Olympus UK E-System User Group
Olympus UK E-System User Group

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Looking for improvement This is the e-group critique board. If you post a picture here it will be assumed that you are looking for comprehensive technical feedback - both good and bad, but always respectful. Only post pictures here if you can deal with potentially negative constructive criticism. Anyone is qualified to comment and post feedback, and everyone is encouraged to do so. NB: "Looking for Improvement" is the place to post any pictures you would like advice on improving, no matter how bad you might think they are.

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Old 3rd June 2010
Ray Shotter Ray Shotter is offline
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Comparing Three Lenses

For the past few months I have been trying to recover skills which I had some thirty to fifty years ago when I only had a prime lens for those twenty years. Throughout the following thirty years I have used mainly zoom lenses.

I wanted to see whether the prime lens (ie the Leica Summilux 25mm F1.4) produced significantly better images than the Olympus 14-54mm F2.8-3.5 or the Olympus 50mm F2.0 Macro Prime.

The photographs shown below of an Azalea Mollis flower head were handheld and all taken within one hour at approximately the same angle in RAW and were not processed apart from resizing.

I should be grateful for your comments. Personally, I can't find any significant difference in the quality of the images.

Olympus 50mm F2.0

Olympus 14-54mm F2.8-3.5

Leica Summilux 25mm F1.4

Thanks for looking.

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Old 3rd June 2010
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snaarman snaarman is offline
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Re: Comparing Three Lenses

Its an interesting poser. Zoom lenses were avoided last century because the results were so poor. I guess they were designed with conventional glass using slide rules. These days we use weird glass, very fancy coatings, strange non spherical shapes and the whole thing is optimised for 14 or 15 elements by computer - something unthinkable in the past.

The result seems to be a raft of very good zoom lenses, and when you apply all that technology to designing a prime like the Digital Zuiko 50 f2 you end up with - well, a lens with a concave front element, which I have never seen before - but more to the point, the sharpest and most vice free prime I have ever used.

I have the 50mm and the 14-54 and I would say they produce very similar results. The fact that the zoom gets so close to a quality prime is amazing. I have also tried the *ledgendary* Hexanon 40mm f1.8 - reputed to be the sharpest lens for 35mm ever made. I have to say that any of these three used at f5.6 would produce A3 prints that were indistinguishable.

However if you were to use them wide open on a shiny target with hard lighting I think the old school prime would give itself away, with pale blue coma round the highlights. The zoom might also fall down in the corners with chromatic abberation if you went pixel peeping - however even this can be corrected in Photoshop. I would be fully confident using the 50mm f2 wide open.

Personal view: I think modern lenses are plain amazing and modern Zuiko lenses are amongst the best of the modern lenses.

Look, I'm an old man. I shouldn't be expected to put up with this.

Pete's photoblog Misleading the public since 2010.
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Old 3rd June 2010
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DanH56 DanH56 is offline
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Re: Comparing Three Lenses

Going over each image again and again (this is probably not good for the eyesight) I can see only minor differences, a little softness here,a sharper point there, a different shadow,that sort of thing.

Overall,for me, the 50mm just about edges it. After all that, it is a lovely bloom!
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