I’m now in my early 40’s, but when I was 14 in the late 80’s, my Dad bought me my first SLR camera – an Olympus OM10 with 50mm f1.8 Zuiko lens. I learnt many skills with it, and believe it or not it was my main and only camera right up until 2005. In other words, I used it as my main camera for 15 years, long after advances to modern film photography and even into the start of the digital dominance.

Since getting a Nikon F5 and further to that, a Hasselblad, I used the OM10 infrequently. But the theft of many of my Nikon lenses in 2011 have left me still with a very low volume of Nikon lenses as I bought Hasselblad lenses mostly. However, I have recently had the good fortune of acquiring a second OM10, and an OM20, and 4 extra lenses – another 50mm Zuiko, plus the following:

Tokina 35-105mm f3.5 to f22 with Macro ring, 55mm filter
Tokina AT-X 28-85mm f3.5 to f22, 62mm filter
Miranda 70-210mm f4.5 to f22 Macro, 52mm filter

I trawled the net for information about these lenses, and given the difficulties I had I thought I’d compile it here for the benefit of others.

The third lens, it turns out, is actually better than first thought. It’s not a true Miranda lens but in fact it is a Cosina lens, which often used Miranda merely as a name when manufactured for UK OM lens mounts. Cosina apparently made pretty good glass. There is more information and user reviews of it HERE

The first two lenses, especially the Tokina AT-X 28-85mm, is a very well regarded lens.

The Tokina AT-X 28-85mm f3.5-4.5 lens is one of the Cult Classic lenses described in Robert Monaghan’s Third Party Lenses Resource Megasite Home Page, which has thankfully been archived : http://web.archive.org/web/20021203000649/http://medfmt.8k.com:80/third/cult.html#tokina] and was also written about by Herbert Keppler in one of his Popular Photography Inside The SLR columns, covering the Cult Classics back in the early 1990s.

I also asked over at APUG.org and got a flurry of positive comments and further info about these lenses which any reader of this post who was thinking the same as me (“how good are these lenses?”) should read THIS. So by a strange twist of fate, I now find myself with the following Olympus rig :

  • Olympus OM10 with 50mm Zuiko f1.8 lens (my original one from the 1980’s)
  • Olympus OM10 with 50mm Zuiko f1.8 lens (newly acquired)
  • Olympus OM20 with 50mm Zuiko f1.8 lens (newly acquired)
  • Tokina 35-105mm f3.5 to f22 with Macro ring
  • Tokina AT-X 28-85mm f3.5 to f22
  • Miranda 70-210mm f4.5 to f22 Macro

This means my SLR kit is now better covered by Olympus than it is by Nikon. Nikon glass is just too expensive, but optically it is not that much better than most of these lenses, especially in the 50mm range. Granted, they have auto-focus and all of that, but the well built lenses with gold trim are in the high hundreds or low thousands, and to me, they are not worth spending that much money on when I have vintage lenses like these.

I intend to run some film through these recent OM acquisitions and see what kind of contrast and vibrance I get from the kit, but if all goes well, I may use them at a social engagement coming up in a few weeks where I’ll share my findings. There is not enough information online about the Olympus OM range of kit, so I’d like to change that and enable other photographers to explore the potential of these great cameras.