Zuiko 100mm f/2 or 100mm f/2.8

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by jonathan_hillhouse, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. Hi everyone,

    I have wanted the 100mm f/2 for so long now and, due its high cost and scarcity, I am considering the f/2.8.

    My question is how much of an imporvement is the f/2 over its slower cousin? Is it just faster or is there are noticeable improvement in sharpness and bokeh?

    Do you think it is worth waiting until I can afford my dream lens?

  2. generally, faster zuiko lenses are of higher quality.
  3. If you want a 100mm lens and can get the 2.8 now, and then perhaps a 2.0 later, I say go for it.

    Myself, I would get the 100/2.8 and look for the 90/2.0 for future acquisition.
  4. The f/2 is much better, bigger, heavier and much more expensive. I agree that the 100mm f/2.8 plus 90mm f/2.0 macro is a perfect combination.
    As a side-note, if you are going to use any of these lenses on a 4/3 digital camera with an adapter, the 90 and 100mm f/2 are sharp wide open, while the 100mm f/2.8 needs to be stopped down at least to f/4 for corner sharpness. Center sharpness on the other hand, is more than good enough wide open, which makes the 100mm f/2.8 a very nice, small portrait lens with a long reach on an Olympus E-1/3/30.
  5. This:
    may be interesting to read.
  6. I don't have both to compare, but I can tell you that the 100mm f/2.8 is one nice lens. It's got very decent background separation even though it isn't "fast" and it's just so small and light that I carry it with me alot. I've got a 135mm f/2.8 Tamron lens that almost never comes out to play because it easily weighs twice as much as the little guy. Odd filters are another consideration. If you shoot B&W and use filtration, or want to use a polarizer, you should get the lens that matches filters you already have. 55mm filters for the f/2 are a tad more expensive than 49mm filters for the f/2.8... and most Zuiko lenses are 49mm.
    100mm f/2.8
  7. Hello Jonathan,
    I have been using the 2.8 version since the early 1990's and still use it now. I have found it to be very sharp and contrasty, with excellent bokeh properties. Its tiny size (43mm long) makes it an ideal travel companion and the fact that it takes 49mm filter adds to it's appeal.
    I have always fancied the f2 version, but they are quite scarce and pretty expensive. From what I have read, the performance of the f2 is excellent wide open. It is much heavier, longer, and takes 55mm filters. If I came across one in good condition, at the right price, I would probably buy it. IIRC, it focusses very close without any form of additional extension - very nice indeed. Personally, I would prefer to own this lens over the Zuiko 90mm.
    Cheers, Steve.
  8. I've been using an OM4 with a full complement of OM lenses since the mid 80's. The lens that produces the best images for me is the 100mm F/2.8. Best for me is defined as crisp, smooth, and great color. Ergonomically, it is my favorite travel lens; small and light. When shooting macro, I use the 50mm and 90mm OM macro lenses. Viewing transparencies with a loupe, the images with the 100mm F/2.8 are as crisp as the two macro lenses. I've never used the 100mm F/2.0. However, with the images I get using the F/2.8 lens, I see no reason to purchase a lens that is more expensive and takes a larger filter.
  9. hi Jonathan,
    i know that the 100mm f2.8 owners are very happy with their lot (and so are the 100mm f2 owners which - production numbers aside - must contribute somewhat to the scarcity of this lens) but if this is your dream lens then why settle for anything less? this is a highly regarded and excellent lens... so, go for it! although you may be in for a long wait (it took me about 2 years to find one in the 'right' condition and at the 'right' price - and then a week later i found another one that was slightly cheaper.. typical !!! ) so maybe get a 100mm f2.8 (or late MC version 85mm f2?) as a stop gap solution and take it from there?
    cue - photo examples.
    lady shot http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3050/2905108597_2b0c9f7513_b.jpg
    OM4Ti, 100mm f2, Fuji Sensia 100 - reckon this was about f4
    flower shot http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3147/2841001632_e24e4740cb_b.jpg
    OM4Ti, 100mm f2, Fuji Sensia 100 - wide open
    cute animal shot http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3056/2907537573_342e7963bc_b.jpg
    OM4Ti, 100mm f2, Fuji Sensia 100 - again guessing it was f2.8
  10. Patrick: "most Zuiko lenses are 49mm". The Zuiko lenses came in two primary types: fast and faster. The slower (fast) used the 49mm whereas the faster used 55mm. Generally speaking.

    Read more here:

  11. Yeah DN, I should have said, most Zuiko lenses that people commonly have are 49mm...
  12. I have replaced my Zuiko's in the 90 to 135mm range including the 100/2, 90/2 and 135/4.5 with a Cosina Voigtlander Apo Lanthar 125/2.5. However, I keep the 85/2 for pleasing portraits for which the Cosina lens is just too unforgiving in sharpness. It was difficult to find it in OM mount, but I have gotten one for around the usual asking price of a 100/2.
  13. The zuiko 100/2.8 is probably my favourite lens (out of the ones that I own). I use it for portraits, street photography and landscapes mainly. The speed of the lens has never caused me problems as I often shoot with high speed black and white or tripod (for landscapes). For interior shots where I need the speed, 100mm is usually too long, I can see the speed of the f/2 being useful for say indoor wedding, concerts etc, but that isn't something I shoot much of personally (and when I do the 50/f1.4 is of more use to me).
    Here are some shots with the 100/f2.8:
    Taken with Fuji Pro 160S, OM1, zuiko 100mm f/2.8 @ f8 1/60 studio flash
  14. If money is no object why not both? I have a faster and slower version of a number of my lenses so I can carry whatever fits the occasion. I have a 70-210/3.5 and 70-210/2.8 as well as a 28/1.8 and a 28/2.5 for my OM-1s. I am probably also going to try to get a zuiko 24/2 one of these days to compliment my sigma 24/2.8, a 28-70/2.8 to compliment my 35-70/3.5, etc. Its nice to carry 'slower' lenses when space and weight are an issue, especially when I know I am not going to need the extra speed, but it is also nice to have the option of a faster lens if I think I need it. I'd say especially considering then a good condition zuiko 100/2.8 seems to be able to be had for around $80-120. Of course the 100/2 is significantly, significantly more, but if you are going to get the 100/2 as it is you might want to consider the 100/2.8 eventually as well so you have options.
  15. Yeah Matthew, that's what I was talking about with my Tamron 135mm f/2.8 (which weighs about the same and is about the same size as the 100mm f/2). The 100mm f/2.8 seriously is about the same size as the 50mm f/1.4.... and it might actually weigh less. Ironically I just saw a post the other day by a Nikon guy bragging that he loves the feeling of his big heavy camera and his big heavy lenses. Different strokes for different folks I guess!
  16. I have a black front 100/2.8 but no 100/2. My 100 seems quite good. if I don't want to use the 100/2.8 I also have a 90/2.8 Vivitar macro, a 90/2.5 Tamron SP (2nd version) and a 135/2.8 Vivitar Close Focusing. I don't really like the look of a fast medium telephoto used wide open for a portrait. The exception might be a 105/2.5 Nikkor. I have 85/1.8 Canon New FD and Konica Hexanon lenses as well as an 85/2 AI Nikkor. A portrait with any of these looks best to me at about f/4. This is for reasons of depth of field and not of sharpness. For a faster 135 I can use a 135/2.5 Vivitar TX or a 135/2.5 Tamron on my OM bodies. The 138/2.8 Vivitar Close Focusing lens is especially nice for small children because I can get close enough to fill the frame. My favorite non-macro lens in the 90-105 range is probably the 100/2.5 Minolta MC Rokkor. I have three of them. The only disadvantage of that lens is the close focus limit which is 4 feet. I don't know how the 90/2 Zuiko performs in the non-macro range when compared to the 100/2 but I think you will like the 100/2.8.
  17. When I had an Olympus 35mm system, the 100F2.0 was central to it! Having tried all Olympus(85, 100, 135), most Canon FD (85,100, 135), and Contax G 90F2.8 portrait lenses, the 100F2.0 was my hands down favorite. My second favorite Olympus portrait lens was the 135F2.8 MC lens. That would be my second choice, followed by it's slower mate, a 135F3.5 (late model). Shot wide open at F2.0, the 100F2.0 was simply stupendous! A 100F2.8 will not give that "look"! The 135F2.8 will come close--plus it's fairly light weight so you can carry all day and it's not a super collectors item (yet anyway). Avoid the early SC Olympus lenses.
  18. Portrait
  19. That's an easy question, since I own both the Olympus OM Zuiko 100mm f2.0 ED lens and the Olympus OM 100mm f2.8! The answer is the Olympus OM Zuiko 100mm f2 ED lens. The OM Zuiko 100mm f2.0 ED is one of the finest portrait lenses ever made and it is at least 10X better than the OM Zuiko 100mm f2.8. In fact the OM 100mm Zuiko f2.8 performs like "garbage" compared next to the OM Zuiko 100mm f2.0 ED. Don't get me wrong, the OM 100mm Zuiko f2.8 is a good lens, and I used it for years before owning the faster OM Zuiko 100mm f2.0 ED lens. But your question is which is a better choice and the OM Zuiko 100mm f2.0 ED lens is just in a totally different and superior league. And Jonathan, I agree completely with Mark Ellis above, take a look at his samples and my sample I just posted here shot with the OM Zuiko 100mm f2 ED lens. Mark is also right about it's scarcity and expect anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to find this rare lens (it took me 6 months myself to find this lens!!). But if you are patient you will find this lens worth the wait. Read below why the OM Zuiko 100mm f2 ED lens is the lens of choice over the slower OM Zuiko f2.8 lens.
    Here are several reasons why the OM Zuiko 100mm f2.0 ED is a far superior performer. I would say first would be it’s "ED" glass. Extra Dispersion or "ED" glass is similar to Canon's "L" glass or Nikon’s "ED" glass. In fact this lens was one of the first lenses ever manufactured by Olympus to include ED glass. And from what I read, this lens actually may contain "rare earth elements" in the glass. The second is the obvious 1 stop faster speed. The third is just more lens elements including a "floating lens element". The forth is a lovely semi-macro capability at 0.7 meter! (Olympus is legendary for it's macro lenses). The fifth is no big deal but a nice feature; a built-in lens hood which is nice if you ever forget to bring your regular lens hood (and this can happen!). Having held both Zuiko f2.8 and Zuiko f2.0 ED lens together the Zuiko f2.0 ED is just built better. Weight wise the Zuiko f2.0 ED feels good, certainly heavier but that’s due to the extra glass that just proves it's really the highest quality portrait lens in it's class.
    The OM Zuiko 100mm f2.0 ED truly has one of finest bokeh, sharpness, and color rendition of any portrait lens in the market. That’s saying a lot for a 25+ year old lens! CA is non-existent because of the ED glass. Many people here who have praised the OM 100mm Zuiko f2.8 are also the same people who have never owned the OM Zuiko 100mm f2.0 ED. And for good reason, because it is truly one of the rarest and most expensive lens (price anywhere from $700-$1500 depending on condition) in the entire Olympus OM system. I use this on both Olympus OM-3 the and Canon EOS 5D Digital Full Frame camera. In fact this lens out performs the Canon EF 85mm f1.8 and the Canon EF 100mm f2 and rivals the Canon EF 85mm f1.2 L portrait lens also one of the finest portrait lenses ever made. Another option in the Olympus OM system is the equally rare and expensive OM Zuiko f2.8 35-80mm ED zoom lens which is really the only other lens under 100mm in the OM system that matches the performance of the OM Zuiko 100mm f2.0 ED. So as far as portraiture goes, the OM Zuiko 100mm f2.0 ED lens is one of the finest professional portrait lens ever made.
  20. [​IMG] I can only second Rob's contribution and praise for the OM Zuiko 100mm Zuiko ED f2.0.
    It is the perfect portrait lens, sharp, beautiful bokeh, and what I like most is how it renders skin tones. This in particular is very important in portrait photography. The image above is a good example about this. In short, a lens which I intend to keep and will never sell.
    For more images of this lens (and other zuiko lenses) just follow these links:
  21. Hey Rudolf,
    the links you posted do not work. Thanks!
  22. Oh, sorry, there was unintentionally a gap in both URL's. Now this should work:


  23. Oh, sorry, there was unintentionally a gap in both URL's. Now this should work:



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