90mm f2 versus 100mm f2

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by guyvickers, Dec 2, 2003.

  1. I have tried my hardest to get the best secondhand optics and last
    night discovered that the 35 2.8, 50 1.4 and 100 2.8 that I have are
    all single coated. None of them have MC on front, none have silver
    noses and these three mentioned Do Not reflect green colour in front
    element (is it safe to say that they are single coated?). I am
    learning very quickly that all is not what it seems with Zuiko!

    So I have just purchased an MC 35 f2 from Henrys, Toronto off e.bay.
    I hope to upgrade the 100mm 2.8 to either 90mm f2 macro or 100 f2 as
    these two optics are always multi-coated and both have ED glass. Am I
    going to win the race? Or am I better to go to Nikon now and know
    that the AF24 f2.8, AF35 f2, AF85 f1.4, 300 AFS f4 are going to be
    sharp, contrasty, flare resistant and most of all have that warm nice-
    to-look-at Nikon character?

    Any advice about which optic is best performer out of 100mm f2 Zuiko
    and 90mm f2 Zuiko for general photography (not macro) is much
  2. The 90/2 is far superior to the 100/2, but is also quite a bit heavier. In addition to the technical attributes and construction of a lens is the photographer's personal preferences, the intent (composition, etc), and so forth. You might want to take a look at the 85/2 if the 100/2 isn't to your liking and the price of the 90/2 takes you by surprise.
  3. One other point: You'll find that Olympus filter sizes tend to be either 49mm or 55mm (with a few exceptions) in the non-telephoto ranges. There are often two lens choices in each focal length.
  4. ..or the 100/2.8
  5. I don't think that multi-coating is everything and I wouldn't be so quick to trash the lenses you have just to acquire the "best" optics - whatever that may be.

    I think you'll find that there are a number of people who prefer the single-coated lenses for a number of reasons; mostly having to do with how the photographs actually look, not how they should theoretically look.

    Flare resistance may or may not be a real problem for how you make photographs. It is the only real advantage that I can see for multi-coated. In flare-prone situations, I use a lens hood - or my hand. At the risk of offering a "glittering generality", I would observe that contrast changes considerably with multi-coating; that's not always a good thing. It depends upon your photographic style, what you shoot, and the films you use.

    The single-coated 100/2.8 enjoys a good reputation, while the SC 50/1.4 generally does not. But that has more to do with design than the coatings. If you shoot B&W, try a roll of Ilford Delta 400 with your 100/2.8 and check out how it presents the highlights. I think you'll be pleased.

    I have most of the Zuiko "big glass". The 35/2 has a tendency to vignette wide-open, but is otherwise a good, sharp lense. The 90/2 IS heavy and the aperture ring is back at the camera end of the lens, not toward the filter ring like most Zuikos (very difficult for me to get used to). The 100/2 is not as heavy - and not as sharp. They are different lenses.

    I use my 50/1.8 MIJ a lot more than I ever did. I use a 24/2.8 where my 21/2 is too wide. You get the picture?

    This was not meant to be a lecture - just a plea. Get to know your existing lenses and their respective strengths and weaknesses before you go on a quest for elusive "big glass".

    I wish I did.
  6. Guy-

    Both the 90/2 and 100/2 are outstanding lenses and both will delight you. I have the 100/2 and love it, if I had the 90 I would love it too. I went with the 100/2 over the 90 because I do not do alot of macro and when I do I have the 50mm Macro already.

    I had the 100/2.8 and while I liked it's size and small 49mm filter thread, I found that the 100/2 was a better lens and sharper, even at f/2. However it is a bigger lens with a 55mm filter. What is important to you? Also, I did the opposite at the other end. I had the 28/2 and 28/2.8, there I found the 2.8 was preferred due to it's smaller size and being equally sharp. So I kept it and sold the f/2.

    Generally speaking, I think the "slower" Zuikos are great in the wider angles but the "faster" ones are better bets in the longer lenses (if you have the $$) The 100mm focal length is a good example of that, the 2.8 is nice (love the size!) but both the 90/2 and 100/2 are just better. And like all metal lenses they just feel solid!! So much better than my wife with her plastic Canon lenses (shudder).

    As far as coatings go, I am not sure I have ever notced a real difference. I bought a new 24/2.8 that has mc and like it. I also have a sc silvernose 21/3.5 that is probably 25+ years old, purchased used and like it too. In fact the both take terrefic shots for me. FWIW I do all nature work, rocks, trees, landscapes. For that type of use I would normally be concerned with flare, but have never had a problem with Zuiko lenses.
  7. The fact that your lenses don't say "MC" on the front does not mean that they aren't multi-coated. I have five Zuiko's, all of them relatively late production, and all multi-coated. But only one of them, my 28mm f/2, says "MC" on the front.
  8. Mark is correct regarding the naming of "MC" lenses. _All_ lenses marked "X.ZUIKO" where X is a letter from E to H indicating the number of elements are single coated; all marked ZUIKO MC are multicoated, and most marked ZUIKO only are multicoated, too, except for those early lenses which were marked "ZUIKO" only and never had a letter in front of it (all chrome nosed "ZUIKO" only lenses are SC). If it reads "ZUIKO 1:a,b f= cd mm" (note the "f= "), it is single coated (e.g. the early 16/3.5, 50/3.5 macro, 35/2.8 shift, 80/4 macro manual); if it reads ZUIKO cd mm 1:a,b" (i.e., no f= ), they are the later multicoated versions except for the 135mm/3.5 and (probably) the 75-150/4 which were never multicoated.
  9. Hi

    Thanks for your help with this one. Good to hear that single coating is not the end of the world. I upgraded from a 24/2.8 to a 24/2 and with Konrads good description know that my 24/2 is multi-coated due to the lack of "f=24mm" and lack of "X".ZUIKO. My 24/2 is superb at handling contrasty lighting compared to all my other lenses (velvia 50 iso). I find my 35/2.8 (single coated G.Zuiko)tends to lose detail in highlights and often flares when sun in frame although zuiko claim that it is designed for minimal flare (OM system Lens Handbook). So the visualised advantage with the 35/2 just purchased is that at f4, the vignetting will be minimal, the sharpness will be good and the contrast control better than my old 35mm f2.8.

    I will probably try to upgrade the 100m 2.8 to a multi-coated version and then look at a 90mm macro f2 in a while. The brother-in-laws wedding was shot on T-Max 400, pushed one and the contrast and detail was superb, for a bunch of old glass! Although weddings are few and far between for me.

    Lighting + film + projector combination may be my limitation, rather than the lenses!
    Guy Vickers
  10. Guy,

    I want to reiterate Thom English's point that BOTH the 100F2.0 and 90F2.0 are sharp lenses! Mr. Costello's second assertion "The 100/2 is not as heavy - and not as sharp." -- is false. At best, he can only state his particular sample of a 90F2.0 was sharper than another individual sample of the 100F2.0. I recall that the 100F2.0 also fared better in a long ago Popular Photography MTF style test than the 90F2.0 they tested.

    I too, have had both and preferred the 100F2.0 hands down! It's extremely sharp (as is the 90), much lighter and more compact, has built in lens shade and is almost a quasi-macro in it's own right with the ability to focus to 1:5 or 22inches or so, for an "eyes only" shot. It's a MUCH more practical lens to use in travel and urban situations. Mr. Costello does correctly point out that the 90F2.0 also differs in behavior from other OM lenses, which could hinder it's use where response speed is important.

    As for SC/silver noses, I have found an earlier 50F1.4 and 135F3.5 to be disappointing in snap and contrast. Later "black nose" samples of the very same lenses were much better. The 135F3.5 black-nose was still SC, so the issue could have be simply improved quality control with the later lenses (in addition to MC)--it was definitely better than the earlier SC version. Have since sold it, as having a 100F2.0 will cause you to ignore any other lens around it in focal length.

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