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Zuiko 200mm F4 and 200mm F5

Tim Kohlman , Jul 22, 2007; 10:02 p.m.

I wonder if someone can explain which of these two lenses I should be buying. Generally I would presume that the faster lense will be better, however after looking at KEH's prices it seems that the 200mm F4 is actually cheaper than the F5 which leads me to believe that perhaps the F5 has better optics. Any comments on this?

Responses


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Daniel Lawton , Jul 22, 2007; 10:37 p.m.

I've only used the f/4 but can tell you it is adeqately sharp to my eye.

http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=4325598

D N , Jul 22, 2007; 10:38 p.m.

I prefer the 200/4. There are some specs here.

Daniel Lawton , Jul 22, 2007; 10:39 p.m.

Sorry for the poor spelling!

Jorgen Udvang , Jul 22, 2007; 10:50 p.m.

I use the f/5, and find it very sharp. I don't think there's much difference, other than 2/3 of a stop, the size and the different filter size. Both are good and very compact.

J DC , Jul 23, 2007; 07:14 a.m.

Way back when (1980) I opted to buy the f5 over the f4. It takes a 49mm filter rather than a 55 and is significantly smaller than the f4. One thing to consider, however, is viewfinder brightness which often gets overlooked.

The Zuiko 'pro' lens was the superlative 180f2.8.

Konrad Beck , Jul 23, 2007; 09:29 a.m.

The 200/5 was more expensive when new than the 200/4 according to US dealer price lists. However, in Europe, selling prices of the 200/4 were higher than the 200/5. The 200/5 has a 6 elements in 5 groups design vs the 5/4 of the 200/4 and therefore could be regarded as more complex. The selling point for the 200/5 was that it was the smallest 200mm lens for SLR cameras (105mm length vs. 127mm for the 200/4).

A side-by-side MTF test of both lenses (Photographie, 06/1982; a Swiss magazin) showed that at full aperture the 200/5 was slightly better than the 200/5. Unfortunately, for a middle aperture they chose f/8 for the 200/4, and f/11 for the 200/5 lens: at these (different) apertures, the 200/5 was again better.

When you search on ebay, you will see that there are many more 200/4 lenses available than 200/5. Actually, it is my impression that it is easier to find a 40/2 ad than a 200/5 one though obviously the former one will have 50 re-runs before somebody falls for _that_ price tag. Anyhow, only 28,000 200/5 were produced in contrast to 173,000 of the 200/4. If you want a really rare lens (at least on the western market), search for a multicoated 200/5 which just says "ZUIKO" (not ZUIKO MC or F.ZUIKO) on the front ring: probably only 2,000 of these were produced, and as far as I know exclusively sold in Japan.

Your assumption "Generally I would presume that the faster lense will be better" is 'generally' wrong: certainly a faster lens like a 50/1.2 is better at f/1.2 than a 50/1.8 lens (which doesn't have this aperture), but in most cases when comparing lenses of the same lens line, a 50/1.8 stopped down to f/5.6 is better than the 50/1.2 at f/5.6.

To J DC: "The Zuiko 'pro' lens was the superlative 180f2.8": I hope that's not the case as it is well known for color fringing problems (Olympus later had the 180/2 as the real 'pro' lens). If you need/want a 180mm lens in this range for the OM mount, I would suggest to look for the Tamron 180/2.5.

Skip Williams , Jul 23, 2007; 09:45 a.m.

The 200/5 sells for more because of it's scarcity. It's truly tiny for a 200mm lens. Performance wise, I don't think you will see a lot of practical difference at working apertures like f/8 and f/11. I never did. Wide open, I never liked the 200/4, as it was soft for me.

I sold my 200/5 because I didn't use the focal length very much a a prime. I much preferred the performance of the huge Tamron SP 80-200/2.8 with its super-bright image.

J DC , Jul 23, 2007; 11:31 a.m.

Konrad, you're right - my mistake - the superlative 180mmf2!

I just took a look at my 200mmf5 after several years. I'd forgotton what a compact lens it is. For digital, my upper lens is now a 400mm which has a real reach but demands a tripod and is a beast is haul around.

Jeff Adler , Jul 23, 2007; 09:41 p.m.

I have a 200/4 and it seems reasonably sharp to me. If I know I will be using slower lenses I prefer to have a camera with interchangable focusing screens. A grid type screen is good for many situations and a plain matter screen is nice for very close work. As it turns out, all of my OM bodies are OM-10s. They are light, have bright viewfinders and don't drain batteries too badly but they do not have interchangeable focusing screens. For this reason alone I wouldn't be interested in a 200/5. When I used Konica cameras more often I borrowed a 300/6.3 Fluorite Hexanon. It was so dim to focus through I had to use a tripod. I was using Kodachrome 64. The slides were quite sharp but when I decided to get my own 300 I bought a 300/4.5 Hexanon. It is also very sharp and even though it's larger and much heavier the extra lens speed makes it much better for hand held shooting. I enjoy using some of my older M42 lenses but none of my M42 mount cameras has a very bright viewfinder so I use them with adapters on my Canon F-1 or Minolta X-700 bodies. Both Konica and Asahi made 200mm f/5.6 pre-set telephotos and I have two of the Hexanons and one Takumar. They are small and light and decently sharp but very difficult to use.


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