Rolling Review: Nikon 200mm f/2 AI-S & Olympus OM 180mm f/2

I’ve had the Nikon 200mm f/2 AI-S for two or three years now. It’s big. It’s heavy. But it’s a delight to shoot with. Mine is the last version before the AF lens came out. It has the built in filter glass in the front and the drop in gel filter slot in the back. It weighs 2700g and is 222mm. The Olympus 180mm f/2 is oddly small for what it is. It weighs 1900g and it’s 174mm long. It also tends to cost significantly more on the used market, too. Now that I have the Olympus, I’m going to be selling eventually, but before I do, I thought it would be worth examining how these two lenses behave on the Sony A7rII’s high density sensor.

These are self-portraits shot wide open at f/2 with two monolights. My background is a giant picture window, so you get the view of the background blur at f/2 as well. There is no quality to this bokeh. Just quantity. But boy is that quantity gorgeous for both lenses.


Self-Portrait Test #1 by Mike Aubrey, on Flickr


Self-Portrait Test #2 by Mike Aubrey, on Flickr

I’d say that the Olympus is ever so slightly warmer than the Olympus. It also seems be better corrected for spherochromatism, too. Note the out of focus highlight on the zipper is a clear silver for the Olympus, but the Nikon has a hint of green/magenta coloring.

Still, the Nikon is simply an amazing lens. Studio lighting takes it’s lower contrast out of the equation and makes it clear that they’re effectively equal in terms of resolution/sharpness.

100% Crops from the A7rII:

Focus is ever so slightly different. The Olympus is right on the iris and the Nikon is ever so slightly in front.

Even though I have what is a beautiful replacement in the Olympus, I’m seriously going to miss the Nikon. A legendary lens, even replaced with another legendary lens, is still worth missing.

More comparisons are forthcoming…


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