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Archive 2010 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?
  
 
HopeIsEternal
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


From reading the alt lens forum I've seen a lot of mentions of the Olympus OM G.Zuiko 21mm f/3.5 lens for landscape work. I never previously heard anything much about OM lenses compared to the more popular Pentax M42 lenses, Zeiss etc..

What is it about this lens that makes it so desirable and why is it so expensive for an older manual focus lens. Apparently there is also an f/2.0 which is probably quite distinct for the very large aperture on such a wide lens. But selling for almost $1000?

By comparison, the Sigma EX 20mm f/1.8 (large and heavy I know) opens up even wider but sells for under $500 with auto-focus and digital compatibility.

I guess my questions boil down to why a few Olympus lenses fetch so much money, why the desired old OM lenses are scarce on CraigsList (compared to Minoltas or Canons) and why the 21mm in particular is so highly desirable. Also why don't the Canon and Nikon copy these older designs if they are so good.

Thanks!



Jul 23, 2010 at 05:09 PM
drdrew
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


cause the sigma is no fun....


Jul 23, 2010 at 05:14 PM
ken.vs.ryu
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


it's tiny.


Jul 23, 2010 at 05:16 PM
mpmendenhall
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


The Oly 21/3.5 is quite sharp and also extremely small/light. At ~$360, it's cheaper than the Sigma; the Oly's tiny size and weight make it the ideal hiking lens, which helps with popularity among landscape shooters.

For ultra-wide angles and landscape use, autofocus and auto-aperture are often unimportant. Focus will probably be done manually with the focus scale on the lens to set hyperfocal distance (or with live view on a newer camera), and landscapes usually move slowly enough that there's time for manual aperture stopdown.



Jul 23, 2010 at 05:17 PM
IDURITA
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


Just take a look at this discussion on Fred Miranda last year.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/783887



Jul 23, 2010 at 05:18 PM
cogitech
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


The OMs are less available on CL because they are easily adapted to EOS mount, whereas the Minoltas and Canons (FD) that you mentioned are not. Therefore, there is much more demand for the OMs.

The 21/3.5 is an excellent lens, with very low distortion, high resolution, excellent (neutral) colour and all that in a tiny package. A packpacker-landscaper's dream lens.

Hang around here even for a short time and you will find that the OMs are easily just as popular as Pentax M42, Zeiss, Leica, etc. and the 21s aren't the only ones that are particularly desirable. Much more coveted are the 18/3.5, 90/2 Macro, 100/2, 24 shift, 180/2, 250/2, and 35-80/2.8.

The OMs that fetch so much money only do so for the same reason anything does; supply and demand. Supply is low and demand is high.

Affordable, excellent OMs that I can recommend are the 24/2.8, 28/3.5 and 50/1.4 (if you want a sample of what the fuss is about without spending too much).



Jul 23, 2010 at 05:24 PM
alexandre
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


What Paul said above. Every alt fella has a brand preference. Looks like Paul likes to have one of a kind
As a Zuiko junkie/enthusiast, I'd add 100/2.8 in almost any cheap package.
*Normally* one does not need f/2 on that FL. So 21/3.5 is a good deal. About $300-350.
If you want a CHEAP n' good starter set, for $150 or less you can buy 28/3.5, 50/1.8, and 135/3.5.
If you want a cheap n' GOOD starter set, for $300 or so you can buy 24/2.8, 50/1.4, and 100/2.8.



Jul 23, 2010 at 06:19 PM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


alexandre wrote:
*Normally* one does not need f/2 on that FL. So 21/3.5 is a good deal. About $300-350.



I totally totally agree. And with that out in the open the Nikkor 20mm f/4.0 is sharper than the Zuiko and $150 to $200 cheaper!

Both are nice lenses tho! No one can take that from them.




Jul 23, 2010 at 09:14 PM
phidong
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


It's sharp, especially at landscape apertures. You don't need f/2 for taking landscapes so f/3.5 is fine when you're stopping down and shooting 5.6-11 most of the time. I think the lens weighs in the neighborhood of 7-10oz which is great for landscapes in situations where you're going to have to hike out to your destination.

Oh and it's relatively cheap!



Jul 23, 2010 at 10:52 PM
surf monkey
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


In my specific situation, I decided on this lens for some not so uncommon reasons.
1) Canon EOS mount - Olys work well with adapters
2) I have a high resolution full frame DSLR - Canon 5Dmk2
3) Most current lenses are weak in this FL - my Canon 17-40 isn't particularly sharp in the corners on my 5D2
4) Looking for an ultra-wide that was sharp across the full frame (wanted good color, contrast, bokeh)
5) The Nikon 14-24 looks great, but it's too big, has filter issues, expensive / Zeiss 21f2.8 ZE is stellar, but also large, too expensive (for now, but saving for one)
6) The Olympus 21 f3.5 is cheap (recently bought for $300), sharp, very compact & light, good color, solid construction

There are several reasons why the prices are going up for a lot of these older, manual lenses. Mostly because of forums like this one have made demand very high and most importantly, they perform better on the newer, more demanding, high resolution DSLR than many of their modern counterparts for a fraction of the money.



Jul 24, 2010 at 05:25 AM
 

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surf monkey
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


Bifurcator wrote:
I totally totally agree. And with that out in the open the Nikkor 20mm f/4.0 is sharper than the Zuiko and $150 to $200 cheaper!

Both are nice lenses tho! No one can take that from them.



Is the Nikon really sharper? That's pretty impressive for such an inexpensive lens. Where can I get one for $150? If it was good enough for Galen Rowell, then...



Jul 24, 2010 at 05:30 AM
surf monkey
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


HopeIsEternal wrote:
By comparison, the Sigma EX 20mm f/1.8 (large and heavy I know) opens up even wider but sells for under $500 with auto-focus and digital compatibility.

Also why don't the Canon and Nikon copy these older designs if they are so good.


From what I've seen the Sigma is not a very good lens.
The Oly is excellent.

Canon makes the 20 f2.8, which has AF, but isn't even close to their UWA zooms. They do have some old manual designs, but I don't think they would ever start making those again. Where's the profit? Most photographers do not want such a product, just some of us weirdos on these forums do.

Nikon makes their superb 14-24, so why should they make anything else. If you want cheaper, then the old manuals by Nikon are fine.



Jul 24, 2010 at 05:40 AM
phidong
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


surf monkey wrote:
[

Is the Nikon really sharper? That's pretty impressive for such an inexpensive lens. Where can I get one for $150? If it was good enough for Galen Rowell, then...


keh has "UG" for 205 and "BGN" for 286 (the EX is 450)

last two on ebay I saw ended at a bit over 200 and 320 shipped

don't see any on CL. I'd be interested in picking one up and testing it against the oly. The lens looks pretty small and I'm assuming it is light as well. The first couple of reviews I found on it did mention sample variation though (ken rockwell went through 2 and the second site I found which I have already closed the tab for went through 3 of them)



Jul 24, 2010 at 05:51 AM
surf monkey
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


phidong wrote:
keh has "UG" for 205 and "BGN" for 286 (the EX is 450)

last two on ebay I saw ended at a bit over 200 and 320 shipped

don't see any on CL. I'd be interested in picking one up and testing it against the oly. The lens looks pretty small and I'm assuming it is light as well. The first couple of reviews I found on it did mention sample variation though (ken rockwell went through 2 and the second site I found which I have already closed the tab for went through 3 of them)


The Oly 21f3.5 in EX condition is $415 at KEH. That's a lot more than I paid just a few months ago. So there going for about the same price as similar condition Nikon 20.



Jul 24, 2010 at 06:16 AM
phidong
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


surf monkey wrote:
The Oly 21f3.5 in EX condition is $415 at KEH. That's a lot more than I paid just a few months ago. So there going for about the same price as similar condition Nikon 20.


Yeah from the short research I've done it looks like they're about the same price. You might be able to pick up the Nikon for a bit cheaper on ebay since it seems like they show up a bit more frequently.



Jul 24, 2010 at 06:43 AM
jpeter
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


I have tested my 17-40 against a 21om. From what I remember, there were slight differences in CA, contrast, and sharpness. My conclusion was not to buy the om (nothing really gained but small size would have been a plus) but I eventually got a ze21. Big differences there. I think the 16-9 website has an extensive test of some of these lenses.

jp



Jul 24, 2010 at 01:06 PM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


Hi surf dude, others... Yeah, the Nikkor 20/4 is a little sharper with both lenses tested head to head sweet-spot to sweet-spot. I tested them about 3 years back (or more?) on my D2h.

I made the rounds price checking right after I posted that (to make sure) and I didn't see any at all. So I guess I could be talking out my ear... Within the last 9 months or so I looked it up (and found it) and it was like $150 in mint condition. Thus I posted the above. I have the 20/4 and the 20/2.8 and was looking to sell one of them at the time - so did the pricing. IIRC there was one (20/4) for like $150 and one for like $120 (both "buy" prices). That said I also seem to notice that "westerners" generally pay 20% to 100% more than we do in the "east" here - for used (and often new) electronic and camera goods.

As far as weight I just put the 20/4 on the scale and it's 209 grams (7.37 ounces). The 20/2.8 is heavier looking. It feels like I have a good chunk of glass in my hands when I hold it but I just weighed it too and it's only 258 grams (9.1 ounces) so just 49 grams heavier - not as much as I expected. The 20/2.8 is a much more expensive lens when I checked though - weighing in at around $450 to $550.

All things considered if I spent a week and only found one of the two (Zuiko/Nikkor) I wouldn't sweat the differences and would just get which ever was available. If I could select between the two I'd get the Nikkor even if was the same price - though as I recollect it's a good $150 or so cheaper than what you guys are saying the Zuiko goes for.



Jul 24, 2010 at 03:24 PM
surf monkey
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


jpeter wrote:
I have tested my 17-40 against a 21om. From what I remember, there were slight differences in CA, contrast, and sharpness. My conclusion was not to buy the om (nothing really gained but small size would have been a plus) but I eventually got a ze21. Big differences there. I think the 16-9 website has an extensive test of some of these lenses.

jp


The testing on the 16-9 website is similar to my findings on these lenses, except his samples of the 17-40 are worse than mine. I wouldn't rate the resolution as low as his, but still my OM21f3.5 is "better" than my Canon 17-40 @21mm. Not a lot better, but significant enough to justify keeping it.
See his results here :http://www.16-9.net/lens_tests/best19_21.html

I still want the Zeiss when I can afford it. Love the Olys for traveling light though.



Jul 24, 2010 at 04:43 PM
surf monkey
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


One thing that doesn't get mentioned as much as resolution & bokeh on the alt forum is how much better most of these old, manual lenses are in regards to their focus rings. Most modern AF lenses have very poor focus rings which makes critical focus using liveview difficult. The smooth, longer-throw of the Olys and Zeiss lenses are a pleasure to use, if you're into "doing it yourself." I don't know how the Sigma 20 is in this regard, but most of my Canons, including my Canon 100 macro non-IS, have focus rings that rate from okay to very poor. For macro shots I almost always use liveview and the focus ring is the only weakness of my Canon 100.


Jul 24, 2010 at 04:59 PM
Fred Bruche
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


I have recently tested the OM 3.5/21mm against the ZE21 on a 1Ds2. The OM "shines" at f11 and is almost par with the ZE21 at f5.6 for corner to corner sharpness, (which was my main criteria, most of the other aspects can be corrected in post processing if needed). All that for about 1/4 of the weight/size and 1/5 of the price. One thing I noticed is the field of view of the OM is a little wider than the ZE, with the OM being more like a 19-20mm.


Jul 24, 2010 at 05:14 PM
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