Is the Olympus Zuiko a GOAT Classic Lens?

Olympus has named Zuiko for its series of high-quality lenses since 1936. Zuiko-branded lenses are manufactured for SLRs, rangefinders, and mid-format point-and-shoots flask, 35mm and even half frame format. Judging the best of anything in photography leads to heated debate and a lot of room for subjectivity. Here are 5 reasons why I believe Olympus has dropped it from the park with their Zuiko lineup, and when you consider all the factors it’s the best film lens ever made. Be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you think.


A major reason for the revival of vintage lenses for both videographers and those adapting them to digital is their distinct characteristics, and the Zuiko range is no exception. In my experience using the standard 50mm with a variety of films, reds especially pop out while not bleeding or looking oversaturated. Like many lenses of the pre-digital era, the sharpness at f/1.8 is not on par with what can be achieved with more modern devices, but the look and feel of the image and the transition between in and out- the focus areas have a clear and progressive nature that I really love. I recently bought a 50mm f/1.4 from a local camera company and test it with a roll Ilford FP4 and even more impressed with the way the images are displayed. I can’t wait to use it again with color negative film to see if it pops out more than the standard lens.


Olympus’ most famous and widely used Zuiko lenses were designed for their OM line of film SLR cameras from 1972 to 2002. The first iteration of this design was called the M-1 but they were soon pressured by Leica to change their name, which shows the playing field Olympus was already in at the time. The OM range of Zuiko glasses is wide, but they share common design elements that are smaller in size than competitors, consistency in build quality, and quirks like the aperture dial. placed in front of the lens (to leave space between it and the shutter speed dial).

Compared to Canon and Nikon SLR cameras, both the body and lens manufactured by Olympus are significantly lighter and smaller. The weight of the OM-10 with the standard 50mm is about 645 grams, the OM-2 with the slightly larger 50mm f/1.4 is still only 755 grams. Compared to something like the Pentax K1000 which weighs 600 grams more before you choose the lens, or the Spotmatic with the 50mm f/1.4 over 900 grams, your neck and shoulders will prefer you choose the Olympus.

Using vintage lenses on digital cameras has been common since mirrorless technology evolved, but using an adapter adds extra volume and weight to your device. . The compact size and low weight of Olympus lenses make them perfect for this application and as you can see they allow you to get perfectly balanced points as well as sharp images. Speaking of small, the Olympus Pen half-frame film camera is so compact that it’s hard for most novices to believe it’s a true SLR. Half-frame lenses are very small and can also be adapted to some digital cameras, but if you are planning to do this check before you buy as there are compatibility changes. , so do your research first.


If you do a Google search, you can find people who believe that the Classic Zuiko Lens can keep their own image quality and sharpness compared to the Leica lenses of the time. It’s not an argument I’m willing to get into, but considering the disparity in cost between the two brands, the fact that it’s even a point of discussion is the second reason why I’m Zuiko. The best overall glasses in the cinema age. While you can pay Leica for a Zuiko 50mm f/1.2 in mint condition, f/1.4 and even f/1.8 apertures have become standard on many widely available bodies, possibly are found at bargain prices and will produce images that I believe any discerning photographer can be proud of.


Besides its film cameras, Olympus has built its reputation in making high-quality imaging equipment such as microscopes for medical and scientific purposes. Without a doubt, this demand for precision has steadily increased over to their classic Zuiko lineup as you won’t find a single lens in the lineup that isn’t built to a very high standard, no like some cheap plastic kit lens products today.


While I prefer the 50mm focal length in the OM system, there are plenty of primes available including the 28mm f/2, 350mm f/2.8 and everything you can imagine or need in between. I recently tested the 40mm f/1.4 lens on the Olympus Pen FT and was so overwhelmed by the results even in half-frame format that I immediately informed my family that I wanted one. for his upcoming 30th birthday.

While I am part of the Pentax range of Takumar . Lenses With their beautiful and unique results, I couldn’t pass up the OM system and Zuiko’s range of glasses to pair them with. Let me know what you think in the comments section below about this line of movie-era Olympus Zuiko lenses, and share other brands you’d love to use when shooting movies or adapting to digital cameras.


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