Just how sharp and contrasty is that Olympus 70mm f2.0 lens from 40+ years ago? Well, after I got a flu shot I thought I'd find out...

Thought I'd go to the most compelling example. Here's young man at the Graffiti Park (Hope Outdoor Gallery). The image above is a 100% crop of the image just below. Click on any of the images to see them larger and to launch them as a gallery. Do I think the 40+ year old lens acquits itself nicely? Yes, I do. It doesn't auto focus but other than that I find it to be.... in the same league as the new optics. These were all shot on an OMD EM-5 at ISO 200-ish and using f2.8 and f4.0. 

I know what I think after seeing them but would love to hear from the assembled, crowdsourced, super resource of brains and experience... The lens is the Olympus Pen-F 70mm f2.0. It was made for the Pen half frame film cameras sometime between 1968 and 1974. I like it.


  1. Cool. Since you no longer need to buy the 75, you can spend the money on that 42.5mm Nocticron you've been lusting for instead. ;o)

  2. Some older lenses do perform very well indeed with digital cameras. I had a Leica Tele-Elmar 135mm from around 1965 that was amazing, as well as two M mount Minolta CLE lenses that were great, but also some recent Voigtlanders that were less than inspiring. Unfortunately, manual focus is out of the question for me nowadays, so I'll just stick to my 4/3 lenses (they are as good as Leica).

  3. I'm sure some benchmark somewhere says this lens is not uber-super sharp, have a less smooth and buttery bokeh than some other, that the brick wall chart indicate this lens is barely good enough to be a press-paper, but hey ! if the lens is good for you, then why does that mater as long as this lens does the job ?

    But, if you really want to knwo what the crowd think : i think this is a very fine lens !

  4. I don't have Pen F lenses but some almost 40 yr old OM Zuikos. Some of them are really good in regard to sharpness. Unfortunately they suffer from stray light and sometimes the auto wb becomes confused. In this case it's necessary to manual wb with a grey card.

  5. Many of these old lenses are superb. However, the "photographers" come out of the woodwork on the photo sites complaining that there is no IS or autofocus, etc. Sigh....


Comments. If you disagree do so civilly. Be nice or see your comments fly into the void. Anonymous posters are not given special privileges or dispensation. If technology alone requires you to be anonymous your comments will likely pass through moderation if you "sign" them. A new note: Don't tell me how to write or how to blog!