Lens Olympus NEEDS to release

Hi all, my first post and in no way meant to be inflamitory. I am a 20 plus year OM user and waiting anxiously for an E1 replacement to make the jump into digital. I am very excited at the current and upcoming 4/3 lenses but had an observation to make that I did not want to keep to myself. Here is hopeing Olympus do scan these forums.

The current 14-35 f2 and 35-100 f2 are simply amazing looking lenses (from what I can see reading reviews and specs - I plan to get the 14-35). Canon and Nikon do not have equivilents. So what is the issue? I am a well healed self proclained (and successful) marketing focused individual (who can't spell, so my apologies)and I see this problem as such:

The Olympus f2 lenses will be seen as competitors for the Canon and Nikon f2.8 lenses of same focal leangth. They may be seen as better but this is a waste! They are absolutely a step up and need to be CLEARLY portrayed as such.

In my opinion Olympus needs to make a 14-45 (aprox) f2.8. The 14-54 f2.8-3.5 is excellent but I do not think is seen as equivilent in quality to Canon/Nikon ex&les.

By introducing this lens Olympus will clearly show that their equivilent lens (14-45 f2.8) is smaller than competition and that the 4/3 system does have some advantage (and I think they could do for lower price - at least same as Nikon) This would place the f2 lenses as a clear step up from the f2.8's which I think might start to be viewed as the 'past' benchmark pro apurature.



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The reality, Adam, is that Olympus is not competing with, and never will compete with Nikon and Canon. Either one 'gets' the Olympus advantage, or one doesn't - the E1 body is as quiet as a Leica M and is built as well; the glass is terrific and is compact; the fast zooms are unparalleled. But those who are already invested in Nikon and Canon systems are not about to chuck all their lenses just because Olympus produces a 14-50 2.8, or whatever else you're dreaming of.
"The reality, Adam, is that Olympus is not competing with..."

Good day mr. Colen. I do agree that Olympus march to a different drum (I am one of the few marching to that drum and you are preaching to the choir) however to say Olympus are not competing with Canon/Nikon is not 100% true.

ANY time a Film user looks to move to digital, or a digital point and shoot user looks to move up to an SLR (very likely digital) they have a choice. Olympus is one of the choices and there is competition!

It is my belief that a 14-45 f2.8 would better enable Olympus to be seen not just as different for what they bring to the table, but also better for what they do the same.



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Well, I've been shooting with the E-1 ever since it first came out, and I have to say that I've never stopped in the middle of a shoot and thought, 'Damn! If only Olympus had a 14-45 f 2.8...' I've sure thought 'Damn! Where is that 17-35 f 2 they've been promising for two years?' though, because I want fast glass. The 35-100 f 2 is terrific, but I need the shorter fast zoom.Given that all the zooms except the super wide have 2.8 at the fast end, it's possible to mix-and-match and live without a lens that's 2.8 throughout its range.

I seriously doubt that anyone is saying 'I'd switch to Olympus tomorrow if they only had a 14-45 2.8 like Nikon.' And, by the way, a 14-45 on a 4/3 body is most definitely not the same lens as a 14-45 on a camera with a 1.3-1.6 magnification factor.
"a 14-45 on a 4/3 body is most definitely not the same lens as a 14-45 on a camera with a 1.3-1.6 magnification factor"

Sorry - should have been more explicit when I said 'equivilent' I meant 28 - 70 range.

Sad to say I live in Portland Oregon (not a big city, but certainly not the smallest) and the closest Olympus dealer to carry the E1 is Fry's electronics. Camera World and Shutterbug and Wolf do not have one, nor do some of them even carry Olympus. Camera World is a BIG store! It is fine for Olympus to be 'different' but too different and they seam to be uncompetative to the point that potential users do not even get a chance to concider them when looking at the competition.

I appretiate your views ("I've sure thought 'Damn! Where is that 17-35 f2 they've been promising") I will be one of the first to buy one myself and it is a good part of the reason I think I am ready to move from (28 f2, 50 f1.4 and 90 f2 lenses), I am however thinking not just of my own user habits but others (something I need to be able to do when marketing products, as I understand that my needs are not the only ones!

Here's hopeing you get your 14-35 f2 this christmas when I hope to be getting mine along with whatever replaces the E1.




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My guess, Adam, is that we won't see that E-1 replacement until well into '07 - but I could be wrong, and certainly hope I am.

Best B. D.
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(Almost everything on the website was shot with Olympus digital, primarily E-1, and some E330 and E500)



I would maybe consider to switch if Olympus would offer more fast primes. So If I am thinking like this, why not other who would switch, if their preferred lens combination would exist in the E-Sytem?

I think everybody has its own preferences in which lenses you like to use. This is why it is so important to see a complete "lens sytem" to be able to attract new buyers. It is not only film users, teher are millions of users, who never used film bodies or Canon, Nikon et allii DSLR bodies before. People who just start in SLR photography.

This is a very intersting target group and the only chance to change significantly the market share in the long run. So IMHO Olympus should look into this very seriously...


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That's very interesting - however, if someone has not used film cameras, it's pretty unlikely that they know the value of using primes, let alone fast primes. I'd love fast primes - in fact, this weekend I used the old 55 1.2 on my E-1 while shooting a wedding. But I've learned over the course of the past three years how to photograph without them.

It strikes me that Olympus is in a bind - in order to invest the kind of money necessary to design and produce fast prime lenses for the E system, they have to be convinced that there's enough of a market for the system to keep it going for many years to come. And in order to create that market, they have to produce a camera and lenses that will attract enough buyers to keep the system alive....and so it goes.
I think Olympus is on thier way to doing pretty well with fast primes. The 150 (300mm film equivelent) in an f2 sounds pretty rocking! But there has been more of a general move towards zooms over the years for sure.

However I would not be suprised to see a 25mm (50mm film equivelent) with an apurature of f1. Looks like the 4/3 system will eneble this to happen looking at the other offerings! Exciting times for bright and light lenses, which is actually what Olympus has been about in the past!



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"The reality, Adam, is that Olympus is not competing with..."

My observations of Olympus over the last 40 years is that they paddle their own canoe and have held to the initial premise of a 35mm camera (a small camera). The OM series was pure genius at a time when the others were producing large bodies with an exurbanite number of buttons and switches, they were producing small functional state of the art cameras and lenses.

With that same philosophy the set forth on their own developing the 4/3 system. They could have taken another, perhaps more profitable path by following the others, but they did not, and now many companies including Leica are making lenses for the Olympus system. Now that is something to think about as it was reported that during the 70's that Leica felt that Olympus was their competition.

If Olympus agrees with you perhaps they will produce fast lenses to your liking, but don’t hold your breath. I know I have been waiting for an OM 6 among others items for a long time!

Best Regards:



Active Member
I too am waiting for a new OM film camera. I don't like digital camera although I do have a small one.
I have another question--how long will Olympus stay on 4/3 system?
Hi Sonqura, Would love to see a new OM film camera too, but my guess is that has a 0% probability of happening. On the positive side though, the OM3 and OM4Ti's are (I think) still the best that ever came of Film SLR's and they can now be bought for crazy reasonable prices on ebay along with lenses. I don't think I will ever sell mine.

I would also guess that it is a pretty safe bet that they will stick with the 4/3 system. They have already put alot of effort and money into the 4/3 lenses and the commitment seams very solid concidering the likes of the f2 zooms. While it is offten said that there needs to be more lenses available for the Olympus E1 for it to be concidered a true pro camera, if you stop to actually lok at how many lenses say Nikon has dedicated for its digital cameras, you will see that Olympus is very close to making this a non issue.

Here is my take on the 4/3 sytem:

Currently the 4/3 sytem is at a disadvantage in terms of raw pixel count and noise levels (above 200 asa) compaired to the competition (please read previous posts for time wasting dribble on just what is and isn't competition
. However the 4/3 sytem is already showing its advantages , most noteably the smaller lens sizes and faster aperatures.

I think that as technology advances the raw pixel count will become less and less important as we will reach levels of resolution that are beyond general needs (certainly more than needed for magazine work and general photography). Also as technology progresses, noise will become less of an issue. When this happens the 4/3 systems will be in a great position, having all thier advantages and the draw backs becoming non issues (at least non issues to the extent that they will be overlooked by many).

As far as not likeing digital, I have been of the same mind, but am trying to focus on the positive attributes of digital to help me with me adoptation. What I am thinking at present is...

Digital - ok, not as good a looking print, but getting close enough and much cheaper than buying film. BIG selling point for me is that I have become an infrequent photographer due to percieved cost of buying rolls of film and the need to have it on hand. With digital my photography will bebefit ALOT as I will have no barriers to taking pictures (just the size of my CF card(s) which can be very quickly emptied...

Quote: "If Olympus agrees with you perhaps they will produce fast lenses to your liking, but don’t hold your breath. I know I have been waiting for an OM 6 among others items for a long time!"

I think Olympus is already making fast lenses to many peoples likeing. I plan to be as close as possible to the first to buy a 14-35 f2 and an E3 (or whatever it ends up being called) as my step accross from my Film camera (OM4Ti, 28 f2, 50 f1.4 and 90 f2). I just mentioned a desire for a 50 f1 as icing on the cake. Also from a marketing standpoint a lens ike this can make for good publicity not just for Olympus but for the 4/3 system. Also am happy at prospect of being able to use my existing 50 and 90 on the digital!

Interesting that Leica felt Olympus was their 'competitor'. Leica were about the only camera I felt I would trade my OM sytem in for. However when (on more than one ocation) I did look to make the change I never did do it. On balance the versatility of the OM SLR and fast lenses fit better with my needs. Leica are super beautifil machines though!



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Hi all,

I have been reading your various comments with interest as I am still the perpetual switherer as to whether or not to go digital.
There are some good deals on the E1 at the moment and I am still wondering.

I have a couple of questions if I may:

Do you think the 4/3rds sensor is big enough the able to compete in the end with the larger Nikon and Canon (and now Sony system) sensors? Will the smaller sensor not always produce more noise?

I find the viewfinder on the E500 somewhat small compared to 35mm. I wondered what others thought about that and how they get on with a small viewfinder.
Also, is the viewfinder in the E1 bigger?

Cheers and thanks for your forebearance.



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Hi, John - Having made the switch to digital late in the E20 life-cycle, and being an E-1, E330 and E500 shooter, I'm reasonably well positioned to answer your questions. (But let me add that I am part of the Olympus Visionary group, and am given and loaned equipment.)

First, someone else here made the comment earlier that they are still using film and having tried a digital point and shoot don't want to switch to digital; that's a bit like saying 'I've used a Kmart disposable camera and it sucked, so why would I want one of those high-priced Leica things?' Film is dead. Period. End of story. It is as dead as glass plates were when film came along. It is an artifact of the previous era in photography. Will there be film around for some time to come? Sure. Will there be people who stick with it as long as it's around? Sure. Will it be a fine art medium long into the future? Most definitely. But photography as we know it is now digital - and thank God it is. I shot film for more than 40 years, and I can do things with digital that I never dreamed of doing with film, and do them with real confidence. Do I miss my Leica Ms and Oms? Yes - but what I miss is the form and function of the boxes - and the incredible image quality of some of the final generation of Leica lenses, not the film I put in the camera.

Okay - So 4/3. I think Olympus made a real mistake going with 4/3 because they boxed themselves into a smaller corner than Nikon and Canon with their larger sensors. It's not a question of pixel count - I have just finished a corporate job calling for a display of images printed up to 30x40" and I shot it with the E-1 - 5mgp, and the E330 - 7.5 mgp, and the company doing the printing commented on the smooth tone gradations, color quality, and said there was not problem producing the size and quality we need.

So the problem isn't pixel count - it's low-light noise. Getting low noise levels out of the smaller sensors is tough. There's no question the new MOS sensor in the E330 does a much better job of handling noise than the sensor in the E-1 and E500, so I have real confidence that we will see even more improvement in the next iteration of the E-1. But people who want the peaches and cream look produced by the Canons - a look I don't like - will not be happy with the 4/3 images. (Of course those people have apparently already forgotten what film produced images look like - blow up a Tri-X frame to 30x40 and it looks like it was produced using light sensitized rocks. (Oh, did I neglect to say that most of what I shoot I shoot at 800 iso? :) )

If you can get an E-1 at a low price - and you can - grab it; it is one of the true steals on the market today. The body is built as well as the best of the Nikon and Canon pro bodies, if not better. It could not be more solid, dust and water resistant. It takes the proverbial lickin' and keeps on tickin.' And when I say 'tickin' I mean it - it is quiet. How quiet is it? It is as quiet, if not quieter, than a Leica M6 - the quiet standard in 35 mm. It is an ergonomic gem, fits the hand perfectly, balances perfectly, and handles like a Miata - so what more do you want.

The lenses - and I'm talking about the 'pro' line - are terrific. The 11-22 zoom is a real steal, and the 35-70 f 2 is a killer, if heavy. My only complaint about the lenses is that they do suffer from veiling flare when subjects are heavily backlit. That's not something I'm used to coming from Leica M aspheric lenses. However, and this really is an important point, Canon and Nikon lenses suffer from the same problem, so this is more likely a factor of zoom design and optics than anything else. And you just figure out how to shoot around it or make use of it.

The bottom line is that I love the E-1 and E330 with it's live LCD display. I do street photography, corporate and editorial work, weddings, and documentary photography of families - and the Olympus equipment is suited to all of those forms. Take a look at the work on my website, almost all of which was shot with the Olympus digital equipment:
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So forget Nikon, forget Canon - and grab an E-1 while you can.

Best B. D.


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B.D.: Very interesting post. My agreement with you is meaningless since I am not an E-system user (though, as you know, I am an OM and Olympus RF user), but I really like the look of E-system images, especially versus most Canon images.

That said, I am wondering if you will be seriously evaluating the Leica M8 when it is released. The moderate crop factor, compatibility with nearly all M lenses, and body form factor are very attractive to me. But beyond that, is that all of the M glass are primes, except for the Tri-Elmar. This is very attractive to me, even though I'd have to sale nearly all my film gear (and maybe a body part) and do major penance with SWMBO to go this route.

Not intending to go off-topic or hijack the thread, but just curious, esp. since you have professional experience with Leica film cameras. My kit was M3/21/50DR/90, and I enjoyed it.


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I'm unlikely to consider it for two reasons, the first of which is price. It's one thing to pay $2-3K for a film M, a camera which one can literally hand down to one's children. But a digital M? A camera that will be outmoded in five years or less? An electronic camera rather than an all-mechanical camera? And a camera from a company that is very unlikely to be around five-10 years from now? I can't see paying $4500-5000 for such a body, when one can buy two, three, or four of any number of digital bodies for that price.

The second reason is that for my purposes I need at least two bodies - which makes the price even more ridiculous.


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Hi B.D.

Thank you very much for your very helpful and detailed reply.

I think you have convinced me that I should buy that E1 which I have seen at £399 including a zoom lens, albeit the 14-45 3.5-5.6.

I am a film man and use Contax and Mamiya equipment so I do want good quality if I go digital but without spending a fortune because really I would like to keep my film equipment if I can, especially given the current second hand prices.

I scan my pictures at present and still have a vast archive to scan, This is very tedious and slow and it is putting me off from making more pictures since I know that I will have to scan them. I thought that if went digital I could concentrate mainly on that for new pictures and scan my collection as and when the mood takes me.
It would also save the cost and hassle of film and processing.

Looking at the impressive quality of your Olympus digital pictures on your web site (great site, thanks), I cannot see that I would be disappointed with the results especially as you say yours are ususally shot at 800 ISO!

I have Genuine Fractals which I thought I could use if the files from the E1 are small since the library I contribute to likes files of around 50 -60Mb but if you have enlarged to 30 x 40 from E1 files, that's pretty impressive too.

The small viewfinder obviously doesn't affect your ability to compose with the E series and your comments on the handling and quietness of the E1 obviously are very persuasive.

If you have any comments on the viewfinder, they would be much appreciated. I believe that Olympus sell a magnifier to attach to the eyepiece and wonder if this is to enlarge the view.

Cheers and thanks again,



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Just a quick note re huge enlargements. I personally have not printed my files above12x18. However, Olympus has had them printed at 30x40 by a professional digital lab, and a pharma client I just completed a project fo r has had Dugal do the same thing. I spoke to one of the 'printers' at Dugal, and they said that they were using Genuine Fractlas for the up-resing. Interestingly, they said that the better the file to begin with, the more advantage GF has over PS CS2 up-resing.

Good luck with the E-1, and if you can see your way clear to do it, definitely go for the 14-54 2.8-3.5 rather than the kit lens; it's only about $400 or so and it's build quality is so far beyond that of the kit lens they are not even comparable.

Best B. D.