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Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
New SWD version on the left and original 50-200 on the right

Are the two different versions of the 50-200 f/2.8-3.5 that different?

Download our sample images and make your own mind up

I have been asked on more than one occasion if I think the new SWD (Supersonic Wave Drive autofocus) version of the trusty Olympus Digital Zuiko 50-200 f/2.8-3.5 ED zoom (on the right, above) has been improved in an optical sense. On paper, its design looks identical, with To help further the debate, below are links to samples taken with both lenses using an Olympus E-3. I took sample images at 50mm, around 100mm and 200mm, both with the aperture wide open and stopped down to an optimal f/5.6. The in-camera JPEG and RAW files have both been made available for you to examine.

The new SWD version of this lens does have slightly altered optics. It's plain to see just by looking down the front of both lenses side by side. My guess is that the SWD version had to be altered to accommodate the big sonic ring motor at the front of the lens. Physically, the new lens, especially with its over-size hood - complete with door for accessing a rotating filter, looks appreciably bigger than its predecessor. However, the new lens is actually slightly lighter - possibly because of the SWD focus motor. The tripod mount flexes less than the original version, which is a welcome improvement.

It was a rather grey day when these samples were recorded, but there is a reasonable amount of fine detail and contrast to test the lenses. I haven't yet bench-tested the new lens, but as soon as I have, I will let you know!

Click on a thumbnail below to view the full size in-camera JPEG on your browser (around 4-5MB) or right click and download the target file. Underneath is a download link for the corresponding RAW file.

 

P4188861 - Olympus Digital Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 ED SWD @50mm, 1/500th, f/2.8, ISO 100.
P4188862 - Olympus Digital Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 ED SWD @50mm, 1/100th, f/5.6, ISO 100.
P4188863 - Olympus Digital Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 ED SWD @101mm, 1/320th, f/3.2, ISO 100.
P4188864 - Olympus Digital Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 ED SWD @101mm, 1/100th, f/5.6, ISO 100.
P4188865 - Olympus Digital Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 ED SWD @200mm, 1/320th, f/3.5, ISO 100.
P4188866 - Olympus Digital Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 ED SWD @200mm, 1/320th, f/5.6, ISO 100.
P4188867 - Olympus Digital Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 ED (Mk.I) @50mm, 1/500th, f/2.8, ISO 100.
P4188868 - Olympus Digital Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 ED (Mk.I) @50mm, 1/125th, f/5.6, ISO 100.
P4188869 - Olympus Digital Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 ED (Mk.I) @96mm, 1/500th, f/2.9, ISO 100.
P4188870 - Olympus Digital Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 ED (Mk.I) @96mm, 1/125th, f/5.6, ISO 100.
P4188871 - Olympus Digital Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 ED (Mk.I) @200mm, 1/320th, f/3.5, ISO 100.
P4188872 - Olympus Digital Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 ED (Mk.I) @200mm, 1/125th, f/5.6, ISO 100.
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Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new

Four Thirds User editorial team Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Here is a direct photographic comparison of the original and new SWD versions of the Olympus Digital... (more)

Ian Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I'm really keen to hear some feedback to these sample images. Is there a big difference? Ian... (more)

Bear Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I would like to hear comments too. I am still waiting for my SWD, first ordered and paid for in Febr... (more)

Ian Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
February? Where did you order it from?! (Oh, hang on - this is the customs caper in Spain, no? :(... (more)

Bear Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Yes indeed, the Spanish customs caper ! The story goes from the bizarre to the ridiculous. The custo... (more)

Ian Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
There was a mis-labeling of two of the SWD shots, which has now been corrected. The first six ima... (more)

Ian Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Seems like you need to find a trustworthy place in town to accept deliveries for you. Bad luck, I... (more)

John Perriment Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Bear, So sorry to hear this tale. My view is that if it was a secure "sign for" service that T... (more)

John Perriment Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I've downloaded one image from each of the lenses and cannot see any difference on my monitor. It... (more)

Wickster Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Interesting. Thanks for the comparison, it'll help me me out later when I graduate from my kit lense... (more)

David Dunnico Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I've had bad experiences with TNT too (though nothing as expensive as Bear). What makes them even mo... (more)

Bear Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
John Thanks for the words of encouragement. The Spanish legal system, however, is fundamentally d... (more)

Bear Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Thanks Ian. See my post in response to John's comments for a brief overview of the town. A trustw... (more)

Bear Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Cheers mate If TNT has actually left it in the village then I will get it - it is only a matter o... (more)

Bear Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
A message from a very happy Bear ! Walking down the street today the owner of the local tobacconist ... (more)

Ian Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I have to confess that Julia and I had a good chortle when we read your post above - in relief mo... (more)

Bear Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Will post as soon as I have some - off to a 'concert' at a local bar tomorrow night so will be inter... (more)

Ian Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I'm still hoping for some more feedback on the samples - is the SWD version noticeably better? :) ... (more)

thestickman Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I don't know if it will be too late, but perhaps for the London meet there could be an unofficial po... (more)

Ian Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I have both the new and old 50-200s and will be able to bring them to the next meet. Olympus a... (more)

thestickman Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I hope they do :D I think I'll be picking up the 50-500mm and the 25mm over the next couple of we... (more)

Rick D Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Hi Ian, Nice bit of work on the comparison images. I have to say, after poring over them they're ... (more)

Ian Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Thanks Rick. In answer to your question about the old and new lens hood fittings, unfortunately, ... (more)

Rick D Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Thanks for your followup, Ian. I guess I'm not surprised, as the 12-60 hood bayonet design seems ... (more)

nrdlnd Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Hi, I can't see much difference. What Olympus said was that the "boquet" should be diffferent but... (more)

dbateman Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I know I am digging up old discussion, and this is my first post on this site. But I have a questio... (more)

Moovet Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I am looking to buy an E520 and have acces to a demo old 50-200 for $650. I was wanting to know whet... (more)

Barr1e Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Have you got to house 3499 yet? Regards. Barr1e... (more)

Bear Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Barr1e Good news is that I managed to locate the lens, all went well. It was being guarded safe a... (more)

samxxz Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
So you are saying that you robbed the seller of the lens? You are praising the honesty of the peo... (more)

Bear Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I am sorry you feel this way but if you understand the whole story before you jump to conclusions th... (more)

samxxz Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I agree your claim was legimate when you did not receive the lens. But when all the dusts settle, it... (more)

Bear Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I offered to share all the facts of the story with but you seem to prefer commenting from a position... (more)

dh003i Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Bear, Sounds like the person accusing you of dishonesty was talking out of ignorance, and is now ... (more)

Bear Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Thanks for your message of support. The end of the thred was odd in the extreme. The guy only posted... (more)

samxxz Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I stopped responding because I don't think I will get anywhere. It's only one-sided story and I have... (more)

dh003i Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I wouldn't feel badly about it. He may have got the lens for free, but it wasn't what was adverti... (more)

samxxz Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
This is quibble. How can you say a package is safe and sound if it is completely damaged? How do... (more)

dh003i Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Does it really matter? If the seller had done what he said he was going to do, it would have been... (more)

samxxz Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Of course if does. Do you remember I was questioning his honesty and was looking for holes in his s... (more)

dh003i Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
(a) Why would the merchant damage it? This seems only possible if the merchant did so on-purpose,... (more)

Bear Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I still find this guy's behaviour strange. In nearly 28,000 posts on this forum the sum total of his... (more)

samxxz Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
And you may also found that I created this ID just to reply to your posts. It's your fictional fund ... (more)

samxxz Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I think you now understand my points. I don't expect you to agree with me. ... (more)

fluffy Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I don't know. Many of us would consider setting up an ID to respond to a specific message or person ... (more)

ReggieB Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
D... (more)

fluffy Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I don't gt the feeling samxxz is a troll? Or were you referring to me:D ?... (more)

ReggieB Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
It was a joke, more than anything, but to join to accuse an established and respected member of t... (more)

ReggieB Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
In related news, this is why I use UPS. within minutes of delivery I can go online and see the sign... (more)

Archphoto Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
But that is the advantage of the two of you........ (living in the US) I think this newbe went ou... (more)

samxxz Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
You answered your own question that I am not the original seller. Yes I am from Dallas TX. I was se... (more)

fluffy Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Yowza, you extensively research prices and not reputations or even previous content in threads? Just... (more)

samxxz Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I did read through the WHOLE THREAD before posing, if that's what you accusing me of not doing. Are ... (more)

ReggieB Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
[... (more)

fluffy Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
And a great image it is too. I've DL'd it.... (more)

fluffy Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
My apologies then. Your emails sound like you jumped in.... (more)

fluffy Samxxz
I sent you a PM. Are you familiar enough with our software to find it. I only because because I find... (more)

fluffy Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Darn right!!!!!! I was at the Disney Animal Kingdom site earlier (I want to go), and I found... (more)

ReggieB Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I have been prepared to join a forum a couple of times because of some stupid statement, that s... (more)

Bear Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I find it is easy enough to find people to disagree with without needing to go out of my way to join... (more)

fluffy Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
So I suppose we shouldn't send you the invite to join the Flat Earth Society Dedicated to Making th... (more)

photo_owl Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
now you keep out of this - just because you were in at the begining doesn't mean it's your fight ... (more)

Bear Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Perhaps my description was open to misinterpretation. The package was eventually found (not delivere... (more)

photo_owl Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
does it for me I wouldn't have been so surprised at the earlier tone if I hadn't believed you to ... (more)

Bear Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
In all honesty I think it is probably time to put this one to bed and move on - I thank all who have... (more)

ndl0071 Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Darn, just as things were starting to get interesting:D :D... (more)

Bear Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Only my opinion - feel free to carry on without me !... (more)

ndl0071 Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
spoilsport:)... (more)

Archphoto Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
You are right Bear, enough has been said....... Ian: can we have a lock on this one ?!... (more)

NaturalWoman Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
so i would be okay with the 50-200 non-swd on a e620. again, i don't do a lot of telephoto work, bu... (more)

WulfysKingdom Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
I have the non-swd and it works pretty well on my E330 & E510. I've since bought an E3 and it wo... (more)

NaturalWoman Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
cool. i decided to go with the non-swd version. found one for $679 usd. it was $712, but i got $... (more)

NaturalWoman Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
i just want to say i got my lens yesterday, the non-swd version and it. is. awesome. i'm glad i ... (more)

AndyElliott Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
The bag is useful as a small camera bag for when you want to carry a small number of extras with ... (more)

Ians Tata Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Andy, I'm sure that there's a whole lot more of your skill involved than you will ever admit to. ... (more)

AndyElliott Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Sarah (my friend) and I have this friendly rivalry - she is very talented at lots of different th... (more)

Ians Tata Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Even though I have an e-510 rather than the e-3 that you use, I still have benefitted from using the... (more)

AndyElliott Re: Comparing the Digital Zuiko 50-200 old and new
Thanks - it's go to know that they have had wider applicability than just the later AF systems on... (more)