When you are walking about in daylight shooting whatever strikes your fancy, any Olympus OM SLR body and the 50mm f/3.5 Zuiko Auto Macro lens makes for a mighty satisfying kit.
Olympus made four versions of this lens over the years, all optically identical:
- Marked Olympus OM-System Zuiko Auto-Macro 1:3.5 f=50mm, single coated, silver-tipped outer ring
- Marked Olympus OM-System Zuiko Auto-Macro 1:3.5 f=50mm, single coated, black outer ring
- Marked Olympus OM-System Zuiko MC Auto-Macro 1:3.5 f=50mm, multi-coated, black outer ring
- Marked Olympus OM-System Zuiko Auto-Macro 50mm 1:3.5, multi-coated, black outer ring
The multi-coated versions are probably technically slightly superior to the single-coated versions, which have a reputation for flare. If you have a single-coated version, avoid shooting into the sun and you should be fine.
Because this is a macro lens, the focus scale is biased hard toward close shooting. That has the effect of making focusing on non-close objects simple: just leave it at infinity. Here are some of my favorite images I’ve made with this lens this way.
I especially enjoy how this lens renders color. It elevates consumer color films above their station.
Naturally, this lens lets you move in very close, down to 9 1/8 inches. At that distance, subjects render at half life size. To get full size rendering, add Olympus’s Auto Extension Tube 25. I made all of these close shots without the extension tube.
You can pick up one of these lenses on eBay today in the $40-90 range, which isn’t bad for this kind of performance.
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