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zuiko 24/2.8 on a digital cameraThe Olympus Zuiko 24mm f/2.8

Using the 24/2.8
on a Canon 1Ds3 Mk3

Part of our series of brief lens tests, using various lenses we found laying around the office...

How does the 24/2.8 Olympus lens fare on a modern full frame SLR like the Canon 1Ds Mk3?

Using old lenses

It's quite easy to get adapters to fit an OM fit lens to the Canon EF lens mount.

The one I've got, came from eBay some time ago.

A quick search for 'EF adapter' will find several.

If you've old Canon FD lenses, note that they won't work without an adapter that contains an additional lens, so image quality is likely to be somewhat reduced.

The adapter I'm using doesn't have an AF confirm chip on it, so the camera AF system won't be much use.

If you get one of the more expensive adapters, with a chip, then the camera's AF indicators can be used to show when focus is achieved.

You still have to manually turn the lens focusing ring, but it's a little easier when the AF confirm light comes on in the viewfinder.

That said, half the fun of using some of these old lenses is having to learn, or for some of us, return to using the lens distance and depth of field scales.

I used liveview on my 1Ds Mk3 to check for best focus for the tests below.

The Canon EF mount is a very flexible design - you can see how much bigger it is than the OM mount below.

Note that there is no mechanical activation of the aperture stop-down for the lens. You will have to manually adjust the aperture ring of the lens.

There is a list of some of the kit we found, when having an office clearout, on our 'assorted old lenses test page' Some or all of these will be looked at over the next few months...

The Zuiko 24mm f/2.8

This is one of the lenses I used to use regularly on my Olympus OM2

zuiko 24/2.8 lens internal constructionSpecifications:

Sample images

This image is taken using the 24/2.8 on Tri-X film

I have it as a 78"x43" print, so I know it's not bad...

shingle street beach, suffolk, UK

But it was taken over 20 years ago.

Here's the lens when I first 'went digital' with the Canon 1Ds

The lens on the 1Ds is the EF16-35 2.8L (original Mk1 version)

BTW - We still have the article that I wrote at the time (2004) on the site - Going Digital

film and digital

How I'd love to get a -35mm full frame- DSLR the size of that OM2n (four thirds - no thanks ;-)

  • This article tries to give a bit of a feel for using the old lens rather than any detailed optical analysis - and when it comes down to it (IMHO) photography is about actually taking photos.
    I'd suggest doing some quick tests like this for any new lens you try out, just to get a feel for what differences it might offer.

Since I use my EF24-70 2.8L lens quite a bit, I chose it to compare with the Zuiko 24mm.

I've used liveview to focus on the brickwork next to the red door over the road.

If you move your mouse over the images, you can see the improvement at f/8 compared to f/2.8

First the whole frame - Zuiko.

zuiko test shot f/2.8 and f/8 - whole frame

Note the vignetting and lower contrast at f/2.8

Next, whole frame Canon 24-70.

ef24-70 2.8L test shot f/2.8 and f/8 - whole frame

It's a busy street - empty parking spaces don't last for long...

I've used the camera white balance in Adobe Camera Raw, to convert the RAW files.

Next, the centre of the frame - Zuiko.

zuiko test shot f/2.8 and f/8 - centre

and Canon 24-70

ef24-70 2.8L test shot f/2.8 and f/8 - centre

The corners.

Zuiko.

zuiko 24/2.8 test shot f/2.8 and f/8 - corner

Canon

ef24-70 2.8L test shot f/2.8 and f/8 - corner

Other factors

When is 24mm not 24mm?

It's important to remember that the focal length and field of view of similar lenses is only the same when focused at infinity. At closer distances there may be differences.

Look at this close shot of a flower in the conservatory (all at f/2.8).

This first one is the 24-70 at it's closest focusing distance

This next one is taken with nothing moved, just swapping lenses to the 24/2.8

The Zuiko focuses closer, so this is as close as it goes.

test shot of flower - zuiko 24.2.8

With a subject like this, the vignetting is no problem at all.

The two lenses tested. Notice how far ahead the front of the 24-70 at 24mm is compared to the Zuiko.

olympus zuiko 24mm f/2.8 lens on Canon 1ds mark 3

And before anyone asks - I did take that filter off the 24-70 for the pictures ;-)

canon 1ds mk3 with canon ef24-70 2.8L lens

At f/2.8 in the centre of the frame, I'd say the Zuiko just edges out the 24-70.

100% crops both taken at minimum focal distance.

First the 24-70

flower detail

then the Olympus 24mm

orange flower detail

Conclusions

Just a few quick tests, but I believe that for shots where I just need 24mm and no autofocus, then the 24/2.8 is a very good lens. The vignetting at wider apertures would be something to factor in to your composition, but like chromatic aberration is easily correctable in many RAW file converters.

An excellent lens to use when first got it in the 1980's and unlike many others I used then, still worth keeping in the bag.

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At f/8 it's probably my best quality option for 24mm, until the Mk2 version of the TS-E24/3.5 comes out later this year.

Summary

A good lens design that give very good all round performance.

Just remember that (IMHO) it's about actually taking photos not just the techy stuff ;-)

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