The Best Olympus OM-1 Lenses for Film Photographers

The OM-1 is an all-mechanical SLR camera and was Olympus’s first step into the professional SLR market, well known for its reliability, durability, and ease of use.

The magic of a photograph often lies in the lens used to capture it. This article will guide you through the top lenses for your Olympus OM-1.

You should also keep in mind that the camera uses Olympus OM mount lenses. Lenses designed for Olympus Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds digital cameras are not compatible.

Before we dive into the list, let’s cover some basics about lens specifications. Key thing to know about are focal length, aperture, and lens type.

  • Focal Length: The focal length, measured in millimeters (mm), defines the lens’s field of view. A smaller number indicates a wider field of view, while a larger number gives a narrower or zoomed-in view.
  • Prime Lens: These lenses have a fixed focal length and excellent image quality. They are usually smaller than zoom lenses and have a larger maximum aperture.
  • Zoom Lens: These lenses have a variable focal range. This comes at the trade off of larger size and smaller maximum aperture when compared to a prime lens.
  • Aperture: The aperture is the hole within a lens, through which light travels into the camera body. The size of the aperture is indicated by the f-number or f-stop. A lower f-number (like f/1.8) means a larger aperture, allowing more light to enter and creating a blurred background effect due to a smaller depth of field, known as bokeh.
  • Lens Type: Lens type can be range from standard, wide-angle, telephoto, macro, and more. Each type serves a different purpose and creates a different effect on your images.
  • Film Type: The OM-1 uses 35mm film. It can be color or black and white. Here are my recommendations for the best film for the Olympus OM-1.

There are pages that cover how to load film into the Olympus OM-1 as well as how to unload and remove film from the Olympus OM-1.

Instead of just using the name of the camera mount, Olympus decided to market their cameras and lenses as the “OM System”. When looking for lenses for your OM-1 body, sellers will refer to the lenses as using the OM-mount.

The OM-mount is a bayonet lens mount, similar to the Nikon F-mount and Pentax K-mount.

One notable difference with Olympus lenses is that the aperture ring is located at the from of the lens. This is different from most lenses where the aperture ring is located at the base of the lens barrel.

This difference in design is because the shutter speed control is located on the mount of the OM-1. Other manufacturers use a shutter speed dial located on the top of the camera.

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There are many expensive lenses that were made in smaller quantities that were targeted at a professional photographers. They were made in smaller quantities, which makes them hard to find in good contition and expensive.

This list focus on lenses that are reasonably easy to find on the used market in good usable condition. This means free of fungus, haze, balsam separation, cigarette smells, and oily aperture blades.

Olympus OM 50mm f/1.8 kits lens for Olympus OM-1
Olympus OM Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 Standard Prime Lens

Ideal for portraits and everyday photography, this lens can be your go-to for many photographic situations. Its large aperture performs well in low-light conditions and can create beautiful bokeh, making your subject stand out. A true classic in the lens world, it offers a blend of simplicity, versatility, and pure photographic prowess.

Imagine the possibilities with its large f/1.8 aperture—capturing vivid portraits, stunning landscapes, and everyday scenes with a delightful bokeh effect. Its “standard” focal length captures what your eyes see, serving as the perfect stepping stone in your photography journey.

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Specifications Details
Focal length 50mm
Maximum aperture f/1.8
Lens type Standard

Pros

  • Affordable and readily available.
  • Great for portraits and everyday photography.
  • Large aperture offers excellent low-light performance.

Cons

  • Might not be wide enough for landscape photography.
  • No macro capabilities.
  • The 50mm f/1.4 lens allows for a slightly faster shutter speed.
Olympus OM Zuiko 28mm f/2.8 Wide Angle Lens
Olympus OM Zuiko 28mm f/2.8 Wide Angle Lens

If you’re into landscape, street photography, or want a lens for travel, this lens can be an excellent choice. The Olympus OM 28mm f/2.8 lens, is great for capturing expansive vistas and bustling city streets. This wide-angle maestro can encapsulate the grandeur before your eyes in a single shot.

Its wide-angle makes it an ideal lens for landscapes. Plus, it’s compact and lightweight, making it ideal for traveling.

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Specifications Details
Focal length 28mm
Maximum aperture f/2
Lens type Wide-angle

Pros

  • Excellent for landscape and street photography.
  • Compact and light weight.

Cons

  • Not the best choice for portrait photography.
  • Aperture isn’t as large as other lenses.
Olympus OM 135mm f/3.5 Portrait Lens for OM-1
Olympus OM Zuiko 135mm f/3.5 Telephoto Lens for Olympus OM-1

Whether you’re shooting a distant bird, a sports event, or even looking for a unique portrait lens, the Olympus OM Zuiko 135mm F/3.5 is a superb choice. It lets you get close to the action, even from a distance, providing a new perspective to your photography.

It is one of the most readily available and inexpensive telephoto lenses for the OM-1. While it’s not as readily available as the 50mm or 28mm, you can find it if you look on the used market. It is easier to find than longer OM mount lenses.

A step above the 85mm, the 135mm lens is more substantial but still designed with Olympus’ commitment to compactness.

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Specifications Details
Focal length 135mm
Maximum aperture f/3.5
Lens type Telephoto

Pros

  • Excellent for distant subjects.
  • Great for sports and wildlife photography.
  • Provides unique perspective for beautiful portraits.

Cons

  • Not the best for low-light situations due to smaller maximum aperture.
  • Requires a steady hand or tripod to avoid camera shake.

A fantastic lens for portrait photography, this lens’s focal length can help you capture stunning portraits with a soft, blurred background. Its large aperture also offers great performance in low-light conditions.

The only issue is that it is significantly more expensive than the other lenses on this list.

The Olympus OM 85mm f/2 is a telephoto lens that brings distant subjects close to you. This lens is your secret weapon in capturing nuanced expressions, subtle emotions, and intimate moments from afar.

Slightly larger and a bit weightier than its counterparts, it carries an air of silent confidence. Ready for a deep dive into the telephoto realm? Let the Olympus OM 85mm f/2 be your guide, and embark on an exciting journey of discovery!

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Specifications Details
Focal length 85mm
Maximum aperture f/2
Lens type Telephoto

Pros

  • Ideal for portrait photography.
  • Produces beautiful bokeh and a shallow depth of field.
  • Excellent optical performance.

Cons

  • More expensive than other lenses.
  • May be too zoomed-in for everyday use.
Olympus OM 50mm f/3.5 Macro Photography Lens
Olympus OM 50mm f/3.5 Macro Lens

This lens is for those who love capturing the tiny details of life. From the texture of a flower petal to the intricacies of a watch mechanism, this lens allows you to capture these details with precision. I have a review of the Olympus OM 50mm f/3.5 macro lens here.

If you’re into capturing detail or are a macro enthusiast who loves to explore the miniature marvels of the world? Then the Olympus OM Macro 50mm f/3.5 lens is the perfect partner for you! This lens loves to delve into the finer details, revealing intricate nuances that often go unnoticed.

From the intricate patterns of a butterfly wing to the delicate dewdrops on a flower petal, this lens allows you to capture them all. Paired with your camera, the Olympus OM Macro 50mm f/3.5 is ready to uncover the hidden beauty of the world around you. So go ahead, take the plunge, and dive into the captivating world of macro photography!

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Specifications Details
Focal length 50mm
Maximum aperture f/3.5
Lens type Macro

Pros

  • Excellent for close-up shots and macro photography.
  • Can create unique perspectives.
  • Superb optical performance with a flat field of focus.

Cons

  • Requires an extension tube to reach 1:1 magnification.
  • Not the best for low-light situations due to a smaller maximum aperture.
  • Specialized use might not be suitable for all types of photography.

The right lens can make all the difference in your photographic journey. Whether you’re capturing the beauty of a landscape, the details of a macro shot, or the emotions of a portrait, the Olympus OM-1 offers a wide range of compatible lenses to choose from. Remember, the “best” lens depends on your individual needs and the type of photography you wish to pursue.

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