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using Olympus Zuiko lenses on a digital camera/SLR

Michael White , Mar 11, 2011; 11:00 a.m.

I want to use my older Olympus Zuiko lenses from my OM/2
on a digital camera and am currently investigating what to
buy. I've looked at the Olympus E-PL1 and it looks very
nice , small and light just like the OM/2.

I've read that using the older Zuiko lenses doesn't preserve
the original focal length of the lenses. From what I hear
its about a 2:1 ... a 50mm Zuiko will be like a 100mm on the E-PL1.

Is this focal length change specific to 4/3 digital cameras ? Or
would this also be the case when using the Zuiko lenses on other
digital cameras or SLR's like the Canon Rebel XS etc. ?


Rob Bernhard , Mar 11, 2011; 11:15 a.m.

The focal length of lenses do not change. The focal length is a physical property of a lens.

What changes is the field of view. The 4/3rds and m4/3rds sensor size give you a field of view of 2x that of the focal length. A 14mm lens on a E-PL1 will provide the same field of view as a 28mm lens would on a camera with either a full-frame digital sensor or 35mm film.

Vick Vickery , Mar 11, 2011; 11:39 a.m.

I use two Zuiko 35mm format lenses on my DSLR via an adapter: a 50mm and a 400mm. The 50mm (with its 100mm [35mm equivalent] field of view) makes a great protrait lens; the 400mm (800mm equivalent field of view) is a fine bird-watching, etc., lens and you oughta see it with a 2x extender...you can really reach out and touch someone! I also sometimes use a Nikon 35mm shift lens, but with its 70mm equivalent field of view, its usefullness is limited on the DSLR.

Patrick Porter , Mar 11, 2011; 11:46 a.m.

To expand on what Rob has said-

Any 4/3 sensor camera will multiply the effective length of your lens by 2x because the sensor is 2x smaller than that of a full frame sensor. 50mm becomes 100mm effective. To expand further, your ability to blur backgrounds is modified in a certain sense. A 50mm f/2 lens, will produce similar results to a 100mm f/4 lens on full frame. Everything multiplied nicely by 2x.

If you purchase a Canon APS-C sensor body, such as the XS, you will be getting a multiplication factor of 1.6x. Nikon APS-C (DX), 1.5x

Michael White , Mar 14, 2011; 10:15 p.m.

Thanks for the info ! I should have used the term 'effective focal length' change,
because I always refer to 50mm as 1x .......but this explanation does help a lot.

I'm leaning towards getting the Olympus E-PL1 but would like to explore other options
with an optical viewfinder. Any suggestions ?

I looked at a few full frame sensor SLR's but they are way out of my price

Harold Gough , Apr 01, 2011; 03:56 a.m.

You might like to follow my progress here:

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