Olympus Pen F 40mm 1.4 comments

Started 10 months ago | Discussions
Anfy
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Zink,
In reply to zink, 10 months ago

zink wrote:

Habs Fan27 wrote:

By FT scale, you mean the scale that has numbers from 1 to 6? instead of aperture values?

Yes, that is what I mean. Before the Pen-FT was introduced, there was only the f/1.4 to f/16 scale on the aperture ring. The FT version of the 40/1.4 has also the FT scale from 0 to 6 on the other side of the aperture ring. You can pull the ring forward and twist the scale.

As a non english native speaker I find a bit difficult to understand your phrasing "pull the ring forward and twist the scale". Can you please elaborate with a different wording (I tried to gently "pull" the aperture ring but it can only be rotated)?
Ciao!

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zink
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Re: Zink,
In reply to Anfy, 10 months ago

Anfy wrote:

zink wrote:

Habs Fan27 wrote:

By FT scale, you mean the scale that has numbers from 1 to 6? instead of aperture values?

Yes, that is what I mean. Before the Pen-FT was introduced, there was only the f/1.4 to f/16 scale on the aperture ring. The FT version of the 40/1.4 has also the FT scale from 0 to 6 on the other side of the aperture ring. You can pull the ring forward and twist the scale.

As a non english native speaker I find a bit difficult to understand your phrasing "pull the ring forward and twist the scale". Can you please elaborate with a different wording (I tried to gently "pull" the aperture ring but it can only be rotated)?
Ciao!

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Viva la evolución!

It must be very obvious that I am also not a native English speaker. Here is the explanation from the Olympus Pen-FT manual. Older Pen-F lenses do not have the FT-scale (TTL-scale).

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Anfy
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In reply to zink, 10 months ago

I've been using the lenses for years now without knowing it (and always asking myself why there was a odd 0-6 numbering instead of f-stop values ).

Thank you!

zink wrote:

Anfy wrote:

zink wrote:

Habs Fan27 wrote:

By FT scale, you mean the scale that has numbers from 1 to 6? instead of aperture values?

Yes, that is what I mean. Before the Pen-FT was introduced, there was only the f/1.4 to f/16 scale on the aperture ring. The FT version of the 40/1.4 has also the FT scale from 0 to 6 on the other side of the aperture ring. You can pull the ring forward and twist the scale.

As a non english native speaker I find a bit difficult to understand your phrasing "pull the ring forward and twist the scale". Can you please elaborate with a different wording (I tried to gently "pull" the aperture ring but it can only be rotated)?
Ciao!

-- hide signature --

Viva la evolución!

It must be very obvious that I am also not a native English speaker. Here is the explanation from the Olympus Pen-FT manual. Older Pen-F lenses do not have the FT-scale (TTL-scale).

-- hide signature --

Viva la evolución!

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zink
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In reply to Anfy, 10 months ago

Anfy wrote:

I've been using the lenses for years now without knowing it (and always asking myself why there was a odd 0-6 numbering instead of f-stop values ).

Thank you!

That is why I like old manuals. You will always learn something new.

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Habs Fan27
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Re: Olympus Pen F 40mm 1.4 comments
In reply to zink, 10 months ago

I think it's an older one from the picture I saw.  It's a view from the bottom and I can only see the start of the flat part where the scale starts and it looks like pretty much half the ring has the textured lines for grip.  I don't see how there could be room for 2 scales if they are 180 deg apart.  I'll be having a look at it tomorrow and deciding to buy or not.

So other than the 2 different scales, are there any other differences between the F and FT version?  You said your FT version is sharper.  You think it's the coating or sample variation?  I guess I'll make sure to really check sharpness wide open.

Thanks again!

zink wrote:

Habs Fan27 wrote:

By FT scale, you mean the scale that has numbers from 1 to 6? instead of aperture values?

Yes, that is what I mean. Before the Pen-FT was introduced, there was only the f/1.4 to f/16 scale on the aperture ring. The FT version of the 40/1.4 has also the FT scale from 0 to 6 on the other side of the aperture ring. You can pull the ring forward and twist the scale.

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saintz
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Re: Olympus Pen F 40mm 1.4 comments
In reply to Habs Fan27, 10 months ago

I had this lens and sold it.

The real benefit of this lens is the size. It's tiny, and the adapter is also tiny. The build quality and focus feel is very good. The 40mm length makes it a little more general purpose and a little less of a portrait lens than the typical 50mm. It's also fast at f1.4, which is common for 50mm lenses but rare for anything wider. On paper, this seemed the best lens for the NEX.

As for the negatives, I found the lens too soft. I am not a sharpness junkie, and this is probably the only lens I've ever sold for being too soft. Wide open it's just too soft and that softness makes it also very difficult to focus using focus peaking, which further exacerbates the problem. Looking back, I found all of my shots with this lens were just blurry and uninspiring. Stopped down it performs better, but you're paying a premium for speed.

I would probably look at the cheaper 38 since you won't be shooting wide open. Or really the Sigma 30 is a better bet. Cheaper, about the same size, very sharp, and although slower, you might be stopping the PEN down to f2.8 often anyway.

Also, the attachment mechanism is not very good. I once had the lens come unseated on a vacation and had to leave the camera behind because I couldn't get it to latch back on securely to the adapter.

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zink
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Re: Olympus Pen F 40mm 1.4 comments
In reply to saintz, 10 months ago

saintz wrote:

I had this lens and sold it.

The real benefit of this lens is the size. It's tiny, and the adapter is also tiny. The build quality and focus feel is very good. The 40mm length makes it a little more general purpose and a little less of a portrait lens than the typical 50mm. It's also fast at f1.4, which is common for 50mm lenses but rare for anything wider. On paper, this seemed the best lens for the NEX.

As for the negatives, I found the lens too soft. I am not a sharpness junkie, and this is probably the only lens I've ever sold for being too soft. Wide open it's just too soft and that softness makes it also very difficult to focus using focus peaking, which further exacerbates the problem. Looking back, I found all of my shots with this lens were just blurry and uninspiring. Stopped down it performs better, but you're paying a premium for speed.

As said, I had two versions of the 40/1.4, a Pen-F and a younger FT version. The older one was a bit less sharp wide open. Or a bit soft if you like. But nowhere as soft as a Canon FD 50/1.4 wide open. It was even sharper wide open as my Konica 40/1.8 at f/2.8. But the older Pen 40 was a bit beaten up in the past and had a lot of coating damage. That may have been an issue. But even with this lens, focus peaking was not a problem.

As you can see in the samples posted here, this is not a lens that produces blurry pictures at all. Take a look also at the test from Forpetessake. Something else must have caused blurred pictures. Bad repair in the past, fungus, separation,...?

I would probably look at the cheaper 38 since you won't be shooting wide open. Or really the Sigma 30 is a better bet. Cheaper, about the same size, very sharp, and although slower, you might be stopping the PEN down to f2.8 often anyway.

My Pen 38/1.8 was softer wide open than my 40/1.4. Stopping down to f/2.8 for acceptable results is not necessary.

The Sigma must be a very good lens. No doubt about that. The only thing I doubt is the build quality. I once dropped my Pen 60/1.5. After I got myself together, I picked it up, and there was only damage to the laminate floor, no damage at all to the lens.

Also, the attachment mechanism is not very good. I once had the lens come unseated on a vacation and had to leave the camera behind because I couldn't get it to latch back on securely to the adapter.

Sounds like a bad adapter. You can not blame the lens for that.

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neonexxer
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Re: Olympus Pen F 40mm 1.4 comments
In reply to saintz, 10 months ago

Sorry to hear about your less than happy experience with the lens, but I have to agree with Zink above in that you may have just had a spot of bad luck with your copy and adapter.

My first Pen-F lens was a 38/1.8.  The front element suffered from some fungus at the periphery, but after the initial scare, I got it professionaly cleaned and have since aqcuired an additional copy, plus 2 copies of the 40/1.4.  I got the extra ones because, for the price I paid, and for their size, they're just so darn good and wanted to make sure I'd always have one available for use.

In and around the same FL and max aperture range, I also use a couple of Canon 50mm/1.4s (FD and FDn), a Voigtlander 35/1.4, a SAL35F18, SAL50F18, SEL35F18.  If had to whittle my collection down to just one item in that range, I'd keep my Pen-F 40/1.4. Both of them

Focus peaking works well for me at any aperture, and the fact that there's no AF motor to burden the battery (or CPU-taxing distortion correction), my Nex5N happily keeps snapping away on a single battery for much longer (easily >200 additional shots) than with any AF lens I own.  Flare can pose a problem sometimes, but not too hard to mitigate with my hand as a improvised shade.

In spite of its dimunitive size, the lens is built very durably.  I haven't needed to "baby" the camera and lens, and because of that, found that I take the combo out more often.  My 5N will probably wear out its shutter before the Pen-F calls it a day.  But if that happens, I can replace it with another 5N. Or 5R/5T.  Or, for that matter - a M43 body and experience the lens with a different crop!

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Nate Dogg
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Some shots with the 38mm f1.8
In reply to Habs Fan27, 10 months ago

Ive not used the 40mm f1.4, but here are some shots with my 38mm f1.8 -- a truly amazing lens, even wide open:

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-Nate

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Art Steinberg
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Re: Some shots with the 40mm f1.4
In reply to Nate Dogg, 10 months ago

40mm/

1.4 shot wide open

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Habs Fan27
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Re: Olympus Pen F 40mm 1.4 comments
In reply to Habs Fan27, 10 months ago

Thanks for all the info from everyone.  I tried out the 40mm today and ended up getting it.  I only fired off a few test shots but was very very pleased with.  The guy I met up with also had a 100mm 3.5 in mint condition which I was not interested in at first but he just wanted to get rid of it so he gave me a good deal on it.

Unfortunately, I'm busy for the next couple of days so I won't get to play with them at all:(  Looking forward to next week.

Thanks for the detailed posts!

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kuuan
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Re: Olympus Pen F 40mm 1.4 comments
In reply to Habs Fan27, 10 months ago

well done, congrats, and lucky guy..the 3.5/100 is very good too!

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photos mostly taken with manual lenses on Ricoh GXR M, Sony NEX5N, Pentax K-x and *istDs: http://flickr.com/photos/kuuan/

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zink
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Re: Olympus Pen F 40mm 1.4 comments
In reply to Habs Fan27, 10 months ago

Habs Fan27 wrote:

Thanks for all the info from everyone. I tried out the 40mm today and ended up getting it. I only fired off a few test shots but was very very pleased with. The guy I met up with also had a 100mm 3.5 in mint condition which I was not interested in at first but he just wanted to get rid of it so he gave me a good deal on it.

Unfortunately, I'm busy for the next couple of days so I won't get to play with them at all:( Looking forward to next week.

Thanks for the detailed posts!

Congratulations with the purchase. Looking forward to see some pictures.

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absh
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Re: Olympus Pen F 40mm 1.4 comments
In reply to zink, 8 months ago

As said, I had two versions of the 40/1.4, a Pen-F and a younger FT version.

Can you share how to tell them apart?

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Habs Fan27
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Re: Olympus Pen F 40mm 1.4 comments
In reply to absh, 8 months ago

absh wrote:

As said, I had two versions of the 40/1.4, a Pen-F and a younger FT version.

Can you share how to tell them apart?

You have to look to see if it has the 'FT' scale on the aperture ring.  Once will have the aperture number (1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, etc).  The other side of the ring (180 degrees) with have numbers numbers corresponding to an exposure value for FT cameras (1,2,3,4....).

I also think the the older lenses have a amber/brownish coating while the newer lenses are more of a blue/purple coating.  The one I ended up getting was the older version but it was still very sharp.  It's sharper at 1.4 than any other lens I've used wide open.

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forpetessake
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Re: Olympus Pen F 40mm 1.4 comments
In reply to Habs Fan27, 8 months ago

Habs Fan27 wrote:

absh wrote:

As said, I had two versions of the 40/1.4, a Pen-F and a younger FT version.

Can you share how to tell them apart?

You have to look to see if it has the 'FT' scale on the aperture ring. Once will have the aperture number (1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, etc). The other side of the ring (180 degrees) with have numbers numbers corresponding to an exposure value for FT cameras (1,2,3,4....).

I also think the the older lenses have a amber/brownish coating while the newer lenses are more of a blue/purple coating. The one I ended up getting was the older version but it was still very sharp. It's sharper at 1.4 than any other lens I've used wide open.

G.Zuiko is a pretty good lens, but in my testing it has pretty much the same sharpness as Canon FD 50/1.4. Canon though has better contrast and less flare. Unless size/weigh is more important I would recommend Canon, it's also significantly cheaper. Due to the age of the lenses it's also easier to find Canon than Olympus lens in good shape. Both lenses are somewhat behind SEL5018 at F/2, but Zuiko and Canon have better bokeh, better character, especially on portraits shots.

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zink
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Re: Olympus Pen F 40mm 1.4 comments
In reply to forpetessake, 8 months ago

forpetessake wrote:

Habs Fan27 wrote:

absh wrote:

As said, I had two versions of the 40/1.4, a Pen-F and a younger FT version.

Can you share how to tell them apart?

You have to look to see if it has the 'FT' scale on the aperture ring. Once will have the aperture number (1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, etc). The other side of the ring (180 degrees) with have numbers numbers corresponding to an exposure value for FT cameras (1,2,3,4....).

I also think the the older lenses have a amber/brownish coating while the newer lenses are more of a blue/purple coating. The one I ended up getting was the older version but it was still very sharp. It's sharper at 1.4 than any other lens I've used wide open.

G.Zuiko is a pretty good lens, but in my testing it has pretty much the same sharpness as Canon FD 50/1.4. Canon though has better contrast and less flare. Unless size/weigh is more important I would recommend Canon, it's also significantly cheaper. Due to the age of the lenses it's also easier to find Canon than Olympus lens in good shape. Both lenses are somewhat behind SEL5018 at F/2, but Zuiko and Canon have better bokeh, better character, especially on portraits shots.

There is no way the Canon FD 50/1.4 is as sharp as the little Zuiko at f/1.4. I have had both the SSC version and the FDn version of the 50/1.4. The FDn version was a little bit less creamy at f/1.4, but could show a lot of purple fringing. The only thing the Canon does better is getting the corners as sharp as the center when stopped down. But on the plus side of the Zuiko: no CA or purple fringing, already sharp wide open, much smaller and lighter on the NEX. Yes, it is more expensive and is a bit less flare resistant, but the Pen-f 40/1.4 turns the NEX into a very special camera.

Zuiko 40/1.4 wide open on a very dark day

Zuiko 40/1.4 at f/4

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absh
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Re: Olympus Pen F 40mm 1.4 comments
In reply to Habs Fan27, 8 months ago

You have to look to see if it has the 'FT' scale on the aperture ring. Once will have the aperture number (1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, etc). The other side of the ring (180 degrees) with have numbers numbers corresponding to an exposure value for FT cameras (1,2,3,4....).

I also think the the older lenses have a amber/brownish coating while the newer lenses are more of a blue/purple coating. The one I ended up getting was the older version but it was still very sharp. It's sharper at 1.4 than any other lens I've used wide open.

Interesting. I've seen (online) lenses with both the FT scale and both blue and brownish coatings.

I've also found a serial numbers vs year of production table at http://www.taunusreiter.de/Cameras/Olympus_PenF.html (see around the middle of the page).

I'm curious which ones are better in regards to year of production: older or newer?

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Habs Fan27
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Re: Olympus Pen F 40mm 1.4 comments
In reply to absh, 8 months ago

I think all the lenses have the same optical formula and only the coatings changed.  There is talk that the newer bluish multicoating is better resistant to flare.  Maybe it helps give better contrast?

I think you are more likely to find the newer version for sale anyways.

My only suggestion is to determine how useful a somewhat expensive manual lens might be to you.  You are probably going to pay around 200$ for one.  At 1.4 and even 2.0, any lens is tough to manually focus accurately as DOF is thin.  Probably better for static subjects but not kids.  When you nail the focus at 1.4, its very special.  But in general use, i find it a little tight indoors and I'm more of an autofocus type person but I'm trying to practice to get better at manual focusing.

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absh
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Re: Olympus Pen F 40mm 1.4 comments
In reply to Habs Fan27, 8 months ago

My only suggestion is to determine how useful a somewhat expensive manual lens might be to you. You are probably going to pay around 200$ for one. At 1.4 and even 2.0, any lens is tough to manually focus accurately as DOF is thin. Probably better for static subjects but not kids. When you nail the focus at 1.4, its very special. But in general use, i find it a little tight indoors and I'm more of an autofocus type person but I'm trying to practice to get better at manual focusing.

Yeah, true that. This as well applies to the 38mm f/1.8 version which I already own (and it's a great lens, despite being quite soft wide open). Thought of trying the 40mm f/1.4 too, if I ever find it at a reasonable price.

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