50/1.2 vs 55/1.2 and 50/1.4

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by matthew_newton, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. So I am just curious about people's opinions between the lenses.

    I have a couple of different 50/1.8s from a silver nose to a mij. I also have a silver nose 50/1.4 (love the bokeh on it
    personally). Not that I have the spare money to get a 50/1.2 or 55/1.2 anytime soon, especially since there are a
    number of other lenses I want to get first, but I am curious by everyone's opinions.

    Is the 50/1.2 and 55/1.2 larger enough then the 50/1.4 to make it akward in comparison or a bear to stick in your
    camera bag? What is the bokeh difference? Is focusing and shooting at f/1.2 compared to f/1.4 significantly more
    difficult? Are either soft at f/1.2?

    Now I guess a 50/1.2 vs 55/1.2 question, is there a significant difference in size or handling between the two? IQ
    difference? Is the extra 5mm of focal length on the 55 going to make any significant difference? Are there any IQ
    concerns between the 55/1.2s with radioactive coatings (IE haze, etc)?

  2. 50/1.2 is said to be the best Olympus 50mm lens in terms of character, bokeh, sharpness and contrast. It used to be the flagship. 49mm filter.

    55/1.2 is the predecessor of 50/1.2. 55mm filter and slightly larger than 50/1.2. Also AFAIK available only single coated.

    50/1.4 the best performance/price or "bang for the buck" ratio.

    50/1.8 silver nose: good, but not great. Cheap and light. Metal construction.

    50/1.8 MC, MiJ: optically great, mechanically worse than earlier 50/1.8. Almost entirely of plastic.
  3. I love my 55 1.2, i don't consider it big at all (compared to my Canon 30d with a zoom lens). The contrast is pretty low on it,
    which makes me think it is a single coat model- does anyone know where to find a list of serials that would confirm this? The
    contrast doesn't bother me at all, as i use this only for black and white and can adjust the contrast in developing and printing. I
    was patient for mine on the bay and got a great deal on one (under 250) but it did take a couple of years of waiting. This has
    become the only lens i still use (with my OM-1) that is not on a digital camera. My other Olympus lenses have been retired
    (but not sold). I use it at 1.2 most frequently, as i don't have anything in digital that will do this. The pictures have an
    awesome look to them that just doesn't happen in digital (well, maybe if i had the canon 50 1.2)
  4. "50/1.2 is said to be the best Olympus 50mm lens in terms of character, bokeh, sharpness and contrast."

    Really? That's never been the consensus on the reviews I've seen. It is also not been my impression based on photos I've seen from it. I think the second commenter is closer to the point in mentioning it's low contrast. Fast lenses have a 'mystique" about them, but the reality is that they involve challenges and trade-offs in design that often impact the overall optical quality.
  5. Tim: the second poster is talking about 55/1.2, not 50/1.2. Don't mix those two.
  6. Matthew...I purchased my OM-1 and 55 1.2 in 1975 from a large Manhattan camera store while I was stationed at the U.S. Coast Guard base at Governors Island. That combination was recommended by an older classmate (geeze, he must have been at least 28) who had experience as a professional photographer. I still use that camera and lens with the all matte focusing screen with etched grid lines, I started using it at small music venues and for street photography. The quickness and accuracy of available light focusing is a thing of beauty. Sure it weighs a bit more than the 1.8, but it felt good and performed wonderfully. As a new Coastie and a poor one at that, the expenditure seemed tremendous. I never looked back. After 30 plus years I still marvel at it's performance. The out of focus features are like creamy swirls, hardly blobs, no stark spots, I love the effect. So, get one,
  7. Mathew, I'd say the 50/1.2 is worth its cost. It's probably my single favourite lens among the dozen or so OM primes I use. Its bokeh is wonderful, and it's stupidly sharp. I scan my slides on a Nikon V and the 1.2 never disappoints to be among the sharpest work. In OM lore, I think the 50/1.2 is only equaled by the 90/f2 macro, and the rare 100/f2 portrait.
  8. Also multicoated 1.4 above a certain serial number (I know above 1,000,000 but not sure, possibly from 1,100,000 and up) is sought after. In all, there are 5 types of 1.4: 1: single coated with silver edged filter ring, 2: SC with black filter ring, 3: MC, marked MC on name ring, 4: MC NO MC on name ring and last type, type 5 MC, no MC on name ring, possibly with serial number on edge of rear mount (not sure of this). John. www.zuiko.com
  9. The results I've seen from the 55/1.2 are unspectacular, I wouldn't rush to buy one. A good 50/1.4 is much better value. The 50/1.4s with s/n >1,100,000 are apparently the 'best' optical performers, but claimed to be only a small amount better than the MC with lower numbers.

    The 50/1.4 SC (G.Zuiko) lens is not great, but neither is it a complete dog. I have seen some attractive images made with examples of this lens. Sometimes the lack of coatings can provide nicer contrast effects, particularly in b&w, so please don't dismiss SC or claimed "inferior" lenses out of hand.
  10. Using the 55mm f:1.2 offers the advantage of shooting in low light conditions. The softness and low contrast has been reported in the use of the OM 35mm cameras. But when using with the MF-1 adapter and attached to an E-series DSLR, the lens becomes a 35mm equivalent of 110mm and the softness is not seen. I have shot portraits and weddings successfully with this lens configuration without the forementioned abberations.


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