Born-Again OM - best zuiko lens set for landscape / travel...

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by last year's man, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. Despite having recently acquired a c7070 (and I should say, its an
    impressive bit of kit), I am feeling an inexplicable urge to rebuild a
    zuiko lens collection around an OM2n which I bought on impulse from a
    certain auction site.

    I'm sending the camera off for a full overhaul and service, and would
    like to collect a set of primes to go with it. I will use the c7070
    primarily for photographing my kids as they grow up, but want to
    'grow' into a semi-decent zuiko lens set for landscape and general
    travel photography.

    Back in my youth I had (in fact still have) an OM10 with the
    bog-standard 50mm 1.8, a 28mm 3.5, a Tamron SP 70-210mm 3.5-4 CF Tele
    Macro (stand alone 1:2 close-up ratio!), and a Tokina ATX 28-85
    3.5-4.5. The Tokina is a really nice lens, which I'd like to keep, as
    is the Tamron, but it is ludicrously big and heavy.

    My question is this: what zuiko prime lenses would the esteemed users
    of this forum recommend for a good landscape/travel set (i.e. fairly
    small and light, but covering the most useful focal lengths)? I will
    have about $300.00 to spend. Is it worth upgrading from the 28mm 3.5
    to a 2.8 when I mostly use it at f8 and above?

    Many thanks...
     
  2. Jordan-

    Congratz on your OM, they are wonderful cameras. I happen to own three myself and even though I am mainly medium format these days I still really like the OM system and plan on always keeping it.

    For landscape I think a good kit would be a 28/2.8, a 50/1.8 and a 100/2.8. That is a nice range, very sharp, very small, they are all cheap, and all take 49mm filters.

    I had the 28/2 and the 28/2.8 and frankly I like the f/2.8 better and so I sold the f/2 to a friend. The f/2 might be a bit better for hand holding in lowlight but for landscape I like small apertures and the f/2 only goes to f/16 while the f/2.8 goes to f/22. For me the smaller stop was more important than the bigger. Plus the f/2.8 can be picked up from KEH for about $100, quite a value.

    Ditto for the 50/1.8 and the 100/2.8 both are sharp and can be had fairly cheaply. I think you could get all three from KEH for under $300, maybe under $250.

    Now the 24/2.8, 21/3.5, and 35/2.8 are also nice lenses that take the 49mm filter but the 21 and 24 are a little more than the 28. The 35 is inexpensive but I think the 28 is a better lens.

    If you like zooms look into a Zuiko 75-150/4. Again fairly cheap, decent image quality, and 49mm filter. Personally the 100/2.8 is a better lens and it is much smaller but the zoom gives you a little more reach.

    With my OM kit I use a LowePro Omni Sport bag. It is about the size of a lunchbox and holds gear "briefcase style". It easily holds an OM with lens on 2-3 spare lenses, filters, film, etc. Small, light, compact, easily caried. I have even had 2 OM bodies with lens, 3 spare lenses, and still have a slot for filters and film.

    Good luck!!!
     
  3. Jordan,

    The 28/3.5 has a legendary reputation in Japan, while elsewhere it seems to be just another decent but not great lens. I have both and they are very close in performance: the older lens has slightly better edge and corner resolution, less distortion, less falloff. The newer lens, with fewer elements and multicoating, is clearly better in high flare situations. The older lens is also slightly warmer. With color film, I prefer the 2.8, with B&W the 3.5. Again, the difference between my lenses is small. Bottom line: if you have a 3.5 in good condition and works well, I'd use it. Save your money for a 21/3.5.

    I also like the 100/2.8MC for travel/landscape: very sharp, very light (about 230grams), very small. And fairly inexpensive used.

    So, if your 28/3.5 and 50/1.8 are alright, just get a short telephoto and you're all set.
     
  4. HI Jordan,

    As much as I love the OM-2's, I like the OM-1 better for landscape
    photography because of it's mirror lock up and more weather
    proof mechanical shutter. I have the 24/f2.8, the 35/f2.8. the
    50/f1.8 and the 85/f2. If I had to leave one at home, I'd leave the
    50mm.

    I will probably have my OM-1's until I die, and I'm still young! The
    cameras are that reliable. Enjoy!
     
  5. Is it worth upgrading from the 28mm 3.5 to a 2.8 when I mostly use it at f8 and above?

    Unless you really feel like you need the extra 2/3 stop - no. Personally, I'd prefer 24mm, but that's a subjective thing.

    The 50mm is also a fine lens. I agree with Robert, add a short tele, if you feel the need, and you've got a versatile and very portable kit. Personally, I like the 135mm f/3.5 - underrated quality, exceptionally small for its length and a good one can be found for cheap.

    Conversations like these are far too dangerous. Makes me want to replace that OM-1 and lenses I so foolishly sold...
     
  6. Keep in mind that one of the major benefits of a faster lens is a brighter view through the finder - this can help with focusing in unfavorable lighting.

    If you're satisfied with the performance of your 28/3.5 Zuiko (assuming you've tested it with a critical, unbiased and ruthless eye), there's not much point in changing unless you need the extra speed for handheld photography. That said, I think the 28/2.8 is an excellent lens.

    The 50/1.8 lenses varied in optical quality. All were pretty good but the final version, labeled "Made in Japan", is considered the best. As cheap as these are if you don't already own this version you might put it on the back burner as a possible choice after filling out the rest of your list.

    For landscapes and travel photography my next choice would be a reasonably fast 35mm lens. I haven't owned one since selling my Canon FD gear and miss having that focal length option.

    Another good choice is the 50/3.5 macro, especially if you don't need the usual normal lens and can get by with the macro for both closeups and general purpose photos. I did this for a couple of years after dropping my 50/1.8 and jamming the diaphragm. The bokeh of the macro isn't as good as a general purpose Zuiko prime, but it's very handy.

    I've since replaced the dropped 50/1.8 with a 50/1.4 Zuiko and would have a hard time choosing between the fast normal lens and the macro if I wanted to travel light. However if I owned a really fast 35mm lens that would settle the issue - I'd leave the 50/1.4 at home and take the macro. A fast, moderate wide angle is possibly the most versatile all around lens for travel photography.

    I already have a 75-150/4 Zuiko that I like very much so I haven't bought any primes in that focal range. I keep looking but so far I haven't done anything about it. The 100/2.8 Zuiko is very tempting because of the decent speed, compact size and light weight. It's much shorter than the zoom and would pack well for light travel.
     
  7. I really liked the set of 24/2.8, 50/1.4, 100/2.8 and 200/2.8 I used. All superb lenses that make a very usable set. The bottom 3 also all have the same filter thread.
     
  8. I have found that the 28/2.8, 50/1.4 or 1.8 and the 135/3.5 with two bodies, all in a compact shoulder bag, have taken care of all of my landscape requirements. Only once in two seasons have I wished that I had a wider lens than the 28, such as a 22, but I doubt that I could justify the cost. I use the 135 most often in the lake district and agree that it is an unsung hero among lenses - stunning performance and very light weight.
     
  9. Hmmm, maybe I had a bad 135/3.5, I was never impressed with it and the 100/2.8 blew it away.

    But you are right: for me too short telephoto lenses have proven at least as useful us very wide angles in landscapes, the 100/2.8 was very useful in the lake district 2 years ago.
     
  10. I have had the most flexibility for landscape and general photography carrying the 24mm f2.8, 50mm F2.0 macro, and 100mm f2.0, all superb lenses. .I can fit all these lens and a camera in a very small bag that is easy to carry, including film, spare batteries, and filters. I have a 180 f2.8 that I use occasionally, but it is just to big to carry in the field. When I want to travel super light, I usually go wide and use either the 28 f2.8, it is nice because it stops to f 22, or the 35mm f2.0 (which I was lucky to pick up at garage sale for short money),and spare film in the pocket.
     
  11. I appreciate you taking the time to reply...
     
  12. I will always pack my 100f2.8 lens (much smaller than the 135f2.8 and a better overall choice than the 200f5. Now the tricky part. Sometimes I pack the 35mmf2 as my 'default' lens, but more often than not, when travelling light I'll pack the Zuiko 28-48mm zoom. In spite of being known as an 'economy' lens, I've been most pleased with the results for over twenty years now. It's been hauled all over the western world for months and months, and at the end of the day, if speed is not an issue (it's a f4) I've always found it to be a winner.
     
  13. I used to pack an OM1, 28/3.5 and 135/3.5. And +/- depending upon circumstance a 50/3.5, a polarizer, close up filters (for the 135), 2x and a clamp-pod. Very light and so cheap and ubiquitous as to be disposable should it be stolen or dropped in the lake.

    Now I usually carry an OM4t with the 35~105 plus a wide in my pocket. I don't want to fall in the lake however especially with the 16 or 18 in my pocket. A cheaper alternative is the Tamron 28~200 or Tokina 35~200 but sacrifices quality and is bigger. Nor does this kit fit the 'zuiko prime' criteria.
     
  14. I love the 28mm f/2.8, but both the 24mm f/2.8 and the 21mm f/3.5 are just as physically small if you want a wider lens. The 50mm f/1.8 is an excellent lens - don't overlook it just because it's "common." For a telephoto, I'd either take the 75-150mm f/4 zoom or the 135mm f/3.5 (although I sold my 135/3.5 and got myself the f/2.8 version - I think it is worth the extra half-stop, and it is still quite compact). For a longer lens than this, the 200mm f/5 is also incredibly compact. All lenses I've mentioned take 49mm filters except for the 135/2.8, which takes 55mm filters.
     
  15. I have my beloved OM system (2 OM-1s) with 24/2.8, 50/1.8, 50/macro, 100/2.8, and 200/2.8. However, for me, a travel kit has to be small & light, so my OM travel package fits in the smallest Tamrac backpack bag (wonderful on a motorcycle!). It consists of an OM-10 body, a Tamron 28-200 (bought new), and a Samyang 18-28 (bought used for $100). I'll toss the 50mm macro and a T-20 flash in and there it is. Pull the macro and flash out and I can add one of the OM-1 bodies with a different film.

    The Tamron is really nice & sharp and I am extremely pleased with the results. The Samyang also does very well, even shooting straight into the sun, and 18mm has always proved wide enough for anything I've needed to shoot. Sure, the prime lenses are theoretically sharper - but this compact kit is small enough to go anywhere and it gets the shots, and to me that's what its all about. Oh, and I'll mention that the bag protected well enough when I took a header off the motorcycle ... all items are still working!

    JimZ
     
  16. Sorry for the poor english... I had an OM1n and an OM2n, both black, and Zuikos 24mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4, 55mm 1.2, 50mm Macro, 75-150mm, 200mm and 300mm. I do prefer de 50mm lens for mostly dialy conditions. But I really love de 24mm for landscapes. If I have to choose, I keep these two lenses in my Alhva (www.alhva.com.br) bag for any travel. Marcelo Sestren Florianopolis/Brasil
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