Anyone happy with his/her Zuiko 35 mm?

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by preston_merchant, Oct 22, 2003.

  1. Recent threads have observed that the 35 mm lenses are not quite as
    good as the 28, 50, and other lengths.

    Are people happy with their 35s? If so, are they 2.8 or 2.0? Single-
    or multicoated?

    I admit to being dissatisfied with my single-coated, silvernose
    35/2.8 (soft, low contrast) and am wondering if other versions are
    better. Is there a version of the 35 that's as good as the 28/2.8?
     
  2. Preston, check Gary Reese's site for test reports on the various Zuiko 35's. That'll tell you more than anything else I can offer, especially since I don't own a 35. ;>

    Sometimes I wonder whether the dissatisfaction some folks report has more to do with the in-betweeny nature of the 35mm focal length than with its optical performance. Me, I'm a big fan of the focal length. Many folks are lukewarm about it. Some dislike it so much it affects their judgement of every such lens.

    I will say this, by way of example: On the OM Mailing List I read some reports of dissatisfaction with the Zuiko 28/2.8. However Gary's tests showed it to be a good performer. I tried it and have used it under some really challenging conditions, including the worst flare-inducing conditions. It is an outstanding lens with a good balance of contrast and resolution with little distortion (virtually none visible in prints or slides of real world objects). Light falloff clears up by f/4.

    Could hardly ask for a better 28mm lens. It's equal in every way to my 28/3.5 PC-Nikkor and I've tested 'em side by side.

    The point is, Gary's tests show equal performance on paper for certain models of the black nose, multicoated 35mm Zuikos. That's good enough for me. I'd buy one based on his tests, which are easy to interpret.

    http://members.aol.com/olympusom/lenstests/default.htm
     
  3. Lex, I know those tests, but I find them hard to quantify in real-world terms. Is there a large sample variation on the 35 mm lenses, or are the multi-coats significantly better than the single-coats?

    Like you, I love my 28 and wish the 35 were just as good, and I've noticed that I am not alone--and it's not focal length; it's performance.

    I don't usually see much difference among prime lenses of any length, no matter who makes them. But I know my 35/2.8 isn't as good as it should be, so I'm wondering if another sample will be an improvement.
     
  4. It may simply be a matter of the differences between single and multi coated versions and people's expectations of lens performance.

    Some folks will rave about the "glow" and "bloom" they get from uncoated or single coated lenses of any make. Others simply cuss at the flare. ;>
     
  5. My Zuiko 35/2.8 gives the same sharpness as 28/2.8 lens which have later serial number (no "f=") and multi-coated. In fact, I have shot all my Zuiko wide angle lenses from 35/2.8, 28/2.8, 24/2.8, 21/3.5, 18/3.5, and 16/3.5 and the results are pretty consistent.
     
  6. Preston wrote:

    << I know those tests, but I find them hard to quantify in real-world terms. >>

    I did the tests partly because I found it hard to quantify the subjective opinions users were posting to the Internet. The range of responses to the almost daily "what do you think of this lens?" question drove me crazy. So did the old magazine published tests, since they never covered the entire lens lineup.

    Shoot whatever seems real world to you, using a variety of Zuiko lenses at different apertures. Evaluate the images in whatever manner seems real world to you, then rank the results. If your results show any correlation to mine, then I have saved you the work of having to test every Zuiko you might want to own.

    Or just shoot away and actually take pictures. I go through phases, depending on which side of my brain is firing on all 8 cylinders at any given time.

    << Is there a large sample variation on the 35 mm lenses >>

    Since virtually all OM System Zuikos are "used" lenses at this point, the answer is yes. They are showing various levels of wear and abuse. How would you know, for instance, if a careless filter rim ding was carefully hammered out by a camera technician. If you mean lenses currently in production for other camera systems, I hope we can believe the conventional wisdom that inexpensively manufacturered lenses will have the most sample variation.

    << are the multi-coats significantly better than the single-coats? >>

    They often involved a change in the optical design, since you can't just add multicoating without changing its optical corrections. If you want to go crazy, test the various versions of multicoating within a single type of lens. Too many folks just assume that the post 1983 "Meade Green" multicoating is superior to the pre 1983 multicoatings, which often reflected more colors. I'll accept the user reports which suggest that the Meade Green is more durable. But I'll counter that the Meade Green was probably cheaper, too. So, does cheaper equate to better?

    Now, to your question. My 35mm f/2.8 SC is in storage, replaced most often by the 35mm setting on a zoom, or the 35mm f/2 when I want top performance. The SC is capable of very sharp pix when stopped way down. But at f/5.6 or wider, the edge performance is quite unacceptable TO ME at close focus distances. I suspect a lot of curvature of field - the sort of thing floating elements correct for. The edge and corner contrast at wider apertures is particularily low for a Zuiko. I didn't see enough of an improvement when I tested a late multicoated version, so I never replaced that lens. Heck, my data even suggests I saw a deterioration . . .
     

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