Anyone care to give me an OM lens primer?

Started 10 months ago | Discussions thread
Colin in Amsterdam Forum Member • Posts: 69
Re: Anyone care to give me an OM lens primer?

Agree with much of what has been said already.

I have a load of old OM lenses, straight adapters and a Metabones Speedbooster adapter. While I still have some OM3s and 4s hidden away in a cupboard I don't shoot film any more. Tried many 4/3 and m43 combinations over the years, only a few I would recommend and a some (macros) I haven't really experimented with enough yet to have an opinion. My 2 cents:

For micro four thirds:

  • avoid all OM zoom lenses
  • always use the Metabones Speedbooster* not a straight mechanical adapter
  • I really like the 16mm f/3.5 (becomes a lightweight optical semi-fisheye 11mm f/2.5), 40mm f/2 (really light), 90mm f/2 (great optics). These are the only OM lenses I will occasionally take with me nowadays
  • the 180mm f/2.8 and 300 f/4.5 are interesting if definitely not as good as modern lenses - but great if you don't have the equivalent modern telephotos. the 600mm f/6.5 is a poor lens.
  • 50mm f/1.8 works much better than 55 f/1.2 unless you want a really soft effect
  • haven't spent much time with other OM macro lenses but have seen good results from others. won't give you focus stacking though ;-). I don't have any of the white super-fast OMs.
  • read your m43 manual to make sure you know how to use IBIS with these lenses

OM lenses are light, quiet, easy to repair (so you can expect them still to have a long life ahead), don't drain your batteries, but aren't waterproof. Coatings are not up to modern standards so flare can be an irritant. Like other old film lenses if you already have them .... they won't cost you anything beyond a Speedbooster - I found that investment well worthwhile: One adapter for all OM lenses, you improve the sharpness on ALL the OM film lenses and end up with some really shallow depths of field (that OM 55 mm f/1.2 becomes a 39mm f/0.85, for example). Are OM film lenses worth buying for use on m43 ? Well if really cheap or as curiosities - why not ? - but as your preferred optical solution, hmmm - you would need to have a very particular reason to do this.

For four thirds:

Some years ago I went on an African safari with an E1 and my only long telephoto was the OM 300mm f/4.5. I was very happy (and pleasantly surprised) with the results with a straight mechanical adapter (Speedboosters only work on m43). I think I had upgraded my E1 focussing screen especially for use with this lens, can't remember if this option was ever available for E3s and E5s.

* but this combination won't focus to infinity with a few OM wides like the 21mm f/2 so be careful when using for the first time. A couple of OM lenses need easy surgery (removal of the stub which protects the rear glass surface if you plonk it down on a table without rear lens cap) to work properly.

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