OM 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 for my E-520?

Started Mar 8, 2011 | Discussions
xelidonhs
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OM 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 for my E-520?
Mar 8, 2011

I will be visiting an annual photo-fair in a couple of days, in the hope of finding some old manual fixed & fast lenses for my E-520. I really enjoy shooting in atmospheric & dim lit enviroments without flash, so I have 2 problems. First, I'm obviusly not able to use any ridiculous high ISO that would give pleasing results, so the need of a fast prime is great, not to mention the bokeh someone can create with such a lens.

Second problem, my budget is extremely limited, so everything that would cost me more than 80 euros (with a cheap non-chipped adapter) is simply no option...

Actually, I'm rather excited to get a glimpse in the world of lacking AF and having to do everything manually, sounds like great fun

I'm aware that the oly OVF is small, and that I can alternatively use LV with magnification (witch I'm not fond of using more than necessary), or maybe buy an ME-1 magnifier eyecup, which could make the OVF slightly more acurrate.

But back to my question:

after some net research I understand that the later the versions the better, mainly cause of multicoating.

Also have found out on numerous sites for what serial number to look for and how older versions difere from newer ones (Blacknose and so on...)

The thing that interests me is wich will be sharper wide open and better overall on my digital 520!

I've read somewhere that the 1.8 is sharper @ 1.8 and 2.0 than the pricier 1.4 @ the same apertures! And, even if so, is it wiser choosing an older version of the OM 50mm 1.8 than a newer version of the 1.4 one?

Also read some reviews about them used with digital Oly bodies and the results seemed rather disappointing...

Since I didn't yet buy the om> 4thirds adapter, the thought crossed my mind to buy a Nikon AI> 4thirds one. The selection at the fair will surely be larger, maybe a bit pricier, but if it's worth it what the hell. Any suggestions there on old fast primes, or anything else to pay attentin to?

your help is greatly appreciated guys,
thanx in advance

Bluephotons
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Re: OM 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 for my E-520?
In reply to xelidonhs, Mar 8, 2011

I don't have the answer, but I'm about to get a 1.8 so i'm interest in your question, hopefully some body will chime in.
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you can call me captain
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Re: OM 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 for my E-520?
In reply to xelidonhs, Mar 8, 2011

Count me in too - waiting for people's comments, but also considering the use of a Nikkor 50 1.4D.
The added value of that is that it leaves more options open for the future.

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BMcCuskey
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Re: OM 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 for my E-520?
In reply to xelidonhs, Mar 8, 2011

I have an OM 50mm f/1.8 that I got when my dad gave me his OM-2n many years ago. I pretty much always just kept that lens on my e-300 and just suffered with trial and error focusing. (It is amazing how easy it is to focus with a split prism focusing screen found on film bodies.) The little bit I have played with the E-5xx's they have seemed to have a better viewfinder than my E-300, so that might help. The 1.8 might not be the greatest of lenses but it is fast, compact, and rather inexpensive and I have a lot of fun with it. With practice, focusing isn't too difficult and having those few extra stops over the kit lens is a blessing. For a while after I received my adapter and mounted the 50 on my camera I hardly picked up my 14-45mm kit lens just because of how slow it was.

Hope that helps some.

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BMcCuskey
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Re: OM 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 for my E-520?
In reply to xelidonhs, Mar 8, 2011

I forgot to mention, I also have a M42 to 4/3 adapter. There are a number of inexpensive lenses on eBay in M42 mount.

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RoyGBiv
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Re: OM 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 for my E-520?
In reply to xelidonhs, Mar 8, 2011

xelidonhs wrote:

The thing that interests me is wich will be sharper wide open and better overall on my digital 520!

I've read somewhere that the 1.8 is sharper @ 1.8 and 2.0 than the pricier 1.4 @ the same apertures! And, even if so, is it wiser choosing an older version of the OM 50mm 1.8 than a newer version of the 1.4 one?

Also read some reviews about them used with digital Oly bodies and the results seemed rather disappointing...

I have both the 50mm f/1.8 & the 50mm f/1.4.

I haven't done any sharpness comparison. Both are quite adequate. I have a preference for the f/1.4, but I must warn you...using it wide open is an exercise in chance, bcs your ability to judge focus through the viewfinder is much less resolved than it needs to be for such shallow DoF. It's not "difficult," or "challenging" as if there were alot of skill involved. If you had it on a camera with a legitimate focusing screen (like an OM-1) I'd say it was difficult. In the case of modern dslr camera bodies, it's a little bit of skill/experience, a little bit of intuition, and a lotta luck. If I had a legitimate focusing mat that offered some indication as to what plane of view is in focus, that would help.

Now, if you use the magnification technique, that helps tremendously.

If you have the patience, they're certainly fun to play with though.

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marvinvee
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Re: OM 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 for my E-520?
In reply to BMcCuskey, Mar 8, 2011

I have a zuiko 50mm 1.8 on my e 500. not bad takes time to focus but not bad lens . Not as sharp as the kit lens 14- 42 mm. But i wear glasses so i could be wrong

its nice and compact . But i have get used to a 5omm all over again which acts like an 80 mm on my E 500. Still working out the bugs with digital slr photography, i shot film for years new concept for me. But the 50 mm zuiko was cheap on ebay something in the thirty dollar range. the adapter from China was $15.00 which took two weeks to get , but works fine. If i had a split prism in the camera every thing would be fine with this lens. I also have a 35 -70 tokina zoom i got for cheap on ebay, lota fun to play with with the adapter. just my 2 cents worth

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sunisri
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Re: OM 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 for my E-520?
In reply to xelidonhs, Mar 8, 2011

I have both lenses OM Zuiko 50mm F1.8 (multi coated one) and OM Zuiko 50mm F1.4 (Silver nose) I prefer OM 50mm F1.8 over F1.4 as F1.4 lense is too soft at F1.4 so you might have to stop down to F2.0. I am attaching a few sample pics here taken with different bodies so that you will get an idea. All pics are OOC jpegs except the last one as I was playing ISO 800 on E-1 so had to PP a bit to clean the noise.

OM Zuiko 50mm F1.8 you can get it for 20 -30 buks
OM Zuiko 50mm F1.4 you can get it for 60 - 80 buks

E-620 + OM Zuiko 50mm f1.4

E-1 + OM Zuiko 50mm F1.8

E-330 + OM Zuiko 50mm F1.8 ( 2 pics)

E-330 + OM Zuiko 50mm F1.4 + EC-14

E-1 + OM Zuiko 50mm F1.4

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Sri

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highyoyo
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Re: OM 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 for my E-520?
In reply to xelidonhs, Mar 8, 2011

If you do a search of this forum I believe you will find the the 50mm f1.8 is highly regarded and you will find some excellent photos taken with it. Particularly check out some of Justin's work (jfinite).

You will also find the 1.8 for a much better price than the 1.4 and, since you may have to stop down the 1.4 to get the results you want, I would say it is the better buy.

Check out this website for some detail on the various OM lenses - be sure to check out the latest tests as well as the original ones - http://www.biofos.com/cornucop/omz_e1.html It doesn't talk about the 50/1.4 vs. 50/1.8 but does have some comparisons with the 50/1.2 indicating you may get some decreased sharpness at larger apertures due to what he refers to as "ghosting".

Also check this current thread on the 180mm OM lens - http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1022&message=37903450 I believe there is a link to some of Justin's 50/1.8 photos in there.

Hope this helps.

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InOmaha
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Re: OM 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 for my E-520?
In reply to xelidonhs, Mar 8, 2011

I own both and have used the 1.4 adapted to an E-510. It's hard to focus wide open with the small viewfinder. But, I have glasses. I also have a pentax magnifier and a focus confirm chip, but live view still works the best.

Here are some nothing special first test photos I took with the 1.4 wide open. You can see the problem ghosting and fringing wide open that can occur if you look at the edges of the water. The flower maybe, but I think the back edge was already going out of focus.

I took this one with the 50 1.4 also using live view to focus.

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InOmaha
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Another website with direct comparison
In reply to highyoyo, Mar 8, 2011

highyoyo wrote:

If you do a search of this forum I believe you will find the the 50mm f1.8 is highly regarded and you will find some excellent photos taken with it. Particularly check out some of Justin's work (jfinite).

You will also find the 1.8 for a much better price than the 1.4 and, since you may have to stop down the 1.4 to get the results you want, I would say it is the better buy.

Check out this website for some detail on the various OM lenses - be sure to check out the latest tests as well as the original ones - http://www.biofos.com/cornucop/omz_e1.html It doesn't talk about the 50/1.4 vs. 50/1.8 but does have some comparisons with the 50/1.2 indicating you may get some decreased sharpness at larger apertures due to what he refers to as "ghosting".

Also check this current thread on the 180mm OM lens - http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1022&message=37903450 I believe there is a link to some of Justin's 50/1.8 photos in there.

Hope this helps.

Here's another website with a direct comparison between the different OM 50mm lenses.

http://omexperience.wordpress.com/comparisons-thoughts-misc/zuiko-50mm-shoot-out/

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Dave Bennett
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Re: Another website with direct comparison
In reply to InOmaha, Mar 8, 2011

Def the 50mm f1.8, but preferably a later Made in Japan one.
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mariomirabile
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Re: OM 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 for my E-520?
In reply to xelidonhs, Mar 9, 2011

I've tried both the 1.8 & 1.4 on my E-500. The 1.4 wide open to f2.8 was very soft and fuzzy with unreliable metering anywhere outside the f4-f8 aperture range. The 1.8 is better wide open and possible sharper across the whole aperture range, and the metering seems more reliable. The best examples of the 1.8 have "made in japan" (note no capitals...) inscribed around the front of the lens.

Mario

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Bluephotons
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Re: OM 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 for my E-520?
In reply to mariomirabile, Mar 9, 2011

I just got mine, just as you describe it, got it for $20.00 the guy also have a Takumar but I don't know which one, I just saw it briefly, I will get that one tomorrow for another $10 because I did not carry any extra cash (Craig's list safety transaction habits)
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wjlonien
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Re: OM 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 for my E-520?
In reply to xelidonhs, Mar 9, 2011

Hi,

I have the 1.8 only, also on an E-520, and yes, it's great fun to play around with it.

According to lenstip at http://www.lenstip.com/118.1-article-90_years_of_the_Olympus_company_-_Olympus_F.Zuiko_Auto-S_50_mm_f_1.8_versus_Olympus_ZD_50_mm_f_2.0_Macro.html - see page 4 at http://www.lenstip.com/118.4-article-90_years_of_the_Olympus_company_-_Olympus_F.Zuiko_Auto-S_50_mm_f_1.8_versus_Olympus_ZD_50_mm_f_2.0_Macro_Image_resolution.html for details - it challenges the 50 macro at an aperture of 5.6 in terms of resolution.

I can confirm that from f4, mine is really super sharp. At f2.8 it's nice, and at f1.8 you still get a nice sharp image if you focus carefully, tho it is lots more "dreamy" than the 50 macro of course. Not bad at all for portraits.

My wife tool this one of me with f5.6 and external (bounced) flash:

(for full resolution, look at Flickr)

I have similar sharp photos taken with that lens - and also had lots of misses in the beginning. But you can grow on it; I really did, and it's still lots of fun to use this little (and cheap) gem even now that I also own the 50 macro.

I have tagged images on Flickr, so if you want to see more taken with that lens, look at http://www.flickr.com/photos/wjlonien/tags/omzuiko1850mm/

Good luck with finding one (mine came from Austria, the adapter from Germany). You will have lots of fun with it I'm sure.

There's one photographer here (John King from Australia) who told me his 1.4 lens is even better than his 1.8 one - I cannot confirm that since I only have the cheaper 1.8 one.

Hope that helps,
and cheers,
Wolfgang
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nazmi
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My vote is for OM Zuiko 50mm f1.8 (Made in Japan)
In reply to xelidonhs, Mar 9, 2011

I think i've read somewhere saying that the 'Made In Japan Version' is much sharper than the earlier version of this f1.8 lens after olympus make a correction to their optical formula which is in the 80's. The new version is very sharp at f2.8. I don't have the f1.4 so i can't comment. Some of the source which you can read about the OM Zuiko lenses:

http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/olympusom1n2/shared/zuiko/htmls/index.htm

http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/olympusom1n2/shared/zuiko/htmls/50mm1a.htm

Hope that helps.

Cheers.

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Paribus
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Example of low light hand held
In reply to xelidonhs, Mar 9, 2011

I have a 50mm f1.8 which I have had with my OM1 since the late 70's. You will find the f1.8 is cheaper and easier to find than the f1.4. I find it plenty sharp enough on my E510 and E3. Here's an example taken with the E510, hand held at f1.8 late in the afternoon summer light in Australia (in my backyard actually).

I used the LV to focus as it would have been impossible through the viewfinder. I printed this picture in A3 size and am very happy with it.

I don't do a lot of close up or flower photography but I particularly like the 50mm for this type of shot. The de-focussed area looks almost painterly.

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mr inspire
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Re: Example of low light hand held
In reply to Paribus, Mar 9, 2011

THe 50mm OM is nice. But can i recommend you the helios 44m? It is sharper and nicer bokeh. But the focusing is not as silky smooth as OM
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Gaëtan Lehmann
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Re: OM 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 for my E-520?
In reply to xelidonhs, Mar 9, 2011

I've played with two old legacy lens on my E-420: a tokina 2.8/135 and a zuiko 1.8/50.

I've been quite disappointed by the poor quality of the tokina, but very pleased by the quality of the zuiko.
Focusing is quite hard and I don't have an AF confirm adapter to help.

It's possible get quite sharp results with it - I'm often more limited by the very thin DOF then the sharpness of the lens.

On this image for example, it was not possible to get the two eyes in focus.

Full size image is there: http://glehmann.smugmug.com/Public/24h-avec-le-Zuiko-OM-50mm-f18/13539023_Xmv3V#986662892_EYTyH-O-LB

I've put all the photos I took in my first 24 hours with this lens in this gallery - it may give you an idea of the kind of result you may have.

http://glehmann.smugmug.com/Public/24h-avec-le-Zuiko-OM-50mm-f18

I bought mine for 30€ with the old OM reflex and the box. The adapter was order on a ebay for ~ 12$.

If you go with this kind of large aperture, I think it's worth getting an adaptor with AF confirmation.

Gaëtan

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AlexRC
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Re: OM 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 for my E-520?
In reply to xelidonhs, Mar 10, 2011

Anyone considering using fast legacy lenses on a DSLR should read this link first:

http://www.jayandwanda.com/photography/dslr_man_focus/man_focus.html

The witer points out that the live view sensors on DSLRs have a focusing limit of f/2 to f/3.5, depending on the model, in your case around f/3.5.

Which means that an f/1.4 lens depth of focus appearance in live view will be what the lens would have at about f/3.5. So that the live view will look sharp, but the image may be out of focus.

The link has test images to show this effect.

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