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Thread: Why so few Olympus primes?

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    Why so few Olympus primes?

    Finally making the switch from film, and settled on the E system.

    I don't understand why Olympus places almost all of its lens emphasis on zooms and doesn't have a fast prime or two.

    Has Olympus ever disclosed its thinking?

    Has photography gotten past me? Zooms are fun and all, but I'd still take a 50 and a 105 (i.e., 25 and 50 in new math) over them.

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    Re: Why so few Olympus primes?

    Quote Originally Posted by daysleeper View Post
    Finally making the switch from film, and settled on the E system.

    I don't understand why Olympus places almost all of its lens emphasis on zooms and doesn't have a fast prime or two.

    Has Olympus ever disclosed its thinking?

    Has photography gotten past me? Zooms are fun and all, but I'd still take a 50 and a 105 (i.e., 25 and 50 in new math) over them.
    . . . . . you will just have to settle for the Leica D Summilux 25mm / F1.4 ASPH and the Zuiko Digital ED 50mm F2.0 Macro to work with your E system. I can not speak for the 50 but the 25/1.4 is a great lens!

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Why so few Olympus primes?

    Main reason is because Oly does simply not have the capacities to develop more lenses in relative short time.

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    (m)43 lens line up and Olympus

    11 primes 23 zooms for Four Thirds alone in 7 years:
    http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/43/lenses.html

    ...and a new line of microFT started only two years ago: 6 primes + 11 zooms:
    http://www.four-thirds.org/en/microft/lens_chart.html

    Now companies like Sigma and CV enter the m43 lens market with products (including f0.95 fast prime).

    Apart from that, through adapters , m43 user can acces almost all legacy glass produced in photography and cinema, among them: Leica M, c-mount, cine PL, OM etc etc.

    If that was not enough, Zuiko SHG zooms (14-35, 35-100) exceed in almost every area any prime you can put against them (Leica including). That's like 86 primes from 14 to 100mm or 172 primes with EC14 and EC20 converters.

    Maybe the (m)4/3 lens line-up is not so bad after all.

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    Re: (m)43 lens line up and Olympus

    Quote Originally Posted by nugat View Post
    11 primes 23 zooms for Four Thirds alone in 7 years:
    http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/43/lenses.html

    ...and a new line of microFT started only two years ago: 6 primes + 11 zooms:
    http://www.four-thirds.org/en/microft/lens_chart.html

    Now companies like Sigma and CV enter the m43 lens market with products (including f0.95 fast prime).

    Apart from that, through adapters , m43 user can acces almost all legacy glass produced in photography and cinema, among them: Leica M, c-mount, cine PL, OM etc etc.

    If that was not enough, Zuiko SHG zooms (14-35, 35-100) exceed in almost every area any prime you can put against them (Leica including). That's like 86 primes from 14 to 100mm or 172 primes with EC14 and EC20 converters.

    Maybe the (m)4/3 lens line-up is not so bad after all.
    Well, the question was about Olympus and not the other players. WRT Olympus this shows forces in wrong areas:

    43 almost dead to date (please not the discussion about its future, there is no future) - I know there are still believers but look at sold cams and lenses and how much better others do with at least as compact DSLRs.

    M43 ONLY 3 cameras in the last 2 years compared to Panasonic? takes Oly ages to bring a new lens, simply disappointing at least for me!

    WRT Zuiko zooms exceeding most primes - same true for the Nikkor lens lineup if you take their pro level glass. Not saying that Zuiko is bad, but simply not better than Nikkor (or others)

    PS: I never ever had such a bad AF than in my E3 before I sold the whole 43 stuff 3 years ago!

    Olympus is just a company I do not trust anymore. They proof their bad history from the last century with the OM DSLRs which they silently brought to sleep unfortunately again with 43. Where are all the promises from 2004 ?????

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    Re: (m)43 lens line up and Olympus

    The question was about Olympus lens strategies, and your answer was that Olympus simply doesn't have capacity. Strategies don't hang in the air and are based on what environment offers. I am not priviledged to internal information such as "no capacity", so my musings are just such.
    To me it seemed obvious that Oly had to be different, as it always had been in their photography niche ventures.
    43 body is dead allright, as prism-n-mirror is dead within couple of years. To that Oly offers the only sensible solution: interim period with E5 and later an Ex EVF pro body capable of m43 and 43 glass. 43 glass will not go away anytime soon, because there is little to gain in size from m43 except at the ultrawide end.
    Of course the main difference between us is that of experience and attitude: you sold your E's couple of years ago, I just bought E5 and plenty of SHG glass. Your glass is half empty and breaking, I see mine half full and filling up. To be honest though, I see a bright future for 43 Zuiko SHG glass in a rather unexpected area: filmmaking with 35mm DOF. Just waiting for my AG-AF100 HD camera to be delivered and can't wait to put those 14-35, 35-100 and 150 on. Admittedly the E5 comes here as an addition, my prime photo body is still D700. But will report with some comparisons when E5 actually reaches my doorstep (end of month).
    Only the future will show who bet on the right glass (half full or half empty).


    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Well, the question was about Olympus and not the other players. WRT Olympus this shows forces in wrong areas:

    43 almost dead to date (please not the discussion about its future, there is no future) - I know there are still believers but look at sold cams and lenses and how much better others do with at least as compact DSLRs.

    M43 ONLY 3 cameras in the last 2 years compared to Panasonic? takes Oly ages to bring a new lens, simply disappointing at least for me!

    WRT Zuiko zooms exceeding most primes - same true for the Nikkor lens lineup if you take their pro level glass. Not saying that Zuiko is bad, but simply not better than Nikkor (or others)

    PS: I never ever had such a bad AF than in my E3 before I sold the whole 43 stuff 3 years ago!

    Olympus is just a company I do not trust anymore. They proof their bad history from the last century with the OM DSLRs which they silently brought to sleep unfortunately again with 43. Where are all the promises from 2004 ?????

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    Re: (m)43 lens line up and Olympus

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Well, the question was about Olympus and not the other players. WRT Olympus this shows forces in wrong areas:

    43 almost dead to date (please not the discussion about its future, there is no future) - I know there are still believers but look at sold cams and lenses and how much better others do with at least as compact DSLRs.

    M43 ONLY 3 cameras in the last 2 years compared to Panasonic? takes Oly ages to bring a new lens, simply disappointing at least for me!

    WRT Zuiko zooms exceeding most primes - same true for the Nikkor lens lineup if you take their pro level glass. Not saying that Zuiko is bad, but simply not better than Nikkor (or others)

    PS: I never ever had such a bad AF than in my E3 before I sold the whole 43 stuff 3 years ago!

    Olympus is just a company I do not trust anymore. They proof their bad history from the last century with the OM DSLRs which they silently brought to sleep unfortunately again with 43. Where are all the promises from 2004 ?????
    Peter, you're lovely, but this is a load of old B0llocks - really. So some E3's had focus problems (mine didn't) - the Zuiko pro and high end zooms are peerless - the 11-22 and 12-60 in particular.
    Olympus have been responsible for so many firsts in the last few years, and they're still producing wonderful cameras.

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  8. #8
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    Re: Why so few Olympus primes?

    Didn't Olympus make a statement recently that they've temporarily stopped development on 4/3 lenses to focus on m4/3 glasses? That's something to be excited about.

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    Re: (m)43 lens line up and Olympus

    Quote Originally Posted by nugat View Post
    The question was about Olympus lens strategies, and your answer was that Olympus simply doesn't have capacity. Strategies don't hang in the air and are based on what environment offers. I am not priviledged to internal information such as "no capacity", so my musings are just such.
    To me it seemed obvious that Oly had to be different, as it always had been in their photography niche ventures.
    43 body is dead allright, as prism-n-mirror is dead within couple of years. To that Oly offers the only sensible solution: interim period with E5 and later an Ex EVF pro body capable of m43 and 43 glass. 43 glass will not go away anytime soon, because there is little to gain in size from m43 except at the ultrawide end.
    Of course the main difference between us is that of experience and attitude: you sold your E's couple of years ago, I just bought E5 and plenty of SHG glass. Your glass is half empty and breaking, I see mine half full and filling up. To be honest though, I see a bright future for 43 Zuiko SHG glass in a rather unexpected area: filmmaking with 35mm DOF. Just waiting for my AG-AF100 HD camera to be delivered and can't wait to put those 14-35, 35-100 and 150 on. Admittedly the E5 comes here as an addition, my prime photo body is still D700. But will report with some comparisons when E5 actually reaches my doorstep (end of month).
    Only the future will show who bet on the right glass (half full or half empty).
    Nothing personal here, wish you luck with your decisions and all the best for your 43 future - honestly!

    My 43 history was just the other way round - E3 with focus problems, 1.4/25 Pana did not focus correctly, also on my E1 and Oly as well as Pana said that it was not their fault - just to mention 2 issues, in fact I had much more.

    Since I emptied my glass (sold that gear) I never ever had any of these issues - not with Nikon, not with Canon, not with Sony and also not with Hasselblad. This just tells me a story.

    But I still have some hope for M43 and its future!

    Again good luck!

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    Re: (m)43 lens line up and Olympus

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Peter, you're lovely, but this is a load of old B0llocks - really. So some E3's had focus problems (mine didn't) - the Zuiko pro and high end zooms are peerless - the 11-22 and 12-60 in particular.
    Olympus have been responsible for so many firsts in the last few years, and they're still producing wonderful cameras.
    Jono,

    you are right, these issues are old, but sometimes issues get too much and then I (and I think also lot of others) will not forget anymore.

    I was in the OM system in the '80s, would have really loved Oly to come up with some AF DSLR - did not happen, finally sold my OMs.

    I trusted them again and started with the E1 and 43. E1 was a great camera, but most of the initial promises (43 will soon support up to 18MP, lot of nice and small lenses etc) did not come true.

    And then I had the E3 issues and compatibility problems between Pana and Oly - so this was actually not so long ago.

    Sorry, but I will NEVER forget how this frustrated me and the hours I spent with different representatives from Oly and Pana to get things fixed. Finally I gave up and sold the stuff.

    I know there were many others who did not have these issues with their E3, so what? Good luck for them. But I had these issues and I asked Oly to solve and they were simply not able to do so!

    Sorry to bring some bad light on the glory of Olympus.

    Anyway I do hope they will do better with M43, but currently it does not really look like that if you consider the innovations coming from Pana and the innovations from Oly. And finally - and most important they do not develop their own sensors, so this is always a big disadvantage.

    Time will tell. I see this all meanwhile very relaxed, but I really get amused if I find again some heavy believers in what Oly is doing, saying and marketing.

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    Re: Why so few Olympus primes?

    As I wrote my interest is mostly in SHG glass for AF100 and 35mm cinema DOF.
    Can't go wrong with the money here: a f2/ 14-150mm range for the total of 8k.
    That is half (50%) of what one (ONE) PL-mount prime lens would cost me. The equivalent set would set me back >100k.
    I would not advise anybody to get into E5/43 now just for photography.
    But I would not advise against either.

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    Re: (m)43 lens line up and Olympus

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post

    Time will tell. I see this all meanwhile very relaxed, but I really get amused if I find again some heavy believers in what Oly is doing, saying and marketing.
    Well - I can relate to some of the 'unfulfilled prospects' aspects of what you say - the 4/3 sensor really isn't much smaller than APS/c (especially in the vertical), and they ought to be using sensors as good as the current Sony ones.

    But you're bad experience doesn't make a rule - I had only excellent service from Olympus - quick repairs when necessary, reliably consistent lenses (something Nikon really couldn't manage - I sent back 4 17-55 lenses before getting a good one!) . .. but of course, that's MY bad Nikon experience, lots of others had good experiences.

    It seems to me that the E5 is a wonderfully 'sorted' camera, and if you don't need very high ISO (actually it's looking good up to 3200) or very high resolution (I'm sure it'll print a good A2+) then it's an admirable system.

    I think most of us are pursuing holy grails of maximum resolution and maximum ISO when we never need shoot above ISO 1600, and never print larger than A3 (I know I'm at least partially guilty).

    It's time to start thinking of good solid reliable cameras with good lenses, and it seems to me that's exactly what the E5 represents (Godfrey bought one after all!).

    If it came down to having to choose between a D700 and Nikon lenses with Nikon colour, and an E5 with Olympus lenses and Olympus colour . . . . . Hah - no brainer!

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    Re: Why so few Olympus primes?

    I use d700 and like the Oly color better.
    For B&W M8 is best.

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    Re: (m)43 lens line up and Olympus

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    43 almost dead to date (please not the discussion about its future, there is no future) - I know there are still believers but look at sold cams and lenses and how much better others do with at least as compact DSLRs.
    That's the way things look from the outside. However, Olympus is a storied company with a great deal of integrity, and their philosophy in developing the 4/3 system is quite commendable. Why force digital photography into a film paradigm, where the option existed to develop digital photography to digital media?

    It does look like m4/3 and similar systems will get much better in the future and will offer a genuinely viable alternative to lugging around a three pound camera with a five inch lens. With the X100, Fuji's on the right track.

    As such, it seemed for me, a person with a lot to learn about digital photography, the E-620 + 14-54 II (and a Canon S95) was the best way to get over this next development hump. This a great camera, for not a lot of money, even if its useful life is not so long.

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    Re: Why so few Olympus primes?

    I must agree on the fact that I also found Olympus colors out of the box better than Nikon or Canon. Having said that Nikon is very close if not there with today's DSLRs and FW versions.

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    Re: Why so few Olympus primes?

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Having said that Nikon is very close if not there with today's DSLRs and FW versions.
    Well, this is personal, but I really hated the colours from the D700 - everything seemed to have a nasty yellow tint to it - it really used to get to me, especially in late evening light

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    Re: Why so few Olympus primes?

    Quote Originally Posted by daysleeper View Post
    Finally making the switch from film, and settled on the E system.

    I don't understand why Olympus places almost all of its lens emphasis on zooms and doesn't have a fast prime or two.

    Has Olympus ever disclosed its thinking?

    Has photography gotten past me? Zooms are fun and all, but I'd still take a 50 and a 105 (i.e., 25 and 50 in new math) over them.
    Olympus concentrated on what the market wanted/needed, and has a very strong lens portfolio for their SLRs. Their pro and hyper-pro zooms are as good as any primes on the market, in general. Panasonic/Leica produced the one thing I felt was missing ... an f/1.4 normal lens ... so for me it's simply not a question worth wasting energy pondering

    My FourThirds lens kit includes the ZD 11-22/2.8-3.5, Summilux-D 25/1.4 ASPH, ZD 35/3.5 Macro, ZD 50/2 Macro, and EC-14 teleconverter (netting another prime, a 70mm f/2.8). I rent the 150/2 when I need it. So I shoot almost entirely with primes. Oh yeah, I also have the ZD 25/2.8 ... not up to the performance of the others wide open, but quite a good lens in its own right when stopped down to around f/5 or so. The only zoom I use a lot is that 11-22, one of the finest lenses in its range around.

    (I also own the Panasonic/Leica Vario-Elmarit-D 14-50/2.8-3.5 ASPH OIS for those rare moments when a 'normal zoom' is useful, but I use it so infrequently I'm putting it up for sale.)

    I don't ponder corporate strategy very often. I look at what a company offers and see whether it suits my needs. If Olympus didn't make the lenses that suited me well, and if I couldn't get bodies for those lenses that worked to my satisfaction, I'll look elsewhere.

    I plan to stick with my current equipment for some time to come. :-)

    ..."Equipment is transitory. Photographs aspire to permanence."...

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    Re: Why so few Olympus primes?

    Quote Originally Posted by daysleeper View Post
    Finally making the switch from film, and settled on the E system.

    I don't understand why Olympus places almost all of its lens emphasis on zooms and doesn't have a fast prime or two.

    Has Olympus ever disclosed its thinking?

    Has photography gotten past me? Zooms are fun and all, but I'd still take a 50 and a 105 (i.e., 25 and 50 in new math) over them.
    I've never heard of an explanation for the lack of primes and it's caused me to move on from Olympus. I loved the small Oly bodies and primes from the film days and waited till the 25 2.8 was released to get back in the Oly camp, thinking that they were finally coming around again, but it just didn't happen.

    I think, like a lot of people, I figured a half size sensor deserves half size lenses and bodies, but other than the 4xx and 6xx bodies and the 25 pancake, it never happened.

    I still can't figure out why there has never been a 1.4 or 1.8 85 mm equivalent lens made for 4/3 or M 4/3. I never liked 100 mm, so the 50 macro never interested me, nor does the 45 2.8 macro, as a portrait lens. With a half size sensor, the DOF is not as shallow, so a 2.8 is something like a 5.6 on a full frame sensor. When I think about this, I think who in their right mind would pay eight or nine hundred bucks for a 90 5.6 portrait lens, or even a macro?

    Had Oly came out with 24/28, 50, 85 mm primes from the get go, I don't think we would be having this discussion. I know they have some great SHG zooms, as some people constantly remind me, but they are not small primes. It's sort of like wanting a small Dodge sports car that they don't make and people try to convince you that a one ton Dodge truck is just as good or better and I should just buy that and be happy.

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