OM ZUIKO's on an E-330 BODY
16mm to 400mm crops for your perusal
OM ZUIKO LENSES ON OTHER OLYMPUS D-SLR's
Before reading this article I'd like to draw you attention to other articles on this website that test many OM Zuiko lenses on various E-System bodies:
OM ZUIKO LENSES ON E-P1 (DIGITAL PEN) 8mm to 600mm.
As the E-System moves on apace and the next generation of consumer grade bodies is about to hit the market - the E-410 & 510 - there are bargains to be had. The revolutionary E-330 that popularised a 'Live View' function only seen in compacts to the DSLR world, is reaching the end of its shelf life and is being cleared out at competetive prices by some companies.
Although I was personally not convinced by the hype surrounding the E-330's Live View modes A & B it was obvious from reading the forums that others who tried out the novel machine were. As time went on it seemed that more and more folks were extolling the E-330 virtues and it occurred to me perhaps it was only Olympus that had seen the real potential so early; the audience was simply catching up!
On May 1st I spotted the E-330 on offer in the UK from the well known www.digitaldepot.co.uk for a steal, so I gave in to temptation and ordered the basic kit (body + ZD14-45mm, BLM1 and BLC2 etc.) Some 36 hours later it duly arrived. That's what I call service. I was a little wary that perhaps it would arrive with no charger (ala E-500 in UK) or with some other stuff missing. I was wrong; as promised it was the proper kit, brand spanking new with the added bonus of the Frank Spath book, a Cokin filter holder system and a DVD explaining the cameras salient features. All this for less than £350.00 including postage. I can certainly recommend the company.
After the usual familiarisation period and a firmware upgrade I decided to put the Live View mode B to the test and repeat the exercise I undertook nearly three years ago by testing a series of OM Zuiko's on it. On 3rd May 2007 I set up my tripod in the garden and hefted out most of my prime lenses between 16mm and 400mm to couple up to the E-330. On this occassion I chose only the slower versions of the non-standard primes and left out the 8mm FE, the 180mm x 2.8 and the 500mm Mirror. The day was a little too bright so I set the tripod and camera under the gazebo to offer some shade and set up the target exactly 100 feet away. Because of the superb conditions I set each lens at f=8 and with the camera in A mode, ISO = 200, WB = auto, all else default, -0.3 compensation and the 2 second self timer I used the wonderful Mode B with its 10X magnification to achieve focus, set about the task. And again, I didn't enjoy myself at all...............
Unlike the major testing session I did with OMZ's on the E-1 I restricted my choice of lenses to accord with lessons learned about the vagaries of OMZ's and also decided to show only one image of the basic setup but crops of all the target images resized to a uniform size but otherwise untouched.
A QUICK NOTE ON THE FOCAL LENGTH EQUIVALENT:
As you already know the Zuiko Digital range of lenses is denoted by their focal length spread such as the ZD14-54mm zoom. This notation is totally correct and decribes the relationship between the lens and the sensor and expresses the correct focal length (and subsequent) field of view for the lens on a four thirds body. The pitch is then muddied by the manufacturer telling us the 35mm equivalent (in this case computed by a multiplier of 2x) giving an equivalent focal length spread (and subsequent field of view) of a 28-108mm zoom lens on a 35mm full frame camera.
If you wish to achieve the same field of view on a four thirds camera with a non four-thirds lens (OMZ et al) the focal length measure must be the same. For instance you will get the same field of view from the ZD14-54mm zoom set to 28mm and from the OMZ 28mm lens fitted to an E-system body with the adapter. The 2x equivalent only applies to the field of view comparison with the lens fitted to a 35mm full frame camera body. Thus the same 28mm OMZ prime lens when fitted to an E-system body gives the same field of view as a 56mm lens fitted to a 35mm camera. A 28mm lens is a 28mm lens.
The easiest way to remind yourself of this is to fit the OM Zuiko to an OM body, look through its viewfinder and note the field of view. Then mount the same lens on a four thirds body, look through its viewfinder and you will see the field of view is halved. You see only 50% of what you saw with the lens on an OM body. This is where the 2x multiplier comes in to try and describe the relationship. Personally, I think it's time the 35mm equivalent was forgotten.
TARGET & SETUP:
The image below is about half way through the testing and is taken with OM Zuiko 50mm x 1.8 standard lens. You can imagine the target recedes when taken with less than 50mm FL lenses and gets nearer with lenses greater than 50mm FL. The target is 100ft from cameras CCD.
As stated above I started with 16mm FE and worked steadily through the selected lenses to finish with the OMZ 400mm x 6.3. Even using the 10X magnification on the Live View screen, I found critical focusing was not easy with any lens less than 50mm FL. The choice to set up under the shade of the gazebo was very wise as in its shade I could see the screen, certainly more so than out in the open sunshine. What is it about the British climate? It's either too dull or too bright!
WHAT ABOUT THE ZUIKO DIGITALS?
I can hear you asking! I too wondered how the modern zoom lenses would perform against the older generation primes. After all the great Maitaini designed many of the OM Zuiko primes and no-one would argue against his talent or philosophy. Surely a prime is a prime regardless of when it was made? And surely a prime will always outperform a zoom? Zooms are convenient but there are too many enforced compromises that have to be made.
To test this I ran a series of shots using three ZD zooms from the 7-14 to the 50-200 at focal lengths equal to the primes. All conditions were the same though it was slightly later in the day (by about an hour). I repeated all the focal length examples I done with the OMZ's but I've reproduced only a few here. I started with the ZD7-14mm at its longest which is slightly less than the FOV of the OMZ 16mm. This is slightly unfair on the ZD zoom lens but it gives us a starting place.
OBSERVATIONS ON THESE TESTS:
Please don't think I'm out to prove anything. I'm simply presenting the test results for your perusal. OMZ primes do provide slightly better images in this test sequence but they are fiddly to use and no where near as convenient as the later designed for digital ZD zoom lens range.
But the OMZ's offer a great way to cover focal length or special purpose requirements without heavy investment in the ZD system. For example I find the OMZ Macro offerings do everything I want to do for my personal macro needs. Yes, I am spoilt by owning the OMZ 90mm Macro, but the lesser 50mm x 3.5 is almost as sharp and very easy to use, especially on the E-330. The OMZ 50mm macro lens is readily available secondhand for about £60.00 or less whereas the ZD 50mm macro is £350.00. (NOTE: The OMZ 90mm Macro is very expensive).
Don't forget you need to use OMZ's in 'stop down' mode. When mounted on the adapter the aperture becomes permanently and mechanically linked to the aperture ring. If you mount an OMZ with its aperture ring set at f16 the image you see in the viewfinder is f16 - very dark - making critical focus difficult/impossible. You must open up the OMZ aperture to provide plenty of light to illuminate focusing. This is much easier to achieve on the E-330 in Live B mode and I found I could focus with the lenses pre-set to f=5.6 without problem. After you've focused remember to close the aperture (move ring to the RIGHT) to your predetermined f number consistent with conditions and metering. OMZ's do not work well wide open and require at least one click (or more) to close the aperture a little to ensure good AE. If you are regularly using OMZ's on your E-system camera you'll quickly get into this habit. I have tried my range of OMZ's on E-1, E-500, E-400 and E-330 and can only recommend their use on the E-1 and E-330 as the other two cameras have screens too small to allow accurate manual focusing. I haven't got the eye-piece magnifier so I cannot say if this makes a significant difference.
When I tested OMZ's with the E-1 there's a tendency towards over-exposure. It's not much but enough to spoil the shot. The same applies with the E-330 but to a slightly lesser extent. And because focusing is much easier in Live B mode you can preset the aperture to your requirementsand still get good focus. The general rule of using minus one or two thirds compensation also applies here. This way the camera protects the highlights and you can adjust it in post processing. Whether it's one or two stops is up to you.
Of no real concern to your use of OMZ's is the interesting fact that they will all focus beyond infinity. This is due to the adapter being slightly too thin. As you are focusing via the screen it is largely irrelevant but does mean that you cannot rely on the DofF scale on the lens for hyperfocal distance setting.
OMZ's AS SUPPLEMENTARY GLASS?
In my tests on the E-1, I suggested that anyone with a collection of OMZ glass will benefit form their use on the E-System cameras. They can nicely supplement the ZD zooms and provide a realistic alternative to the hugely expensive ZD fast primes. If like me you are not a great lover of zooms (though I admit I'm warming to the ZD's) OMZ primes can provide you with that 'retro' feeling of actually having an input into your photographs. The E-330's Live B mode offers a great way to accurately focus these older lenses and really shines in macro work with older OMZ's.
In my tests with the E-1 I ended the write-up with some recommendations covering the OMZ's I found worked best on that camera. The E-330 produced generally better results I obtained a much higher rate of 'keepers' with it. Perhaps it was the lighting conditions on the day, perhaps it is the easier focusing, perhaps it is the internal mirror and screen arrangement but during this test I found nearly all the OMZ's I tested gave pretty good results. Most disappointing were the super bright standard lenses 50mm x 1.2 and 55mm x 1.2 and the 85mm x 2.0. which just could not resolve sufficient detail. Some of the super-wide angle lenses (16mm, 18mm and 21mm produced good results with a little experimentation.
All in all a more heartening result for the older primes!
If you have any observations please contact me here.
|Posted May 2007 23:04||Copyright © 2007 John Foster|