Olympus OM-2n vs Nikon FE

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by stevenla, Oct 28, 2020.

  1. Hi everyone,

    I have an Olympus OM-2n and a Nikon FE, each with their own 50mm 1.8 lenses (the Nikon being the Series E lens). I don't want to keep both, since it's starting to get harder to choose between the two whenever I head out for a day of shooting. I'm only an amateur at best, so I'm not in need of something incredibly robust. I like shooting Aperture Priority, but like having manual there if I want to play with settings. I shoot mostly street during the day, and like to dabble in night time long exposures (the Nikon FE has proven to be quite capable at this in Auto on a tripod). Another nit-picky thing is the viewfinder information in both cameras: the Nikon definitely hails superior in this regard.

    I think this question boils down to the lens systems that are available to each camera. I've heard great things about Nikkor glass, but haven't heard much about the Series E lenses. On the other hand, Zuiko lenses seem to be very sharp and contrasty, though their availability and thus prices seem to scare me. Which system is cheaper to get into? I can't imagine myself needing anything other than a normal 50mm, a wide angle, and maybe a telephoto lens.

    Thank you all for your suggestions!
  2. charles_escott_new likes this.
  3. I have owned both models and loved the jewel like nature of the Olympus and the small contrasty Zuiko lenses, I started with the 50 1.8(superb),a 28 and a 75-150 zoom. The film advance always seemed a bit fragile and failed twice so I switched to Nikon. In 50 years of using their cameras I have never had a camera fail. The FE is fine and the 50 E is all that I required but that voice starts up that says you could do better with a 1.4. What a choice of Nikon lenses there are. So having exhausted the ever fascinating story of my experience here is the advice bit.
    1) Keep both, neither will raise a fortune especially if you use a dealer.
    Or 2) keep the one in best condition,
    Or 3) sell the Olympus and put towards more Nikkor lenses,
    Or4) sell both and buy an F3 which is my choice as a starter for a system.
    All the best with the choice, Charles.
    stevenla likes this.
  4. Thank you Mr. Seaman, half way through my post I thought I've written this before to much the same question but I put it down to mental decrepitude, now I am reassured, Charles.
    John Seaman likes this.
  5. Haha, that camera is gone. I actually lended it to a cousin who was curious about film photography. The OM-2n was a bargain find at a garage sale.
  6. Given that both are 40-50 years old, this is probably the most important piece of advice.

    Use the one that works best.

    Keep a spare for when it fails.
    charles_escott_new likes this.
  7. "I think this question boils down to the lens systems that are available to each camera. I've heard great things about Nikkor glass, but haven't heard much about the Series E lenses. "

    I might be a little late on this, but one thing about buying lenses is that you have to do your research. What I used to do and still do is to read as many online reviews as possible, then I try to narrow it down. I owned both the OM2-n and the Nikon FE, actually the Nikon FE2. I can truly say that I loved both cameras. The Oympus for its compactness and the Nikon for its silky shutter and wide array of lenses. To me, the Nikon had 2 things going for it, that was ease of loading film and a much wider selection of lenses.

    Nikon has about 10+ different varieties of the 50mm lens, while Zuiko only offers 1 or 2. Not to take anything away from Zuiko lenses, they are very good lenses, its just that they are harder to find on the used market.

    Again, before you buy any lens, try to read as many reviews as possible, but always read them with a grain of salt. For example Ken Rockwell has reviewed almost every Nikon lens that was ever made, but he can be be a little too "subjective" towards the Nikon brand. DXOmark is another great site to review lenses, but they seem to be a little "too objective", scientific and technical. Going by just numbers and disregarding things such as character and artistic rendering.

    Buying lenses is almost like buying a car, or even getting married. You want something that suits your flavor. So try not to fall into the "popularity" trap because you might not be happy. Although the "popularity" of a lens or any product is a pretty good measure of what you are going to get. Sometimes the choices can be overwhelming( especially if you are short on cash), but like they say "pictures don't lie".
  8. Used Nikon zoom lenses are available for very reasonable prices,
    non-zoom for only ordinarily reasonable prices.

    I think my best lens deal is an Nikon AI 80-200 zoom for $12 from Goodwill.
  9. If you haven't already made your choice, I'd say build upon the FE. I adore that camera, Nikon did almost everything right - nothing is 100% perfect but this model is as close to perfect as I can imagine, I prefer it over my FE2's.
    For lenses; I'm with glen_h here. The different incarnations of Ai 80-200mm are super cheap (and good).
    Nikkor Ai 28/3.5 is excellent as well and does not receive much love, which is reflected in the price.
    Another bargain is any Nikkor Ai 135mm - a focal length that seems to have gone out of fashion.
    The 50mm E series has fine glass but is not build as well as regular Nikkors of that era - it only matters if you use your gear hard.
  10. SCL


    I have both the OLY and a stable of Nikons. There are many more lenses available for the Nikons, and at your level of needs/uses, not all that expensive...but you should do research before adding to your stable. The E series lenses are ok, but not as good as many other Nikon lenses, and the E series is limited in offerings. Having said that, I've enjoyed my Series E 50 for a number of years when I want a smallish manual lens capable of delivering good results. On the OLY side, the OEM lens selections, while wide, are more limited than Nikon, and, IMHO, at least as good or better in terms of less distortion, better resolution and contrast...but typically for the era, more expensive than equivalent Nikon lenses. On the issue of repairs for aging cameras...Nikons are much easier to find repairpersons for than Olympus. My suggestion, like others, is keep and use both, as neither will bring you much money when sold, and you never know when you'll want/need a backup. Whichever you choose to build upon with future lens purchases, provided you do your research in advance of putting down your cash, should provide good enjoyment of use and excellent results.
  11. I own both but I wouldn't get rid of either one but I would use the FE but not the OM-2n.

Share This Page