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9-18 for landscapes and long exposures.

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by lomomentum, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. lomomentum

    lomomentum Mu-43 Regular

    Hello Ladies and Gents.

    I'm a new guy in here though no newbie to photography forums having been a regular contributor, by the same name, in Fuji X. I do hope I've posted in the right section.

    I downsized from Nikon FX gear to Fuji some time ago to save carrying bags of kit around. Now, with Fuji's recent lens releases and projected future releases being heavy artillery by comparison to their past and current M43 gear I'm seriously considering further downsizing to M43. Or partially downsizing and adding a second body in M43 format. Quite probably the new EM5ii.

    Before I do though I'd like to pick the brains of the guys and gals here on one or two points.

    I do a fair amount of long exposure and landscape photography and was using a Fuji XT1 with the 14/2.8 lens in conjunction with Lee Seven5 filter system. The problem was, or rather is, that quite often, there is a reflection of the print on the front of the lens housing of the 14 in the image when using filters. Especially the big stopper.

    How does the Oly 9-18 behave in this respect? I note that it, too, has white lettering facing forward towards any potential filter installation. It's the opinion of many that the Fuji problem is caused by the angle of the surface that the lettering appears on. It's quite harsh and I'm wondering that the relatively 'flat' surface of the 9-18 might mitigate the symptoms. (I know that I could 'blacken' the lettering but I'd rather not.)

    Anyone with greater experience care to comment? And indeed, opinion on the general performance of this lens (I'm not too fussed about speed for landscape and/or long exposure.)

    To complete my 'scene' I'd probably add either the Lumix Leica 25/1.4 or the Voigtlander 25/0.95 for low light stuff. But it's the 9-18 I'm more interested in right now.

    Thanks in anticipation one and all.
     
  2. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I had a 9-18 for some time and did my share of long exposure shots with a 10-stop ND. I never noticed any issues with reflections, so I think it's probably safe to say that however the lettering is arranged, it doesn't cause this effect.

    In general, the 9-18 is a very good lens, although the corners are soft and stopping down doesn't make them much better. I've recently gone back to a Panasonic 7-14 which is better optically but has the disadvantage that it doesn't easily take filters. I'm planning to get the Fotodiox 145 system just as soon as I can justify its stupefying cost! In the interim, I'm using an 82mm circular ND that I'm mounting with a home-made foam collar. It works fine, but vignettes at anything under 8mm, but I can live with that for the moment.

    If a 20mm 135 equiv lens is wide enough for you (i.e. Same FOV as your 14 on Fuji), you might want to consider the Samyang or SLR Magic 10mm lenses. Both are a bit on the big size and manual focus only, but the reports of IQ are good.

    Finally, the Oly 12 f2 is a great lens. Not as wide as your 14/2.8, but small, light, great IQ and a real quality feel to it.
     
  3. lomomentum

    lomomentum Mu-43 Regular

    Ooh yeah! Thanks for that. Hadn't considered the 12/2. Yes, I can imagine that being more appropriate for landscapes. I'll do some research. (Thinking aloud: But if I was to consider 12mm as wide enough for my purposes (can't rule it out) might I not just as well go for the 12-40/2.8 pro and give up the one stop as a reasonable trade-off?)

    I was kinda hoping for the Holy Grail one lens does all* with the 9-18 but I guess we'll all have to wait some time for the 10-100 f2 pancake!

    * landscape and streets.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
  4. WendyK

    WendyK Super Moderator

    Feb 28, 2014
    Northern Virginia
    Wendy
    This is exactly what I did (bought the 12-40 vs. the 12mm), for that same reason. I couldn't justify the price of the 12mm when for a little more money I could get the 12-40 (which was $100 off at the time). I don't regret that purchase for a minute.
     
  5. lomomentum

    lomomentum Mu-43 Regular

    Thanks WendyK. I've got a hunch others have gone the same way too. It might just swing it getting the new EM5ii with the 12-40 'kit' option.
     
  6. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Well, the 12-40 is as good optically as the 12/2 and only 1 stop slower (which is unlikely to matter for landscapes). However, it's a big beast by u43 standards so you may or may not find it to your taste. Personally, I've gone round in circles on the primes vs zooms debate and TBH I've not yet got to a consistent place in my head! My heart says primes, but the lens changing can be annoying; my head says that for the photography I do, the zooms are the most logical solution.

    Man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion!
     
  7. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
  8. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    If they ever actually make any and send them to a retailer for any of us to buy ;)
     
  9. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    Not my experience that the 9-18 is soft in the corners, and DxO Lens database agrees (showing the 10mm-ish focal length that the OP is interested in):

    7-14 vs 9-18.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Hmmm - well, I guess we can pick and choose our testers... This is a comparison from SLRGear and which is closer to my experience with the lenses. Not only is the 7-14 flatter across the frame, but the overall sharpness surface is lower (i.e. sharper overall):

    7-14vs9-18.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  11. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    That might be what you did, but it's not what I did. :rolleyes: I used the first one at hand, it came out as shown. Who knows how many you picked among, given you admit that it's your modus operandi...

    Anyway, the best of several tests of a lens is the best indicator of what that lens will deliver without occasional construction problems that affect individual samples. Comparing best-with-best above, the 9-18 competes. The two Panasonic tests are about the same as each other.
     
  12. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    I own the bigger 4/3rds 9-18 and no matter what any test site graph would tell me
    I do not use it at f4 ...
     
  13. 少林chris

    少林chris Mu-43 Regular

    119
    Jun 28, 2013
    Los Angeles / Copenhagen
    Chris
    I never bonded with the 9-18mm I had. Seemed soft and rather flat in contrasts. If it could I'd go for the oly 7-14mm. But then again, to each man his own.
     
  14. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    Here is a shot with a fair bit of corner detail, 9mm f/6.3:

    Angkor Wat Cambodia-1250998_DxO.JPG

    Here is the full scale top left corner detail for pixel peepers:

    Angkor Wat Cambodia-1250998_DxO-1.JPG
     
  15. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Like I said - soft in the corners :)
     
  16. lomomentum

    lomomentum Mu-43 Regular

    Thanks everyone for your responses.

    My meagre brain is too full now and has no extra memory to absorb all the technical stuff that people have been kind enough to post. Thank heavens 'equivalence' hast reared its ugly head. Aaaaargh! I've never really been one for charts as, as is evident in here, no-one will ever agree which example is the most accurate.

    It's the so-called real world images that are my measure and I'm quite pleased with the 9-18 images I've seen in here and on Flickr so I dare say that is what I shall begin with. Especially as it'll accommodate the Lee Seven5 system. And it's small!!! I'm no award winning tog by any stretch of the imagination so I think I'm gonna a be quite happy with a small bag with EM5ii and the 9-18 and the Voigtlander 25/0.95 for more 'considered' manual shooting and low light.

    Thanks everyone. Looks like this forum is every bit as good as the Fuji X.
     
  17. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    Surprisingly uninformed comment. Empty words too... show me a sharp 9mm corner then. Careful.....

    For the information of less-biased readers, here is the dead centre of same image at 100%. The leaves in the centre silhouetted against the sky are almost the same sharpness as the two leaves in the top-top-top-leftmost corner of the 100% crop in post #14. That's a very good lens. As per the DxO chart in post #9.

    Angkor Wat Cambodia-1250998_DxO-2.JPG
     
  18. Qiou87

    Qiou87 Mu-43 Regular

    150
    Jul 15, 2013
    Paris, France
    If you're really looking for a smaller system than Fuji X, looking at the smaller zooms and/or primes is a smart choice. In that regard the 9-18mm is a solid pick: it's incredibly compact when folded, doesn't weight too much, and it's range is quite practical compared to a pure 18mm (35mm equiv.) prime lens.

    For your low-light needs, beware of the 25/0.95. Although an excellent lens, it is quite bulky and very heavy by MFT standards. Even if they are slower, I'd wager that a Pana 25/1.4 or an Oly 25/1.8 would be more amicable companions for those times when your primary Fuji system is too big.
     
  19. lomomentum

    lomomentum Mu-43 Regular


    Hmmmm. Yes. There's already a lot of head-scratching regarding the fast primes. I've seen the results of the Panny 25 (and heard it chattering!) and they're darned impressive. BUT, there's just 'something' about that chunk of metal and glass, with an aperture ring t'boot, that makes you (sometimes) want to go fully manual. And the Voigty's do look proper camera porn when fixed to a black EM5 or EM1.

    I had considered the Panny 15 too though I am told the aperture ring will not work with Oly's. Yet the Voigty's do! (I guess it must be something to do with the electrics of the Panny? Only those with more brain capacity than me will be able to answer that one.)
     
  20. Qiou87

    Qiou87 Mu-43 Regular

    150
    Jul 15, 2013
    Paris, France
    The Panasonic's aperture ring (also found on the 42,5mm f/1.2 Pana-Leica) is electronic, which means it's just a dial that sends the info to the camera - no different than selecting your aperture using a camera dial. The aperture is still controlled by the camera itself.
    On the contrary, the Voigtländer does not feature any kind of electronic coupling and closing its aperture will close it immediately - not just when you press the shutter. Same goes for all full manual lenses or adapted lenses on mirrorless, like the Samyangs/Rokinons for example.