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Archive 2010 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?
  
 
surf monkey
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


Fred Bruche wrote:
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.


My conclusion was that the OM21 was the "poor man's ZE21." Even after I get the ZE, I'll probably keep the OM just for it's portability (great for hiking). Love the look of Zeiss lenses though, colors and contrast are superb.



Jul 24, 2010 at 05:34 PM
Fred Bruche
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


surf monkey wrote:
My conclusion was that the OM21 was the "poor man's ZE21." Even after I get the ZE, I'll probably keep the OM just for it's portability (great for hiking). Love the look of Zeiss lenses though, colors and contrast are superb.


I completely agree, none of the lenses I have tested so far beat the ZE21 for micro(contrast) and color rendition. The ZE21 probably beats the OM for flare control (I have not looked at that), but I can live with that and keep that in mind.



Jul 24, 2010 at 06:01 PM
Bifurcator
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


surf monkey wrote:
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
...Show more

Yeah, this is kinda true. I always use MF. I don't even own a lens that will AF on my current body. Don't want/need one either. But I just wanted to say that Asahi Pentax RULEZ in this department! Pentax SMC are great lenses and much smoother focusing than Nikkor, Rokkor, Zuiko, Canon, Zeiss, etc.

The S-M-C/Super Takumar 24mm F3.5 is a zeiss quality match easily as good and probably better then either the Nikkor 20/4 or the Zuiko 21/3.5. And it's $50 to $100 - no debate.

Similar things can be said of the S-M-C/Super Takumar 20mm F4.5 too for about $80. It's a very sharp lens! A little distorted but not too bad really. I kinda like that anyway.

The SMC Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 (Limited) also has superior focusing like that and additionally can AF on a matched body. I think I can say that it is sharper than either the Zuiko or the Nikkor I spoke of testing (above). And it's gotta be the smallest of all of them. And the price is right in line with what most people here are calling "reasonable" slash "cheap" - at about $350. It might even be the sharpest 21mm there is - I dunno. It's still in production too - always a bonus.

If you wanna go even wider but with the same supreme sharpness and uber-smooth focusing the SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL (Limited) is also very nice but it's like $500 as I recall.



Jul 24, 2010 at 06:11 PM
Erie Patsellis
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


Bifurcator wrote:
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. .....

Funny, I get a lot of that "mine's better than your's" nonsense from people with my 20 3.5, and their "far superior" 2.8. I've had both for 4 years and quite frankly, the 3.5 is a far better all around lens (unless you absolutely need that stop). Needless to say, my 2.8 is long gone and my 3.5 is still in use.



Jul 24, 2010 at 08:26 PM
Bifurcator
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


Did my post come across as a "mine's better than your's" or a funny "far superior" kinda thing?

I have all three too (although I can't seem to locate my Zuiko ) and didn't mean for it to sound anything like that. I was attempting to provide a heads up to the guy that the Nikkor is about the same quality or a tad better and save him $150 on the difference. That's all.

From reading the thread it may also depend on the particular copy of the lenses being tested as to which one wins on the sharpness stick. <shrug>


EDIT:
BTW, Someone just posted some tiny little samples of the 21/ZE here and by looking at them I see distortion and soft corners that would make me think it's not very good compared to either the Nikon or the Olympus. It's hard to tell from those images tho - so I guess I could be wrong. I bring it here cuz someone mentioned the 21/ZE and being the best. I'm kinda thinking it's a zeiss spell they're under.



Edited on Jul 24, 2010 at 09:20 PM · View previous versions



Jul 24, 2010 at 08:57 PM
Fred Bruche
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


Bifurcator wrote:
Yeah, this is kinda true. I always use MF. I don't even own a lens that will AF on my current body. Don't want/need one either. But I just wanted to say that Asahi Pentax RULEZ in this department! Pentax SMC are great lenses and much smoother focusing than Nikkor, Rokkor, Zuiko, Canon, Zeiss, etc.

The S-M-C/Super Takumar 24mm F3.5 is a zeiss quality match easily as good and probably better then either the Nikkor 20/4 or the Zuiko 21/3.5. And it's $50 to $100 - no debate.

Similar things can be said of the S-M-C/Super Takumar 20mm F4.5
...Show more

At some point there are also compatibilities issues. The Super Takumar 24mm F3.5 does not clear the mirror on Canon FF (M42 mount with Fotodiox adapter)... if anybody is looking for one, I have one collecting dust. I have not tried the others you mention but it seems that the SWA and WA Zuiko are generally fine on Canon FF cameras while the SMCs or super takumars can be problematic.



Jul 24, 2010 at 09:05 PM
Bifurcator
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


Oh yeah, I forgot about the OP's compatibility. (actually I have no idea what fits on a FF Canon and what doesn't. ) Thanks for bringing it to light!




Jul 24, 2010 at 09:22 PM
HopeIsEternal
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


Thanks all


Jul 24, 2010 at 09:24 PM
uroman
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


OK, question, I am looking at this lens, and have caught the alt bug. The issue is that I have ZE lenses for my canon, so all I need to do is shoot as I normally do, but manual focus. The metering, aperture control are the same.
Is there any very detailed step by step way to teach how to use these alt lenses that dont have that degree of integration? People say one needs "stop down metering". Could someone propose an overview of this with the oly lenses?



Jul 25, 2010 at 08:14 AM
Mr.Lindy
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


Just an observation, those Pentax "DA" 15mm, 21mm limiteds are crop format, aps-c only. They will not cover full frame sensor.

Locally I tried a 28mm f2 Oly. Pretty lens, great price, unimpressive optics. My 16-35mm 2.8 II was superior to at 28mm so I passed and it sold next day.The local shop lets me take home lenses for sale, so I get to see how things compare.
Next week test drive: 58mm Noct f1.2 Nikon
One draw back ? $3,000 price tag.
In my world thats a 17mm TiltShift, or 24mm TiltShift or a good bit towards 300mm 2.8 IS.

Alts are fun, however Canon does make some good glass which is perfectly compatible to their cameras.





Edited on Jul 25, 2010 at 01:30 PM · View previous versions



Jul 25, 2010 at 01:23 PM
 

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cogitech
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


uroman,

Stop-down metering (to be used with any fully-manual lens):

With the camera in Av mode:
1) focus
2) stop the lens down
3) meter and release the shutter

At apertures between f1.2 and about f4 (depending on camera/focusing screen) you may also:

1) Stop the lens down
2) Focus
3) Meter and release the shutter

The VF will get darker as you stop down, so beyond f4 is not practical unless the light levels are very high.

Since there is no communication with the camera, the camera has to use pure TTL metering with the lens already stopped down in order to set an appropriate shutter speed in Av mode. This will not always be super accurate and more often than not you will need to chimp the histogram and then use EC to bump the exposure one way or the other for subsequent shots.



Jul 25, 2010 at 01:25 PM
Erie Patsellis
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


Bifurcator wrote:
Did my post come across as a "mine's better than your's" or a funny "far superior" kinda thing?

I have all three too (although I can't seem to locate my Zuiko ) and didn't mean for it to sound anything like that. I was attempting to provide a heads up to the guy that the Nikkor is about the same quality or a tad better and save him $150 on the difference. That's all. ...


I wasn't clear, you weren't coming across that way, but many people do when you discuss the 3.5 (or the 4) and they insist the 2.8 (or the Oly, Zeiss, etc.) is better than the 3.5. Totally ignoring the fact that the best lens is the one you have "in hand". It's easy to forget that some aren't able to drop a pile of money on toys. In my case, having taken 20 years to build up what I have and I've had to make compromises in other parts of my life to afford what's important to me. Returning to school makes it all the more difficult.

There may be better, I'm sure, but my personal experience with both the 3.5 and 4 (different optical designs) in comparision to the 2.8 lead me to believe that the 2.8 is more of a status lens than anything else and really has both sharpness and vignetting issues wide open, and if you need to stop down to f4 or 5.6 to get even exposure, then why bother with the 2.8 over the others?



Jul 25, 2010 at 01:56 PM
mawz
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


Bifurcator wrote:
The SMC Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 (Limited) also has superior focusing like that and additionally can AF on a matched body. I think I can say that it is sharper than either the Zuiko or the Nikkor I spoke of testing (above). And it's gotta be the smallest of all of them. And the price is right in line with what most people here are calling "reasonable" slash "cheap" - at about $350. It might even be the sharpest 21mm there is - I dunno. It's still in production too - always a bonus.

If you wanna go even wider but
...Show more

The DA 21 Limited is inferior in performance to the FA 20/2.8 and arguably worse than the M 20/4. It's small, AF and quite good, but there's no way it's the sharpest 21 on the market, it's not even the best lens in the range from Pentax. It's also $500 new from B&H, not $350 (it used to be closer to $350, but the post-Hoya buyout pricejump killed that)

The DA 15 is tiny, but the K and A 15/3.5 and the DA 14/2.8 all outperform it.

The DA Limiteds are all biased towards size over performance or speed. All are quite good lenses but none of them are best-in-class or even approach it. The FA Limiteds are the series which prized performance.

Also the DA's lack aperture rings and only the 40/2.8 is an actual FF design, although the 70/2.4 will cover 35mm as well.



Jul 25, 2010 at 02:03 PM
uroman
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


cogitech, your responses are very helpful, thanks so much


Jul 25, 2010 at 05:31 PM
RustyBug
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


I've got both the Nikon 20/2.8 AIS and the Oly 21/3.5. I need to shoot them side by side on my 5D (did on my 1D MK II, but that doesn't tell the whole story) ... that will be today's agenda.

Others comments about the 24/2.8 and the 28/3.5 are sound as I have both of those and the Nikon 28/2.8 AIS. Bang for the buck ... the 28/3.5 rocks. It's mfd is a bit longer than the Nikon, but for little $$$, it's tough to beat. As for sharpness and Zone A,B,C performance, I think its a pick your poison issue. IIRC, the Oly's do a very nice job of having more even A,B,C performance (with a bit more vignetting and a touch lower contrast). I've been shooting mostly with my Mamiya's lately, so I'm a bit remiss regarding the Oly vs. Nikon differences ... will see what I can come up with for pics.



Jul 25, 2010 at 08:21 PM
billsnature
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


For those suggesting Nikon 20mm's sharper than Oly 21's..That has not been my experience, especially in the corners.

I found both the OM 21 f2 and the 21 3.5 to be about the same in center as Nikon 20mm f2.8 AIS, and better in the corners.

From what I read the Nikon f2.8 AIS is supposed to be sharper than the Nikon 20mm f4, but not as flare resistant. I thought Galen like the f4 because it was tiny and he frequently shot into the sun. Not because it was the sharpest lens out there.

I just received my OM 21mm f3.5 multi coated version yesterday, so I haven't had a chance to test flare yet.

Has anyone critically tested Nikon 20mm f4 verses f2.8? Does it really top OM across the frame??

Am I getting this wrong?? It isn't what I saw.

Bill



Jul 25, 2010 at 09:37 PM
Bifurcator
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


OK, thanks for that Mawz!




Jul 25, 2010 at 10:05 PM
cogitech
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


Bill,

Sample variation has a lot to do with each individual's anecdotal "results".

I am one who chose an OM 28/3.5 over 2 copies of the C/Y 28/2.8 (one was better than the other). The copy of the OM 28/3.5 that I have is fantastic. It maintains resolution across the frame in a way the the CZ (the two I tried) just didn't match. Having said that, I know there are a few people out there who find it average, at best. I do not think they would consider mine average. The thing is, any evaluation really is based on the specific copy(ies) that are used. Any time you feel baffled by certain evaluations of lenses, remember sample variation.

Test methodology, bias, and subjective opinion are always a factor, of course.



Jul 25, 2010 at 10:12 PM
RustyBug
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p.2 #19 · p.2 #19 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


Don't forget adapter variation ... particularly critical with wide angle glass.

Nikon 20 2.8 AIS vs. Oly 21 3.5

5D, AWB, AV Mode, RAW untouched, save as jpg upload via flickr (large size)

A






B









Jul 26, 2010 at 12:11 AM
j.liam
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p.2 #20 · p.2 #20 · Olympus OM 21mm lenses. Whats the deal?


Comparison against the Nikkor 20/4 is probably a better one.


Jul 26, 2010 at 12:39 AM
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