Has Tokina manufactured ZUIKO branded lenses for Olympus?

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by konrad_beck|1, Oct 24, 2003.

  1. I a post below ("vivitar and tokina lenses for OM"), Eric Friedemann
    wrote: "... back in the day, Tokina made several lenses for Olympus,
    including the 35-105mm OM zoom."

    I have read this several times on the internet (interestingly
    never in any printed documentation), and the Tokina/Zuiko lenses look
    indeed very
    similar. The difference in marking as "3.5-4.3" (Tokina) vs.
    "3.5-4.5" (Zuiko) is probably meanigless. If I remember right,
    however, the "close
    focus" ring on the Tokina is turned in the opposite direction
    than that of the Zuiko lens. I cannot rationalize why this
    (relatively major, mechanical extra) effort to
    distinguish these
    lenses would have been made. Is there any sort of a (half)
    official or otherwise "authorative" document which supports Eric F.'s
    argument? Has the
    Tokina RMC also changed its optical design in 1985? As for the
    Zuiko lens, there is an "exploded view parts diagram" available
    (marked as
    "Olympus" with all part numbers in the standard Olympus
    nomenclature: mostly two letters followed by 6 digits; also screws
    common with other lenses have common part
    numbers); it
    would be nice to see a similar diagram for the Tokina lens.

    What are the other "several" Zuiko lenses made by Tokina? The
    Zuiko 40/2? Both lenses have on the back a 4-digit white code which
    "NIxx" where I assume that the first two letters indicate the
    manufacturing plant. To my knowledge, no other Zuiko lens has an NIxx
    Interestingly, both lenses have the same production period (early
    1983 to mid 1986). So it could be that for this period, Olympus had
    _very_ close collaboration with Tokina. It is then also the
    question: who has designed the lenses, Tokina or Olympus? The 40/2
    "pancake" was
    announced (with a picture) as a "50/2" from Olympus as early as
    1976 ("6 elements in 5 groups, min. aperture f/16, min. focus distance
    65 cm,
    140g, 21mm long 59mm diameter, 49mm filter size"; note the
    differences to the final 40/2), and this
    original idea never materialized. Might it be that Olympus has given
    up on it and
    led Tokina finish the job? Is Tokina to blame for the mediocre
    performance of the 40/2?

    Some people also argue that the late Zuiko 50-250/5 would have been
    produced by Tokina, probably mainly due to the somewhat similar Tokina
    AT-X 50-250/4-5.6 lens. In this case, however, I do think that the
    Zuiko "TNxx" code on the back indicates that this lens was
    manufactured in the Olympus Tatsuno plant.
  2. Some few "OM" lenses have the aperture ring near the camera, instead of out near the front of the lens. Could these lenses be the 'off-brand' models? Clearly not in every case, as the 75-150mm f/4 zoom does too, and this is a true Olympus lens. Another possibility is the 'S' designation on the front - it think this could correspond to 'off-brand' lenses (but to be brutally honest, I don't really know what I'm talking about!!). If you're not aware, the 'S' appears on the front, like 'W' and 'T' appear on the wides and teles. I know 'S' also appears on the 50mm lenses ('S' = standard) but it is also on some zooms. If anyone does actually know about this, please feel free to correct all my mistakes...
  3. "back in the day, Tokina made several lenses for Olympus, including the 35-105mm OM zoom"
    This was common diatribe from shady sales people, trying to convince customers to buy Tokina or other third-party lenses (which had a much higher profit margin) instead of genuine Olympus (or Nikon, or Canon, or Pentax) lenses. If you believed these people, you would have thought the camera manufacturers never made any lenses themselves.
  4. AFAIK, The "S" was a code meaning a "consumer grade" lens.

    Tokina did not make any lenses for Olympus. I don't believe any third party did. Olympus made the higher (85/2 et al) and lower quality (the 75-150)lenses in their line.
  5. Upon further thought...which is dangerous, I know.....

    Is the "S" lenses you're talking about the ones from about 4 or 5 years ago that were packaged with or sold about the same time as the OM2000? Those are certainly "consumer grade" and were made by Cosina, as was the OM2000.
  6. There were a couple of "third party" lens that were labeled as Zuikos. From the Olympus FAQs:

    "The Cosina produced 35-70mm f/3.5-4.8 and 70-210mm f/4.5-5.6 are also labeled S Zuiko, but are not built (and possibly not even designed) by Olympus."

    See question L5 at:


  7. Johnny, Those indeed are the Cosina lenses, made only about 5 years ago for the OM2000. Olympus had nothing to do with them, it's surprising they'd be labeled "Zuiko".

    Right, now that reminds me that there "may" have been one lens made by Tokina....I also owned both the Tokina and Olympus 50-250, and they were identical. I always assumed they were made by the same factory- Tokina.
  8. Thanks for your replies so far. I have also found on the internet that the S ZUIKO 35-70/3.5-4.8 and 70-210/4 lenses have been produced by Cosina. In this case, there are indirect evidences that this is correct, as (a) lenses of the same specifications were also available in Canon and Nikon mount (besides the OM 2000, Cosina at the same time had produced "Nikon" and "Canon" cameras with slight modifications); (b) the serial numbers of these lenses are atypical for Olympus having eight digits and starting with a "9"; (c) despite that the lenses were introduced in the mid 90th, they do not have a 4-digit white code on the back (however, also some lenses most likely produced by Olympus in the 90th, do not have this code). My above argument that the exploded parts diagram/parts number codes for the 35-105/3.5-4.5 could serve as an indication that this lens has been produced by Olympus is in so far irrelevant as there are also Olympus parts diagrams for these putatively Cosina build zooms with part numbers in the Olympus tradition (and the Cosina lenses came with an Olympus warrenty).

    To Neil D.: the "S ZUIKO" lenses, starting with the 35-70/4, were indeed intended as a less expensive alternative, in this case to the 35-70/3.6. The "S" preceeds the word ZUIKO, whereas in the standard/wide/tele lenses, the letters follow the word "AUTO", e.g. "AUTO-S" for the standard lenses.

    To Bob Katz: ... and the same "shady sales people" (even nowadays) tell the customers that the Tamron, Tokina, Sigma.... etc. lenses are produced by Nikon, Canon etc....

    To George Shihanian: As mentioned above, I do not think that the 50-250/5 was outsourced to any other company because they have this "TNxx" code on the back (but as the sales people say, might be that Olympus has produced the Tokina 50-250? ... just kidding).

    I am aware that Olympus Japan has production records at least since the Pen F days. Has anybody here access to them? This should satisfy my desire for a "definite" answer (and yes, I know that I should directly ask them).
  9. As I recall Nikon, Minolta, and Olympus all released a 35-105mm lens at almost the same time. These lenses, minus the brand cosmetics, all looked just like the Tokina lens. Also, as I remember things, reports from the now-defunct Modern Photography showed they all had almost exactly the same optical performance and characteristics. My call, Nikon, Minolta, and Olympus all had Tokina make that lens, or they bought parts from Tokina and assembled and modified the lens to suit their particular needs.
  10. I have just seen a very detailed comparison of the Tokina vs. Olympus 35-135mm lenses on the Olympus mailing list by "Moose"; I think that the many differences point to the conclusion that the lenses were produced by different manufacturers. Please see:


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