Seven Must-Have Affordable Lenses for the Olympus OM Shooter

If you’ve already set your eyes on the Olympus OM System, these are the prized and budget-friendly lenses to be on the lookout for.

Last year, we placed the spotlight on the Olympus OM System, a landmark camera series that showed the world Olympus can go small, even with their 35mm SLR cameras. Apart from the iconic, compact design for the camera body, the series also came with the equally famed OM Zuiko range of lenses. If you happen to still have an OM series camera around, you might want to pair it with with any — or all — of these beautiful, must-have lenses.

According to Camerapedia, Olympus approached lens grading differently than the competition. Instead of following the practice of making consumer-class kit lenses of inferior design or materials, the company made the OM lenses according to the same high standard. The only difference lies in the maximum aperture. The consumer model for the 50mm, for example, has a maximum aperture of f1.8, the pro-sumer has f1.4, while the professional model has f1.2.

Olympus OM 50mm F1.4

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A standard lens is always a good one to have in your kit, so if you don’t have one yet, Olympus has made a bunch for you to choose from. If budget is a major consideration for you, the 50mm f1.4 is your top choice. As mentioned above, it sits between the consumer model and professional model in terms of maximum aperture and price point. The extra stop should give you a little more wiggle room in low light situations and achieve pleasing bokeh compared to the 50mm f1.8. According to mir.com.my, it’s one of the original ZUIKO lenses that came out with the OM system, and easily one of the best-selling as well. It features a sophisticated, symmetrical optical design with front and rear lens groups which maintain excellent color reproduction even at the widest aperture.

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Olympus OM 50mm 3.5 MACRO

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Unlike earlier Zuiko macro lenses, this the 50mm f3.5 MACRO is specially equipped with Helicoid focusing that enables it to be used as a normal 50mm lens and a macro lens without attachment lenses, extension tubes, or auto bellows. While the lens barrel elongates at the closes focusing distance, this lens still has maintained a compact form. This lens is a great example of the OM system’s superb macro photography capabilities. As noted by mir.com.my, Olympus has long been an undisputed leader in this genre, making it a great system for both close-up and macro projects.

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Olympus OM 28mm F2

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Looking for a good lens for shooting wide? The 28mm f2 is among your affordable options for wide-angle prime lenses. As mentioned by mir.com.my, it’s one of the most practical and versatile wide-angle lenses for everyday and professional photography. It also doesn’t create as much perspective distortion compared to ultra-wide options like 24mm. With a maximum aperture of f2, this lens is also one of the fastest manual focus wide angle lenses on the market.

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Olympus OM 85mm F2

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If you like shooting portraits outdoors, the 85mm f2 should be in your lens arsenal, especially for the Olympus OM system. This focal length is ideal among telephoto lenses for portraits and still life photography since it produces negligible distortion. With the maximum aperture of f2, you can also take advantage of shallow depth of field for beautiful unfocused backgrounds or foregrounds, and emphasized subject separation from the background. As mir.com.my has noted, this is Olympus’ fastest 85mm manual focus telephoto lens, and comes at a very compact size that is almost the same as conventional standard lenses.

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Olympus OM 135mm f2.8

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Need some extra working range for shooting portraits, sports, nature, and documentary photography? You might want to look into 135mm f2.8 for your Olympus OM camera. According to mir.com.my, this is one of the telephoto favorites of many OM photographers through the years for its fast speed and affordability. You might also want to take advantage of the fact that it’s one of the most compact telephoto lenses out there.

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Olympus OM 35-105mm f3.5-4.5 MACRO

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A wide-angle to medium telephoto lens with variable apertures, mir.com.my tells us that this is a small and light 3X zoom lens that provides impressive versatility for applications like interior, portrait, nature, and general photography. With it built-in close focusing mechanism, it allows close-up shots at all focal lengths. The minimum focus of 31 produces a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:5. The maximum aperture is fixed at f3.5 for 35mm then closes down to f4.5 at 105mm.

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Olympus OM 70-210mm f4.5-5.6 MACRO

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A popular budget zoom lens, mir.com.my notes that it was among the top choices of new SLR photographers back in the days, alongside wide-telephoto zoom lenses like the 35-70mm f3.5-4.8. These lenses were typically paired with entry-level bodies and older models, but the 70-210mm f4.5-5.6 wasn’t considered entry-level optics by many OM shooters. This is because of features like the popular one-touch zoom design which is instrumental to responsive handling when shooting. Use fast films like ISO 400 and above or in bright shooting conditions and the wide 3X zoom ratio will still prove workable for shooting sports, portraits, landscapes, and candid shots.

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Cover photo by Martin Taylor, used with Creative Commons permission.