Fuji Why Olympus OM?

kevistopheles

Top Veteran
I ask because I am genuinely curious. Recently I have picked up several OM lenses. I have 2 OM 50/1.8's, 28/3.5, 100/2.8 and now a 50/1.4. I was lucky and found each for a very good price. I don't dislike the lenses at all. I bought them because they are compact and as I recalled (from previously owning OM lenses) had pretty good IQ. Now after owning some again I find them good but not great. I don't dislike them at all but I am finding myself a bit puzzled as to why they seem to have such a cult following. For me their main appeal is that they are remarkably compact. The 24/2.8, 28/3.5 and 100/2.8 are quite a bit smaller than any of my other lenses. That allows me to have a nice small kit with the Fuji XE1 even carrying three lenses.

My MC Rokkor 100/2.5 is twice the size of the OM 100/2.8 but then again it's also a lot better lens too. I think my MC Rokkor 24/2.8 weighs more than than three of the OM lenses combined. If I'm moving fast and want to travel light I'm willing to give up some things for the convenience and I find the IQ of the OM lenses good enough. But I would think there has to be more to it than that for most folks. It can't be simply about size can it?

Any ideas?
 

Cruzan80

Regular
Name
Sean
I would guess that part of the appeal is the OM bodies. Putting the shutter around the bayonet mount, the body and lens combining for a light setup, the front ring for the aperture (generally something not seen as often). They also had one of the bigger and brighter viewfinders (after looking thru a Praktica viewfinder, I can see the appeal). And stuff always seems to look better in hindsight.

Also it is one of the few "major" manufacturers which has a register distance that can mount on Canon's EOS, and was abandoned (compared to PK and NAI).

Personally, I found the 50/1.4 (first silver nose) I had to be very sharp, and "clicked" into focus easier than most others, but I couldn't deal with the color rendering issues compared to the stable of Minolta glass. Reds were almost pink, and the greens were off compared to what I was used to dealing with. Just picked up a 24mm and 50mm macro, so am willing to give it another shot. If it turns out to be the same issues, I will replace them with SR counterparts, as the pricing seems to be a bit higher for the OM lenses.

Also, I find that if people haven't used Minolta lenses in a while, they forget just how optically great they are. Minolta was one of the last lens companies that was actually manufacturing its own glass, but for a variety of circumstances, never was seen as the "professional's camera" the same way something like a Nikon F was. People don't seem to have the same love affair with a SRT or X-700 as with the K1000, OM-(insert number 1-4 here), or Nikon F series. I really credit the resurgent rise of Minolta glass with the indie film movement. Having color balanced lenses makes being able to switch between them much more fluid, and the SR/EOS difference is small enough for DIY'ers to come up with solutions (just look at the number of MD lenses hacked apart to EOS, especially the 58/1.2 and 100/2.5).
 

kevistopheles

Top Veteran
I like the OM bodies and ultimately that is where I see these OM lenses getting the most work. i haven't noticed the color issues because I produce mostly BW. That said, I am aware of the fact that Minolta's lenses are color corrected. I have a pretty decent collection of MC glass and love it. in fact, that was part of what prompted my original post.
 

ean10775

All-Pro
Location
Cleveland, Ohio
Name
Eric
I would guess that part of the appeal is the OM bodies. Putting the shutter around the bayonet mount, the body and lens combining for a light setup, the front ring for the aperture (generally something not seen as often). They also had one of the bigger and brighter viewfinders

This I think. I love shooting my OM-1 and these are the lenses that fit. I bought adapters to use them on my Canon and m43 cameras and do on occasion, but if I were looking to purchase legacy glass specifically for use on a mirrorless system, there are other lenses I'd choose.
 

kevistopheles

Top Veteran
This I think. I love shooting my OM-1 and these are the lenses that fit. I bought adapters to use them on my Canon and m43 cameras and do on occasion, but if I were looking to purchase legacy glass specifically for use on a mirrorless system, there are other lenses I'd choose.

I agree 100%, I think the OM bodies are terrific (especially that gargantuan viewfinder) but the lenses are less impressive. They're nice but there are a lot of nice lenses out there. I do like their small size and when I want to have a really small kit they're fine and I got the OM lenses I have for REALLY generous prices so I'm happy with them.
 
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Cruzan80

Regular
Name
Sean
Waiting on my adapter here, and will post new impressions. I just picked up a fourth OM lens (the first three came together), and if I dont click with them, they may be up for sale here (also got an OM-1 with the first package).
 

kevistopheles

Top Veteran
Waiting on my adapter here, and will post new impressions. I just picked up a fourth OM lens (the first three came together), and if I dont click with them, they may be up for sale here (also got an OM-1 with the first package).

What lenses? I'm finding the OM 28/3.5 to be pretty fun lens. It's barely bigger than a pancake and makes for a nice small package on the XE1. It's sharp wide open and better than any $30 28/3.5 has a right to be. It's making me think I might pop for a 24/2.8 if I see one at a friendly price. The 28/3.5 is impressing me more than then the 50's or 100 whose main value to me is that they are small.

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So Pink it's White
by dixeyk, on Flickr

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Lucifer
by dixeyk, on Flickr
 
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Cruzan80

Regular
Name
Sean
Right now I have the 24/2.8, the 35/2.8 (new purchase), 50/3.5 macro, and the 75-150/4. Also came with an OM-1, hotshoe, multiple focusing screens, winder, the works. If I find I don't get along with it, will probably try swapping it out for the Minolta 20/21/24.
 

kevistopheles

Top Veteran
Done with my Olympus OM lens fling. They're nice and compact but not my cup of tea. The aperture ring at the front is not something I like and while they seem like good lenses I don't see what they bring to the table over lenses I already have other than size. I get people love them and some like the OM 24/2.8 have an almost cult following...let's just agree to disagree.
 

Barwick Green

Rookie
Location
London
I love my 50mm f1.2. In bright light it suffers badly from flare wide open, but indoors it's fine. On a Fuji X series it makes a superb portrait lens. Don't be tempted by the 55mm f1.2 though, it's not multi-coated and performs poorly.
 

kevistopheles

Top Veteran
Not much chance I'll be tempted by an OM anything anytime soon. No doubt there are some exceptional lenses in the OM lineup but my experience is showing me that there is a lot of sample variation and you never know if you're going to get a good one or not. I ended up keeping a few of mine (the 50/1.4, 100/2.8 and 28/3.5) because they were good copies of those lenses and no one was interested in buying them. Going forward I don't see myself spending any more money on OM lenses for any reason. IMHO there are much better options out there for adapted lenses.
 
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Barwick Green

Rookie
Location
London
I'm sure there are - but I think the light weight and small size of the OM lenses work well with modern mirrorless cameras. As you say, if you get a good one they are fine.
 

kevistopheles

Top Veteran
I'm sure there are - but I think the light weight and small size of the OM lenses work well with modern mirrorless cameras. As you say, if you get a good one they are fine.

I completely agree and that was what had originally prompted me to pick a few up. I suppose I am a bit anti-OM at the moment because of the experience I had with the 24/2.8 but in truth compactness of the OM 100/2.8, 28/3.5 and 50/1.4 is definitely part of why I wasn't too broken up when they didn't sell. However, I spent the day shooting with my MC Rokkor 24/2.8 and was reminded what a good 24/2.8 is capable of. It's big and heavy but one look at the images and no matter how compact that OM 24/2.8 was it was not worth the tradeoff.

Again, I am perfectly willing to accept that my particular copy was the issue and not all OM 24/2.8's.
 

kevistopheles

Top Veteran
I think that Minolta lenses tend to fly under the radar of a lot of folks. Their design philosophy as very much like that of Leica in that they strove for balance as opposed to the ultimate sharpness, they are color matched between lenses and as I recall they ground their own glass.

I have had a number of Minolta lenses and they are all pretty uniformly good with some of them approaching great. I think the 50/1.4, 24/2.8 and 100/2.5 are as good as any I have used and the 35-70/3.5 macro is prime level sharp from 35 to 50.
 

Kay

Veteran
Sample variance has already been widely discussed back in the day among fellow photographers but I don't remember my 35-50-135mm Zuikos from the early 80s to be any worse than the 35-50-135mm Rokkors I owned before them but would have to dig up some slides and negatives to be sure. One thing I could swear is that I loved my OM-2 as much as I disliked my XG-1.
 

Kay

Veteran
Still have my OM1 and OM2...brilliant bodies those.
I had to sell my first OM2 to get some money for the Nikon gear but bought an OM1 and 2 together with some glass some years ago for next to nada. Just imagine an OM1/2 with a 16(24MP) FF sensor (digital back). I know I'm not the only one who wants a simple, plain compact DSLR without AF and all that other auto crap. If Leitz can do and sell it others can too but it needs dedication, money and guts.
 

kevistopheles

Top Veteran
I had to sell my first OM2 to get some money for the Nikon gear but bought an OM1 and 2 together with some glass some years ago for next to nada. Just imagine an OM1/2 with a 16(24MP) FF sensor (digital back). I know I'm not the only one who wants a simple, plain compact DSLR without AF and all that other auto crap. If Leitz can do and sell it others can too but it needs dedication, money and guts.

I agree 100%. I had great hopes that the Olympus E-M5 would be that. It isn't.
 

Kay

Veteran
I agree 100%. I had great hopes that the Olympus E-M5 would be that. It isn't.
Unfortunately not. I like the EM-5 a lot and tried one for a short time but after all prefer the kits I have now. However, looking at how many folks go for the semi-manual experience (Leica, film, legacy glass on mirrorless bodies, ...) and all the companies that still produce and sell manual glass there's at least some market potential for such a hybrid, no-nonsense beast and the hope dies last. I personally don't miss film that much but rather the direct, transparent shooting experience.
 
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