My Fuji and … an Olympus OM Zuiko Auto-W 21mm f:3.5

No sharpness tests, pixel counting or other technical mumbo jumbo, just everyday pictures with the intention of showing the view angle, color pattern and character, and my thoughts of the lens.

Olympus OM Zuiko Auto-W 21mm f:3.5

The first lens in my vintage Olympus OM Zuiko lens kit is the Oly OM 21mm f3.5 ultra wide-angle lense.
Apparently 21mm is not much in demand / used by photographers, however 12mm, 16mm and 35mm is. This may have to do with the 35mm equivalent of these lenses on a 1.5 crop APS-C sensor – namely: 18mm, 24mm and 52.5mm which are more standard focal lengths, with the 21mm being 31.5mm which is not so standard.
Anyway, I love the Oly 21mm, the distortion at this focal length is just not too bad to speak of a real “fish eye” effect, and yet you get a lot of subject on your image.
Beautiful lens for buildings, architecture, landscapes, but also people, portraits, although you have to pay attention with portraits, because of this wide angle you have to get very close to your subject, really very close.
On the other hand, if you want to have people and background together, such as in street photography, you can use the large DOF of this lens to your advantage. Use an aperture of f8 or f11 and you don’t even have to focus with everything from 1m to infinity in focus.

The disadvantage of this Oly 21mm, and in that respect also the 24mm, is that it is slightly rarer than its 28mm brother, which makes it slightly more expensive. I have always collected a lot of lenses by buying full OM camera kits on 2nd hand sites, Olympus cameras are very popular and easily sold back, and you keep the good lenses to yourself, and maybe if you are lucky there is a 24mm or a 50mm f1.4 in it. otherwise you should expect about € 250 for a 21mm, and € 150 for a 24mm. But if you buy a Samyang 21mm f1.4 for Fuji X, it costs between € 400/450 so this is actually not too bad. The Oly is also a lot smaller (without the adapter) and lighter, which counts for most Olympus lenses. You can easily put a 21mm + 28mm and 50mm together in your pocket.

When I use a new lens, I sometimes try to take some pictures of a cloudy sky, and also of any subject at least 50 – 100m away, just to see within which range of aperture the lens performs best, if there are dark corners, sufficient sharpness at maximum opening, softness etc … and the result is :

Vignetting : I could only see a darker spot in the corners at f3.5, but it was really barely visible. The lens can therefore also be used fully open under all circumstances. Sharpness : was good everywhere, perhaps starting to perform best between f5.6 and f8, but nothing to watch out for in action.

Camera used : Fujifilm X-E1, Fujifilm X-T10 and Fujifilm X-T20
Adapter : K&F Concept and Fusnid – OM/FX
The camera settings where usually as follows:
ISO auto 200-800
The X-T20 is always set to electronic shutter
Focus Peaking X-E1 high white, X-T10 and X-T20 high white or red
Film simulation mostly standard
Noise reduction set to -2
Sharpen set to +1
Picture format 16: 9
Raw + Jpeg S
Manual aperture: I usually set the aperture fully open (f3.5) – or one before last (if f16 is last, then f11) – and this depending on the available light or the desired depth of field. Close ups fully open, Landscapes one stop before closed.

I received this booklet from a seller on 2ehands, the man knew about my Olympus lens “addiction” 🙂 , the booklet contains an overview of the Olympus OM Zuiko Interchangeable lens System, information about the individual lenses in the program and useful information about Olympus OM Zuiko Accessories. Thanks David V.!
Lens info Super Wide Angle Olympus OM Zuiko 21mm f3.5 – From Original Olympus manual for Zuiko Interchangeable lens group – Picture from booklet with a personal copy of my lens – Courtesy of Olympus Optical Co Ltd, Olympus Camera Corporation, Olympus Optical Co Europ and Olympus Optical Co UK Ltd. ***Click on picture for larger version***

All pictures here are out of camera jpeg’s – between 2500px or 3000px on the longest side. Below the pictures there is also a short video impression.

Below some video samples for my review here – first two parts were shot on Fujifilm X-T10, last two on Fujifilm X-T20. All hand shots no tripod.
This is a reduced video quality intended to give you an idea of what this lens can do on an APS-C Camera like one of the Fuji X-T series. For my next lens videos, I will try to provide some more information about the camera’s settings, such as aperture, video format – resolution and fps.

This is a work in progress, and will be further supplemented, updated and improved as time goes on.

Published by Marc R.

Belgium Based and Retired Photographer, IT specialist, Technician and Bushcrafter - not necessarily in that order. A few years back I got a message on my PC : "The box said 'Required Windows 11 or better'. So, I installed Linux Kubuntu 20.04 LTS" :-) - My Photography software : RawTherapee, Darktable, Digikam, Luminance HDR, Hugin, Gimp and many other. My camera Gear in 2022: Fujifilm X-H1 for architecture, landscape, ..., and Olympus E-M5 Mark II for bird and wildlife photography.

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