Film or digital, no matter the camera, if the lens is no good none of those other things will matter. There will be no spoilers as I will like all of these lenses.
Current asking price runs from $120-$140 according to the internets. PEN-FT Auto-S versions seem to cost a little more, which makes sense since they work with the internally metering PEN-FT cameras, but you can save a bit with non metering PEN-F versions. Other than metering, bringing a dimmer camera viewfinder, the two are near identical in analog operation. There should be no difference when adapting to digital. I will be reviewing the PEN-FT version here, but this assessment applies to both.
In the interest of full disclosure I must first admit that I believe the PEN-F and PEN-FT are personal favorites of mine. As beautiful as they are a jewel like technical marvel. Technically SLRs but due to their ingenious half frame sideways mirror box configuration they are smaller than most any rangefinder.
So I am very biased. With that being said I still believe these lenses offer great value. As half frame SLR lenses their image circle is a better fit in coverage and physical size for APS-C digital cameras. While you can find similarly spec’d APS-C modern digital mount lenses for about the same most do cost more and many will be considerably larger. Plus I would much rather have this classic out front than any of those lenses.
Why I Bought It
I bought this lens when I bought my PEN-FT as it had the spec that spoke to me most out of the many lenses available. Digital was an afterthought, but once I tried I quickly saw that it was quite the capable performer in that regard also. I will also add that this is the rare camera and lens that I have never considered selling or trading. That alone puts it in the top ranks of film cameras and lenses for me. AF through TECHART, since that works on APS-C Sony camera also, will not be an option since no PEN-F to L/M adapters are available as I suspect the minuscule PEN-F does not allow enough space. I do find MF to be a breeze so this is a non-issue. As an added bonus for film there is little I find more entertaining than seeing what accidental two frame montages I have created while retaining enough detail to stand as a single image also.
I have always been pleased with Zuiko lenses. This lens is no different.
- Well controlled. I have yet to see any flare with this lens.
- Built to create an acceptably sharp image on a 35mm half frame this lens is plenty sharp for APS-C.
- No disappointments here. Fantastic color rendering.
- Able to create pleasing, effective bokeh on a half frame creating the same adapted to APS-C is a breeze.
Samples With Film (Olympus PEN-FT)
With Digital (a6000 and Digital Olympus PEN-F where noted)
This is a great lens for a great film system that performs very well on crop digital systems also. Compact, aesthetically pleasing, and extremely well built also. Available at very reasonable prices and performs as well as lenses costing much more vintage and new. I highly recommend it.