Getting my Sigma 14/3.5 made me think about my Sigma lenses some as well as my other 3rd party OM mount lenses. I’ve been recently moving towards replacing 3rd party lenses with Zuiko lenses (such as a Zuiko 24/2.8 for my Sigma 24/2.8).
The Zuiko lenses are not really all that superior, though they are very good. Some of my 3rd party lens are very good, my Sigma 28/1.8 is extremely sharp, even wide open. My Tamron 28/2.5 is very good as well. My Sigma 70-210/2.8 APO is excellent. Most of it has to do with the Zuiko lens small size, its looks and how it feels. There is just something haptically pleasing about the Zuiko lenses that no 3rd party lens I have used has come close matching. Well, not entirely true, my Sigma 28/1.8 is almost as fun to touch and look at, though the aperture ring still isn’t quite as nice.
All of this has made me wistful that Olympus/Zuiko would have made a few more lenses. My count comes to 64 total Olympus Zuiko lenses through the life cycle of the OM mount. This includes macro, teleconverter and specialty AF lenses. That is a very large number of lenses. Now I fully recognize return on investment decisions and so forth, but it still doesn’t make sense to me a couple of ‘holes’ in the OM line up.
During the early/mid-80’s Olympus turned out the 180/2, 250/2 and 350/2.8 to try to get a number of sports shooters to move to the OM mount. However, Olympus never produced a Zuiko 70-200/2.8 (or 80-200/70-210), or in some ways a 65-200/2.8 to be the big brother of the 65-200/4 would kind of make sense. To try to attract sports shooters you need the fast telezoom and Olympus never produced one.
Also during the early/mid 80’s Olympus released the wonderful Zuiko 90mm f/2 macro lens as well as the 50mm f/2 macro lens. Wonderful lenses and much sought after, but to me at least, it would seem like they would have had as many if not more sales of an 85mm f/1.4 lens then either or possibly even both 50 and 90mm macros put together. They prototyped one and rumor has it they produced 50 demonstrator copies, but they never actually made any copies available to the public. This to me seems like a falling down point for Olympus. I understand it was getting later on in the 80’s and the OM lines popularity was starting to wane, but I still feel like it could have been a profitable, if not necessarily knocking it out of the park, decision to have made a Zuiko 85/1.4.
A final parting ‘thought’, it also would have been nice to have seen a 135/2 while they were adding a 180/2, etc to the line up. This one excites me less then a few of the other “I wish they hads”, but still another lens I wish they had made.
Size comparison, From left to right, top row to bottom row: Sigma 14mm f/3.5, 28mm f/1.8, 50mm f/2.8 macro, 28-70mm f/2.8, 70-210 f/2.8 APO, 400 f/5.6 APO, Zuiko 50mm f/1.8, 135/3.5
Last, but not least, the Zuiko lenses are very compact, even the fast lenses, but the Sigmas still aren’t that bad. A 70-210/2.8 is never small, but the 14/3.5 isn’t really all that huge. Big, yes, but the Zuiko 18/3.5 is 75mm with the filter ring attachment and 43mm long weighing in at 250g. The Sigma 14/3.5 is also 75mm in diameter and 69mm long weighing in at 430g. The same diameter, somewhat longer and of course quite a bit heavier. However, for what it is (a 114.5 degree FOV lens compared to a 100 degree FOV lens) the Sigma 14/3.5 really isn’t that big (compared to say the 82mm/91mm/630g of the newer Sigma 14/2.8 it is pretty small).