Zuiko OM legacy lens on a full frame sensor & forest fires in LA

Started Aug 28, 2009 | Discussions thread
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dave gaines
dave gaines Veteran Member • Posts: 9,183
Zuiko OM legacy lens on a full frame sensor & forest fires in LA

I've been absent a bit, working and developing a business idea. I've also been shopping for and found deals on the E-330 and an Ikelite underwater housing to upgrade from my wonderful C-8080 system. I also aquired a good used copy of the little C-5050 along the way. I'm still at it but I'm almost done. And I'm here now.

Today I was out shooting helicopters hovering over a pond on a golf course. A big hose from a nearby fire hydrant was filling the pond as fast as the choppers could scoop the water. They were fighting a local forest fire here in Los Angeles, the Station Fire. It's burning right up over my favorite fire road where I've been mountain biking for the last 10 years so I'm pretty sad about the damage it's causing. I can see the flames 6 or 8 miles away from my upstairs window but I don't want to look.

So there I was trying to shoot the firefighting effort when a guy walks up with a very large lens which I thought was a short, fat, white Canon lens. So I asked him what he had. He held up a 13 pound, 1980's, 350 mm f/2.8 Zuiko lens that he had converted by SK Grimes, a lens machine shop in Rhode Island, for mounting on his 3 pound Nikon D-3. He said he had all this great Zuiko glass when Olympus quit the film camera biz and was annoyed that they didn't adopt a 35 mm format sensor in digital. So he had all of his best Zuiko lenses converted for Nikon mount and focuses manually. The body and lens he was carrying was a $5000US body + $5300 for the 300 mm f/2.8 VR from Nikon = $10,300. The Nikon 400 mm f/2.8 VR is around $8900. The current Olympus 300 mm f/2.8 is about the same price as the 300 mmm Nikon so maybe 10k is a fair comparison to his D3 and Zuiko 350 mm f/2.8 legacy lens.

I held the lens. It was huge and beautiful. A cream colored lens body with black focus ring, a front element about the size of the current Oly 300 mm and a big tripod mount. He'd been shooting it on a gimble mount tripod before he walked up with it.

There I was with my E-3 and 50-200 mm f/2.8 -3.5 non-SWD - about 4 pounds panning with IS2 on. The choppers were flying right over our heads at the tree tops. I had them filling the frame with my lens zoomed in to 50 mm and had the potential to shoot at f/2.8. At 200 mm (400 mm equivalent) I could have been at f/3.5 with a rig that weighed 1/10th the weight of his and was nearly as fast at a longer effective focal length. I had a great lens and I could zoom. For $2450 when the E-3 first came out - 1/4 the price.

That is one of the advantages of the 4/3 format, fast lenses with long focal lengths.
I may get to post a few of these shots in a few days.

Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

 dave gaines's gear list:dave gaines's gear list
Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom Olympus E-330 Nikon D800E Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +7 more
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