2017-09-15 - shorterimage

The Bag O' Primes!


Just the opposite of Van Morrison's - Sack O'Woe .. cause this Zoom is a Beauty!

Olympus Zuiko 35-80mm f2.8 ED

Is this the best zoom lens ever made? You could get some arguments for sure but just the fact that its still  in the discussion is high praise for a lens that's almost 30 years old!

The 'Bag of Prime' lens is what its been called by some. My copy here certainly does justice to that. It's sharp at 35mm, 50mm and 80mm. In my short usage sample I'd say sharpest at 80mm, plenty sharp at 35mm and sharp enough at 50mm.

It's funny how in this general purpose wide to tele zoom range, many of the lenses I've used are softest around 50mm. It's like they err in the design to meet the extremes at the two ends and the middle then appears to suffer a bit. I've got a number of zooms around these focal lengths and most dip in performance a bit in the mid zoom range.

For instance, I just dropped good coin on a highly touted recently released all purpose zoom. It goes a little bit wider and tighter than this old Oly but I'd really only say it out performs the Oly a hair on the wide side. This vintage Olympus zoom from 1989 still performs quite nicely wide and beats the new $bucks zoom at both 50mm and 80mm. As far as equaling a bag of primes, I'd say its as good as many of my wide angle primes at 35mm. As good and better than many of my prime lenses around 80mm. And good enough at 50mm but not on par with a good number of my 50mm primes. However, keep in mind, I have a bunch of cut your eyes sharp 50mm lenses. So its a hard comparison to stand up to there.

These photos don't show the broad range of zoom nor their performance as all of these are macro shots at 80mm. However I did some cursory testing at 35mm, 50mm and 80mm prior to  these macro shots and was quite pleased with what I saw. They just weren't very interesting content shots as I was shooting around the house. I'll post some other pics in the future showing off the full zoom capability and performance of this lens ... promise!


80mm, f8, 1/100th sec, ISO 100


80mm, f2.8, 1/800th sec, ISO 800


80mm, f2.8, 1/800th sec, ISO 800


80mm, f2.8, 1/640th sec, ISO 100


80mm, f2.8, 1/2000th sec, ISO 100


80mm, f2.8, 1/500th sec, ISO 100


80mm, f11, 1/320th sec, ISO 1000


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