About the 50-200mm SWD focusing issues (and lack of) on E-M1

Started Feb 24, 2014 | Discussions thread
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goblin Veteran Member • Posts: 3,420
About the 50-200mm SWD focusing issues (and lack of) on E-M1

This is just a heads up for all people having a hard time sifting through the different reviews and reports on whether the 50-200mm SWD (SWD only) can or can not focus well on the E-M1.

I am sure I have shared this before, but here it is as it is important to know to make an opinion. Here's the story:

  • I became the happy owner of yet another "AS IS - For Parts" 50-200mm SWD lens for an insultingly low price from a well known auction site last year.
  • The lens was optically as new, and functional.
  • There was an obvious problem with the lens - it was focusing slowly, in the sense that the AF motor itself was slow as molasses. It felt like there was a rubber band around the rotating elements, that's how slow it was.
  • The problem was less visible on an E-5 (and any BLM-1/BLM-5) powered camera. It was hugely obvious on my E-M5.
  • The manual focus ring was way heavier than the one on my other, well functioning 50-200mm SWD.

Now here's where it becomes interesting:

  • After a lot of use, a lot of manual turning of the MF ring, and again a lot of use, the lens sort of "loosened up". It became less problematic. But still, it has never reached the level of "fluidity" of my working 50-200mm SWD.
  • It now focuses (motor) just as fast as a fully functional one, but the "start out the gate" (the beginning of the AF movement) is more abrupt - it is like something is holding it, then it suddenly is released and jumps forward.
  • At this point, UNLESS the two lenses ("good" and "bad) are compared and tested side by side, there is no way on earth one could tell them apart, except for the heavier MF ring on the bad one.
  • At this point, with my E-M1, the "bad" lens allows focusing, would do C-AF, but would drop the ball earlier on an approaching subject (my kids on a sled).
  • The lens has vastly improved, but is still not (and will never be) 100%. If I was to sell it to someone who is not familiar with this model - they would use it for years without (too much) problems. They would get a (slightly) wrong idea about its AF performance, but that's about it, especially if it's used on one of the single or double digits DSLR's).

In any event - I sold my "good" 50-200mm SWD, have been using the "bad" one for half an year now, and will some day (when I get really fed up) send it for repair.

But long story short - this lens got at some point bad enough to be sold for parts, and then came back to life. IF the opposite happens - one takes it when it STARTS failing, unaware of any issues, and uses it for tests on an E-M1 (or any other "flimsy battery" camera OR, ESPECIALLY, on an m43 camera other than the E-M1, relying on CDAF and needing small, fluid AF movements) - the result will be quite different from the result when using a "good" lens.

My $0.02

 goblin's gear list:goblin's gear list
Ricoh GXR P10 28-300mm F3.5-5.6 VC Sigma DP1 Merrill Sigma DP2 Merrill Sigma DP3 Merrill Sigma dp2 Quattro +73 more
Olympus E-5 Olympus E-M1
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