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Old Jan 4, 2007, 8:59 AM   #1
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As I anxiously await the release of the Sigma 50-500mm for the Olympus platform I have many questions running through my mind.
I consider myself a burgeoning professional and demand a lot from my equipment, a demand which I feel is not always met by my Olympus E System. Sometimes I wonder if I should have gone with Canon or Nikon from the start, but not having much of a disposable income, I cannot just turn around and replace all my gear on a whim. Saving is a slow and difficult process, requiring lots of oatmeal and peanut butter sandwiches for me to afford a big piece of equipment.
As I thoughtfully gum my oatmeal this morning, I came to the conclusion that If I purchase the Sigma 50-500, then I will be in effect committing myself through a hefty lens investments to the Olympus E system for the foreseeable future.
After reading the in-depth lens analysis on Photozone http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/index.html, I concluded that the Tamron 200-500 f5-6.3 is probably a (marginally) better lens than its Sigma rival, although I have heard nothing of plans for Tamron to tap the Olympus market.
Should I switch to a platform that offers a greater lens selection? Do I really want to be shooting Olympus for the next ten years? In the future will Olympus develop SLR bodies that cater to the professional, not just the hobbyist consumer market, and furthermore, are the lenses I'm collecting now high enough quality, for say, a 20MP SLR body somewhere down the line? These are all serious questions which I doubt most Nikon-toting pros ever consider.
With all my concerns now out on the table let me share an extremely cost-efficient idea to satiate one's thirst for super-telephoto. I hope to hear back from some of you who have perhaps already tried this:
For somewhere along the lines of $300 you can purchase a used OM mount Zuiko 300mm f4.5, another $30 will get you an off-brand OM to E System converter, resulting in a sub $350, fixed 600mm equivalent lens. Yes, I'm sure we'd all rather have the Sigma, but at about a third of the price, could this be the safest, most cost-efficient option for someone not entirely confident in the Olympus E System platform?
I've heard that the old OM zoom lenses do not perform very well on the E bodies, but is that because of the nature of the zoom function, or is performance directly pegged to focal length?
Thoughts and comments?
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Old Jan 4, 2007, 9:58 AM   #2
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Ok proviso #1, i dont have any experience with the lenses at hand
but there are a few pretty good general comments i can make

Zooms that have within there ability a very wide zoom range, are generally inferior to tighter range zooms. And probably, needlessly more expensive.

The FT system of all systems can do long lenses better than most, this because of the 2x crop. Hence i would expect that, all things being equal, you target zoom range would be cheaper with FT by a factor of 2.0/2 - 1.5/2, or 0.25 (25%) Does that make sense?

You would probably find the older OM zooms a bit soft at low apertures, look here for some inf on OM lenses on FT mount adapter

http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/oly-e/omz.html

the OM 40-150 test on E body (80-300mm FT)

http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/oly-e/zd-040-150.html

there are fixed lens options too. Konica Hexanon AR 135 F3.5 via adapter would give you 275mm and could be had on ebay for significantly less.

If bucks are tight as you suggest, you will need to think lateraly to solve your problems, Selling your kit to re-invest may well be more expensive than fixing the problems you presently have. All systems have issues, I think if you require long lenses, you are better off with Oly kit.

Older quality kit, can produce better results, and is potentially cheaper to aquire. But it requires good selection from the start.

r e a d w i d e l y

Riley


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Old Jan 4, 2007, 10:12 AM   #3
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forgot to mention
E3 due this year, ( ) we should get a look at it shortly
it wont be cheap, but it will have an affect on other prices

Riley
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Old Jan 4, 2007, 2:07 PM   #4
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Then again I just bought a used Soligor 500mm mirror lens yesterday for my E-300 for $60USD (although it's worth a lot more) which is only 3" long and weighs just a bit over a pound.

Compare that say to a used Canon EF500/4.5L will probably cost you around $3000, is over a 15" long, and weighs 6.6 pounds!

Some would say that the Canon is a much superior lens, but digital doesn't have the resolving power to make a difference (as seen in using resolution charts).

For me the mirror lens is enough...you have to decide what you want to shoot and what level of equipment suits your needs.

There is the range in 4/3 from 7mm to 800mm (from Sigma coming out later this year). There is the selection, but there is the cost, but like I wrote above there is also the cost in other formats, and that was a USED lens for $3000.
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Old Jan 4, 2007, 2:16 PM   #5
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i had a Sigma mirror 500mm in PK mount
the mirrors went mouldy
apparently a common occurrence
so to be sure dont take it with you to the tropics

they are lightweight
but mine was a slow F8

Riley
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Old Jan 4, 2007, 2:34 PM   #6
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Yes, we have discussed using OM teles a few times last year. I have uses a Tamron 350mm f5.6 mirror lens with good results and commented in this forum a few times.

Should you change to another brand? Don't know as your profile does not say what you do, which camera you have nor contain a link to your photos.

What is it you cannot take with the camera you have? There is no reason why an e-300 / 500 / 330 shouldn't suffice, unless you need a weatherproof camera (the coming e-3 camera should be weatherproof) or do weddings where a more solid camera may be needed because you bang out 2000 shots in one go. Mind you, that if you do things like weddings, you need two camera houses so you may be forced to go for the cheaper models for this reason alone.

If you want top lenses: people in the dpreview forum say that the top Olympus Olympus lenses are equal to or superiour to Canon L-lenses.

If you do bird photography and need lots of long telelenses, yes, it may pay to change.

If you need faster low-light autofocus, do note that people who have tried Canon 20D or Nikon d70 say that these are no better than Olympus, as they just give up faster, leaving you with an unfocussed photo. in other words, you would need to go for top-models from Canon or Nikon.

Jorgen
http://jorgen.photoblog.com/

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Old Jan 4, 2007, 2:39 PM   #7
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Rriley wrote:
Quote:
i had a Sigma mirror 500mm in PK mount
the mirrors went mouldy
apparently a common occurrence
so to be sure dont take it with you to the tropics

they are lightweight
but mine was a slow F8

Riley
If you do go to the tropics, you should use a "drybox". If you go to say a forum that's based in Singapore (like ClubSnap), they talk about storing camera equipment in dryboxes all the time.

As for the F-stop, yes it is fixed at F8 as it's the nature of mirror lenses. Mine came with ND filters that you can screw onto the REAR optics in case it's too bright (screwing on a 30.5mm ND filter on the rear is a lot cheaper than buying a 77mm for the front optic).
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Old Jan 4, 2007, 9:23 PM   #8
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well thats great
but it was just a particularly humid season that did it i think
it was packed in its factory case with an absorber
all my other gear was fine

actually, i still have the lens
maybe i should think about replacing the mirrors

Riley
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Old Jan 6, 2007, 5:57 PM   #9
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IMHO, you should use the lens if it's useable, and if it's not, throw it in the trash and buy a used 500mm or 600mm mirror lens on ebay, for under $100. Replacing the mirrors will surely cost more than you can buy a replacement for on ebay.

BTW, the lens might well still be useable, because they have such narrow depth of field. I once saw one that had so much mold on it you would think it was trash, but the image in the viewfinder was completely unaffected. For the same reason that the big opaque spot in the middle which contains the secondary mirror, doesn't show up in the image (except in the out of focus flare highlights), the mold on the mirror won't show up either.

Also, don't keep the lens stored in the same place as other lenses, unless you keep it in a sealed plastic bag, because the mold can spread to other lenses.
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Old Jan 6, 2007, 9:51 PM   #10
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you are right
at least last time i looked, the lens still worked,
i dont have any K mount bodies now



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