OMD

The Results. The Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm on my OMD EM5.

Last week and over the weekend I spent about 4 days shooting images with the Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 ED SWD Zoom Lens in Colorado. I rented this lens for wildlife and some landscape photography from borrowlenses.com and did it ever pay off. After the last 5 days with this lens, I want to buy it.

This is by no means a comprehensive review of Olympus’s 50 – 200mm f2.8 lens. It is a hands on review of this lens paired to my Olympus OMD EM5 using the micro 4/3 adapter for the lens. To keep things simple and to the point I am going to break down the pros and cons and post a few sample images with a brief overview.

150-mm-at-4-feet f 2.8

First things first. If you rent this lens, or buy this lens make sure the firmware on your camera is up to date if you are using the micro 4/3 adapter. It will make all the difference with autofocus speeds with this lens. I found autofocus to be speeds to be adequate in bright light and open spaces. Where autofocus didn’t hold up was when I was shooting a subject where there were objects close to the subject or breaking into the frame. The lens simply couldn’t make up its mind on where to focus. This was really the case when the lens was zoomed all the way in. For most of my shooting I switched to manual focus. It was simply more accurate, and easier. If I had updated the OMD before I left, autofocus probably would have preformed better.

315mm-at f2.8

Second. This lens is big and heavy. It weighs in at two and a quarter pounds. If you are not used to using a lens that ways this much you’ll be in for a surprise. Collapsed it is almost seven inches long. Zoomed out, it is closer to ten. The lens hood will add another three. Be prepared to carry around a large, heavy lens.

250mm f2.8

Now with that said, the weight and size are a tribute to the quality of materials used in this lenses construction. It is a high-grade lens with a hefty amount of glass in it. Your payoff for all the weight and size is crisp, bright images with creamy bokeh when the aperture is fully open.

elk-at-350mm

The minimum focus distance is just under four feet. When zoomed out and focused this close, the lens takes incredibly sharp macro images. When using it for distance shots, the zoom has incredible reach with the same level of detail found in those images as well.

400-mm f2.8

 

Over the course of five days, half of the images I shot were with this lens. It provided me with a solid zoom that could be used to dial in on wildlife subjects that I just couldn’t get close to. I found this lens to be optically fast, precise, and accurate with sharpness and detail across the entire zoom range. In short I fell in love with it, even though I didn’t upgrade my camera firmware before putting it to use.

200-mm 4 feet f4

Pros:

  • Sharp images
  • Fast aperture
  • Bright
  • Great zoom reach

Cons:

  • Weight
  • Autofocus speed with 4/3 adapter

400mm-at-75-yards lone-aspens-w-cokin

Big Horn Sheep

On the last day of the mini photo vacation, we ran into 5 or so Big Horn Sheep in Big Thompson Canyon. This is why I’m glad I rented the 50mm to 200mm lens for the OMD. I’m going to write up a review for the lens and using it with the OMD when I get back home later this week. Lemme just say, I think I might have a purchase coming in my future.

20130519-220502.jpg

A Little Vacation.

I’m on a mini vacation in the Rocky Mountains snapping photos and video with the Olympus OMD for the next few days. That means fewer posts thanks to limited connectivity to the interwebs. One thing that I will be posting about when I get back is shooting with the Olympus Zuiko 50 to 200 mm f2.8 lens that I rented from Borrow Lenses. I’m using it on the OMD so it is the equivalent of a 100 to 400mm lens. So far so good but it’s to early to really tell.

20130516-223903.jpg

Going Analog with My new/Old Olympus OM-2.

A couple of weeks ago I bought an Olympus OM 2, and slew of lenses on eBay for less than 200 dollars. I bought the camera kit for a couple of reasons. First the lens selection, while all manual was pretty outstanding. Second, those lenses will work on my OMD EM-5 with an adapter, and I’ve been interested fin trying that for sometime. Third, the OM2 was a top of the line 35mm camera in its day back in the mid 1970’s. Then there was the design and nostalgia thing pulling at my heart.

20121219-111907.jpg

This camera really is a beautiful piece of design and innovation. The OM2, like the all manual OM1 featured a shutter setting ring right behind the lens mount. This allows the photographer to focus, set the f-stop, and shutter speed with one hand. At the time, this was the only camera on the market that allowed you to do that. Compared to my 2012 OMD, this camera is a tank, but in 1975 it was small, and light compared to most other models.

After getting the camera late last week I installed new batteries, bought some film, and did some test shooting to make sure everything works. The camera and lenses look almost mint for something that is 37 years old. That doesn’t mean there aren’t issues with the shutter, or seals, or any number of things that can leak light or hose your analog experience. I haven’t gotten my film back yet, but I’m sure it’ll be fine. While shooting with the OM2 I was struck by how quiet the experience was. Not the sound of the camera, but the experience.

The OM2 like so many cameras of the day, doesn’t offer the instant tech feedback that even the simplest of digital cameras give you. When you look through the viewfinder all you see is the split focus ring, and rudimentary light meter. Your in focus or not. Your exposure is right or not. ISO is set by the film you installed, and you can’t change it. By using a camera that has none of the digital feedback, no histogram, levels, exposure compensation, iso settings etc. my shooting experience became very quiet and focused. I wasn’t interrupted by all the instant feedback the LED screen on my OMD offers. Instead I focused more, got in the zone, and hopefully produced some decent images.

After using it for a week now, I probably won’t be dropping my digital cameras anytime soon. The OM2 is a blast to shoot with, and the lenses it came with are great. But, 37 years of ever improving technology has me sold on digital imaging. I’m in love with the OMD and what it can do. I’m sure I’ll use the OM2. I know I’ll use the lenses. I probably won’t use them as my daily gear though.