Additional information on Olympus Zuiko Lenses
Zuiko Standard 50/55mm lenses / Part I

 
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There may have been a few reasons why manufacturers terming lenses between a focal length of 45-55mm as "standard lenses". For many years, these lenses are usually bundled with a new purchase of a SLR camera those days. In a way, the magical term "standard" may lead one getting worry if he/she has bought something not conforming to a standard compliance hardware, and when a price comparison was made with the lense-bundled camera, usually a sale will ended with the new owner having the camera home with a standard lense mounted on the camera. The trick which influenced a buying decision was not entirely relating to technicality but rather pricing. Mainly because, they have been produced in numbers and a lens-bundled new purchase has always been much cheaper than comparing a camera with an "non-standard optics" purchase.

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Far left: Zuiko 55mm f/1.2, Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 S.S.C.; Nikkor AI-S 50mm f/1.4 and a Canon FDn 50mm f/1.4. Even with a fast lense speed of f/1.2, the Zuiko is the most compact among all.

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From a technical point of view, manufacturers do wish to let a new photographer learn, adapt and starts from basic with a lense that provide a normal picture angle in their possible photographic journal. As the lense type comes with a focal length closest matches to the 43.2 mm diagonal of the 35 mm SLR's 24 x 36 mm picture frame and its field of coverage (40° horizontally, 46° diagonally) is roughly equal to what one human eye can view with relative clarity. Simply, the 50 mm standard lense projects a similar coverage to that of how we 'see' things and 'reproducing' an image of a particular given scene and hence they are generally being referred as "standard lenses". Technically, a 50mm f/1.4 lense was often used for optical measurements at various public institutions and is also the standard which determines color balance for the rest in other optic of various types, form and purpose in a lense family with any brand name of photographic system. Perhaps instead of "standard", a more accurate name would be "reference" lense.

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Naturally, due to various nature of its usage, standard lenses usually were given the best of attention in design and manufacturing to showcase technological advancement. Usually, the largest aperture you can find in a lense family of a particular photographic system can be found at this focal length. So does the Olympus. Zuiko lense family has three considerations for standard lenses since its debut as a major 35mm photographic system. The fastest lense in the Zuiko lens family used to be a G-Zuiko AUTO-S 55mm f/1.2 lense. Revised in 1982 with a marginally shorter focal length at 50mm as Zuiko 50mm f/1.2. The G-Zuiko AUTO-S 50mm f/1.4; F-Zuiko AUTO-S 50mm f/1.8 and a special application* Zuiko AUTO MACRO 50mm f/3.5 & 50mm f/2.0 MACRO lense complete the slower lense speed section and they are also the best selling standard lenses in the MF Zuiko lense family.

<<< --- Credit: Image scanned from an early OM system catalogue, the shown OM2 body is fitted with an early version of the G-ZUIKO AUTO-S 55mm f/1.2 lense. Note the silver-chrome front filter rim.

* RELATIVE: A very unique ZUIKO 50mm f/2.0 PF lense was also available. A "Power Focus" mechanism incorporated on this standard 50mm lense is controlled from the Olympus OM-101 camera body. This super lightweight lens is comprised of 6 elements in 4 groups. It was the only ZUIKO 50mm lense that offers a f/2.0 maximum aperture.

Standard lenses are often neglected as a lense capable of complementing a photographer's imagination. Unfortunately, many may find its true nature of "normal vision" too common for creativity. But personally, I would think these lenses as the easiest to use but also MOST difficult to master among all lenses. Compared with other focal length lenses, these lenses does not project unusual characteristics into the image - it remains essentially faithful to the human vision because its angle of view projects inside a SLR is somehow close of how a human vision conceives. Err... if you don't know what I mean, just ask yourself a simple question - how many pictures that you have thought good enough to showcase in your portfolio was taken with a standard lense ? a few ? Wow, you must be a damn good photographer then. I don't none yet.

A positive way of thinking is, Instead of assuming that the standard lense can only take pictures in a normal "view", always think of it as a short telephoto lense. Since it is the only lense which fits between wideangle and telephoto range.

Comparable in dimension with a Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 , the Zuiko 55mm f/1.2 lense demonstrates how compact a Zuiko lense is - on the other hand, a Zuiko 50mm f1.4 weighs only 230g (8.1 oz) and measures mere 40mm in length. Older version G-Zuiko AUTO-W 50mm f/1.4 measures even shorter at 37mm !

If you can tune your mindset to recreate a different perception towards standard lenses, and when you think you have comfortably understand various features, characteristic and optical behavior it provides, you may find there will be enormous photographic potential to use this lense in your photography. For a photographer who has to take conventional path of using a standard lense first, I think the biggest advantage this lense provide is perhaps, it enables establishment of relationship how a 'normal" angular view and perspective will perceive and use it as a reference to pre-visualize a shot how other lenses such as super wide-angles, wide-angles, telephotos, super telephotos, macros and zoom lenses can offer before a choice should be determined.

G-Zuiko AUTO-S 55mm f/1.2 (discontinued)

There is not indication when this lense was introduced. The earliest anyone can trace back from some sources was probably around 1974. With a bright maximum aperture of f/1.2, this is also the fastest Zuiko lense. Due to its requirement of extraordinary light gathering power with its f/1.2 maximum lense speed, the early Zuiko design requires it to have an unusual, larger, non-49mm standard 55mm filter attachment size. With a unique optical design comprises of 7 elements in 6 groups, this lense offers good resolution and moderately high contrast despite many believe some of the early version of Zuiko lenses may not be multicoated.

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This is a very beautifully lense with extremely well built construction. With generally less desirable quality of high film speed/types available at the time, it has become a solution provider. T

<<< --- Credit: Image of this Zuiko lense courtesy of Mr. Wes <isiu54wroclaw@netzero.net>. Image copyright © 2002 All rights reserved.
The main strength of this fast speed ZUIKO standard lense its ability to provide photographers with a way to tackle unfavorable low available light photography with its maximum aperture and the normal perspective it generates at adequate shooting distance. Naturally, the fast lense speed and auto diaphragm also provide a level of image brightness incomparable by others for ease of viewing, focusing and picture composition.

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According to Olympus, this lense uses a unique optical design with fourth group of elements is arranged to act as a concave with the cemented surface facing the object. It was specially designed to correct common aberrations of this lens type to ensure images will deliver crisp sharp details.

<<< --- Credit: The rear section of the lense opening is a LARGE piece of optical lens element. Older version has a far simpler rear end with minimal mechanical coupling and levers. Image of this Zuiko lense courtesy of Mr. Steve <steve@natcam.com>. Image copyright © 2002 All rights reserved.

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Frankly, I'd love to believe Olympus has created a great lense but I have heard some remarks from some users over its performance, where except at its largest aperture setting where there might be a presence of image softness but overall, stopping down the aperture down a stop or two will improve its performance considerably. Anyway, such optical behavior seems to be like normal phenomenon that closely associated with most fast speed standard lenses offer not just by Olympus, but also faced by other manufacturers.

<<< --- Some of the OM Gurus suggested the very early versions of Zuiko may have a chrome front filter rim in front of the aperture ring. Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Attila Lorincz <alorincz@attbi.com>. Image copyright © 2002 All rights reserved.

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<< --- Credit: Image of this Zuiko lense courtesy of Mr. Steve <steve@natcam.com>. Image copyright © 2002 All rights reserved.
Specification:

Type: G-Zuiko AUTO-S 55mm f/1.2
Focal length:
55mm
Aperture ratio: 1:1.2
Lens construction: 6 groups, 7 elements
Angle of view: Diagonal:
43°
Distance Scale: (m) 0.45 to infinity (oo
)
Focusing: Straight Helicoid
Minimum and Maximum aperture: f/16 ~ f/1.2
Minimum photographic range: 28mm x 16mm
Diaphragm: Automatic
Filter attachment size.
55mm
Length x max. diameter:
47mm x 65mm
Weight:
310g (10.9oz)
Recommended Focusing Screens: 1:1*, 1:2*, 1:3*, 1:4*, 1:5#, 1:6#, 1:13*, 1:14*
*Compatible. Focusing and exposure accuracy remains but at smaller aperture with the use of high shutter speed, microprism, corners of the screen and split image may darken. # Compatible, they provide accurate focusing but exposure error may occur in manual mode for OM2 series models. On AUTO, exposure accuracy remains, but the meter needle may not indicate correct shutter speeds. # Compatible with OM-1(n) and OM-2(n), may be used on OM-3(ti) and OM-4(ti) or equivalent, they provide accurate focusing but exposure indicative error may occur..## More info on "Picture Angle" or make use of the Glossary section in PIM site..
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| Previous | Next | 1/3 The next few section covers the updated ZUIKO 50mm f/1.2 lense and Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 and Zuiko 50mm f/1.8

| Index page for 50mm lenses |
| G-Zuiko AUTO-S 55mm f/1.2 | Zuiko AUTO-S 50mm f/1.2 | G-Zuiko AUTO-S 50mm f/1.4 & Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 | G-Zuiko AUTO-S 50mm f/1.8 & Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 | Zuiko 50mm f/2.0 PF | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 50mm f/3.5 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 50mm f/2.0 |

<< --- Credit: Image scanned from an early OM system catalogue.

A Brief overview on Zuiko Optics
Zuiko Fisheye Lenses
8mm f/2.8 Circular Fisheye | 16mm f/3.5 Full Frame Fisheye
Zuiko Ultra-Wideangle Lenses
18mm f/3.5 | 21mm f/2.0 | 21mm f/3.5 | 24mm f/2.0 | 24mm f/2.8
Zuiko Wideangle Lenses
28mm f/2.0 | 28mm f/2.8 | 28mm f/3.5 | 35mm f/2 | 35mm f/2.8 |
Zuiko Standard Lenses
40mm f/2.0 | 55mm f/1.2 | 50mm f/1.2 | 50mm f/1.4 | 50mm f/1.8 | Zuiko 50mm f/2.0 PF
Zuiko Medium-Telephoto Lenses
85mm f/2.0 | 100mm f/2.0 | 100mm f/2.8 | 135mm f/2.8 | 135mm f/3.5
Zuiko Telephoto Lenses
180mm f/2.0 EDIF | 180mm f/2.8 | 200mm f/4.0 | 200mm f/5.0 Auto-T (brief)
Zuiko Super-Telephoto Lenses
250mm f/2.0 EDIF | 300mm f/4.5 | 350mm f/2.8 EDIF | 400mm f/6.3 | 500mm | 600mm f/6.5 |1000mm f/11.0
Special application Zuiko optics:
24mm f/3.5 Shift | 35mm f/2.8 Shift | 500mm f/8 Reflex | AF Zoom 35-70mm f/4.0 | Zuiko 50mm f/2.0 PF

Tele-Converters: 1.4X-A / 2X-A

Zuiko Macro/Close focus lenses: Zuiko AUTO MACRO 20mm f/3.5 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 20mm f/2.0 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 38mm f/3.5 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 38mm f/2.8 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 50mm f/3.5 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 50mm f/2.0 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 1:1 80mm f/4.0 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 90mm f/2.0 | Zuiko AUTO MACRO 135mm f/4.5

Zuiko AUTO-Zoom Lenses - Main Index page
| S-Zuiko AUTO Zoom 28-48mm f/4.0 | Zuiko AUTO Zoom 35-70mm f/3.6 | S-Zuiko AUTO Zoom 35-70mm f/4.0 | Zuiko AF AUTO Zoom 35-70mm f/4.0 | S-Zuiko AUTO Zoom 35-70mm f/3.5 ~ f/4.5 | S-Zuiko AUTO Zoom 35-70mm f/3.5 ~ f/4.8 | Zuiko AUTO Zoom 35-80mm f/2.8 ED | Zuiko AUTO Zoom 35-105mm f/3.5 ~ f/4.5 | Zuiko AUTO zoom 50-250mm f/5.0 | Zuiko AUTO zoom 65-200mm f/4.0 | S-Zuiko AUTO zoom 70-210mm f/4.5 ~ f/5.6 | Zuiko AUTO Zoom 75-150mm f/4.0 | Zuiko AUTO Zoom 85-200mm f/4.0 | Zuiko AUTO Zoom 85-250mm f/5.0 | S-Zuiko AUTO Zoom 100-200mm f/5.0 |

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Copyright © 2000. leofoo ®. MIR Web Development Team.

Maintainers for OM Zuiko Site & Message Board: Rick Oleson (Email: rick_oleson@yahoo.com Website: http://rick_oleson.tripod.com), Bruce Hamm (bhamm@magma.ca), John Orrell (john@orrellj.freeserve.co.uk), Simon Evans, (http://www.mawddwy.freeserve.co.uk); Shaun (shaun@noemail.com), Andy Radcliffe (AndyJRadcliffe@manx.net)

Special thanks to: Gregory P. Logiodice, Bob Gries, Erwin Voogt, Joel Wilcox, Rick Oleson, Simon Evan and many others for granting permissions to use their images of either lenses, cameras and own pictures appeared in this Zuiko website.

Credit: My old time buddy, Ahmad Ikram, Dr of Rubber Research Institute (RRI), Malaysia who shares the same passion with me and also lending his OM-1n, OM-4 and the Motor Drive 1 to me for preparing some images in this site; Mark Dapoz <md@dementia.org>for reminding some broken links; Mr Poon of Foto Poon, Ipoh, Mr Richard, Ampang Park, Mr Lim and Miss Jenny of Foto Edar for their generosity for their OM1(n), OM2n camera and some Zuiko lenses. Mr Hans van Veluwen for mistakenly using some content earlier from his OM website; J Sorensen for providing some useful images to rectify some technical "flaws"; Mr Gen Holst for helping during the early stages of development of this OM site; Mr KKLow for some of his earlier images on the OM-1appeared in this website; Miss Wati and Mirza for helping me to convert this Operation Manual into a HTML format. Mr MCLau for rectifying some mistakes made on the earlier preview sites. A personal tribute to the creator of the OM system and also a site dedicated to all the fans of Olympuses and Zuiko Optics worldwide. Some of the content and images appeared in this site were scanned from OM official marketing leaflets, brochures and instruction manual(s) for educational purposes. Olympus is a registered trade name of Olympus Optical Inc., Japan. Site created 'unfortunately again with an IMac.