Eric L. Woods

This Old Lens: Olympus 40mm F1.4 G.Zuiko Auto-S

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Preface

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.

Asking Price

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.

Value

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.

Olympus PEN FT

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.

Image Quality

I have always been pleased with Zuiko lenses. This lens is no different.

  • Flare
    • Well controlled. I have yet to see any flare with this lens.
  • Sharpness
    • Built to create an acceptably sharp image on a 35mm half frame this lens is plenty sharp for APS-C.
  • Colors
    • No disappointments here. Fantastic color rendering.
  • Bokeh
    • 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)

Olympus PEN FT
Agfa Vista 400
Agfa Vista 400
Agfa Vista 400
Agfa Vista 400
Agfa Vista 400
Agfa Vista 400
Agfa Vista 400
Agfa Vista 400
Agfa Vista 400
Agfa Vista 400
Agfa Vista 400
Agfa Vista 400
Agfa Vista 400
Agfa Vista 400
Agfa Vista 400
UNC Bell Tower – Agfa Vista 400
Agfa Vista 200
Agfa Vista 200
Agfa Vista 200
Agfa Vista 200
Agfa Vista 200
Agfa Vista 200
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Agfa Vista 200
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Agfa Vista 200
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Agfa Vista 200
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Agfa Vista 200
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Agfa Vista 200
Half Frame
Kodak Ultramax 400
Half Frame
Kodak Ultramax 400
Half Frame
Kodak Ultramax 400
Half Frame
Kodak Ultramax 400
Olympus PEN FT
2019 Raleigh Japan Fest – Kodak Ultramax 400
Olympus PEN FT
2019 Raleigh Japan Fest – Kodak Ultramax 400
Olympus PEN FT
Lomography 400 (Guessing)

With Digital (a6000 and Digital Olympus PEN-F where noted)

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PEN FT 40mm w/ a6000
@andre.on.film Andre: Film photography and watch enthusiast | Co-host of the Negative Positives Podcast | Customer Solutions Manager at CineStill Film and also current happy owner of the Leica M3 I had so it is in good hands
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DSC02380
DSC02381
DSC02382
DSC02386
DSC02470
DSC02453
DSC02419
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DSC02474
FT 40mm f/1.4 on a6000
FT 40mm f/1.4 on a6000
FT 40mm f/1.4 on a6000
FT 40mm f/1.4 on a6000
PEN FT 40mm w/ a6000
PEN FT 40mm w/ a6000
Zeiss Ikon Ikonta
Digital Olympus PEN-F

Conclusion

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.

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