film era.

  • Quite nice rendering in some situations
  • Compact for an f2 35 of the era
  • Useful sharpness but not amazing
  • Bokeh wide open tends to outlining with backlighting and specular highlights

I always found this lens sharp enough and decent corner to corner stopped down. But it has a poor reputation in some circles. If there is demand from readers and enthusiasm from us one of us may find a good copy to review fully. It’s possible that the design was modified for the last production runs: it’s just a little longer — not enough longer to guarantee that it’s a recalculation with the same rough structure  as with some lenses, but the difference is greater than with some of the lenses nonetheless. This might explain the disagreement.

240g | $160 | Ebay.com (affiliate link)

Olympus OM Zuiko 35mm f2

Status: Bought and used by David as vintage lens on digital, and occasionally for retro fun on an OM film body. 

  • Mostly the same as the Zuiko MC version
  • Slightly better contrast than the non multicoated version, but not a big difference.

This is the final version of this lens. We don’t know it it was optically changed, but we doubt it. So probably the only difference is coatings. The oldest version, the H.Zuiko, was single coated, and given the design probably had contrast issues as a result. It’s also very rare, because Olympus introduced multicoating to this lens very early – a “silver nose” version can be found marked Zuiko MC.

It’s unclear when the redesign happened (and whether the redesign was only mechanical). Certainly the silver nosed versions, even marked MC, are the older body. I don’t know if the new design starts with the black body MC, sometime during the black body MC era, or with the new multicoating marked by MC being removed from the front ring.

240g | $250 | Ebay.com (affiliate link)

Olympus OM Zuiko  35mm f2.8

Status: Bought and used by David in the film era.

  • Low cost
  • Compact
  • Later models sharp over most of the field by f5.6
  • Later models somewhat sharper than the f2 version.

This lens is pretty inexpensive. We think that the later version must be redesigned as it is considerably larger and heavier than the original version. If you are not looking for a heavily vintage look it might pay to look for that version – with the plain “zuiko” label. On the other hand if you are looking for something far from the modern look (and if you were being tough you might say that the later version looks like  an average modern lens, rather than a vintage one) you might prefer the old one.

170g | $80 | Ebay.com (affiliate link)

Olympus OM Zuiko SHIFT 35mm f2.8

Status: Bought and used by David in the film era.

  • Relatively inexpensive way to get into shift lenses
  • Decent central resolution
  • Edge resolution poor when anywhere near maximum shift

The only reason to get one of these is to experiment with shift lenses (or if you think old Zuikos are cool). Back in the day, when digital perspective control was impossible, it was a godsend. I loved this lens. But the IQ is not good enough to compete with using a slightly wider lens and correcting perspective in your software of choice, much less a contemporary shift lens. On the other hand if you are using film it still makes good sense.

310g | $300 | Ebay.com (affiliate link)

Olympus Zuiko 50mm f1.2

Status: owned and used by David in the digital era. 

  • Interesting “classic” fast fifty bokeh at wide apertures
  • Usable wide open
  • Quite sharp stopped down
  • Nice size and weight compared to other f1.2 fifties
  • Can be expensive, look for a good deal

This lens gives you f1.2 fun at wide apertures, and stops down to be an excellent all round fifty with not too much weight penalty. There are only two reasons to consider it. One is that you want the classic f1.2 fifty look. In which case it’s one of the best options. The other is that you are looking to save money and still get f1.2. In that case you will need to find a bargain. The CV 1.2/50 is a much better and smoother lens, and if smoothness, resolution and contrast are what you would prefer, that would be a better bet unless you can get this lens at a bargain price. I have a lot of fun with this, though!  There is an older version I haven’t used: the 55mm f1.2. It is reputed to be less sharp and contrasty, and also to have been crazier bokeh. But these might all be features you want for some use cases!

310g | $300 | Ebay.com (affiliate link)

Olympus F.Zuiko 50mm f1.4

Status: owned and used by David in the film era. New copy in occasional use on digital and film.

  • Good bokeh for a classic double gauss 1.4/50
  • Late version has very good central and midfield sharpness wide open for a classic 1.4/50
  • Better LoCA correction than even some modern lenses
  • Sharp across field stopped down, but not modern sharp
  • Nice size and weight
  • Good choice if you are looking for a classic 1.4/50, as it’s one of the better ones and smaller than most

This is a lovely classic standard lens, but it comes in many versions. The earliest is the G.Zuiko version, which is probably single coated and optically slightly different from the late version. It’s noticeably hazier wide open, though you might not mind that. The last version has both the latest coatings and a different optical design (from serial number 1.1 million on say many). The middle version marked “Zuiko MC” is fully multicoated, but may or may not have the last optical design. The black nose and silver nose version of the G.Zuiko are merely cosmetically different as far as we can tell.

Weight: 585g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (January 2020): $429
Opticallimits Review | Sample images Amazon.com | B&H | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate Links)

Olympus F.Zuiko 50mm f/1.8

  • Very small and light
  • Very sharp from edge to edge stopped down with barely any LaCA
  • Good bokeh near minimum focus distance
  • Not sharp wide open, especially away from the center
  • Corners never get really good
  • very bad flare resistance

The first design of the Olympus 1.8/50 series. Sharpness is not great and due to primitive coatings flare resistance is horrible.
At longer distances bokeh is nervous with loads of outlining, however near MFD bokeh is very smooth. The F.Zuiko 1.8/50 can be found cheap and is a nice lens to walk around with due to its limited weight. If you like the bokeh rendering a lot but you are looking for a sharper lens and better coatings, check out the latest version.

Olympus Zuiko 50mm f1.8

  • Very small and light
  • Very sharp from corner to corner stopped down.
  • Low LaCA
  • Good bokeh at close distance
  • Decently sharp in a large central region wide open
  • Good corners
  • Decent performance against the light

The optical design as well as the coatings were changed on the basic 50mm lens at some point. Exactly when is unclear, but the scuttlebutt is that the lenses that say just “Zuiko” with no “MC”, and which say “Made in Japan” are of the last design. I think it’s safe to say that all such lenses are the later one, possibly some earlier ones are too, but possibly not.

It’s a great little standard lens. Has slightly distracting bokeh by some lights, but it’s sharp in a decently large central area even wide open, and gets very sharp stopped down. A very sensible lens if you are playing with film on an OM, and an inexpensive fast manual fifty for digital, that is probably plays in a similar league  optically than the cheaper modern ones.

Olympus Zuiko 50mm f2 Macro

Status: owned and used by David in the film era. 

  • Outstanding contrast and colour at all apertures and distances
  • Good macro performance at 1:2
  • A little smaller than eg Zeiss Makro-Planar 2/50 while in the same class
  • Suffers from collector premium

One of the last generation of very high performance Zuikos this lens had great performance, although it was not as compact as most zuiko lenses. It can sometimes be had at a price that makes it competitive with the very similar Zeiss Makro Planar Classic 2/50. Either is a very nice optic on Sony; get whichever is cheaper.

Weight: 585g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (January 2020): $429
Opticallimits Review | Sample images Amazon.com | B&H | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate Links)

Olympus G.Zuiko 55mm f1.2

This is a bigger lens, not as sharp as the later 50mm f1.2, and has even funkier bokeh. None of us has used it extensively, but our sense from samples and other sources is that it’s only for people who want to experiment with crazy bokeh. As a user lens for most purposes the 50mm f1.2 is preferable.

Weight: 585g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (January 2020): $429
Opticallimits Review | Sample images Amazon.com | B&H | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate Links)

Olympus OM Zuiko 90mm f2

Status: Bought and used by David in the film era

  • Extremely sharp and contrasty
  • Excellent at all distances
  • Has 1:2 macro of high quality
  • Bokeh slightly more distracting than 2/100 at longer distances

This lens is legendary; it was produced towards the end of the OM era and was part of a series designed to showcase their optical prowess. It’s probably a better lens than the Zeiss Makro-Planar 2/100 – it certainly has less purple fringing, and it’s more compact.

But as with a lot of these lenses, collectors have spoiled the party. Unless you find one cheap, you are probably better off with the CV Apo-Lanthar 2.5/110 which is better still, and goes to 1:1, and has contacts.

buy from amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)

Olympus OM F.Zuiko 100mm f2.8

Status: Used back in the days of film by David

  • Very similar to later multicoated version (see next section)

This is a lovely little lens; see the next section for discussion of the multicoated version. This earlier version is basically the same: the lens is simple enough that multicoating makes very little difference, and the earlier F.Zuiko version can be had very cheaply. Highly recommended for film users, or anyone looking for a small and inexpensive short tele for digital.

230g | $90 | Review | Ebay.com (affiliate link)

 

Olympus OM Zuiko 100mm f2.8 (Phillip)

Status: Used on Sony a7 for two years by Phillip. Sold since.

  • A tiny lens, no bigger than your typical 1.8/50
  • Sharp across the frame from wide open with decent contrast
  • Good bokeh most of the time
  • Stronger CA
  • Very affordable

The Olympus OM 2.8/100 is a tiny lens with a generally good performance and few limitations. I think it is a great choice for those occasions when you don’t want to carry a heavy bag. Despite these positive characteristics, the lens is quite affordable and I think it offers great value.

230g | $90 | Review | Ebay.com (affiliate link)

Olympus OM 100mm f2 (Phillip)

Status: Used on Sony a7II for two years by Phillip. After the 2.5/110 APO arrived it saw too little use and was sold.

  • Very sharp across the frame from wide open with high contrast
  • Outstanding bokeh
  • Above average but far from perfect CA correction
  • Focuses to 70 cm with good sharpness thanks to floating elements

An excellent lens which balances performance and handling really well. Its biggest competitor is the 2/90 Macro which is a little sharper and focuses even closer but the 2/100 has a little nicer bokeh and less steep focus throw.

Since it is a rare lens, prices are usually unreasonably high which makes it hard to recommend for actual usage to any but die hard Olympus fans.

520g | $6-800 | Review | Ebay.com (affiliate link)

Olympus OM Zuiko 135mm f3.5

Status: Bought and used by David in the digital era

  • Reasonably sharp across the frame
  • Very sharp at close to medium distances, less good at infinity
  • This version has high contrast
  • Noticeable LoCA
  • Cheap if you can find one, and one of the smallest 135mm lenses

Quite a fun lens to use because decently sharp and very small. This version is very hard to find, however. The E.Zuiko version which is widely and cheaply available is optically the same, we think, and different mainly, or only, in coatings.

buy from amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)

Olympus Zuiko MC 135mm f2.8

Status: Bought and used by David in the analog era. 

  • Sharp and decent classic fast 135
  • As with most classic non-Apo teles displays some LoCA but less than most.
  • Nice Bokeh

This lens is not expensive, and while not as good as say the Batis 2.8/135 its a tenth of the price. If you want a manual fast 1.8 for occasional use, and don’t want to pay a lot of money this lens makes good sense. As far as we can tell there are no optical differences between versions, only coatings.

 

Olympus Zuiko MC 200mm f4

Status: Bought and used by David in the analog era. A later copy now in use for digital.

  • Decently sharp wide open and stopped down
  • Not too big or heavy
  • As with most classic non-Apo teles displays some LoCA but less than most.
  • Bokeh quality quite good (but limited in speed)

No-one makes a portable and small tele lens any more, as zooms rule the roost for this focal length. So if you want such a lens you have to adapt. Probably the Apo-Lanthar 180mm f4 from CV is the best of the compact options, but it is priced absurdly. This lens is very affordable, and might make a good stopgap for your kit. Of course you might prefer the even more compact f5 version, though finding a multicoated copy of that is very difficult indeed.

 

Weight: 186g | Filter Thread: 49mm | Price (January 2020): $198
Our Review | Amazon.com  | Amazon.de | Ebay B&H (affiliate Links)

Olympus Zuiko 200mm f5

Status: Bought and in use on digital by David

  • Decently sharp at all apertures
  • Very compact
  • Late version fairly flare resistant
  • Good at infinity as well as closer distances

This lens was designed for compactness, and it certainly succeeds. The optical design, it seems, was slightly altered for the last run (the “plain Zuiko” run) and is slightly better at some distances, and has better coatings than the early ones. However the last version is very hard to find. Ones for sale are almost always the G.Zuiko version. They are pretty cheap, so it might be worth trying for your compact tele needs, or you may prefer to get the slightly faster (though larger) f4 versions, which is more easily found in a “Zuiko MC” or later version.

 

Weight: 440g | Filter Thread: 58mm | Price: 1099€/1099$ (June 2019)
Review | Sample images | CameraQuest | B&H | Robert White | amazon.com | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)

Olympus Zuiko 180mm f2 (Bastian)

olympus om zuiko auto-t 180mm 2.0 flare review sony digital modern camera high res resolution
Sony A7rII | Olympus OM 180mm 2.0 Zuiko | f/2.0

Status: Bought and sold by Bastian.

  • Great build quality
  • Really good minimum focus distance
  • Nice bokeh
  • Very good sharpness at all distances (floating elements design)
  • Average amount of vignetting, flare resistance and correction of longitudinal CA
  • Very rare and expensive

Amazing design considering its age: ED element, great minimum focus distance, surprisingly compact and lightweight.
Unfortunately this is a really rare lens which has only been produced in very small quantities. Therefore it is mostly a collector’s item and only sells for collector’s prices.
For the price of a really good used one it is probably smarter to get a modern lens like the Canon EF 200mm 2.0 L IS, but this doesn’t take away from the fact that the Olympus 2/180 is an amazing lens.

Weight: 1900g | Filter Thread: 100mm (rare!) | Price: $2500+ 

Review | ebay.com (affiliate link)

Olympus Zuiko 250mm f2 (Bastian)

olympus super tele om 250mm 2.0 180mm 350mm 2.8 review hands on bokeh rendering out of focus
Sony A7rII | Olympus OM 250mm 2.0 Zuiko | f/2.0

Status: Bastian could have a look at a faulty loaner.

  • Great build quality
  • comparably good minimum focus distance
  • Amazing bokeh (especially amount)
  • Very very rare and expensive

In many ways similar to the aforementioned 2/180, but an even bolder design and truly one of its kind. It is similarly hard to find as the 2/180, but even more expensive.
If you are into Brenizer this may be your holy grail lens, but these days most that are still in good condition are certainly to be found in some collector’s dry cabinet.

Weight: 3900g | Filter Thread: 46mm (slot in) | Price: $5000+ 

Hands on | ebay.com (affiliate link)

Olympus Zuiko 350mm f2.8 (Bastian)

The design is very similar to the two aforementioned lenses, but none of us has used it personally yet.
It is the cheapest and easiest to get of these three Olympus Super-Tele lenses, but it competes with some of the older Canon 2.8/400 lenses which can often be found cheaper and therefore might be a more sensible choice.

Weight: 3900g | Filter Thread: 46mm (slot in) | Price: $2500+ 

ebay.com (affiliate link)

Olympus Zuiko Old-Style Telephoto lenses

Olympus made a range of big black older long focus style telephoto lenses. David has used the 300mm f4.5; it’s fairly heavy at a kilo, and of good quality for its era but doesn’t really make sense as a user lens unless you find it very cheap. The longer lenses – 6.3/400, 6.5/600 and 11/1000 (!)  are huge and heavy and slow – its hard to see a purpose for them in todays  world. They were near impossible to focus on film, but a bit easier on mirrorless. I could almost see someone using the 600 for wildlife if they could find it cheap enough and were comfortable with manual focus.

Closing Remarks

Good luck in your search for Zuiko OM lenses! Whether you are looking for a high quality and compact film system, cheap compact neutral lenses for digital, or funky older fast lenses for the vintage look, there are OMs for you all!

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